The Beginnings of CONsent

Last weekend at Wondercon 2013, I began work on a project I have wanted to do for some time now. As many of our readers may know, there has been escalating tension within the convention going community regarding the physical and emotional safety of cosplayers. Last week, cosplayer Meagan Marie spoke out against the people within the gaming industry who treat female cosplayers as pieces of meat, only there for the enjoyment of men. This, and the continued discussion within my circle of cosplay friends has pushed my plans forward, and I now present to you the beginnings of my photo essay, inspired by #IneedFeminismBecause; “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. 

 

The consensus is that it isn’t safe to be a woman in cosplay. Yirico, a cosplayer known for being a Crunchyroll Ambassador and an excellent demonic form Catherine cosplayer, mentioned to me that when she wore that particular costume (which covers literally her whole body head-to-toe and even covers her face in thick, white foundation,) someone still made her self-conscious by commenting loudly on the size of her bottom.

“Men often start with their hand at my waist or shoulder when they ask for a picture with me, one young woman recalled, “But then their fingers wander to my butt, or stroke my back… And it makes me so uncomfortable. I just want to yell, ‘Hands off!’

Another said, “Lots of guys have used asking for my photo as a segue to asking for my number. When I turn them down, they always call me a bitch or something much worse.

And cosplaying women aren’t the only ones this problem affects. “Some guys will put their hands on my girlfriend right in front of me, one non-cosplayer said of his fantastically costumed girlfriend. “I can always tell that she hates it, but I can’t really step in to help her without looking like a possessive jerk or an obsessed fanboy.

One photographer mentioned that when he is working with a cosplayer and sees someone trying to take a picture of her butt or up her skirt, he jumps in front of their camera, blocking the shot with his own crotch. This draws attention to the pervert and can shame them, while also protecting the cosplayer. This, and the constant attention I got as a female photographer in cosplay myself, also prompted me to expand my project to include a gallery of “Caught Creep photos: pictures of photographers trying to take sneaky and/or pervy pictures of cosplayers without their consent.

EDIT: Please note — this was not intended as a personal attack against people who were taking normal convention pictures from afar without asking, but rather meant to point out and stand up to people who were trying to take inappropriate pictures of cosplayers without their consent (e.g. an ass shot, down the shirt, while they were bending over, right after they specifically said “no” to a picture, etc.) This is also not intended as defamation in any way, shape, or form. Many cosplayers frown upon those who don’t ask for pictures, but we would like to take the personal stance that this can be ok under certain circumstances that don’t endanger or majorly inconvenience them. We also would like to state that when in doubt, it is ALWAYS better to ask a cosplayer for permission.

As disheartened as I was by the stories, I was also inspired by the enthusiasm and encouragement that so many of them had for the project. Often, before I could rattle off my intro speech, cosplayers would read my sign and shout “YES! “OH MY GOD, THIS!” or “THANK YOU SO MUCH! Many of the cosplayers and photographers I spoke to even wanted to personalize their statement or use this project as a venue to speak their mind about the subject. Others beckoned more of their friends over to participate too, or mentioned that they wanted to contribute more to the project somehow by spreading it through their fan pages or local communities.

This is just the beginning. I will be traveling to as many conventions as I can across the West Coast and taking more and more portraits, but I am only one person. There are so many places that I, alone, will not be able to reach… Even with help from the other Sirens, this project cannot succeed fully without the help and support of the global fan community.

That is where you come in. Whether or not you are a cosplayer, you can contribute a picture of yourself holding a sign that says Cosplay =/= Consent or anything else you feel is appropriate to convey your feelings. Additionally, whenever you are at a convention and catch someone in the act of taking a sneaky, unauthorized photo of a cosplayer, please snap a photo of them and submit it under #CaughtCreep You can submit via Facebook (tagging our page in the photo,) on Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr with the tag #CONsent, or directly to us via email. If you are a photographer or organization who would like to gather many photos and contribute, please contact us about setting up a joint gallery and the materials necessary to make it happen at various events.

We are looking for stories and more images starting immediately! We would love for as many people to participate as possible, but in the end we would like to have a complete gallery on flickr (and maybe even work towards making a formal book) so please let us know what you have contributed, no matter how small, and how to credit you when reposting your submission in our galleries.

To share your story, you can comment here, on facebook (publicly or via private message,) via email or any other method you can think of. If you wish to remain anonymous please say so in your message. We humbly ask that you keep us in the loop and mention us in your submission so that we can better keep track of every image to have the most complete gallery possible.

The full gallery collected thus far can be viewed on our flickr page here. Thank you for your support and I hope you are as inspired by these brave individuals as I am.

619 Comments

  1. I didn’t realize I was being creepy. I just tried to take candid shots of the cosplayers. Sometimes shots of them texting or reading a book is way more interesting then their stock poses. The juxtaposition of the mundane with the fantastical can be a lot of fun. Have to figure out a way to get candid shots without seeming stalkery.

    • Sushi Killer

      Oh, I definitely get that! I think in my case personally, taking photos isn’t the most flattering activity and posing for a photo always results in a better image. I don’t want to be caught on camera with my Canon in hand, hunched over, etc…

      May I make a suggestion for future reference? You can ask the cosplayer before hand for the candid shot, or conversely take it and then show it to them and let them know you took it so that they can approve it.

      • Option 2 makes more sense, a candid photo is a lot less candid when it’s posed.

      • I always ask. I start with, “Oh, your costume is SO AWESOME! Can I please take a photo?!?” They are so happy to do it, and I give them a hug and a thank you, and tell them to enjoy the con. WHAT IS SO HARD ABOUT THAT?!?

      • Gagz9k

        In photography school you learn how to “shot first ask later”. You learn to tale the photo, and if it’s good walk to the person and show them the photo and tell them why you took it. And specially if is not a good shoot. You can always delete the photo. I have make awesome friends this way (not only cosplayers, actually).

        The concept of photo journalism also state what you called “creepy photographer”.

        If you are a documenting the convention, beyond the cosplayers, you can’t go around asking all the people you will, eventually, shoot.

