This past weekend was Star Wars Celebration. With the trailer released and more movie details announced, there was certainly enough to celebrate. However, just like at every con (unfortunately), a story emerged of a cosplayer being inappropriately touched and harassed.
You can read the full account of what happened here but, sadly, this isn’t new. Cosplayers get harassed at conventions all the time. It’s something that I have never understood, especially for a group of people who literally hero-worship. The instigators in this particular case were dressed as Jedi. That’s how guys who revere “guardians of peace and justice” decide to act? Have they learned nothing from the story they supposedly love?
Cosplay Is NOT Consent. That’s it. It’s that simple. We go to comic cons to celebrate superheroes and the fight of good vs. evil. How can we let this go on?
This is a call to action for every convention attendee. Conventions are working on the problem but they need help. We can’t leave this only to convention signs and security guards. We need to look out for each other. If you see someone being assaulted in any way, step up. Say something. Be the one who says stop. If it’s your friend, put an end to them harassing cosplayers. Make sure they understand how disrespectful it is to grope or harass a cosplayer. If they get angry at you, maybe all that proves is they might not be the kind of person you want to hang with.
To be clear, I am not advocating violence. If the situation looks to be going that way, get convention staff and security involved ASAP. However, most of the time, calling a person out makes them feel ashamed enough to stop. It’s time we started acting like the superheroes we read about.
Comics conventions are about having fun while immersing yourself in geek culture. This dark and seedy side of cons needs to end. Let’s work together to make comic cons safe for everyone.