Cosplay has become a staple at comic book conventions, anime cons, horror cons, and everything in between. The costumes range from obscure homages to nearly forgotten characters to the most popular heroes and villains of the industry. Many times, dressing in suggestive gear has become a way for an individual to add a unique quality to a costume, such as a gender bending version of Dr. Octopus. However, some con-goers are assuming that revealing costumes are an invitation to touch and prod without consent.
New York Comic Con has initiated a new campaign that focuses on the slogan, “Cosplay is not consent.” The reminder that touching someone inappropriately will be displayed all around the con floor, in hopes to lessen the instances of inappropriate groping of both make and female con attendees. The campaign goes beyond just touching, warning of using language that is unwelcome as well.
The large signs offering the following info.
“Please keep your hands to yourself. If you would like to take a picture with or of another NYCC fan, always ask first and respect that person’s right to say no. When at New York Comic Con, be respectful, be nice, be cool and be kind to each other”
According to the New York Comic Con, there will be zero tolerance when it comes to unwelcome touches or verbal advances against any male or female attendee. To make reporting such activity easy, they have created a reporting function in their app, allowing anyone that feels uncomfortable to report misdeeds.
Sexual harassment has been an ongoing issue at conventions. It is not always easy to report, due to the number of individuals cosplaying as the same characters. When there are 200 Spidermen wandering the floor, pinpointing the one who inappropriately touched you on the rear end is not always possible. With the new policy in place and the mobile app to assist, many cosplayers have embraced the new policy, and hope it spreads to other conventions around the country.
Most cosplayers have a pretty good sense of humor, and love the opportunity to take pictures with other attendees that find their costumes picture worthy. Many will stop what they are doing when asked for a photo opportunity. Unfortunately, there are some that would ruin the experience by touching inappropriately and saying degrading things to those that they stop.
Have you experienced sexual harassment at a convention? How did you handle the unwelcome advances?
[Photo Courtesy: Kinja]