        At least that’s how I see it. You can’t take out one of the most important aspects of photography just like that.

        Now, I get your point too; creepy people will be creepy doing anything, not only with a camera. And being cosplayer surrended by otakus, I guess is normal that creepers appear.

        • SimoneSnake

          Actual documentary photographers also get trained to ask for general permissions – “Hey I’m working on this (explanation of project), may I shoot you over the course of this weekend?” Aside from something like a war where you literally can’t ask without being put in extra danger. And I don’t think a con qualifies as “dangerous”. And large group shots are different, but I never had a photography teacher confuse the difference between 1-3 people in a portrait shot and a whole room of people.

          • It’s also important to clarify if you are asking permission for one photo or if you want permission to take photos all day. Once when I was cosplaying Stormy from Rainbow Brite I had a fellow tell me he was a con photographer and ask me for a photo. I said yes, posed, and thought I was done. It seemed like every time I turned around that day he was taking another photo of me. Once I even saw him taking a picture from a balcony. He must have noticed that I saw him, because he did ask for permission for another… As I was flat-out running to meet up with my sister somewhere. I checked the con’s site later and never found any of the photos of me. Incidentally, the next year I dressed as a t-rex in a tutu, I figured that would be pretty safe. No one made me feel like I was being sexually stalked, but I did have some girls follow me into the bathroom so that they could take both of my hands (mind, I needed those to make it so I could see. The t-rex mouth wouldn’t stay open.) and pull me to where their friends were sitting so they could take pictures of me. Given how I was effectively blind the stairs were super special. It got a bit better when we got to their friends. They at least realized how insane these two girls were acting. Now when I cosplay I try to not stray too far from my friends.
            I kinda got off point, but moral of both stories is this; don’t be creepy! If it is something that would be “stalker-like” in the real world, it is still stalkery and should not be done. Cons are supposed to be a safe place.

          • Nate

            That’s so not true, unless you’re asking the actual organizers of the event. Photography is always ask first shoot second for multiple reasons. And most photographers actually just tell them about the photo rather than ask.

            However, I get the article – lewd pictures are not cool to take without permission (and some would even say they are not cool to take then either, lol). But photographers are never going to ask permission first. Most photographers, who are in it for photography, aren’t going to use a picture that has an awkward pose anyway because that generally won’t be seen as a good shot.

        • Wren

          I think what SK is saying is that there are people who will take opportunistic candids that are clearly objectifying the person in the shot. I’ve had people sneak up behind me to take a photo of my butt (in my Zatanna costume) when I’m reaching over a table to hand money to a vendor.

          I’ve had to start wearing shorts under *any* costume of mine that involves a school girl skirt, because there have been way too many times people have snuck cameras up under the skirt, or dropped to the ground while I’m posing to do so. Once, when I was stepping back after posing for a shot for someone else, I stepped ON a guy who had been lying on the ground to take a photo up my skirt while I was posing. He had the audacity to tell me I should pay for his glasses, since they broke when they fell off after I accidentally stepped on him!

          I think it sucks when someone catches a candid where the cottage cheese on my thighs looks bad, and I’m annoyed when someone just randomly starts snapping away when I’m texting or waiting in line for the bathroom. It makes me feel like I’ve constantly got to be camera ready, or there will be shots out there where I’m looking bored or like I have to pee and people will say critical things (“She’s not really one of us! Look how bored she is!” when I was just allowing myself to zone out). It makes me feel like I have no privacy, and like I should just stop cosplaying -something that I love- because otherwise I’m, “asking for it” and must expect to be, “on” all day.

          The real issue that SK is talking about, though, is not just the annoying, “please don’t photograph me without my permission,” but the sexual harassment of aforementioned “creepy” photographers, who don’t even have the artistic interest that you have, but who think it’s perfectly acceptable to grab/harass/sexually photograph unaware women and who seem to think they’re entitled to it. Those are the guys who make me feel unsafe in one of the few places where I feel I should be able to feel safe and free to be myself.

          • Sushi Killer

            YES, exactly this, thank you. I think a lot of people are misinterpreting (and I am new to writing, so maybe I wasn’t clear enough?) but this is exactly what I am talking about.

          • Just wanted to take a moment to thank the people that work hard on their costumes and put up with all the negatives that comes along with cosplay. You folks are a big part of what is special about a lot of great cons, and I appreciate it.

        • Almost every convention has it in the rules that you have to ask permission before you take a photo of a cosplayer just walking around the convention. If they’re on a panel or in the masquerade, that’s a different thing. Then they’re not functioning as guests, they’re functioning as entertainers.

      • Ola

        I really like the idea of taking the candid shot, then approaching the cosplayer and showing it to them; if they don’t like it, delete it in front of them (and don’t get offended if they ask to have it removed! :) )

      • SkelliDrops

        That would be a really good way to do it ^
        As a cosplayer myself, I understand that whole being harassed issue, and it is annoying :/ but I mean if someone were to let us know that they wanted to take candid photo’s and just took them, and let us know later, or even took one and THEN showed/asked us after, it would be much more respectable and respected. When we find random pictures of ourselves on the internet or someones profile that we had no idea about it makes us pretty uneasy. As long as you notify the person you want to or just took a picture of, it’s not generally a problem, I mean cosplayers know that if you’re going to cosplay, people will want to and will take photo’s of you.

      • when I cosplay, I really want to look my best for pictures. It’s somewhat irritating when people take my picture when I am not ready, or I see pics that make me look badly, but I don’t count that harrassment

      • woodardvictoria8

        These are excellent suggestions.

      • I don’t agree with the “sneaky photography” bit. If you are in a public place and the person taking the picture is like most of my friends and myself, they just want to remember the moment, like with any other vacation picture where the subject matter is usually unaware and/or has no expectation of consultation. I don’t care if you’re scantily clad or fully covered. If I think you look interesting, I want to be able to take a picture of someone who has already had hundreds of “unapproved” pictures taken of them just that day (per the govt). I shouldn’t need permission if all I’m gonna do is look at them every-so-often and reminisce.

