Costumes and Body Stereotyping
There was a post that I read here not too long ago about a girl who finally mustered up the courage to don a costume regardless of her body type, and the story lit a fire under me and inspired me to don a costume myself. Due to medical complications, I find myself much heavier now than in my costuming heyday, but I managed to find a character that suited my looks and that I knew I could execute to a T. My mother and I labored intensively to make the props and dress and boots appear was close as possible to the character, and I feel like we did an excellent job. I couldn’t be prouder, and nothing could make me feel more comfortable in my costume regardless of my weight.
However, I would be blind to notice that there were people who put less effort in to their costume who were doing the same character as me were getting infinitely more attention than I. I don’t cosplay for the attention; I’m far too shy for it. But when you see people who threw their outfits together with little care getting more attention simply because they’re skinny smarts more than a little.
I wouldn’t even bring this up if it weren’t a prevalent theme I witnessed throughout the entire convention. I don’t want to seem like I’m putting down cosplayers, because people should express their love for their characters how they like, but it made me sick to see heavy girls walking around in beautiful, intricate costumes trying to squeeze past the crowds of people surrounding the skinny ones wearing painted sports bras and mini-skirts.
This bias against large girls in costume carried over to the costume contest, where a woman (pictured above) created an absolutely beautiful piece of work, and she brought her A game during the presentation. Just look at her: she was fabulous with a capital F. She shimmied and swayed and twirled and showed us every inch of that costume. I was cheering my heart out, but the crowd who had just been lauding a much simpler (but still beautiful) skinny girl were alarmingly subdued during her act. The difference in their behavior was so noticeable that I felt a bit ill myself, because you can see how proud she was and how confident she was, but the crowd she was showing herself off to just didn’t care.
All my beautiful, talented, thin cosplay friends say that those of us who are larger shouldn’t be scared away from costuming; I’ve been told that so long as I pour my heart out in to my costume, and that passion is shown in the design and execution of the outfit, then my skin type or body type or gender shouldn’t matter. But it does. A sickening amount. I don’t know what should be done, but it makes me sad to think that there are probably girls (myself included) who feel discouraged from something geeky, not even mainstream beauty, because their bodies aren’t what society deems acceptable.
this makes me sad. i’ve never put in the effort, i’ve always felt too scared or nervous. I’ve never felt like i could because of my body..