How not to offend others in cosplay
I've noticed that some cosplayers still need to be told how not to be a turd. It's actually really simple, even though offensive cosplays are still pretty popular and they absolutely shouldn't be. It really isn't difficult to be a good person when it comes to wearing some of our favorite characters. Hopefully, this is just a good way for me to rant a little, and you don't actually need to be lectured on being a decent person.
DON'T PAINT YOUR FACE DIFFERENT REAL SKIN TONES. This should go without saying. Raceface is disgusting, is terribly racist, and unfortunately is really really popular in Europe/Asia, but I have seen it done in America. Obviously, I'm not talking about painting yourself a shade of grey, purple, or blue. Unless a race of aliens come from outer space to tell me it is offensive to them, I am never talking about the unnatural colors. I specifically mean making yourself look Asian or of African decent when you are clearly Caucasian. I believe that going more than 2 shades darker than your natural skin tone is within the realm of racefacing and should be immediately shut down. If you need more reasons why Race Face is a big no no, you can check out this article here: http://news.quirktastic.co/post/blackface-in-cosplay-its-not-a-good-look-honey/
You can definitely cosplay your favorite Black characters, just don't paint your skin "Mocha" or "Cappuccino." I love Tiana from Princess and the Frog, but I refuse to paint myself brown for my cosplays. I have been told that a couple POC felt I was white-washing her, so instead of getting angry, I opened conversation and tried to see how I could improve my cosplay so that others would not feel like I was trying to white-wash my favorite Princess. If a POC calls you out on your racism (whether intentional or not,) open conversation, genuinely apologize, and fix your mistake. Most people can forgive ignorance, but willful ignorance is unacceptable.
(Photo by BarkingBasset on Instagram)
BEING IN CHARACTER VERSUS BEING A JERK. It's completely fine to be in character when you cosplay. In fact, it adds to the illusion of your cosplay! I do this sometimes with some of my favorite characters, but there is a point where it goes too far. If you are with a group of friends, and they know you well enough, you can be a jerk to them in character, and most of the time, they'll know that you are joking. But if you go up to a stranger and act in character (whether you like the character or not) the person or people you are being "in character" to, don't understand. I've heard stories of Dekus telling me that they didn't want to cosplay anymore because they encountered too many "rude" Bakugous. I feel sorry for them, because most of these kids were just that, kids. But on the other hand, Deku and Bakugou's relationship is a rocky and mean one anyway. Both sides need to be understanding of the situation.
With my friends who cosplay Deku, I can be mean to them. Because they know that I am joking. But with kids and Dekus that I don't know, I will be approachable as much as possible, unless they ask me to be rude. This goes the same with any other cosplay I wear. And it is a good rule of thumb to follow for any cosplayer.
(Photo by xxStardust_Photography)
LET PEOPLE SHOW AS LITTLE OR AS MUCH SKIN AS THEY'D LIKE. Slut shaming isn't cool. If the person is sending nudes and lewds to minors knowingly, then shut em down, but do not shame a person for being happy with themselves. If you don't like that a person shows more skin than you are comfortable with, you are more than welcome to unfollow them. Let people live their best lives. The world is already so ugly, so why continue to feed into it. The wonderful part about being in the age of the internet is that block and unfollow buttons are really common and therefore can make an "out of sight, out of mind" mentality. This goes for men, women, and us who are non-binary. I have seen men be heralded for showing off their bodies, but women be told that they need to cover up. It's terrible that people who are happy with how they look and want to show it off are met with hate and disgust.
Take that negative energy and turn it into something positive. Most of the time, that "trolling" and hate are part of a deeper problem. This hate is usually deep rooted in a self-loathing, and instead of taking that time to tear others down, build them up. Or don't say anything at all. Make yourself into a better version of yourself so that you can be happy with it. Positivity begets positivity.
IF YOU ARE RACIST, GET OUT OF THE COSPLAY COMMUNITY. Cosplay is meant to be a fun hobby, and no one should ever feel like they are unsafe at any point. Of course, that goes hand-in-hand with "Cosplay is not Consent," but it goes much deeper than that. I have seen posts and even first hand that racists are running rampant in our community. Furries in Confederate Flag themed garb, people wearing WWII SS officer uniforms, and attaching swastikas to many of their costumes. No one should ever feel unsafe when trying to enjoy their hobby, except racists. The cosplay community is meant to be one of love and healthy passion. The Nazis and Confederates lost. The losers need to take their L. Racism should not be tolerated. It's absolutely not with me.
To go on a little tangent, I started watching Mad Men with my SO, and I hate it. It's too accurate to the 60s. The men are rude to their wives, they are terribly racist, and it's all-around terrible. I cringe anytime someone tells me they wish they were born in a different era. The only time I would want to temporarily be sent to, is WWII so I could punch Old Timey Nazis. But it would literally only be for that. Racism is not welcome on my page, or anywhere near me. I spent too much of my childhood witnessing it. We need to be better.
Photo credit to @1B4nsky on Twitter.
It's not difficult to be a good person. I will lecture about it until the day I don't need to anymore. It's alright to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them and genuinely try to apologize, while also recognizing that the people you are apologizing to do not have to accept your apology. No one is required to take your apology, especially if you have broken any of these aforementioned points I have touched on. Grow, be a better person than you were yesterday. If you would like me to add anything else to this post, please message me or comment below.