        • Yes, but you SHOULD ask before laying on the ground in order to shoot up someone’s skirt. That is what she’s talking about. The fucking creeps out there who are looking for unsolicited panty shots while girls are focusing elsewhere.

          Or the dudes at the bottom of the stairs with their camera zoomed as far as possible taking ass shots of the girls walking up the stairs.

          While it’s annoying when a dude snaps a shot of you walking down the hallway and talking to your friend because those images almost ALWAYS end up unflattering, the men who are taking perverted pictures on the sly have got to stop and that was what she was addressing. She’s edited the post recently to specify what she meant.

      • Hob

        I think a lot of the debate could be solved by getting legal information on the subject. A quick google search, wiki-click and source check led me to this page which has a couple good sentences I will quote here :

        Quote 1
        “The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are
        legally entitled to take photographs.”

        Notes : Legally, it seems you can take pictures of anything as long as you’re in a public place. No specifications are made, so ass/cleavage shots do not seem to be excluded.

        Quote 2
        “Property owners may legally prohibit photography on their premises [...]”

        Notes : I’ve been to a single con where I did NOT receive explicit instructions that I was not aloud to photograph on the premises. However, I highly suspect that convention centers are not public places and that a written word from the owner to refuse ANY shots (be it candid or otherwise) is law.

        Quote 3
        “In most places, you may reasonably assume that taking photographs is allowed and that you do not need explicit permission. However, this is a judgment call and you should
        request permission when the circumstances suggest that the owner is likely to object.”

        Notes : The important part here is the “judgement call”. When in doubt, the opinion of the photographed is law and permission should (legally) be requested.

        Quote 4
        “Members of the public have a very limited scope of privacy rights when they are in public places. Basically, anyone can be photographed without their consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as dressing rooms, rest rooms, medical facilities, and inside their homes”

        Note : If a convention center has NOT refused photographing rights (thus NO doubt is present, as in the third quote), people can not state that photographing without consent at a convention is legally reprehensible.

        Conclusion is twofold :

        Firstly, it seems that legally, unless specific instructions are provided by the owner of the premisses, photography is allowed without restriction and consent.

        Secondly, it seems that the overarching “ruling” favors a judgement call, that in fact does require permission and adds certain restrictions.

        I do not think it is a simple question that has a right and a wrong answer. In this way, talking in absolutes (“There is no debate”, “You just DON’T do that”, “I’m entitled to…” or “It’s impossible to…”) is the wrong way to go.

        I am not, not in a million years, a lawyer. Feel free to expose all the wrongness in this document as well as the information I have specifically selected here. I seek but to enlighten myself :)

        Page quoted : http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

        • Rob

          Convention centers are considered public spaces – there is no real criteria for entry besides an entry fee. Most convention centers are actually funded by public money/debt issuance, even when under private ownership. They will, at times, prohibit photography at a promoter’s/vendor’s/entertainer’s request. But otherwise, the location would be regarded as “open” to photography.
          As for judgement call – legally. When making the call, the question is posed to the owner of the facility, not the person being photographed. So, unfortunately the photographed is *not* law, and consent is not necessary.
          But that is the law – the bar set for the lowest common denominator. It is not a reason not to act like a decent human being with a sense of respect from others.
          I am not a cosplayer. I am not even an attendee of these events. I just feel that when these people have a passion for something and put a lot of time and effort into making a costume in order to show their enthusiasm, it is a shame that any enjoyment that they get out it is sullied by perverts that have no decency.
          I would guess most of the women involved are already willing to accept a little social awkwardness and mild invasion of their time and personal space, because they know that the true fans want photos of themselves with characters in real life – which is really a very generous thing by them. To have others wreck it by being creepy? Just sad.
          Great project and I hope it is successful in making a change for the better.

        • Ginger

          The argument I would leave against that is that a convention center is not a public place. It is a privately owned building that charges admission to the public for large gathering events. On some convention websites they have a disclaimer about their guests (whether they be celebrities or panelists) that gives them the right to refuse photography outside of their assigned panel.

          However, as far as all attendees at a con you have to start reading between the lines.
          Here is an excerpt on photography at New York Comic Con released on their site:

          “For the most part, you’re welcome to take still pictures and video at New York Comic Con; however, please note that all photography and recording is prohibited during screenings and concerts in the IGN Theater. Also, please understand that guests may or may not pose for photographs with Fans. Guests have a right to their privacy and if they ask not to have their picture taken, please respect their wishes.”

          In this case you have to define the word “Guest” to understand whose rights are protected. A guest could either be a celebrity or panelist, OR it could also refer to the general public that has paid admission and is a *guest* on the property. For arguments sake, I would take the stance that a cosplayer is in fact a guest and is entitled to a privacy policy. The con-goer does *not* own the convention center, nor does he/she work there. He/she paid for admission to get onto the property and therefore is a guest. And as the convention center closes, he/she will be ushered out just like the panelists and celebrities.
          As far as the comment regarding “…guests may or may not pose for photographs with fans.” Fans of *any kind*. This applies not only to “Hello *enter actor* I love all your work!” but to the con goer who shouts “OMG! MIKU! HIIIIIIII” You are essentially a fan of the character being represented by that cosplayer. And if this example doesn’t make sense, I’m sure most of you know a person who watches a show/movie and can’t think of the actor’s name….so they refer to him as the character.

          In conclusion, unless you’re holding a cosplay get together in a public park, you’re not technically entitled to rights given to public spaces. You cannot get kicked out of a park, but you can get kicked out of a convention center for any reason established in the terms and policy because it is privately owned property.

          (Not a lawyer. Feel free to concur)

        • roymaciii

          The question isn’t whether people are legally allowed to take photographs at conventions, and shifting the conversation in the direction misses the point that this is an ethical question. Someone may have the legal right to take pictures of women’s bodies at the con, but doing so makes the convention a hostile place for women to be.

          I don’t think most people are under the impression that taking photographs of women’s butts is illegal at the con; the point is that doing so is shitty behavior and makes you an asshole, and we ought not just throw up our arms and say “well, she was *there*, what did she expect?” We ought to, instead, be pointing out to people “Hey, you’re being a creep. Knock it off.”

