Monday, June 12, 2017

The Sucker Punch I Think I Needed

The other week at MegaCon something kind of awful happened, early on Friday. Something that stuck with me, and lingered like a bruise for the rest of the weekend.

Still, I think it's something I can learn from. Maybe we all can? So I'm going to share.

Here's what happened:

I was on the hunt for costumes as usual, when I spotted a pretty girl in a big beautiful gown. I didn't recognize the character, but I zipped over and asked for a photo anyway.

As would happen many times that weekend, the girl's eyes flicked down to my prominent PRESS badge. Instead of getting excited or striking a pose, though, her face filled with fear. Fear, you guys.

"Um, what is it for?" she asked.

"Epbot," I said, trying to give a reassuring smile."It's a geek girl blog."

"Is it... is it one of those Costume Fails kind of thing?"

"What? No! Gosh, no!" I think I actually sputtered, I was so gobsmacked. "I...I only feature cosplays I like, good stuff!"

"Oh," she looked relieved. "I'm sorry, I just... I get really self-conscious."

John, who was beside me, immediately chimed in to say how great she looked - but she still seemed wary as I took her photo. I dug out a card to give to her, and quickly told her about you guys, and how you've formed this amazing, safe community of geeks who only build each other up. I hope I said it right, though, because to be honest, I was pretty shaken.

I wanted to cry, you guys. I wanted to hit things. I wanted this sweet girl to know the world *I* know online - the one filled with awesome people celebrating awesome things. I wanted her to take for granted that everyone was going to love her costume. I wanted to show her in advance how much you guys would like her feathered headpiece, how we ooh and aah over each other here, how we fangirl and act silly and that's all OK.

I've photographed literally thousands of cosplayers, and this was the first time someone thought I wanted to make fun of her.  Or no - scratch that. This was the first time someone said she thought I wanted to make fun of her. But what if others have thought the same thing? What if behind the hero poses and sweet smiles, they were wondering what kind of hate or ridicule was in store for them later online?

It felt like a sucker punch to the gut.

But maybe it was a sucker punch I needed - that we all need. Because we geeks still have a ways to go when it comes to bringing our online cheering into the real world. We can't just hole up in our safe spaces here; we need to get out there. We need to make more safe spaces, online and in real life. And we can't stop - we won't stop - until every geek in a dress, or a suit of armor, or a rainbow unicorn onesie feels only excitement about showing off the things they love.

I'm not going to post the cosplayer's photo here, because she didn't ask for this kind of spotlight. Still, I hope she sees this post, if only because it means she'll get to "meet" all of you. Plus I want her to know that she's made me want to try harder, to look deeper. If I ever do anything good in this community - if I ever make it a little easier to be YOU - it's because I've been there. Heck, I'm still facing those fears, every time I hit "post." Showing off the things we love is scary. Putting on a costume is scary. Sometimes just being ourselves is scary.

So the next time I'm out photographing a con, I'll try not to assume every cosplayer knows how awesome s/he looks. I'll try to look up more, compliment more. I'll try to smile more. These are our safe spaces in the real world - or they should be -  and it's up to us to look out for each other.

If you've never been to a con, I hope you'll try one sometime. I hope you'll put on your most obscure geek shirt, or that crazy anime wig that's gathering dust in the closet, and go have fun. Nothing makes a place more welcoming than big smiles and a little silliness. And if you're a little shy or scared or awkward? Well, hey, at a con, so is everyone else. So go ahead and say hi. Compliment a costume. High-five a Deadpool. Take a chance and engage a little. Be brave.

Let's bring what we have here on Epbot and on FOE into the real world.

And hey, if you ever see a pretty girl in a big ballgown and a feathered hair piece, go say hi for me.



****


P.S.
I needed a picture for this post so I googled "rainbow unicorn onesie" and it did NOT disappoint:




64 comments:

  1. *Big virtual hugs* to both of you (and anyone else who needs it <3). I haven't been to many cons in my life, but I hope that I have been giving of good vibes and been positive when asking for photos. I will certainly make sure that I am going forward :).

    ReplyDelete
  2. My crew and I have been subject to extended taunting and ridicule on 4chan and Facebook in the past for our cosplay - not for the costumes themselves, though, but for not having conventionally-attractive figures. For a while it was rough, and we really had to try and just laugh that they were wasting so much energy mocking us. And then we just...decided not to look for it. And for all I know, they're still mocking us just as much as before. But I just can't muster the energy to care anymore - we're doing stuff that makes us happy and that's all that matters. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You go, Carolyn!

