As we all are generally aware of, bullying is always a bad thing. In school, out of school, online, it doesn’t matter, bullying is – no matter what – not okay. And although we get this drilled into our heads time after time after time, we still do it. Some of us are perfectly aware of it, and some of us don’t even know we’re in the wrong, but the point is, it is still an issue.
This issue is in fact very apparent in the cosplay community. The problem isn’t so much that we don’t know that it’s wrong, because most intentional bullies know that, but instead it’s because we say things that we don’t know are hurtful to others. Now that that is known, we are going to touch on 3 things today, those things being what exactly bullying is considered within the cosplay community, bullying versus constructive criticism, and how to stop/overcome bullying.
So, what exactly do we consider bullying within the vast cosplay community?
Cosplay bullying happens everywhere. At conventions, online (places like cosplay blogs, picture portfolios, social media, and personal websites), and even in day to day life. It includes things like talking badly about cosplayers behind their backs, posting mean or hateful comments about someone directly on their/blog/social media/website, or on someone else’s, telling directly or even hinting that your cosplay is superior to someone else’s, laughing at someone for cosplaying or because their cosplay looks “cheap”, and telling someone that they are “too this” or “too that” to cosplay a certain character.
That last one is a very serious issue. Cosplayers get hated on and made to feel shameful because they want to cosplay/are cosplaying a character that is a different race than them, or because they are “too short” or “too tall” or “too skinny” or “too fat” to cosplay a character that they love. The truth is, anyone should be able to cosplay any character that they want, regardless if their portrayal is “canon” or not! Cosplaying is all about having fun and being yourself, so do what makes you happy, not other people.
Another one of the issues I listed is extremely serious. This is when a cosplayer says or infers that another person’s cosplay is lesser than theirs. People generally think this because they think their costume is “more accurate” or because they felt that they spent more time and/or money on their costume. In reality, no one should hate on anyone else for their cosplay being “less complex” or “less accurate” because cosplay is all about creativity and trial and error! Just remember that you were in the exact same spot that person is is now at one time or another! All cosplayers start out somewhere. Be supportive instead of destructive, compliment a cosplayer instead of putting them down, but, most important of all, remember that cosplay is all for fun!
Okay, but how can I give constructive criticism to someone without bullying them?
First and foremost, remember not to correct another cosplayer unless you are asked! For example, if someone asks you “how do you think I could improve my cosplay?” or “is my cosplay accurate?”, then you could reply something along the lines of “I would recommend saving up for a better wig, although they can be expensive, they are totally worth it if you like being the character! I got my wig at !” and “You did a very good job with your cosplay but I noticed that your boots are white and canon ‘s boots are black! You could paint them very easily with acrylic paint and some clear coat!”
Just remember not to offer advice unless asked, and not to correct another cosplayer’s cosplay unless you can provide a solution! No one likes to hear that their boots aren’t right but not know how to fix them. I sure wouldn’t. Offering a solution to the “problem” you have found is the only true way to improve the other person’s cosplay experience!
Also, always remember to be nice when giving another cosplayer advice. I always say “for every correction, give a compliment!” I am sure you can find at least 1 thing you like about the other person’s costume, even if there are a few things that you don’t like. Being nice and complimenting someone else along with your advice will make it more likely for them truly listen to and take your advice and not feel hurt or bullied.
But, I am being bullied! How can I overcome/stop the bullying?
There are many ways to go about this, so I will share a few of my favorites with you. It really depends on where and how you’re being bullied. For instance, if you’re being bullied online or if you’re being bullied in person can make a huge difference as to how to solve your bullying problem. Just always keep in mind that bullying will always happen, and that you are only in control of yourself!
If you are being bullied in person (at conventions, at school, or out and about in other locations) then report the bully to an adult (or, if you’re already an adult then an authority figure)! At conventions that would be convention staff or security guards, at school that would be a teacher, counselor, or principal, and outside of those places that would be a parent or guardian. However, if the bullying becomes physical or the bully begins to harass you and not leave you alone, then report them to the police, please. Bullies, especially those that you don’t know, can be very violent and dangerous sometimes.
If you are being bullied online, then block and report the person you are being bullied by. If you can’t block them or report them immediately, contact the administrator of the website you are being bullied on and tell them! And, finally, if you are being bullied on your own blog or website, do not respond to hateful comments or messages in ANY way. Instead, DELETE them immediately. If the hateful comments and messages keep piling in from the same user, then simply ban them from the website/blog! You possess the right to do so as owner and caretaker of your domain.
Thank you so much for reading my blog, and I hope that some of this advice has been useful to at least a few of you :)
Happy and bullying-free cosplay to all of you! <3