Cosplay by Plus-Sized Panda.
I've already talked a bit about cosplaying while black. A lot of cosplayers of color report that they face ridicule and discrimination in fan spaces. We definitely shouldn't let jerks rule our fan spaces and make them unsafe. While I know a lot of fans agree, we all need to do more to make sure our fellow fans feel welcome.
Unfortunately, this problem does extend to fat-shaming as well.
"Plus sized cosplayers, or any diverse cosplayer, already know that these people exist. A lot of us come into cosplay already paranoid about being bashed for something. A lot of us don’t cosplay because we’re too afraid of what people will think. This is because, most likely, we’ve already had to deal with nasty remarks before getting into the geek scene. I was made fun of for my weight and my race well before I decided to dress like a princess."
Miss Kaddie O”Keefe at SDCC 2013
If you're a superfan, you know the struggle: it's hard to find other people who share your passion. So why are we allowing fellow fans to bash plus-sized cosplayers? We should be welcoming these folks, because we all share the same love for cosplay and fandom!
So what if the costumes aren't 'accurate'?
Should every Iron Man cosplayer put themselves through Robert Downey Jr.'s intense workout routine before every con? The next time you see a Khal Drogo cosplayer, are you going to pull out the measuring tape to make sure they're the same height as Jason Momoa?
Cosplay by Briana Lawrence
When I decided to cosplay, I immediately went on the hunt for a black, plus sized character. I thought, “If I do someone who is white, or skinny, I’m going to get bashed.” I was already pre-paranoid. I came in on guard, right off the bat. A lot of diverse cosplayers do. They already know they don’t fit the bill. There’s a worse thing to hear in regards to cosplay that not even the most paranoid plus sized beauty may be ready to hear. “Be aware of your body” because “people aren’t going to want to see a 300 pound Superman.”
It's a little odd that we as fans are willing to suspend our disbelief as far as talking frogs turning into princes, supersoldier serums, and superheroes that can fly faster than a speeding bullet, but aren't willing to imagine a world where those characters might be fat. And by a 'little odd' I mean 'unfortunate and sad'. We live in a world where the beauty industry demonizes weight, where we're surrounded by diet ads, and where our favorite stories are still far from diverse. That doesn't mean we have to accept those messages. We should strive to make fan spaces better.
How can I be more supportive?
It's not just about refraining from saying something fat-shaming or rude (though obviously don't do that). It's about speaking up when you hear those things coming from your fellow fans. Simply asking "why did you feel the need to say that" or "why can't you just appreciate all the hard work that went into that costume" can point out the inappropriateness of a mean comment.
If you're the kind of cosplayer that makes tutorials, it would be really helpful to include tips for plus-sized cosplayers as well. Especially since there are fewer buying options for plus-sized people, often the costumes will need to be built entirely from scratch.
(Submitted to effyeahplussizecosplay)