      Delete
    2. Jen's post brought tears to my eyes and your comment made them spill over. It is so hard not to look for that crap--kudos to you and your crew for ignoring it and doing what you love.

      Jen, I hope that cosplayer looks for this blog, and feels welcome. I promise to try to be kind and supportive of ALL my fellow geeks.

      Delete
    3. ^ This. The unfortunate reality of the world these days is that NO-ONE is safe. Even the ones with the professional-level costumes. Trolls will ALWAYS find something to criticise. The best thing you can do is just not go look for it.

      Delete
  3. I attended my first con just last month. I had the BEST time! :) I did not cosplay dress (at the request of my traveling companions!) but did wear different cool t shirts. But I felt that community of fellow nerds intensely. I gave thumbs up and accolades to everyone I photographed, and some I didn't. I broke down in tears photographing a Snape and Trelawney couple. Those were my people, dadgum it, and I felt embraced, loved and accepted. The oneness feeling was amazing. It hurts me that this person did not feel that radiating from everyone. My hugs to her, and my hugs to you for acknowledging that and want to make a difference. Go, you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope that reaction wasn't caused by something bad that happened to her in the past. Hugs to her, and hugs to you for reaching out. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is lovely. I wonder if you might crop one of your photos and just show us the headdress, without showing her face? :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. That makes me so incredibly sad. Maybe have some cards made up on Zazzle or something? With Epbot's information so they can go on to your blog and see that you're not making fun of them? It might reassure people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do have cards for folks who ask for one, but otherwise I never think to offer one - just afraid it seems like I'm advertising. :/ Going forward I might start saying where the photo is going, though, just to reassure folks.

      Delete
    2. What if you made up separate photographer cards to pass out that say, "Hey, I took your picture because I think you're awesome, and I want to share your genius and bravery with my readers. Here's the url." They may not see it in the moment, but they'll have it for always and know that you (and we, your readers, by extension) think they are amazing.

      Delete
  7. Her response was heartbreaking. Thank you for being so thoughtful and continuing to consider how you approach cosplayers. I'm shy about photos too, as a plus size copslayer, I don't want to find my image in the nastier corners of the net. Hugs to you both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a fellow plus-size lady, kudos to you for cosplaying! I love seeing 'big' girls as my fave characters, because representation is important. Haters to the left, if they don't like what they see, they can just MOVE ON.

      Delete
  8. I'm so sad and angry for that cosplayer! I understand totally why she feels that way, but for it to be her default reaction is awful!

    I cosplay and put a LOT of time, money, effort and love into my outfits. My husband thinks I'm a bit nutty but he supports me and . My creations aren't ever the best, but cosplay isn't about being the BEST. It's about expressing your own love of the character.

    I have more respect for someone who cosplays in something they have clearly made themselves, that they have put time and love into, than someone who hires a professional costume. Where is the effort? Where is the love?

    I really want to see her gown now! I love me a gown!

    Girl-with-the-gown-and-feathered-headpiece - if you are reading these comments, don't let the trolls get to you. REAL fans (or you know, just regular decent people) will love your costume even if it's made from paper and crayons, because you are one of them. You were brave enough to put your creation on and put yourself out there! Kudos to you! I'm so sorry you ever felt ashamed of your costume at any point because of the rudeness of others!

    Please make yourself known to us in the comments - I promise you'll experience a supportive community of like-minded people from across the world. I know the 'home' of Epbot is somewhere close to one of the big American Disney parks, but there are people who read this blog from all over the world - I'm from the UK

    If you've ever experienced negativity from other cosplayers, that is THEIR malfunction, not yours. If someone judges your costume because it's not 'perfect', that is THEIR arrogance.

    The thing I love the MOST about cosplay is how we can explore different ways of representing our characters and fandoms. It doesn't always have to be canon-perfect!

