Hey everyone! It’s time we explain what Black Lives Matter means in terms of the cosplay community! Although the movement is based around injustice and equality, we also face cyberbullying in our Black Cosplay community as well as other minority communities.
So we’ll be addressing issues and discussions that have been floating around the cosplay community and explaining why these are also a part of the BLM movement. And remember everyone, this is a safe space and we at the Y0uc4n7kn0w blog, stand in solidarity with the movement and those that fight for justice. We would like to inform those who are unaware of the inequality that minority as well as Black Cosplayers face online and in-person by showing these issues through the cosplay community lens.
Cosplay is for everyone
Black cosplayers have been ridiculed for not wearing cosplays that match their skin tone. Often times, comment sections will fill with people calling the cosplayer “inaccurate” “bad” or even have phrases such as “good but sailor moon is white”, etc. Basically, a bunch of comments often looking down on the cosplayer for not cosplaying within their race and not “looking like the character”. A popular term amongst minorities is, “passing for white”. Meaning that if you are light skinned enough you would be accepted and left alone. But that has turned into its pile of problems. Some of which includes some minority cosplayers feeling the need to stay out of sunlight so that they’ll be more readily accepted for the characters they portray. All of this, feeding the myth that you need to be fair skinned to cosplay.
On the other side though, there is the issue of cosplayers who are not the ethnicity of the character trying to make themselves look more ethnic. This includes darkening of the skin or even taping their face at the eyes to appear more “ethnic”. And the catch? The flack that these cosplayers receive is strong however, their support of their cosplays is often stronger. Thanks to the BLM movement as well as an increasing number of people becoming a part of the cosplay community, many cosplayers who participate in such toxic cosplays have been getting called out for such behaviors. However, the issues still persist.
Accuracy, is a common goal for most cosplayers. But in that case it shouldn’t so much be about changing features like the cosplayer’s skin tone. Accuracy, mind you, should be about the outfit–not the body or face portraying it. Cosplayers should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin while in cosplay regardless of “accuracy”. More importantly, why is changing the skin tone seen as “inaccurate” when changing the outfit to an entirely casual cosplay still kosher–Because the wig is right? Some of the best cosplays I’ve seen have been interpretations of characters within a particular style or ethnic representations of anime characters.
Although it took many years for it to get to this point of acceptance, I want to encourage more people to express themselves however they choose. As long as it isn’t offensive. Meaning, but not limited to, “black face” and other acts of culture appropriation such as using tape to adjust eyes into an Asian shape.
- Slander over the wrong skin type is wrong.
- Culture appropriation is offensive to the minority it’s meant to mimic.
Remember, cosplay is for everyone. It should be judged in contests and not online or on the convention floor. Cosplayers should enjoy the cosplay without offending another race. I’ve used examples in this blog but there are more examples of this within other minorities and if you ever feel like what you’re doing might be offensive it’s probably best not to do it without asking a POC (person of color) first. Please ask a friend who is a person of color or a community of diverse individuals if you think what you’re planning is offensive. You can also ask here in the comment section or on convention forums on Reddit or Facebook. Just remember this can be a touchy topic so use discretion when asking. As a community, we should help and educate each other and not tear each other down. The Black Cosplay community, along with other ethnic cosplay communities, have been faced with the same systemetic injustices and prejudices that BLM calls attention to. These problems are real in every community no matter how big or small. We encourage our communities, as anibloggers, cosplayers, and anime lovers to do some research into these issues and to join us in solidarity for a more just society.
Again, this is a safe space.
Star & Luna from YCK