Hooray for Heroes of Cosplay! Have you been watching? It’s been getting fairly even handed reviews thus far which makes me happy, not just because I love Holly Conrad, but because I love Cosplay. There is some flak, as expected, for the female to male imbalance and Yaya’s…yayas. As one article correctly points out: Female Sexuality is a big part of Comic Book Art. Precisely why it pisses me off when girls who choose to emulate characters who are drawn that way get shit for their skimpy skivvies. UNLESS YOU ARE NERDRAGING AGAINST STARFIRE’S PANTIES AND PASTIES as drawn on paper, you have no right to turn around and call the girl who wants to dress up like her anything other than a fan. The overtly pubescent objectification of women in comics is something worth discussing but that’s a rant for another day. “Who wears the pants in the Super-family?”
Okay Olivia but is saying they were “drawn that way” really an excuse? I mean girls who dress up that way MUST want attention. Cosplay and Female Sexuality: the misconception that girls who dress as sexy characters just looking for attention and not true geeks. There are characters who are covered up far more—so why dress like the “slutty” ones. Let’s begin with this slut comment; get that fucking word out of your vocabulary when you refer to women. Let’s talk about perhaps my most controversial cosplay—The White Queen. Emma Frost is frequently misunderstood. I remember one article I read somewhere in the past few years that asserted simply “Emma Frost was created to be a slut” and I flipped out. My old comic book shop was staffed entirely by men who referred to her character simply as “Titties” because that was primarily how they saw her—not even a whole woman. Just two bull’s-eye targets. Thus clearly if I cosplay as Emma it’s for the gratification of being a sexual object right?
Wrong. Fucking Wrong. So wrong you just landed on the sun when you were aiming for the moon and you’re about to get fucking burned. Emma Frost means a lot to mean for two reasons.
1) Emma is, like many of my other favorites in scifi and comics, a sexual character. She likes sex. She likes her body. Women are repeatedly taught the virtues of the virginal character and any woman who likes sex is always taken to the polar extreme (the Samanthas) and is given that four letter label. But here’s the thing folks: human beings are sexual beings. We reproduce sexually. Sex is a hard wired desire and not only that but science (SCIENCE!) has proven that sex is good for us. It bolsters your mood, your immune system response and keeps your brain from going totally haywire. I don’t admire women who suppress something that makes them human. I do admire women who embrace it and treat it as a part of who they are. That’s precisely what Emma Frost does. She is not defined by her sexuality—she defines her sexuality. Trust me, any woman with the power to program your brain to make you vomit for 48 hours whenever you hear the word parsley doesn’t need to get control over men through her body. That’s what makes Emma’s sexuality so important. It isn’t to gain control over men, not gonna say it doesn’t help at times, but she doesn’t need it. She’s got some pretty fucking scary mind control going for her so the choice to be a sexual woman? That’s her own. I love that. I love her.
2) My BDD. The first time I ever cosplayed as Emma I was fucking terrified. Part of my body dysmorphia was tied up in some puberty issues. My pant size when from a size 1 in juniors to a 5 to an 11. My bra? I went from A to Triple D in a year—but my ribcage stayed tiny. I looked like Jessica Rabbit. I hated it. I could feel people staring all the time. I had older men propositioning me. I had to choose between clothes that fit properly and made me look like a “slut” or wearing huge baggy clothes that made me feel fat. I felt trapped. I couldn’t work out because it HURT. There were no bras designed for me. I over ate because what was the point? My breasts were huge and my thighs were fat. One day I dared to wear a tank top and a denim mini skirt. A man thought I was a prostitute and asked me how much. I was 15 freaking years old. That was a decade ago. I hated everything about myself. Some days I still do. When college came around I lost a little weight and got healthy. I was still not at all thin like the magazines and I still hated my legs, my hips and the way tops that fit ensured people still stared at my now DD chest. Putting on Emma’s costume was terrifying because it meant putting the things I hated most about myself out there, owning them and embracing the fact that yes, people were gonna stare. When I was Emma none of it mattered. I know it might seem silly but acting that part let me escape myself. I couldn’t love my body as Olivia but I could as Emma. Ever since that first day in my costume on the con floor I’ve been moving to a place where I love myself more and more. Emma did that for me. These days I do WEAR the pants but damn they are some hot pants.
Which made my then boyfriend’s comments about the costume particularly hurtful. I didn’t own a sewing machine so I started out with a storebought costume which included a very short skirt. By this time in my early twenties I’d gotten used to the stares and was more comfortable with tops that had a modicum of cleavage—I was sick of ALWAYS wearing men’s t-shirts but I still never wore shorts or skirts “It’s bad enough I have to get used to my girlfriend having her tits out. You could at least wear pants.” My boyfriend was pissed off that people were looking at me and he took it out on me. I’m not sure he ever knew just how much the comment he made hurt and despite many other things we did to hurt each other, it’s still the worst thing I think he ever said to me. The daily struggle I had with my chest was driving some of my unhealthiest behaviors. I hurt myself enough for it on my own. I didn’t need the man I loved doing it too.
I am not a slut for wanting to learn to love the body I have or being a whole human being—sex and all. I’m not going to say there aren’t girls who dress in very little to get attention but even when they do, that doesn’t warrant judgment from anyone and it certainly doesn’t imply you have a right to treat them any certain way. Next time you start just remember this: Parsley.
Queenly White Chocolate Frost’d Cake
An Olivia Original Read more