    It's a shame I can't upload pictures into the comments really, otherwise I'd share some of my gowns in solidarity.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I desperately want to make an Amazon costume and wear it to a Ren faire, but I'm 5'10" and 300 pounds. I'm really afraid I'll look like a failed Amazon. I know I should have the confidence to do it anyway, but I don't. People are cruel. :/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a fellow plus sized gal, I'm 5'3" and 270 pounds, I totally understand your fear and hesitation. Fear of what others think is something I personally battle constantly. But after losing my 18 year old nephew two months ago, I'm learning that I can't live in fear anymore. Life is simply too short and too precious to live in it. So I think you should just go for it! In fact if we lived in close proximity, I could go as your dwarf companion! ;)

      Delete
    2. I'm 5'9 and 280, so I feel you. I grew up watching my 6'2 mother love Wonder Woman because she was the only "acceptable" tall girl. Yeah no-account people find tearing down easier than building up or creating something themselves. I will recommend not putting too much effort into the "shoulds". Everybody "should" treat eachother better. You will do what works for you, when love and need overbalance fear, or whatever. I wonder if there would be some sort of Amazon costume that would be easier for you to start with? Sure, Amazon warrior is hella cool, but what would other sorts of Amazons look like? Amazon lawyer? Amazon innkeeper? Depending on what version of Amazons one was working with, Amazon preschool teacher could be soo cool.... Chitons can be very flexible and dignified and look super... Gee, now you have me thinking....

      Delete
    3. I think you would look outstanding as an Amazon! You would look SO POWERFUL and of course incredibly beautiful! And think of all the girls/women who would love to see representation by someone they can relate to! Do it, girl! 🙂

      Delete
    4. Same Anonymous as before back again--I kept thinking about this all day yesterday.
      Somewhere I know I've seen GOR-JUS chitons maybe they were made of linen? They had a long folded-over part at the top with a very deep decorated border. (Costumers help me out--what am I talking about here?)The women in the photo were matronly in their build, and wore these robes belted very low, and they looked unbelievably stately and dignified. Now I'm totally seeing how fun it could be to dress up with similarly-minded friends as a diplomatic delegation from Queen Hippolyta to Queen Elizabeth (or whoever the biggie is at any given Ren Faire) Amazon diplomats! Chitons! Those super cool simple stately Grecian diadems! Long stately veils! Peacock feather fans? Super fabulous FLAT sandals! Oh I'm SWOONING with the thought of the indomitable FABULOUSNESS of it!---(must go lie down quietly for a bit now.)

      Bless you, Arthemise, and Sassy Wallflower, for the inspiration. Any chance we could meet up next year in Irvine and rock their world?
      Jen, John, you guys rock so much too.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous,

      Take a look at the website below for some ideas on Greek chitons. Everyone can rock one of these!
      http://www.fashion-era.com/ancient_costume/ancient-greek-dress-chiton.htm

      Delete
  10. That rainbow unicorn onesie NEEDS your glittery rainbow shoes, Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sadly it is a prevalent issue. I have mostly stopped cosplay because it is not worth the time and effort to do something I think is cool if people are going to make fun of my figure or costume choices. Every time I tried to step out of my box, strangers would snicker or outright make snide comments. And one of my pictures was posted to a 'look at this joke' type site many years ago. I have a few good friends that supported me every time, but the naysayers shout louder. Some of the geek culture has changed recently, so it may be time to venture out again in costumes, but as a heavyset girl, it is difficult to overcome the snickers.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have a flash of this feeling, too, when people ask to take a picture of/with my cosplay. I am very "plus size" and in a wheelchair, and the self-loathing demons raise their heads. Also, wheelchair creepers are a thing, and I've dealt with that twice. I never think I look "good enough," but those who ask for pics and the cosplay award ribbon I won at a Whovian con by Whovian judges/attendees remind me that it's very good enough.

