When it comes to all things Geeky, we find ourselves faced with characters of different origins from all over this world and the next. Sometimes you find a character that calls to you, that one character that you see so much potential in. Thanks to all of the conventions that happen every year (or any themed party for that matter), you now have an opportunity to bring that character off the big screen or out of the pages and share it with everyone.
You may find yourself favoring a character whose features are very different from your own. Don’t fret; this does not mean that you cannot still cosplay as this character. It does mean that you should be mindful of any make up you wear, so as not to over step any inappropriate boundaries (like using black or yellow face). There isn’t any instance in which you need to make your eyes appear more slanted than they are naturally or add a ‘tint’ to your face in order to fit a specific look. Doing basic make up that the character wears is always fine. If you think you need to get a tan in order to play certain roles, think again. Think about it this way- if the person you were cosplaying was from another planet and they were green, then painting yourself green would be ok. The difference is that there are no actual cultures built up around these fictitious worlds. You will not be offending anyone should you walk around with pink, purple or green skin; you would not be mocking any issues that people have faced for not being white.
Instead, focus more on the costume itself and any props that you may need. Awesome cosplay has more to do with your knowledge of the character, poses you do for photo shoots and how you present yourself while on the con floor. Taking things a step further in terms of knowledge and performance is a great way to truly become any character and it is what will get you noticed no matter where you are.
On a similar note: you are more than welcome to dress up as ANY character regardless of your size or gender presentation! There is no rule (that you should pay attention to anyway) that states you can only cosplay skinny characters if you are skinny. If you are fatter you have just as much of a right to cosplay as whomever you want. Bodies are awesome and there is no wrong way to have one, so why limit yourself when it comes to how people think you should dress in and out of costume? Below I’ve compiled a short list of cosplay do’s and don’ts.
Dress up as your favorite character no matter what!
Alter your physical features (e.g. getting a tan because the character is a person of color)
Make that awesome ass prop that is sure to blow everyone away!
Body shame any cosplayer you see because you think the character they are dressed up as does not fit with their body type (it’s fiction!).
Make fun of anyone’s cosplay, there are nice ways to critique someone. Try offering advice instead.
If you aren’t sure if what you are about to say is something helpful or offensive, ask yourself, ‘is this something that someone could fix in the next 5 minutes (fixing a tear, rearranging their hair, fixing their makeup) if not maybe keep it to yourself. I hope this helps (even if only a little) when it comes to working on your next cosplay or the next time you visit a convention.
Until next time!