I just came across an article talking about a survey that 200 male office workers in Japan answered abou their favorite kinds of cosplay on women. Let me share the results before I get into my issue with this (lol, you knew that was coming, but please hold for my giant eye role).
Their least favorite styles:
1. Military (42 percent)
2. Shrine Maiden (30.5 percent)
3. Maids (26 percent)
4. School Swimming Uniform (25.5 percent)
4. Tracksuit Gym Uniform (25.5 percent)
6. Policewoman (25 percent)
7. Bunny Girl (24 percent)
8. Race Queen (22.5 percent)
9. Flight Attendant (20.5 percent)
10. Doctor (17.5 percent)
11. Sailor Uniform (16 percent)
12. Office Lady (14 percent)
13. Nurse (14 percent)
14. Badminton Girl (13.5 percent)
While I roll my eyes at this survey even existing, let's pretend that I'm not doing that for a minute, and pretend that I care what these men think about what I, a women, want to cosplay (lol).
Let's look at some of the REASONS they gave for disliking these styles:
“It’s not arousing at all.” (27 year-old)
“It’s trying too hard.” (30 year-old)
“It’s not sexy.” (27 year-old)
“There’s a low degree of exposure so it’s not really sexy.” (37 year-old)
“The clothes look really thick.” (37 year-old)
“The degree of exposure is just too much.” (28 year-old)
Isn't it just lovely how one was "not enough exposure" and another was "too much"?
Now, I know these survey results are talking about a tiny portion of men in the world, but it isn't the first time I've heard discussion by both men AND women about women cospalyers.
Recently, I was thinking about what is "too much" exposure when it comes to female cosplayers.
Why? Well, I saw a comment on a picture like the one above that praised a female cosplayer for doing a "creative take on a sometimes overly sexualized cosplay that was still good while not being sexy just because it was exposing." And while I got the sentiment because often "creative cosplays" with females seem to often be very revealing, I also felt a bit annoyed by their statement.
I was trying to figure out why. I mean, I agree that I don't love that it really does feel like to have a "sexy" or "powerful" cosplay, you have to be basically nude as a woman. But on the flip side, isn't part of being a sexy, powerful woman being able to be basically nude if you want to be WITHOUT being thought badly of for it? See how I already ended up going in circles here?
There will always be people juding female cosplayers just for having a body that can be sexualized.
Male cosplayers too, I just can't cover it all right now XD You can't expect all male cospalyers to be into yaoi posing or taking their shirt off for those Free! shots, you know?
But there will always be someone judging. No matter what. When I see an awesome cosplay on a woman that has many layers, I think it's great. When I see an awesome cospaly on a woman that has very few layers, I also think it's great.
They're both great, but we can't deny that the "very little clothing" style of sexy gets far more attention both only and at convention than the "lots of clothing" sexy cosplays out there. Why is this? I don't really know but I don't like it. I want women to feel comfortable and sexy wearing a tiny skimpy pokemon inspired bikini if they want to, and I want women to feel sexy and appreciated if they're wearing a huge coat and don't have their cleavage out for pictures.
But mainly, I want all cospalyers to remember that cosplay is for personal expression & for bringing your vision to life - it has nothing to do with anyone else.
Wear what you want. Be bold. Don't take anyone's shit if they disrespect you while doing so. As long as you're having fun, it doesn't matter if you're in a floor length gown or a mini skirt (you too, fellas). Just do you.