    ReplyDelete
  13. To our lovely mystery cosplayer: I'm certain you looked simply AMAZING! And maybe your costume wasn't 100% screen-accurate. Maybe there were some wonky seams or the hem didn't fall quite how you'd originally intended. But you are putting yourself out there and embracing the things you love whole-heartedly and that makes it truly spectacular! And it's something a lot of people (myself included) have never been brave enough to attempt. So you, my dear, are simply AWESOME!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I understand that girl. Because even places that should be safe, aren't.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Right in the heart. Good for you Jen for being so kind and wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is so sad. For me personally, I have admiration for ANYONE who does any kind of cosplay because I wouldn't have the patience for it. So even the ones that aren't perfect are admirable to me, because they went to the effort at all.
    So yes, pretty dress and feather girl, if you see this? You have MY admiration, no matter how you looked!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I hope that her weekend at the con was a positive one, and that by the end of it, she was feeling less self-conscious. I've worn a few costumes that made me a little nervous and self-conscious, but the positive support from the con and costuming community has been so overwhelmingly positive that I feel a lot better about going out in whatever I want to wear these days. There will always be rude, nasty people who want to tear you down - that's true everywhere in life - but there will also be kind, supportive people who can rally around us as our own personal cheerleaders. One of the things I love about Epbot and its readers is that everyone here is a cheerleader for each other!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I had a similar experience about five years ago. It was only the second con I attended, but there was already a vibe for some folks that told them they weren't welcome to enjoy what they wanted. There was a young woman who had the most amazing Grell (Black Butler) cosplay. I asked if I could take a picture. She (like your cosplayer) asked what for because she was heavy set and had received flak for daring to cosplay outside her body type and she didn't want to be made fun of online. It made me so sad, but we chatted for a while and she let me take the pics. But I was so disappointed that what should have been a cool experience had already been tainted by gatekeepers.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jen- thank you for creating this safe space, and you have inspired me to get out in the non-virtual world and let my geek flag fly there too, and also to not lurk so much, but to be part of the conversation.

    Woman-with-the-feathered-headdress-and-awesome-gown- You inspire me with your bravery! Thank you for getting out there!

    Okay, I'm adding this to my "by this time next year" list - create and wear Hamilton/Harry Potter mashup cosplay (Aaron Burr as a Slytherin maybe?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I actually saw an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda (being interviewed by Emma Watson) and he said that he based the scene where Hamilton meets Aaron Burr and then Laurens/Lafayette/Mulligans on when Harry meets Malfoy and then Hermione/Neville/Ron... I SO want to see your Slitherin Aaron Burr costume!

      Delete
  20. As a Costume Designer at a High School, I try to be aware of how each student really feels abut their body. I take great pains to NOT put them in a costume that expands that negative feeling. Good for you for nor posting the picture but writing this post.
    I hope the Cos-Player reads this and knows her tribe is out there. We are often too quiet when giving praise. We need to stop that. We need to allow all body types their day and not single out the uber skinny or the non-conventional. Diversity is the name of the game.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I understand how someone would be worried about getting made fun of for their cosplay, because I was totally there.

    I went to my first con last summer, and after a low key cosplay (Supergirl as Kara Danvers, which only a few people noticed, but the response was amused and positive) on Friday, I went for it on Saturday! My friend went as Sailor Mars, and I went in full steampunk- complete with corset, goggles, and bustle skirt (in 80 degree weather mind you- cons in August are a terrible idea!). We ran into a pro hockey player, who was very loudly confused, gave him a smile and told him where we were going, but I'll admit that was the response I'd been worried about. It put me on edge, and if we hadn't been most of the way to the T stop, I might have chickened out.

    The best part, though, was that I shouldn't have been worried at all! Once we found our fellow con-goers, we got a ton of love, it was actually a little overwhelming! When the con staff asked to take a picture, I was on cloud 9! Getting to tell people I'd made my goggles (well, upcycled them from welding goggles) and that my mama had lovingly made my skirt, the responses were amazing.

    I hope that your gown-and-headpieced cosplayer runs into some Epboters (or like-minded people) in the future, so she can be welcomed the way we were. (And if you're in Boston, I'll be the one turning a surplus Air Force trench coat into something suitable for Captain Jack Harkness, say hi!)

    ReplyDelete
  22. This is why my New Years Resolution, and everyday resolution is to "Say the nice things I think, out loud." It seems like such an easy thing, but to often I just let it slide and don't say a word. Let people know how awesome they are!

