Tagged: Cosplay

Martha Thomases: #YesAllMen

I really really, really wanted to write about something funny this week. I mean, I read comics for fun and I presume that you do, too. A little escapist fantasy, a few minutes of relaxation, it’s all good, right?

And then this happened.

Now, I’m on record as saying that this is not an event with an easy explanation, nor a quick fix. And I’m not going to offer either one here.

However, I would like to talk about the little sliver of this issue that has been my obsession all year. And that is the way our society, and particularly our little corner of it in the nerd-pop culture, treats misogyny like something that boys get to do.

Apparently, the shooter in Santa Barbara was upset because he couldn’t get laid. It’s unclear how much he actually tried (as in, getting to know women, talking to them, etc.), but he was angry. Thanks to the Internet, he found an online community with which to share his frustrationsSpoiler Alert: Don’t read that link if you have a sensitive stomach.

Yes, they share the same sense of entitlement (and the same violent rape fantasies) as the men I’ve written about here, and here, just as the two most recent examples. Violent rape fantasies are ridiculously common.

I’m not the only one to notice. A recent post by Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu got a lot of links over the past week.

At this point, a lot of my male readers might be getting a tad defensive. “We’re not like that,” they say, and I hope it’s true. “It’s not our fault. And anyway, Rodgers killed a bunch of men, too.”

The murder of those men is every bit as tragic and senseless as the murder of the women. However, if you read what Rodgers (and his pals) actually say, it’s clear that women are the objects of their rage.

Not even women, not really. Just vaginas (and mouths) (and assholes) (and whatever other body parts fascinate any random guy). The rest of the woman is just the delivery system. Some dress up their hatred of women with religious or philosophical justifications, but the fact remains that they see women as a different — and lesser — species than men.

“Still,” my straw men mutter. “I’m not like that. It’s not all men.”

Some men beg to differ. You see, it’s not enough simply to avoid doing something horrible. You should also do everything you can to prevent other people from doing something horrible. You shouldn’t sit still while the man next to you makes a rude comment to a woman, nor let threats on the comments thread you’re reading go unanswered.

As Andrew O’Hehir said on Salon, “What troubles me is the extent to which many men seek to ignore or deflect all conversation about the specific nature of Elliot Rodger’s pathology, along with the evident fact that many women see that pathology as a ubiquitous social and cultural problem.”

Look, I’m not a perfect person, far from it, so I’m not holding myself up as an ideal. I want to have sex with people who have no interest in having sex with me, if they even know I exist. That’s really frustrating. Sometimes, I imagine revenge fantasies where these men learn how much they’ve missed. However, my fantasies don’t involve death and destruction. My fantasies are more likely to involve the look on George Clooney’s face when he sees me with Benedict Cumberbatch.

I’d like to see the comics community take a stand against bad behavior. I’d like to see an end to situations like this, which remain far too common. I’d like to see comic conventions feature panels for all genders about the cause and effect of these hatreds, and how we can combat them. Or at least some required etiquette classes.

And less whining. Oh, please, less whining.

 

Martha Thomases: Cosplay Around The Clock?

Thomases Art 140502My friend Connie went to see the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden last weekend. She couldn’t wait to tell me about it. Apparently, it is common for people of Japanese heritage – or people who admire Japanese heritage – to wear traditional dress for this occasion, and she had looked forward to seeing some fabulous kimonos.

Only this time, there were cosplayers. Lots of cosplayers. No one was selling any comics or movies or video games or collectibles, but still there were cosplayers.

Is this a thing now? Are we cosplaying all the time?

I mean, next month at Book Expo America, a trade show for the publishing industry, is having a “Book Con” for people who like books enough to go to the Javits Center on a nice weekend in the spring just for the fun of it. Are we going to see people dressed like their favorite Jane Austen characters? Or Moby Dick?

Once we expand cosplay to the world of traditional (i.e. non-illustrated) literature, then the cosplay opportunities can be expanded infinitely. Perhaps your boss isn’t a plutocrat with no imagination, but is instead performing an homage to The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Your mother-in-law hasn’t let herself go, she’s just a big fan of Stephen King. And your niece, the little princess? She dresses that way on purpose.

Actually, I already see a lot of kids dressed as princesses or Buzz Lightyear at local playgrounds. It’s possible they are coming from costume parties, which in the new kids’ culture now happen randomly all week long. And the hipster boys, with their artisanal beards, their vintage hats, and their flannel shirts, could just as easily be extras in a John Ford western.

