The Body Confidence and Positivity in Cosplay panel featured cosplayers Ivy Doomkitty, Alexa Heart, Envy Us, and Knightmage, who mainly discussed what obstacles they faced as cosplayers and the advice they had for other cosplayers or people who wanted to join the community.
The panelists were very supportive of each other and positive in their advice for other cosplayers. They acknowledged that because their art involves lots of posting on the internet that negative comments are inevitable. But they made many suggestions for overcoming that negativity that could be applied to many different art forms.
Ivy pointed out that “the costume is art, and you’re wearing that art on you,” so it’s totally up to you as the artist to decide how you want to portray a character. There’s no right or wrong. She also said: “you should celebrate your differences and the things that make you unique.”
But Knightmage also made the good point that it’s okay to embrace the way you look when choosing a character – the most important thing is being comfortable in your cosplay, because if you’re comfortable you will be confident and have a better time.
In a similar vein, Alexa Heart spoke about genderbent cosplay and crossplay. She defined ‘genderbent’ as a male character made a female one (or the other way around), where ‘crossplay’ is dressing as the opposite sex. Alexa came out as transgender last year, and said that though she worried about being accepted, the great thing about cosplay and “nerdy people” is that it’s an accepting community.
She said that if you’re doing crossplay, the proportions of a costume will naturally need adjusting, so “when you make your costume, make it for you,” echoing the idea that it’s important to be comfortable in your cosplay, and if your art requires you to make adjustments, that’s totally fine.
Envy said that potentially negative responses shouldn’t scare anyone away from cosplaying, and that negative people are like a “toxic fire,” the more you feed them, “the bigger they grow.” Knightmage said that if you find your own “happy validation point” you can overcome any negative responses to your work.
I think Ivy summed the point of the panel up the best when she said: “Don’t let anything inhibit your wanting to do something,” which is great advice not just for cosplay, but for anything you’re passionate about.
Laura Jewell writes for Girls in Capes and has a BA in Theatre from Miami University. She currently lives in Chicago and enjoys many fandoms, including her favorites Harry Potter and Doctor Who. Her favorite weekend pastime is curling up with a book and her fifteen-pound orange cat, Orange Cat.
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