    ReplyDelete
  23. There was totally someone in my parking lot at work the other week wearing this exact onesie right here. And I thought it was strange. And commented on it to the person in the room with me looking out the window. If it had been Walmart, I would have noticed, but not thought anything of it. I work at an ER though, and though to myself "Why would you wear that to the hospital?" and only now am I looking back thinking instead "Well, maybe they were in the middle of something awesome and had to come here instead, which is really sad. Or maybe they just like to dress like that because it makes them feel pretty, or silly, or whatever, and the fact that they were here is just sad anyways." And now I feel bad. To be honest, working in an ER you get a little jaded, because this IS your daily routine, so it's hard to remember that pretty much anyone you deal with on a daily basis just had a really sad or painful interruption to their day that caused them to be here instead of wherever they really would prefer to be. Anyways, all that to say thank you for the reminder Jen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you were able to have that re-realization. ERs are never ever fun to visit for patients or families. And yep, life is interrupted to go there. We've had calls from my mother in law that she needed help as we were going to bed or very very early in the morning, and who knows what we put on to go meet her...after several of these we generally had a bag of things we needed (blankets, snacks, etc), but as for what went on our bodies, who knows?

      Delete
    2. HayHay321 - Maybe they were at the hospital to help cheer someone up who was going through a hard time... So maybe not so sad...

      Delete
  24. I've only been to a few conventions (Salt Lake Comic Con! Woo!), and I've really come to appreciate those who put forth the effort and courage to cosplay. I've done it a few times, mostly urged by my awesome sister-in-law (who thought up group cosplays for her, me, my wife, and my baby), and I felt a little self conscious. I'm hoping to do it again, though. I don't know if I'll do it this year, but I'll definitely wear my geeky shirts and search out other FoEs. :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. hugs hugs ... when you featured my Agnes Unicorn Princess from Despicable Me 2, I was over the moon. I put so much work into that costume and it made me feel more confident. People rarely want to take my pic so when you asked, I was all for it. Your excitement was thrilling! I was SO proud that YOU liked my costume!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember that picture. I have it saved to my desktop pic rotation because I thought it was so clever and it brings me joy just to look at the wonderful costume and how happy you look!
      calonkat

      Delete
  26. I'm going to be honest here on something. I love you guys, and love this blog. But I can't read Cake Wrecks for this reason. I know that if somebody asks for a picture to be taken down, it is. And I know that things are in good fun. But...it makes me uncomfortable, so I don't read, don't follow. If there was some way to get the Sunday Sweets every week without risking seeing the normal posts, I would jump on that. All that to say...it's a good reminder to make sure people know that we like their efforts, and I hope that girl hadn't experienced a press photographer at events that are specifically looking for "wrecks"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me the difference there is that Cake Wrecks very deliberately only covers cakes made by professionals. Even if they're a college student who's just working part-time at a grocery store, they're still getting paid to decorate cakes. And those cakes get sold to other people when they probably shouldn't. It feels like the equivalent of criticizing the costuming department of a film, not mocking a cosplayer. There's a reason they stick to professionals and a reason that they also feature those who are doing it well on Sundays. Obviously, do what makes you happy, but I just thought I'd point out there's nothing hypocritical about both writing this post and laughing at decorating failures over at Cake Wrecks, in case you or anyone else was thinking there might be. The difference is between criticizing professionals and mocking people who are just doing what they love.

      Delete
    2. There is a critical difference between this and Cake Wrecks. Those called were made by professionals, people paid (supposedly) because they can decorate cakes. Jen would never make fun of an amateur who just makes cakes because she loves to bake. People enjoy Cake Wrecks the same way we enjoy movie and TV bloopers, and hilarious typos in newspapers. Most pros even enjoy this side of thing, as seeing other pros mess up now and again takes the pressure off a bit when they inevitably mess up too. That said, I absolutely support your right to not read the blog if it makes you uncomfortable! You can search Sunday Sweets to bring up just those posts.

      Delete
    3. You CAN just mosey your way through only the Sunday Sweets if you want - I'm doing that at my leisure now, looking for inspiration and just enjoying the pretty: http://www.cakewrecks.com/home/tag/sunday-sweets

      Delete
    4. I totally get that, Stephanie; CW isn't for everyone - and that's OK! Happily you can use that link Sigi posted above to get just the Sweets, no wrecks.

      Delete
    5. Stephanie posed a thought I had...I mean, CW is a blog about fails, just like the girl worried about. But it's cake not costumes.

      But then Tal and Tex made great points, that the cakes are made by professionals, and it's like commenting on the bustier worn by "Norda" in Dungeons and Dragons (worst movie ever, though nearly edged out by "Thou Shalt Not Kill Except") since it was made by professionals who should have known better.

      Thanks to all 3 of you.