I’m not going to do cosplay, at least not on purpose. I’ve already expressed a personal uneasiness with drawing attention to myself via spandex, and I don’t think that’s going to change as I get older. Having worn a uniform in high school, I am much too self-conscious about the message I send out when I put on clothes of my own choosing. Perhaps there would be some advantage to going to work dressed as Wonder Woman on the day of my performance review. Perhaps I could use a magic lasso to get rid of the creeps on the subway.

Still, the event in Brooklyn inspired this story
in which a snappy dressed African-American gentleman was swamped with fans who thought he was dressed as The Doctor. The writer of the story in the link observed that the random people at the cherry blossom festival were more open-minded than the people at New York Comic-Con six months before. As comics fans, we should be ashamed of ourselves. As Americans, maybe we can be encouraged by the progress we’ve made in six months.

In any case, if you’re looking for investment opportunities, I would recommend bow ties.

Bow ties are cool.

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Tweeks WonderCon 2014 Report!

320230__safe_twilight+sparkle_comic_crossover_princess+twilight_winona_artist-colon-karpet-dash-shark_dog_littlest+pet+shop_twily-dash-daily Our dynamic duo hit up WonderCon in Anaheim this past weekend  repping their fangirl geekdom and will not be deterred by the chauvinist backlash currently creeping in some corners of comic culture. Also, they give quick definitions of what cons and cosplay are for the muggles in their audience.

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Tweeks Get Their Whovian Geek On For The 50th

Doctor-Who-The-50th-Anniversary-Wallpaper-doctor-who-35308700-1920-1080The Tweeks enjoyed the Day of the Doctor in Los Angeles and today recap the Dr. Who 50th Anniversary, giving us their review and reactions.

And yes, they  manage to keep their squeeing over both their Doctors being onscreen at once to a minimum.

***Spoilers Alert!***

The Tweeks will return Tuesday morning with their special Hunger Games: Catching Fire review!

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

 

 

Martha Thomases: It’s No Longer Your Mother’s Verisimilitude

Thomases Art 131108When Siegel and Shuster first designed Superman’s costume they didn’t have other superhero costumes to copy. Instead they modeled his outfit on circus performers, which made sense. Circus performers needed outfits that sparkled, that attracted the eyes of the audience, but also were flexible enough to permit them to perform their amazing feats. In case you were wondering, that’s why Kal-El wore his underwear on the outside – like a circus strongman.

When it came time to dress super heroines, the same rules applied – almost. The outfits seemed to be modeled on magicians’ assistants as much as acrobats, that is, for women who were there to be stared at, not to move. This is perfectly understandable when you think about it. They people designing the clothes were the ones doing the staring, not the wearing.

Anyway, this has bothered me for at least the last twenty years, when the costumes (and the physiques they covered) became more extreme. Women with enormous breasts, tiny waists and legs longer than stilts wore costumes that defied gravity and exposed their most vulnerable parts. The costumes provided no breast support and most gave the wearer a permanent wedgie. Even when I was running and wore lycra tights (feeling like The Flash, and always wishing DC had licensed that product category), I didn’t wear them so tight that you could see my individual ass cheeks in such detail.

Clearly, no man had ever tried to move in such an outfit.

Last week, thanks to the wonders of the Internets, I saw some examples of what super heroines might wear if they had a choice. A woman I’d never heard of, Celeste Pille

, sketched a few examples.

They are wonderful. While I don’t share her antipathy for capes or long hair (although I agree that both are impractical in a physical fight), it’s breath of fresh air to see costumes a woman can wear and still move.

Gone are high heels. Gone are costumes cut down to, or up to there. If the character needs armor, it covers the places that are most likely to get stabbed or shot at, or that she most wants to protect. Characters who might get cold wear pants.

And while I don’t know that I would hire Ms. Pille to draw comics (not enough information on her story-telling abilities), she does know a few things about how women’s bodies fit together. Women who are human and need strength have big arms and thighs. If they have big breasts, they wear sports bras because while men might find flopping breasts arousing, most women find them inconvenient at best.