        • Laura

          Your note on quote 1 is incorrect, thank god. Photographers are allowed to take shots in public of anyone except when it breaches their reasonable expectation of privacy. Just because you’re on the street, does not mean you can take a picture of a person through their window, as well as taking up skirt or down shirt images.

          Oh and while you can take a picture of a person’s ass in jeans legally, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Right and Wrong is not determined by the law. I think the death penalty is wrong, but it’s legal. I think there’s nothing wrong with weed ( I personally don’t like it) but that is illegal. Legal does not equal okay.

        • jonathan

          Just because it may technically be legal doesn’t make it right. And I’m pretty sure that there are laws covering at least the ones that are up the skirts. You have a reasonable expectation to the privacy of your privates (that’s why they are called “private”). If you are wearing an outfit that exposes your butt or breasts, then it may legally be ok to make that the subject of your photo. Again, legal, but not right.

          It’s really sad to see this kind of behavior, especially from our community. Geeks have been traditionally marginalized over the years, and it’s only recently we’ve gotten a measure of respect, as more of our interests go mainstream. So to see us doing it to others is really frustrating. Especially when many of the things we love are so good at portraying a world that is much more equal. Think of Uhura, one of the first women portrayed as an officer, and a black woman at that. Our fandom is full of strong female characters, and often shows how we are all equal. Yet we have some of the most sexist, immature fans out there. I will never understand how someone can claim to love this stuff, yet still think that that kind of behavior is acceptable.

        • If a candid shot seems sexually exploitative, such as many of the ass/cleavage shots that you refereed to, that can be considered sexual harassment. If someone catches you taking those kind of photos without their permission you can totally get sued, and you will most likely lose the suit. Additionally, even if you are in a public place, up-skirting people is illegal (at least in my state) so you can face jail time. You can also face jail time if you are taking sexually exploitative photos of a minor.

        • That was a lot of work for something completely irrelevant.

          Nobody is saying that it should be illegal to take pictures. We’re saying that surreptitiously taking pictures of people in compromising situations is a Grade-A Douche Move, and shouldn’t be tolerated socially.

      • Rachel

        Yes, this! For a personal, happy example of such an incident: At SDCC one year, I had just finished using my cell phone to photograph something in the fandom I was cosplaying when someone came up, said he’d taken a couple candids, showed me, showed me the press badge that ID’ed him as being from a major news outlet, and asked if he could photograph my badge so he could credit me if the photos were published. Sure enough, the next week when I was looking through photos that various new outlets had published, I saw the photo of myself, with my name attached! I was so happy, I saved a copy, and then shared it with all my friends.

        And seriously, it only took a 20-second conversation for it to be a completely comfortable, professional-feeling experience.

        But, that also inspired something else I do at cons now: If people ask for photos, or ask about candids they took of me, after I give them permission I ask if they happen to have a business card for their blog. That way, I know where I might potentially find nice photos of me, they get more traffic, and it’s a win-win for both of us.

      • I definitely agree with you that there are unfortunately some sick puppies out there. I go to many of these events with my daughter, I to photograph the cos players and the event and she goes as a cos player to enjoy. I always ask before I shoot an individual out of respect, but one thing you should be aware of is the “Federal definition” and argument professional photographers will make concerning privacy law, that being as follows: “If your in a public place, you should not have any expectation of privacy what so ever”. They will use that in any circumstance to fight what ever argument is thrown at them.
        I would definitely look up the law to avoid any civil liability that may arise from labeling or posting a photographer or anyone with a camera of being a “Caught a Creep”.
        I would thread water very carefully.

    • Have you considered asking?

      • I can see maybe asking after the fact but asking before doesn’t make it a candid anymore. Just saying lol. I mean yes it is nice to ask but as a cosplayer married to a photographer, I can totally see where Enrique is coming from. You want that shot that no one else got. The one that can come out looking amazing even non posed. I personally get so nervous when I’m “posed” that sometimes the candid shots make me look more natural. Yes you do get the unflattering shots as well, but its something you just have to realize is going to happen at a con. You can only hope that photographer doesn’t want to show off the unflattering shot because it is also unflattering to his/her talent as well.

        • THANK you. good lord I am a photographer as well and this entire debate has had be just wigging out, haven’t posted because I didn’t want to be aggressively angry. so thank you thank you thank you.

          for those that wish to read on, what makes me mad is if i am hypothetically doing a documentary project or a street project with emphasis on the decisive moment a posed shot is the antithesis of that. (I will admit that posed shots for a documentary in this context could be applicable but it isn’t the only way it can or should – in my opinion be done)

          That said inappropriate touching, up-skirt shots, boob shots that is inappropriate i agree with that 110%

      • J Wilson

        Asking defeats taking a candid. Few people can act like the camera isn’t there when they are asked before hand if it’s ok to take a photo of them. Even if they resume what they were doing (texting or reading etc) their entire demeanor changes. Moments of true honesty, with the public facade down, can only be captured when they don’t know you are there.

        That said, there should be ways to get those shots that respects the cosplayer. Showing the photo and asking permission after the fact is a good way I think. Alternately, conventions might consider a few “no photography allowed” areas for people to relax a bit without worrying about that intrusion.

    • Please ask. Please do not ever prioritize “interest” over someone’s comfort and consent.

      • Wren

        This!

    • I take candid shots all the time, but I *ask* first if I want someone specific. “Hey, is it okay if I take a few candid shots of you? Just do what were doing while I snap a few? Thanks!”

      Not that hard and no one thinks you’re being a creep.

    • Panda

      Simply ask politely if its okay first and, if they say “no” then respect it.

      • Cheshire

        This is a really amazing article. My girlfriend and I have been going to conventions for about three years now together and every convention something happens. My lady is deaf but reads lips very well, unfortunately within a con situation she gets a little fried trying to see everything so I translate for her. Something about a tall, attractive, quiet girl who passes from gender to gender rather easily paints a target on her back (well I hope it’s on her back). Last Anime Expo we were wandering and her photos were being taken, me standing off to the side as her translator and bag handler.