      Delete
  27. Hear hear! What a great yet sad post. I hope that girl reads your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  28. thank you for this post and kudos for your thoughts and insights. I know a lot of people are nice and supporting and overall good sports, and only a small percentage is out there to literally wrack havoc amongst the geeks and cosplayers to boost their own little pathetic ego (sorry..) It's hard to ignore them. Even harder when you're "non-standard" and already wary about what you do and wear etc.

    Just some days ago I had a similar experience. I went to a gothic convention with a handmade garment. I put a lot of effort in it and was pretty rpoud about it, but the little voice in my head that nags everything I do, wouldn't shut up. BUT, and here comes the good part, a lot of people wanted to take a photo of and with me. people complimented what I have created and even were adamant to have me in the picture, even when other people with more elaborate costumes and make-up were present. I felt very apreciated and with this feeling in my heart I also complimented others on their work, even when they themselves weren't so sure about the greatness of theis creations. It just felt so good to give others reassurance and heart-felt honest feedback.

    Plase never stop being your wonderful self! (virtual hugs and thank you :))

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow. That broke my heart and made me cry. My daughter and her best friend cosplay and I have in the past as well. The cons we attend are so welcoming and warm. I guess we are really, very lucky.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Good food for thought, never know what is going on in someone else's shoes.

    ReplyDelete
  31. My heart goes out to anyone who manages to get a costume together and put themselves out there. When I was a kid I dealt with a lot of bullying because I was a big kid. Some kid turning around, placing his hand on either side of my leg and telling me how huge the distance between them was was the LEAST cruddy comment I got. Even know I'm scared to go out in public. I feel so self-conscious. This despite going from 900lbs in 2010 to 475lbs now. I've done a TON of work despite how sick I've been yet I still feel self-conscious.

    There are times I hate myself.

    I hate my weight and how much of a mountain it feels like I have to climb to lose it. Even so despite all the setbacks, self-hate and issues I've gotten a lot better. I'm surrounded by an amazing group of friends. I have the best friend in the world as well as two amazing partners. Despite my fears I think I could get out there now because I have all that support. The best thing I can recommend is find good people. Look for them on Facebook, on Twitter and in blogs like this one.

    Cultivate them. You're so worth their friendship, trust and kindness. YOU ARE WORTH IT. You are so very worth it. Please love yourselves as much as you can. Your hearts have value. You are not ugly. You're beautiful. I mean that with all my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  32. You know, maybe this is something that needs to go further - I mean, I love the welcoming part, obviously (and beautiful geek girl, *please* come over to Fans of Epbot on Facebook and introduce yourself with a picture of your costume! I can say without hesitation that we all want to meet you!)

    Can't the people managing Cons do a little work on the press? I mean, I know they can't control what goes online or what people write, but it seems to me that if they don't protect their safe space for geekery, cons are going to suffer. I know that Carrie Goldman Segal (Katie the Star Wars Girl's Mom) has spoken at cons about geek bullying...I wonder if maybe we could ask her to speak out against that kind of press?

    Failblogs have no place in the geek/con world, unless we make them about ourselves...

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love you guys, but this is really already what you do over at Cake Wrecks. You've essentially made a business of tearing down other people's work and, while I'm really glad you reassured the cosplayer, this post is very hypocritical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On Cake Wrecks, we laugh at silly pastries made by professionals. We never name bakeries, we never mock people. We look at something funny in life, mistakes that even the best bakers have made, mistakes that we've made, and we smile. There's a difference between laughing at a misspelling on a cake and laughing at a person.

      Delete
    2. I think this is the key here - laughing at a messed up cake isn't the same as laughing at an actual individual. It's not tearing someone down for how they look or dress or body shaming them. The cakes don't have egos and feelings. Sure, the bakers do, but they MUST know how far short of the goal their 'creations' have fallen. There is no shame in sharing 'Pinterest Fails' - it's funny because all these 'experts' make things look so easy and it's really not.

      But when it comes to tearing down a cosplayer because he or she doesn't fit an 'ideal', well that is a whole other level.