If I have any criticisms, it’s that almost everybody needs more pockets. But that’s my criticism of real life as well.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

Martha Thomases: Sexual Assault and Cosplay

Thomases 131025My colleague, Kate Kotler, has assembled a list of articles about the continuing harassment of women at comic book conventions and other gatherings of fans. I’m late to this party, but that’s because I’m conflicted.

There are many more cosplayers at conventions than there were when I first started to go. There are many more women and girls at conventions than when I first started to go. As one would assume, this means there are many more female cosplayers.

And here’s my problem. I don’t really get this. Maybe for Halloween, I’ll pull something together for a party or to answer the door for trick-or-treaters. I have no desire to make costumes, nor to wear them around thousands of strangers.

Let me be clear. This is my problem. The people who cosplay are clearly enjoying themselves, and I have no desire to deprive them of that joy. If anything, it’s my loss that I can’t be less self-conscious when I’m out in public.

And yet, there are many who can’t let cosplayers enjoy themselves, especially not female cosplayers. Some guys think they are entitled to go up to women and say repulsive things to them. Some guys (sometimes the same guys) think they are entitled to assault these women physically as well as verbally.

And some people think this is okay, because if those women didn’t want the attention, they wouldn’t wear costumes.

Because an admiring glance or a respectful compliment, the kind of attention the cosplayed might appreciate, is exactly the same as a guy who rubs his erection against you while describing how much he wants to rape you.

If there are other parts of modern life where men think this kind of behavior is acceptable, I do not know what they are. I would guess that, if they exist, they are other events where men consider women to be interlopers, invading their secret clubhouse, and this is how they let women know their place.

Comic book conventions contribute to this problem in the way they program. Although the female attendance at the recent New York show was estimated to be around forty percent (and looked like more than that from my unscientific observation of the floor), the guest list was less than two percent female. At the recent Harvey Awards in Baltimore, only one presenter was a woman, although Fiona Staple won a respectable percentage of the prizes. It would be easier for women to be taken seriously by convention goers if they were taken seriously be convention planners.

I don’t think we should sit back and wait for others to fix the problem. I think we need to fix it ourselves. Every time we see bad behavior, we should say something, loudly. Every time a convention or industry event ignores women, we should ridicule them for their lack of knowledge about our industry and its future.

This isn’t for my convenience. This is how we save the world. Women are not objects of prey. If, today, we tolerate sexual assault “because look how she’s dressed,” then, tomorrow, they can feel entitled to shop for us on the street, like groceries.

We’re better than that.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: More Emily S. Whitten!

SATURDAY MORNING: Marc Alan Fishman!

 

Martha Thomases: Cosplay Everyday

Thomases Art 130927I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, it’s Comic-Con everywhere. I’m not just talking about the crowds of people from out of town, the ones who don’t know how to walk down an aisle (or street) in a way that allows for the existence of other pedestrians.

I’m talking about the outfits.

The way I figure, it all started out at Disneyland. First, and from the beginning, it was a place where seemingly mature adults would wear hats that made them look like giant mice. More recently, they have this deal where little girls can spend the day in princess outfits. A little girl arrives in shorts and a t-shirt, complains for a while and gets to change into royal gear. She spends the day on rides, in her gown, and then changes back to her civvies when it’s time to go home.

Once we’ve seen people in formal wear on roller-coasters (and before 6 PM!), what else is there shock us? The geek have inherited the earth.

We control the eyeballs that Hollywood most wants. Look at the fall television line-up. I think most of the new shows have an element of the fantastic, whether it involves witches or zombies or believing Robin Williams could have fathered Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

I don’t particularly want to dress up in a costume. I mean, I wore a uniform in boarding school for four years, so every day, when I get dressed, and I get to choose my own outfits from clothes that weren’t selected by Episcopalians, it feels like a costume. I just went shopping for a dress to wear to a formal event next month, when I will be in costume as a responsible adult, maybe even one with a little skin in the game. That’s enough fantasy for me, thanks.

Cosplay is everywhere, and it’s not just for kids anymore. It’s not even just for nerds anymore. There are reality shows starring cosplayers. There are major Internet arguments about who is and who isn’t the real deal.

So cosplay has gone mainstream. Maybe no one is going down the street dressed like Wonder Woman, but the stuff designers are offering for sale are just as unrealistic. Actually, I take that back. I think Seventh Avenue (the New York fashion industry) and the magazines that rely on Seventh Avenue would go bankrupt if women were encouraged to find our inner Amazon.