        The man who was taking a photo with her grabbed her around her waist and pulled her to him, she signed that she wanted him to stop, even pushed him away but he decided since she didn’t say anything it was okay to honk her butt. I approached him mid photo and told him off, he kept going on about “She didn’t say anything!”

        Being quite fed up I told him that she was deaf, of course he said some nasty slur about her and left. We both felt bad that we couldn’t stop this kind of thing from happening; so I showed her this article and with permission told our story. We are really excited about this process and hope to see more.

        • Sushi Killer

          What an incredible and yet horrible story… First of all, I feel I should mention that I have been taking ASL for about a year now for exactly that reason — to advocate for people that aren’t oral within the convention community. In the past I worked with a photographer based in Sacramento who was deaf and it was so frustrating that A) other photographers would push him out of their shots when their yelling at him didn’t get his attention and B) that I could never thank him properly in person for the amazing photos he took of me.

          If we ever get enough funding and interest going to film a video, it would be amazing if the two of you could re-tell your story. It’s clear that harassment touches all kinds of people and just because someone doesn’t specifically say no, it also doesn’t mean they meant to say “yes.” If a cosplayer pushes you off of them, they clearly do not want your attention and touching and that should be the end of it, no discussion needed. It shouldn’t matter what language they speak, or if they speak at all, there are universally accepted and recognizable signs for “no,” such as holding out ones palm in a “stop sign.”

          Though I think needless to say, anyone who uses a slur against a minority group has lots of problems besides being a jerk and a pervert, but I am still so sorry to hear that it happened. Thank you both for your courage and input by sharing your unique story!

        • I wish there were random photographers wandering around Cons taking pictures of people who were taking inappropriate shots and abusing cosplayers. Not only would the threat of being exposed as a creeper on the internet start shutting these people down, but in addition, the cosplayers could actually press assault and battery charges on the creepers that are doing these terrible things.

    • Dr. Chim Richalds

      This remark in and of itself is kinda creepy, bro.

    • Kara Dennison

      Enrique, there was one con where I actually had multiple people wanting a picture of me while I was sitting down and reading something (apparently I’d inadvertently struck a good pose for the character), and each time they just asked if they could please get a picture of me right where I was. Not creepy, not stalkery, actually kind of funny because they’d explain afterwards why they thought it would make a good photo. If they look up when you talk to them, just explain why you’d like the picture and ask them to go back to what they were doing. You can get good photos that way. ^_^

    • Rachel

      I think they are going overboard on what they are calling creepy about the from a distance photo. AND I am like femme bitch over here. hahaa
      You’re fine.
      I don’t agree with this shaming thing either. When I am in costume I expect to be looked at. Some people are also just shy or don’t want to bother you, so you take a picture from a distance or they are already posing.

    • Andi Theirin

      I’ve been ambushed like this before and I can’t stand it. Ask beforehand and you’ll most likely get a yes. It makes me feel comfortable knowing that I at least have some control over where/how my image will be used, you know?

      • I think it’s great when people ask, but honestly I don’t expect them to. Have you ever been at a con with your camera, saw a cool costume and took the shot because you would have not been able to get to the person to ask?

        For me at least, when I walk into a con, I expect cameras. If I don’t want my photo taken I won’t wear a costume that day. Otherwise, I expect pics to be taken. I always try to keep that in mind when I am eating, tying my shoe, picking my nose, pulling my shorts out of my crack and so on. Somewhere there is a camera.

        Of course if you are in the bathroom or trying to eat, on the phone, etc… I appreciate people giving you a moment to finish before snapping the photo

      • Jon Henri

        Far too often the media expects us to bow down to their ideas of news worthiness, this has become so entrenched that now even amateur photographers expect to be able to take photo’s of what ever they want.
        In australia at least.. taking photo’s of children is a big nono.. and can get you arrested… this is exactly to stop any creepiness. And this is what i am reminded of .. :P

        Grow up and do the right thing, regardless of whether you think you can get away with doing the wrong thing :P

        • Sushi Killer

          Exactly! If you wouldn’t do it to a child because it wouldn’t be legal, don’t do it to an adult just because you can get away with it.

          • Especially when you consider that at a convention, you do not know the age of everyone!! There are girls out there that look 22 but are really 16. Who wants to be the dude caught taking a panty shot of a 16 year old?!

    • Dawn

      I’m the same. I always love taking candid photos of cosplayers if I can. Tend to come out so much more interesting then the practiced/stock pose.
      I also don’t mind when people take candid photos of me when I use to cosplay because they tend to make me laugh. Like the time I dressed up as Yomiko Readman and someone took a photo of me while I was in a bookstore going through books. I fully understand when that moment of “OMG! I could see the character doing that!” and taking a quick snap shot.

    • Samanticore

      I get it, candid shots are really cool! But please, always ask consent, even when you want to take candid shots! I’ve been just hanging out resting before and people have asked if they can take a few shots of me hanging around, and I really appreciate it. It’s really disconcerting and annoying when you are just trying to eat a sandwich or read a book and you hear a camera click and look up and watch someone walking away, without even talking to you. Because then you feel like an object, not a person.

      • Wren

        Exactly! This is how I feel but couldn’t figure out how to say. It’s just, the lack of respect. You couldn’t even talk to me? I don’t even matter? I’m just an object for your collection of photographs?

    • Lady Atakou

      If you want to take candid photos of someone you should just ask. Cons are busy and distracting, so there are plenty of opportunities to get “natural shots” without being creepy about it. It’s always better to have someones consent before taking their photo. Especially if it’s going to be posted online.

    • Along with what these people have said, try to be obvious in your picture taking, too. That may mean that they will end up looking at the camera more than you want, but honestly, you will need to learn to get over that. I understand the appeal of candid pictures, but you must realize that YOU are taking these pictures for YOU, and YOUR own enjoyment, even if it is non-sexual and you feel it is innocent.

      These cosplayers are there for themselves. Bob cosplays for Bob. Betty cosplays for Betty. They are not cosplaying for YOU. But you taking a picture is always for you, and it is always at the expense of the cosplayer. You should *always* get their permission.

