It’s been a long summer chock full of comic conventions across the country, the most popular and well-attended being San Diego Comic-Con. These are the places where die-hard fans of all sorts—comic books, video games, movies, web series, television, you name it—come to hang out in resplendent costumes based on their favorite characters. Just take a stroll through the cosplay wrapups from San Diego Comic-Con this year to revel in the sheer awesomeness of the costumes people created. There’s everything from Disney, to Adventure Time, to Robot Chicken, and hundreds more fandoms represented. Test your geek aptitude and try to identify every character. It’s tough.
But as most cons wrap up for the summer, we cannot put enough focus on the safety of cosplayers. “Cosplay is not consent” is a phrase most convention goers should be familiar with by now. It’s the motto that addresses unwanted attention cosplayers are often forced to deal with. While harassment isn’t exclusively a problem for female cosplayers, they seem to suffer the brunt of the problem. Comic books have long been a male-centric medium and only in the last decade or so have we seen a surge of female fans coming out to declare their geekdom, thanks to the mainstreaming of fan culture.
Some of the characters female fans choose to portray are indeed highly sexualized characters who wear ultra tight or scanty costumes that leave little to the imagination. For a general concept, think Wonder Woman or Gamora and Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy. These fans are staying true to their characters, but unfortunately some male fans see these outfits as an invitation to verbally abuse or even assault the cosplayers.