There is something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time now.
A few weeks ago, I went to San-Diego Comic-Con; my very first con ever! There, I did my very first cosplay ever as Link from my all time favorite game series The Legend of Zelda! I know it’s not the best Link costume out there (especially not the hair, omg that was totally last minute don’t even talk to me about what happened there lol), but I was SO proud of it! I didn’t care what anyone thought about my cosplay because I knew that it was my first one ever and I knew that I had put my heart and soul into it and I felt GOOD about it. When I was at Comic-Con, every day people stopped me for pictures, even when I left the convention center and walked down the street in costume. I felt so validated, and so incredibly happy; never in a million years did I think that would happen…
The crowning moment of my Comic-Con experience, though, came a few days after the con was officially over. The final picture you see above was PUT ON NINTENDO’S OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE (alongside a LOT of MUCH BETTER Links among others)!!!!!! You could not FATHOM my excitement!!! But, as we all know, facebook is no Comic-Con and the people there are not so accepting.
I shared the picture so that all of my friends could see it, and most of them were extremely supportive and even awed by it. But then one person said the following: “Um…Dark Link? XD” One of my friends. Someone I knew personally. I deleted the comment and blocked him (he said a LOT of really awful, bigoted things on facebook and that was the last straw). But that got me wondering…if a friend of mine said that…what were other people saying?
I went to the Nintendo page and braced myself. The very first comment was “Dark Link D:”. This comment had 88 likes, if memory serves, more than half the likes the picture itself got (161, I believe). The comments followed: “What’s wrong with his wig? …Oh god, it’s a girl XD” “She’d do a great Nabooru” (this one wasn’t so bad, and I actually do want to cosplay Nabooru when I get a little better at making things, but it’s still relevant) “Dark Link! Seriously, though, she should’ve been Sheik.”
NONE of the comments, besides one from another friend who left a very kind and thoughtful comment and one from my super defensive mom (love her to death), had ANYTHING to do with my costume. I was being judged on my breasts and the color of my skin rather than the WEEKS of nearly constant work that I had put into putting together this costume that I had gotten so much positive feedback on and been so proud of, and I was ANGRY. Even typing this, I am, once again, shaking with rage.
So, let me just say as a personal victim of cosplay prejudice (I’m new to this, as you can see, so I’m not sure if there’s an official term for it), WHO THE FUCK DO THESE PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE?! Who are THEY to tell ME what I “should” do and make fun of me for dressing up in a FUCKING COSTUME that doesn’t necessarily fit with my image? It’s not something that I do to please ANYONE but myself! I wore THIS costume because I LOVE these games, and I LOVE this character. And I cosplayed because it looked like FUN! And you know what? IT FUCKING WAS! THAT IS WHY I DID THIS! I feel that I not only speak for myself, but for cosplayers everywhere when I say that we do not do this for anyone but ourselves, and we do this for FUN above all else. And let me tell you, it hurts like HELL when people put you down so casually after you feel like you’ve achieved something wonderful. I’ve known from a very young age (much too young) that I would have a disadvantage in life because I am a woman of color. BUT FUCKING SERIOUSLY?! Getting mad over a COSTUME?! It is a sad world when a person can’t do something as innocent as putting on a costume without being told they shouldn’t because of the way they look. God, I feel like crying… This just makes me so furious. Please, just spread this around. Cosplay prejudice/bullying is not okay. I’m a real person under that horrible wig; we ALL are. We are real people with real passions and, most importantly, real FEELINGS. And after finally getting all of this down, I feel nothing but pain and anger and tears brimming at my eyes because of what these people said about me, and I KNOW that they say much worse about larger women who cosplay as thin characters and people like me who cosplay outside of their gender/ethnic group. But WHY?! All we’re trying to do is show our love and have some fun while doing it. What kind of world are we living in when that becomes wrong because of how we look? Stop cosplay bullying, and while I’m at it, bullying of any kind, because it is not okay.
PLEASE NOTE: If you read all of that and now want to check out the album on Nintendo’s facebook page, I just looked there myself and it looks like all of the likes and comments on every picture in the album were reset; some that had hundreds of likes have like 4 now. Mine had about 161 and now has 1, but no comments. The costumes are really great, though, so go check them out and feel free to comment on their quality! I’m sure the people who made them would appreciate it very much!
UPDATE: I went and checked out the album on facebook again just now and found this comment on my picture: “A female african american Link? YAAAAAASSSSS!” THIS IS HOW YOU DO THINGS! ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT, COSPLAY WHOEVER THEY WANT HOWEVER THEY WANT NO MATTER THEIR GENDER, SEXUALITY, OR RACE IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. This makes me genuinely ecstatic after the comments that were originally on my picture =]