      Furthermore, if you simply, politely tell the cosplayers that you thought that was such a great shot, you went on a limb and took it without their consent, but are being respectful and showing them for their approval (with the earnest meaning to delete it permanently if they don’t), then you are immediately taking the creep factor out of it. You will also get a lot of feed back regarding what the average cosplayer is okay with and not. After a while you will start to get a sense of what people are generally okay with, and what they are Most Definitely Not. You can then avoid the Most Definitely Not altogether. (But you should always still show/ask even with things that might generally be okay, because the last thing you want to do is inadvertently victimize somebody based on assumptions.)

    • I totally get you! What I’ve done is see a cosplayer using their phone/looking at the crowd etc and ask them if it would be alright to take a photo as they are – it gives them a chance to adjust a bra strap or suck in their gut, but you also get a cool photo! I have one of Vincent Valentine (FFVII) eating a french fry but b/c I asked he did it IN CHARACTER (holding it awkwardly in his gauntlet, it’s hilarious!)

      As a cosplayer, I love to be asked for original picture ideas; I feel bad when I catch someone (innocently) taking a picture of me b/c I would have totally posed for them!

      I think it goes from shy to creepy when the person does the upskirts/crotch/boob shots so I don’t think you’re creepy for simply taking a candid shot, but I do think you’d get better candid shots if you prepared your model ;)

    • Emma

      You can just ask them if it’s okay and explain what it is you’re trying to capture? It’s really not that hard. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind and they will respect you a lot more than if you’re creeping around in the background.
      Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of guys take pictures of me without my permission and from about 30 feet away. I’d like it better if they ask me beforehand. Not to mention, you’ll get a better shot that way!

    • Tara Watson

      Just ask if they mind you taking a few candids. Most people don’t mind, particularly if they’re reading or something. Now, doing it while a girl’s eating a hot dog…yeah, don’t to that.

    • Froborr

      Try politely asking. Repeat your second-to-last sentence in this post. If they say no, move on.

    • dont worry there just bieng dumb this is being lead by some feminist probably it will never stick chicks love the attention too much

      • can you shut the fuck up
        yes i dress up as a character because OMG MALE ATTENTIONZZ!!111
        no
        we dont fucking sew, put on make up, get wigs, do our hair, and all this stuff to look like a character
        for
        YOU
        okay
        we do it for our fandom, for our interests, for ourSELVES.
        NOT.
        FOR.
        YOU.

        • Sushi Killer

          Preach it!

      • Chips Cosplay

        What about this “being lead (sic) by some feminist” discredits the message?

        • Don’t feed the troll, guys. He’s a moron anyway.

          • Rob

            Well said.

      • You're a Fucking moron

        How incredibly disgusting, it doesn’t surprise me you’re a fat, greasy fuck who thinks like a pig.

        • Sushi Killer

          Hey now, let’s be civil and not stoop to name calling! He already did enough of that in my direction on his facebook and you don’t want to be on his level…

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            *agrees* Don’t feed the troll.

        • Wannabee

          Oh yes sure, let’s start with fat-shaming, makes you a whole better person.

    • Felicia

      The creepiness isn’t candid photos. Who they are targeted is people who specifically are aiming for butt shots or up skirt shots.

      • No, I think candid shots are still pretty bad and definitely creepy. I’m sure many of there people would prefer to KNOW when their photograph is being taken.

    • Have you tried asking them?

    • jeniron

      Speaking for myself, I would not b offended with candid photos if the photographer shows me the pics and I approve of them. Thats the difference between a stalker and a caring human being.

    • kal luin

      This kind of transient voyeurism has no excuse no matter what the person is dressed like. I suppose one could say `well they asked for it dressed liked that in that part of town“ but they would be hard pressed to justify this vicious statement since there is no excuse for this kind of violence. Perhaps one reason could be is the social disconnect that happens online may contribute to this thoughtless, self entitled, convention intrusions. The lack of consequences that happens in front of a monitor may condition someone to transfer there unwanted attention to the real world. In virtually space, you can have your pixelated hottie to do what you please like Jabba the Hutt using Leia as his personal pleasure prize. But this is nothing new; much of this distressing conduct as been around since people had hands to grope with and eyes to leer.

  2. This was a really good read and an awesome project! I hope you continue to work on it and am terribly sad to have not seen you guys doing this at wondercon. Keep up the great work!!

    • Sushi Killer

      Thank you for the support! I, personally, will be at a few more California cons (mostly NorCal) and we are working on getting photographers from other localities to submit too, so you might still be able to meet with one of us and get in on this. If not, just take a picture of yourself and submit it via tumblr or facebook or something!

      • Streetshy

        Have you ever done one at Fanime?

        • Sushi Killer

          No, this was our first con doing this, but someone will be at this year’s Fanime shooting for the project.

      • Devon

        Just letting you know that I work for a small convention in the Bay Area and I’m working on having us put up posters and stuff saying we support CONsent

  3. Thank you so much. This is a really great point. Our culture makes so many assumptions this is a direct and clear way of challenging them.

    • Sushi Killer

      Thank you! I am glad you think so!

  4. Foster

    This ^^^^^^. When I was cosplaying Articuno (my cosplay was a tad revealing, but nothing awful, my legs were exposed) I was getting a shoot done and a foreign man jumped in between me and my Moltres and asked for a photo. His wish was granted until my photographer noticed his hands were a little too close for comfort. He grabbed both of us by the hip, pulled us in real close, and squeezed– inching his hands a bit lower. My photographer then forbid everyone else from jumping in and trying to get a photo. I’ve experienced rudeness, joking flattery is fine, but when someone yells out a “compliment” they wouldn’t grace their own mother with then it’s uncalled for. This counts for men too. Cosplay is for fun, not to fulfill fantasies, not to grab up on someone.

    • Sushi Killer

      I am so sorry this happened to you… This sort of thing is WAY too common and I think many cosplayers can relate, myself included. Thank you so much for sharing and please consider taking a photo for our gallery!

    • I’d shout, “Get your filthy hands off my ass, you nasty pervert” as loud as I could, so that everyone in the room knows to avoid that guy.

