There’s a good chance you’ve seen it already but Sushi Killer over at 16-bit Sirens has started a wonderful new project. It’s called “CONsent: The Importance of Treating Cosplayers with Respect.”
I presented cosplayers with a wipe off board, simply reading “Cosplay =/= Consent” and asked them about their experiences of harassment. I was not surprised to hear many horrible stories from women and men alike. These can be as seemingly harmless and annoying as not asking for permission before taking a picture or bothering them for a picture or interview while they were taking a water or food break. But the majority of the stories were more serious and ranged from threats of violence to inappropriate touching, and from lewd facebook messages to stalking.
Both Lin and I have been lucky enough to have had mostly positive experiences at conventions (with some exceptions) but we both think this project is incredibly important. Cosplayers shouldn’t have to worry about lewd or inappropriate comments or about being groped by complete strangers. Costuming is an escape for many of us and a fun hobby for all of us. We shouldn’t have to worry or be nervous every time we put on a costume because Cosplay =/= Consent to inappropriate behaviour.
Although we won’t be at a convention together until Dragon*Con, we’ve both decided to take part in this project at our upcoming conventions and we absolutely encourage everyone else to do the same. This is a great project and we absolutely applaud the ladies at 16-bit Sirens for starting it and hope it continues to grow!