Still, at least in New York, people walk down the streets in all kinds of outfits. I’m not surprised that Fox had trouble attracting attention to one of their new shows if this was how they thought they would get attention. A headless horseman? As long as he isn’t wearing a backpack, he’d get no attention at all.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

John Ostrander: Fashion Statements

My good friend Martha Thomases, as usual, wrote an interesting column this week on her way to the Baltimore Con. She wrote about choosing what to wear at the Con and that, in turn, set me to thinking and provided grist for my own essay mill. Some weeks I need a lot of grist.

Something that’s important in comics and too little discussed is the importance of clothes. The fashion choices made by a character says something about that character. What you wear makes a statement about who you are even if that statement is, “I don’t care.” As often as not, my criterion still is, “Is it clean? Is it clean-ish? Does it at least not smell? Does it not smell too badly?”

However, I can dress up. I clean up fairly well, to be honest. I’m not keen on wearing ties but I know how and when to do so. I like hats, especially fedoras, although the Irish cloth cap works well on me. One wonderful fan made me a beret like GrimJack wears and I like that a lot and can be seen at conventions with it.

Some people dress for success. Some people dress to be invisible. Choices are made even when it appears to be a non-choice. If you say, “I don’t care how I look; I don’t think it’s important,” that’s a choice. It says something and don’t bother maintaining that it doesn’t or shouldn’t matter. It does. We make up our minds about people right away depending on how they appear to us. They do the same with us. Assuming the phrase, “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.” Is true, why is it true? The answer is we want people to perceive us in a certain way even if our goal is not to be perceived, to blend in.

When I was working with student artists, I wanted them to look at different source materials for the way people dressed. Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne would be more likely to dress out of GQ whereas Peter Parker might dress from the Old Navy store.  Here’s an extra-points question – how would Tony Stark dress differently from Bruce Wayne? Bruce’s suits are a costume for the playboy image he plays whereas Tony’s wardrobe is who he is (and, yes, I’m including the Iron Man costume).

Certain costumes can be a short-hand to who the character is – in Westerns, it used to be the good guys wore the white hats and the bad guys wore the black hats. Made things simple – an oversimplification, really. Clothing and costumes can describe a character but they can’t be substituted for characterization itself.

Clothing can reveal character: who the individual is, how they think of themselves, how they present an image of themselves. We do it (deny it if you want) and so characters do it as well. What’s true in life should be true on the page.

A very fun aspect of this in the past few years has been the rising importance of cosplay (costume playing for those of you who don’t know the term) as part of fandom. Fans become the characters they see in the comics or on the screen. The costumes can be elaborate or silly or elaborately silly or anywhere in that spectrum. They’ve become fixtures at most conventions these days and are often stunning. They’re a merger of the person who is wearing the costume and the character they represent.

Whether it’s in a drawing or in prose, clothes can make the character and if you want to work as an artist or a writer, you’d do well to remember that.

MONDAY MORNING: Mindy Newell

TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten

International Cosplay is Celebrated Around the World

International Cosplay is Celebrated Around the World

From Nashville to New York, events are planned throughout the country for International Cosplay Day on August 24, 2013.

According to Google Trends, searches for “cosplay” on Google are at an all-time high in 2013 while searching on YouTube has remained consistently high since 2009.

In celebration of the upcoming holiday, here are some recent cosplay videos available on YouTube:

San Diego Comic Con – I Just Want To Be A SuperHero – Cosplay Music Video

10 Extraordinary Cosplayers w/James and Oliver Phelps  (aka The Weasley Twins)

See the full videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbpi6ZahtOH4vPrhnbbn8w1hScFfSoyCu

Love Cosplay! Anime Expo Music Video

Making Adam Savage’s Admiral Ackbar Cosplay Costume

The Point Radio: Cosplayers Dress For Mainstream Success

PT081613

We see them at every convention, and anyone with a camera seem to adore them. They are The HEROES OF COSPLAY, now headlining a new series on SyFy. Cosplay Queen, Yaya Hahn, talks about how mainstream media has accepted the hobby and why it isn’t just about dressing up like comic book characters anymore. Plus DC edges to a #1 spot in comic store sales and is it bye bye to The Ultimate Universe?

This summer, we are updating once a week – every Friday – but you don’t have to miss any pop culture news. THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.