  5. Devon Sisk

    I would love to be a part in this!! <3 I have quite a few story's i could tell you if you want, please message me back on my facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/RunawayMuse?ref=tn_tnmn

  6. This is AWESOME! Are you still accepting pics? I have mini-whiteboards and would love to credit you for the campaign, a sort of “It Gets Better” for cosplayers.

    • Sushi Killer

      We are definitely looking for photographers to collaborate with us! All it would take is a white wipe-off board (we ask that it keeps the original format of these ones with our site name so we can better identify and separate our project from any others that might pop up in response) and that you’d be able to somehow send us high-res copies. Feel free to email us or send a message on facebook for more details!

  7. trill

    While cosplay and looking sexy is never an excuse for the behavior of men at these conventions, many of the characters these women are dressing as are comic and video game characters that objectify women. Sure, there are strong women characters, but they all seem to have 5 to 10 WHR and huge breasts. These characters are drawn mostly by men and are male fantasy objects. There will always be boys/dudes at these things that cannot make the disconnect between the fantasy world where these characters are objects and the real world in which girls have an innocent hobby in costuming, not to mention the fringe of fetishists that many of these costumes may appeal to.

    • Sushi Killer

      This is true, but it shouldn’t matter what a woman chooses to wear. If a woman was, say, wearing a tiny tanktop and shorts on a hot day at the park, this kind of behavior wouldn’t be acceptable, so why is the fact that she is dressed as a character any different?

      I still have hope. I want to spread awareness through this project and make some people think twice before acting like a creep. If they can look into the eyes of all these different people and still make the conscious decision to objectify them, there’s a whole other level of trouble. I hope this makes them think before they act.

      • Scott

        Agreed…What *anyone* is wearing doesn’t give anyone else an excuse for inappropriate behavior. If there are ‘people’ (and I use that term with serious reservations) who cannot make that disconnect…THEY are the ones that need to be smacked down, in whatever the appropriate fashion is.

      • Neal Feldman

        Taking a shot in the dark, I would say the difference between your scenario of tank top and shorts in a park on a hot day vs very revealing costumes worn TO BE NOTICED in a public convention setting are quite stark.

        It does not take a lot of education or mental horsepower to figure that out fairly quickly.

        Running around in public effectively screaming “LOOK AT ME!!!” and then getting upset when someone does is hardly a reasonable attitude.

        • Sushi Killer

          And if a woman wore a shirt that literally says “look at me” would that make it ok to touch her? And if a man wore a shirt that says “kill me” would that make it ok to kill him? No, these things can’t or at least shouldn’t hold up when the police get involved, so why should a cosplayer be treated any different? If a cosplayer wants to get attention through a costume, who is to say that it’s YOU he/she wants the attention from anyway?

        • fork

          NOTICED, not touched, harassed, bombarded with lewd comments, etc etc.
          It doesn’t take a lot of education or mental horsepower to figure out that looking at someone and admiring their cosplay or even looking at someone and admiring their physique is different from running up to someone and trying to cop a feel or shouting something at them about their private parts :/

        • Jack Voss

          There is a big difference between looking or noticing an attractive individual and groping or making lewd comments. I don’t think anyone mentioned having a problem with being noticed.

        • tattooeddarling20

          And many people claim that women wearing tank tops and shorts in the park on a hot day are asking for the exact same attention as cosplayers. So, by your logic, where does it stop? When are women allowed to be left alone? When they’re at home? When they’re wearing a muumuu? When they’re 80? Cosplayers get dressed up for their own pleasure, not for the purpose of the male gaze. I’m not even a con-goer and *I* know that. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone else not to.

      • sunwukung

        No-one should suffer abuse, physical or otherwise, but If someone cosplays in a rubberised nurse outfit (for example), in what way is that less objectifying to women than a porn star wearing the same outfit? Is this promoting a meme that harms women in other ways?

        Let’s flip this for a second – if you look at the illustrations on the Hawkeye Initiative : http://thehawkeyeinitiative.com/ they show you how sexualised comic and videogame representations of women are – yet female cosplayers are emulating these highly sexualised memes (which are generated by a primarily male industry – I mean, why do female warriors have bronze bikinis anyway?).

        I’m not saying this is the only purpose of cosplay, or that female cosplayers are fair game – but the blogosphere tends to focus on “hawt” cosplay, for the same reasons (IMHO) that the games industry employs “booth babes”, or gadget magazines feel the need to have a girl in a bikini on the cover. It sells page views/products to men, and it commodifies women. There is a contradiction here, where one half of the industry is questioning and removing these sexualised stereotypes from the media, yet at the other end, cosplayers are celebrating them.

        Gah, whatever – just thought I’d play devils advocate.

        • Sushi Killer

          Nono, this is important. These are questions that need to be asked!

          It’s true that as cosplayers we always have the option to choose characters that dress more conservatively (which can be hard) or modify existing designs so that they are less revealing. But there is a lot of backlash from these things and it can be hard to find a good balance.

          The thing is, regardless of the final decision of the cosplayer, no amount of skin showing should dictate how that person is treated. Booth babes and fan cosplayers alike are all people and deserve to be treated with the same respect as anyone else. The problem lies in the industry that continues to commodify women, and we can’t villify or blame a cosplayer who is trying to work within the confines of the norm when she is harassed because of it.

          • MockDino

            I think the point that trill was getting at more, than it’s the cosplayer’s fault for choosing that outfit, is there is a deeper issue at hand here. When the women we can dress up like are overly sexuality and seen as objects the disconnect from that to reality is an issue. No one should be treated like this ever, but there the root of the problem is in the depiction of women in comics and video games. The problem is bigger than how female cosplayers are treated, it’s really about how women in general are treated.

        • Yello! I think one of the reasons ladies enjoy cosplaying more ‘sexy’ characters is simply because they’re more fun. They tend to have wilder personalities, be more outgoing, more outspoken, etc. The more fully-clad outspoken kick-ass women tend to do something like wear a massive amount of armor, or something else making them really difficult to cosplay. It’s more fun to jump around in a schoogirl skirt than it is to be stern and silent wearing a mysterious robe. Or, at least for some people it is.

