I apologise profusely for the clipping and snipping, please clicky for the full story (username is right there):
So it’s been a little more than a week since my glorious return from the San Diego International Comic Convention, where I saw cool things, met cool people, and learned that “Hell” is another word for “being on the SDCC exhibit floor in a wheelchair.”
Shoot. Yeah. It’s hard with an invisible disability because in a crowd the assumption is (and is understandably but regretably so) that anyone upright must be able to handle it. Anyway. I have also heard and seen people with obvious mobility aides also get pushed around. I now have new nightmares about SDCC…
Are you seriously telling me that the second men discover something I have loved since I was four years old, I suddenly have to pass trivia exams to keep considering myself a fan? Because if that’s the way things are going, I want to hear the Sea Pony song right fucking now.
I will be honest. Shows I was a fan of as a kid have not done well in my memory as an adult. I used to watch B:TAS, X-Men, TMNT, Transformers, Jem, She Ra, He Man, My little Pony…. STar Trek (everything up to DS9), Danger Mouse, Fraggle Rock…. very little of what I saw then remains. Just the general feeling of nostalgia because it’s simply too much to keep inside a brain that as an adult was busy learning stuff like… how to create shows and understand science.
So I’d fail any “real fan” quizz not because I didn’t actually watch the shows but didn’t retain the facts and figures of the episodes I watched! I did enough of that at school, the idea of doing that for something I loved and enjoyed…. well I didn’t come across that until much later.
All three of us laughed, but uncomfortably, like we were discovering a terrible secret. And while Amy and I stood there, this happened four more times: the unsolicited pictures, the refusal, the incorrect guess. Only three of the men actually stopped taking pictures when told to.
As women, we are afraid of being unmasked as somehow “not geeky enough.” Meanwhile, these men, who were clearly just trying to take pictures of a scantily clad woman, not pictures of an awesome costume, can’t identify one of the most iconic figures from one of the largest publishers.
Okay. So yeah. I think I’m starting to see where some of this disconnect can happen, seeing the tables reversed. Many people assume anyone involved in a group activity is in it for the same reason. Here the guys taking the photos were doing so just because they were aesthetically visually pleasing (I’m being polite, yes). The assumption they may be making is that because that is what they see that is what is being presented.
As a woman who wears a variety of costumes I do tend to make the more generous assumption that people taking photos of me are doing so because they admire the work- and even if they aren’t a fan/know the character they may be inspired to learn more (it does happen!) So I stop what I’m doing more often than I should (for health reasons) because it’s only polite to give a little time when someone does appreciate what you have done.
I have been pondering on how costumers have become commodoties on the convention scene though. And I am really quite uncomfortable. It feeds in to the idea of the fake geek girl too much and the idea of cosplayers and costumers being there for the entertainment of others, not for their own enjoyment.
So I feel a bit ambivalent about how cosplay has grown in my own country. There is a degree of trying to achieve fame etc. for cosplay. And I am not too worried about that (you can be a fan, do great work and still like attention right? Oh…) we live in an age where we have interactive tv that promotes this heavily for one. The problem is the generalisation and assumption that everyone wants that.
Cosplay encompasses so many genres and fandoms and levels of involvement and desired outcomes… I hate to see any one kind of activity overshadow all the rest- or to be used to dismiss everyone(else). And each of those fandoms and genres and activities on their own have different “rules” and patterns of behaviours that can affect how someone in costume is viewed.
Compare Bioware’s love of costumers vs Andrew Lloyd Webber’s….. ehem.
Anyway, I try to not put assumptions on anyone and it took a very long time to feel comfortable about just forgetting what the people on the other side of the camera were assuming about me. Because on the con floor I think I manage to talk to about 5% of the people I can see taking photos, let alone the people I don’t. Most of the time people are surprised about my ability to talk about character and motivation and comparing different interpretations.
Anyway. I have many many more thoughts on this, however I’d like to point out that women have been dressing up at conventions since at least the first World con. Just saying that something has happened in the last five years to suddenly focus attention on us in such a negative manner.