      Delete
  34. Didn't get to read every comment (my, we're prolific!), so I don't know if this has come up: Could she just have been scared at the press pass? It was my first thought when I read the post. Considering how badly many politicians are demonizing the press lately, if her parents feel the same way and passed that along to their daughter, we may be in for a lot of trouble in the coming years.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Jen, one of your very first Epbot posts that I remember was the comic about the plus-size woman who wore the Wonder Woman costume. I bawled as I read it because I related to it so much. But then your response to her comic made me cry even more. Finally, someone who values the person for who she is! I think that's when my girl-crush on you began, and it hasn't let up since. I've even gotten my daughters to fall in love with you as well.

    To the lovely lady who was afraid - please make yourself known to us. We understand, and we love you for who you are, not your measurements, not your sewing talent, but for YOU! Believe me, there is a whole world here waiting to love on you!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I have to say I have seen it at cons and its sad but not everyone is nice particularly to those who arent considered conventionally attractive or fit with standard size straight cis white person mold. I saw an awesome princess peach costume on a trans woman and saw heard people making fun of her in that just loud enough to hear voice we all know so well they do the same poc people and fat(i choose this word because it is not an insult it is a descriptor just like thin) people and its so disheartening and makes others afraid to try because often even if your costume is the best if you dont fit the mold you are definitely given crap for it. It would be helpful if we were not only nicer but called people out on their crappy behavior when we can as well

    ReplyDelete
  37. I think the problem with photographs and the internet is that you do get people who say really harsh, critical, or horribly cruel things - and it's out there for the person in the photograph to relive over and over again. There is no way to prevent some of it, and there's a lot of room to be an anonymous terrible person on a keyboard without any repercussions. There's also the problem of individuals who do make mistakes, or decide to be critical/harsh/cruel that delivers a level of punishment (virtually but leading to real life consequences) that go far beyond what is appropriate (I teach high school students, so I do worry sometimes about how something stupid done when you are 16 affects you the rest of your life due to it following you online). While I'm not sure how you can fix the other corners of the internet, I do know hat being a light in the darkness is always a good thing to be (thanks Dumbledore!). I guess all you/we/I can continue to do is to treat others fairly, respectfully, and with dignity - keep doing your part to make things like cosplay and cons safe and friendly spaces. Quietly helping people be comfortable will magically make others around you act the same way. Having a second blog about cake wrecks that shows how to make humor about something mundane, without asking for cruelty, or threatening someone's job or reputation, demonstrates how to act appropriately on the internet, while still having fun. The rest of us can contribute by refusing to engage in negativity with other customers because the cashier is slow or holding the door for the person behind you so s/he ends up ahead of you in line (and so on and so forth). It's really amazing how small acts of kindness make a community a better place. Leading by example is one of the best ways I have ever seen to change people's behavior and comments. Keep doing what you are doing - you make a difference in many more ways than will ever be visible.

    ReplyDelete
  38. my heart broke a little reading this. ok, more like a lot. i always assume people love me and if they don't it is because they are jealous. (please know that i am 45 and 3/4 years old, way overweight, and not the prettiest girl in the room, nor am i the smartest. i just believed my mom when she said i was wonderful and special, unique in all the world. mom always said that most people are insecure and therefore want to bring others down in order to help make them feel better, but i should not let their insecurities impact how i live my life. she said, "just be kind, the rest will work itself out.")
    dear cosplayers, as happy as i am with myself, i envy your ability to create fantastic outfits. i am so not crafty. if i take a photo of you, it is because i find our creation phenomenal or your spirit happily infectious. you bring me great joy, just by you being you.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  39. I feel bad for the people who make an effort to express themselves and are then shamed for it or made to feel less than. You could throw on a garbage bag, store bought mask and call yourself Darth Vader and I would still give you props cause at least you are trying!!! I can't even muster up the courage to buy and wear geeky t-shirts. I find that the most critical people, especially on the internet, are the ones who have never tried the thing they are criticizing. Much love to everyone and anyone confident enough to go out in what they want, when they want!

    ReplyDelete
  40. You look awesome please may I take some photos? Maybe that would be a good intro Jen. Get the compliment in first so to speak.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I understand why she felt that way, with all the costume shaming you see by some of the "mainstream" sites. I'm glad that Epbot stands as a loud voice in favor of ALL costumes, as long as you're doing what you love. FOE has also become this absolutely amazing place of encouragement and support that has encouraged me to dress how I like and be open about my geekitude. Honestly, if you do nothing else in your entire life, creating a place like FOE makes your life a success. Only someone very special could've brought up together in a place like that.

    ReplyDelete

Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>