I follow a lot of different cosplay groups (I’m sure you’re shocked), and one kind of post I see almost every other day is “Is it ok if I ___?”
The blank is filled with everything from gender-bending to weight concerns to body mods to health accommodations. It comes up most often in Legions discussions, since there are actual rules, but there’s plenty of the same questions across the board.
So here are my questions:
What blogs do you follow that celebrate diversity in cosplay? I know about Cosplaying While Black, which you should all follow because it’s amazing, but what other good ones are out there? What blogs feature plus size cosplayers or those blurring gender boundaries? Cosplayers in wheelchairs or with service animals?
What can I do – as someone who doesn’t fit in those categories – to promote visibility and positivity for cosplayers who feel limited or self-conscious, whether because of their appearance, gender, assistive device, etc? How can I broadly support my fellow cosplayers without tokenizing or patronizing?
Insecurity and self-consciousness are unfortunately par for the course for most cosplayers, especially women, and especially women who fall on the larger side, but it would be insulting of me to pretend to understand the anxiety faced by those who are marginalized and erased because of their differences.
So how do we make it not different? How do we normalize the incredible variety that already exists in cosplay? How can the Legions put new recruits at ease and make it clear that high standards don’t equate to exclusion? How do we make this better?