Cosplay Bullying: Who can Cosplay?
That’s such a dumb question. Anyone can cosplay.
There has been such a large increase in cosplay negativity and the idea that people can only cosplay certain characters then get ridiculed for cosplaying a character they “shouldn’t”.
Let’s get this straight, cosplay is, in fact, for everyone. The definition of cosplay is “costume play”. Nothing more. There are no guidelines to define what a person can and cannot do, or how a certain person should appear, whether it be with weight, height, or even gender. I personally have experienced this form of bullying, and have seen it firsthand. My friend was not “skinny enough” to cosplay a League of Legend character, which has unrealistic character anatomy as is. Why must people bring others down for cosplaying characters who they love? What kind of joy does it bring to bring others down?
If you want to cosplay as Slave Leia, but are nervous you are not skinny enough, do it anyways; for you. If you want to cosplay as Batman or Superman, but are worried you do not have enough muscle, do it anyways; for you. If you want to cosplay as Sasuke or Mario, but are concerned because you are a female, do it anyways; FOR YOU. As a community, we need to have each other’s backs.
This is a hobby, not a competition.
Most people are in the community to just have fun, and deserve the right to do so. You are more than welcome to have your own opinion on someone’s costume. Lost Weasley Child cosplay responded to my question, “How do you feel about cosplay bullying?” The avid cosplayer addressed the topic of Opinion-versus-Bullying, stating “There's a big difference between just privately not liking a cosplay or how a cosplayer is as a person versus publicly damning them and calling them names. Cosplayers are human, we can choose to like and not like things/people, but when you take it to that next level of wanting people to hear you out and how much you don't like said stuff - then we get into bullying.”
Yes, you may have an opinion. We are not saying you cannot. But do not bring someone down because they do not fit your personal standards. In reality, it goes back to the old saying “if you do not have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
Sadly, there will always be bullying. No matter how hard we try to stop it, it will always be a part of the community. As a cosplayer myself, I respond to the bullying by thanking the person and walking away. Yes, it hurts. But am I going to stop doing what I love just because I am told I do not have the right look, or am not skinny enough? Definitely not. The overall best thing you can do is to ignore the individual, or let them know that they need to take their disrespectful comments, and leave.
You are not cosplaying to please other people. You are cosplaying to please yourself. If you are happy, then keep going. Always remember: Do what you love, and love what you do.