Putting yourself in others’ shoes. Or wig.

I came by this post on my Facebook wall written by a cosplaying friend. Apparently she chanced upon (or how I think it was) this certain blogger’s entry on her trip to the recent STGCC. The entry was mainly several pictures of the event and her personal opinions and emotions. However, the part that had caught the attention of my cosplaying friend and spurred her to express her unhappiness -and even shared the blog’s link to her many FB friends as gossip fodder- was the blogger’s statements on the various cosplays. Apparently, that particular blogger had taken pictures of the cosplayers and gave her criticisms on some of them. The comments included phrases like “cosfail”, “definitely cosfail” and the like. (I don’t have a good memory for things like this and when I went back to the post, the blogger had already deleted her comments on them D:)

What I do understand is that the blog was her personal page, and she was definitely free to type out whatever she liked. However, in such a society where social media has become so prevalent, it is difficult to actually express our thought freely without offending others. I do understand why she would put those comments; for others who have not gotten close to experiencing the process of dressing up as a fiction character, it is easy to nitpick and comment on faults. Indeed, those targeted cosplayers could have improved with practice.

HOLD YOUR HORSES. I hope you haven’t reached the conclusion that I am writing to complain about the inflexibility of the users of social media and whatnot. True, the models weren’t perfect. In addition, the local audience that cosplayers meet can be harsh at times. I have seen and in fact, been part of this criticizing and demoralizing group of judges. And because I am attempting to cosplay, I think it’s actually time for me to make a post like this. Viewers of cosplay, please bear this in mind: before you judge, please put yourself in the cosplayers’ shoes, or in this unique sense, in their wigs and costumes.

Cosplaying was originally meant to be hobby, yet, everytime these hobbyists put on their outfits, they are subjected to the society’s competition and desire for perfectness. As much as how much you would like to have fun seeing your favourite characters coming to life, the same goes for the cosplayers. The whole purpose of donning those costumes is to have fun. So, though some comments are fine, please do keep in mind that some of them can end up ruining the cosplayers’ emotions. ):

Also, cosplaying is NOT an easy feat, and as many of the cosplayers at local events are not professional or celebrity cosplayers, they might not have the perfect faces or figures. Once again, many of them see it as a form of leisure, please don’t be quick to judge them based on their appearances. Though it is becoming seasonal to see tall people cosplaying at petite characters and plus-sized people dressing up as relatively slim characters, the best we could do as strangers would be to NOT make snide remarks. Yes, people should be open to pointers for improvement, but hurtful words are a different story altogether.

Lastly, all cosplayers have energy limits. I know a few friends in that community who have gone to large-scale events and have worn dreadful heels and stuffy wigs for more than eight hours and when I run into them midday during the event (because I refuse to follow them around as their ‘saikang warrior’, haha) and sometimes they don’t show me the brightest of expressions. What I’m trying to put across is, it is very, very difficult for them to smile or stay in character throughout the whole event. They’re not being mean by not giving you good photos, rather, they’re feeling tired. Why not try encouraging them by saying ‘good job’ or something along the same lines? It’ll definitely have a positive effect.

Of course, the cosplayers do have their flaws. But as an audience, what rights do we have cut them down? What for do we judge them?

All in all, cosplaying is a fun activity for both the cosplayers and the viewers. We have our comments, but we can cultivate our tongues so that they do not spread malice. Afterall, it is a leisure, sport, so why not enjoy it?

 

-Hx

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