Cosplayer harassment needs to end

Ghost States, Reporter

 There are a lot of hobbies that people enjoy doing. One of many is cosplaying, which is a hobby that has grown in popularity over the years. Cosplaying is when someone dresses up as a fictional character from a video game, anime, or other franchise for fun. Anyone can do it, it doesn’t matter your age or gender – you can dress up as any character you want. Think of it like Halloween but without the trick-or-treating part. 

     People enjoy cosplaying at home, at conventions, and at other public locations such as parks or stores. It’s a fun activity to do both alone and with friends, especially in public. It’s also fun to go to a store or restaurant and see a group of people dressed up and having fun. Cosplayers often get asked for pictures, receive compliments on their outfits, and even attract the attention of small children who think that they’re the real-life characters from their favorite video games. 

     However, as great as cosplaying in public sounds, there are also cons. Cosplayers have reported being harassed and attacked simply for wearing a costume around other people There are countless stories of cosplayers being yelled at by grown adults, people damaging their costumes, and even sexual harassment due to either the character they’re dressed as or the gender of the cosplayer themselves. 

     A few examples of such incidents are as follows;  Homestuck cosplayers have had metal buckets thrown at their heads because it’s an inside joke within the fanbase. 

     People who dress as characters from Danganronpa, a murder mystery game, have been asked to re-create the death scenes of certain characters by complete strangers at conventions multiple times despite the cosplayer saying no each time. 

     Sailor Moon cosplayers have had men grope their chests and underneath their skirts. 

     Cosplayers from all sorts of fandoms – regardless of age – have been asked by adults they don’t know if they could send them lewd pictures of them in cosplay. And that’s just a few incidents – if one were to go over every single harassment horror story in the cosplay community it would take days, possibly weeks, which is absolutely disgusting.    

     It doesn’t matter what anyone is wearing, costume or not, attacking and tormenting people for what they’re wearing should not be excused. Far too many people get away with harassing cosplayers of all ages, including minors. 

     People shouldn’t have to be afraid to do what they love because of the opinions of others, something that happens far too often in the cosplay community. It has to stop! 

     People deserve to be treated with decency and respect regardless of what they look like. If you were to see someone dressed in a costume that took them forever to make or get into, you’d want to be kind to them and talk to them like a human being instead of just some object for your enjoyment. 

     Cosplayers do it for themselves, not you. Get it into your thick skulls. Just because they’re dressed as a character who wears more revealing clothing or whose character is more extroverted or outgoing doesn’t mean that they’re comfortable with you touching and talking to them however you please. 

     It’d be really appreciated if you could look at them like another ordinary person when talking to them, it would really make them feel more comfortable with doing what they love around others. So remember next time you see a cosplayer in public, whether it’s at the grocery store or the mall or wherever remember that they’re a person too. 

     You can go up and talk to them, of course, but remember to be nice. As long as you keep your hands to yourself, we won’t be jerks. But if you even do so much as catcall or attempt a quick hand grab, you might find yourself face-to-face with a weapon that only has a 50% chance of being a prop. We may seem like a bunch of geeks in costumes, but don’t underestimate us. Otherwise, you’ll wind up in the ER for sure.