    • Marta

      Trill, those boys/dudes need to be told, unambiguously, that they’re being wrong and bad. Saying they don’t have the capacity to “make the disconnect” is silly when they’re being allowed to by a whole society of people who don’t step up against it.
      That being said, the difference between a fetishist and a creep is consent, so here we are.

    • My teenage daughter just cosplayed Lara Croft. This is not a particularly revealing costume; like Sushi says it’s just a tank top and shorts. She’s slender and not at all busty. But Lara Croft is a video game “sex symbol” nonetheless. A man who wouldn’t probably wouldn’t have considered grabbing her butt if she was in a tank top and shorts at the mall felt like he had license to do so because she was cosplaying as a character.

    • Kara Dennison

      I hate to say you’re right, but you’re right. However, saying there will always be guys like this is a short step from ‘boys will be boys,’ and a big problem is just assuming guys are going to act a certain way and we’ve just gotta sigh and shake it off. That’s not only bad for us, but it’s bad for guys, because it’s simultaneously vilifying the guys who are considerate and passively teaching other guys that they shouldn’t consider themselves above doing what comes ‘naturally.’ I see what you’re saying and I’m not saying you’re implying all of that, but it’s something to bear in mind.

    • VapRhap

      The point is to teach everybody that they must make the disconnect between the fantasy world and reality. Also, even in the fantasy world a lot of these characters would kick the ass of anybody who touched them without permission. Leeloo, superheroes, video game characters, et cetera.

    • wendyzski

      As I often explain to people “If I didn’t want you to look I’d be wearing a turtleneck. But I would like the occasional acknowledgment that I have a face.” And it’s NEVER an excuse for inappropriate touching.

    • ” There will always be boys/dudes at these things that cannot make the disconnect between the fantasy world where these characters are objects and the real world…”

      Not if we take this enabling excuse away from them. We teach toddlers that we keep our hands to ourselves and that if we have nothing nice to say we don’t say anything. It really shouldn’t be that hard for grown adults to figure it out.

      • Lauren

        Agreed, Wiccy. :)

      • Kiki

        Amen!

    • dg101

      You should also know that it doesn’t just happen to women. I’ve been groped and received similar treatment at cons at the hands of women. But, then again, I’m supposed to like it, right? While we’re promoting the cosplay=/= consent idea, how about we take notice of the fact that it affects everyone.

      • Chips Cosplay

        It absolutely affects men as well as women, you’re right. Hence the male cosplayer participation in the project. The gentlemen who was cosplaying Alice (pictured holding the “crossplay is not consent” sign), in fact, shared a personal story of being similarly harassed.

    • IhearwhatursayingBUT..

      Seriously—when you dress THAT provocatively, you have to know that you are going to draw attention to yourself, whether you are cosplaying, or at a bar, or a dance club, etc, etc. Now I agree that touching is wayyyy unacceptable, though girls think THEY can do it to my big arms or cut abs when I’m out in public (#doublestandard), but isn’t it a free country as far as picture taking from a distance in a PUBLIC place goes?

      • Sushi Killer

        And nobody should touch YOU either. This issue has no gender. Hence the participation of men in this project too.

        And nobody is arguing that nobody should look at cosplayers or give them attention, it’s all about the manner in which it is done. We are just calling for respect.

      • DrVonButts

        bro are you seriously getting mad about girls fawning over you?

        bro, don’t do that.

      • Jack Voss

        Isnt it a matter of respect. If the majority of cosplayers are asking that before you take their picture, simply ask. How is it hurting anyone to do so. It’s not about what is or is not legal. Treating people respectfully is something we should all aspire to do.

  8. Great Project! I wish I heard about this before we had our convention I would have taken part of it.

    • Sushi Killer

      Sadly this wasn’t publicized at all before Wondercon, where it started last weekend, which meant having to seek out cosplayers individually. In the future, we’d love to have a formal presence at other events either by a Siren or any other contributor, so please let us know in the future!

      • I’m not sure if it is as big of an issue here locally (at least I don’t see it happening first hand) I’m sure there are lots of cosplayers that would love to take part. If you want help I’d be happy to help as a photog. I think that it is a good message to put out as photos even though this issue seems to crop up every year needs more people to take notice and say no/point it out.

        • Sushi K- will you be doing it at SDCC?

          • Sushi Killer

            I, personally, probably won’t be there since I have no badge, no hotel, no transit, etc. However, I know at least one of the Sirens will be there and we will definitely have a photography presence there. We will post more about it as we come closer to the dates of the con, such as who will be there and how to find them to participate.

        • Heidi Shimada

          Pandawan!!! I was going to ask if you could help me in Hawaii and Dragoncon!!! Yes Chris, this happens even in Hawaii. My story is that a guy threatened to rape me at Kawaii Kob if I ever cosplayed KOSMOS. This same guy has also used my costume accessories as an opportunity to try and grope me even though I try to get away. This is happening in Hawaii so there is no safe place.

          This project is awesome and I’m so happy this is catching on nationwide!

        • Sadly, this is one of those issues that largely goes unnoticed. I once had a friend tell me “What, it’s not like sexual harassment really happens that much.” I directed to ask his female friends about it, both those he considered ‘attractive’ and those who weren’t. He came away with a new perspective as he heard story after story of cat calls, groping done in crowded settings (doesn’t just happen on Japanese subways), and unequal treatment. It was especially prevalent as we worked for a tech support call center, where our female employees had to grin and bear it when callers demanded to speak to a male because women ‘couldn’t know what they were talking about’. It’s one of those things you don’t often see, because as males, we’re not looking for it, we don’t expect it, because we don’t experience it.

      • shortcongoer

        I think you should contact Harley’s Joker and D-Piddy/Deadpool about getting on-board with this. Their sites and Deadpool’s “Deadpool Vs” video series get a lot of attention, and I don’t think either of these gentlemen would be against helping cosplayers of both genders to get the respect they deserve.

        • Sushi Killer

          I actually saw Harley’s Joker at wondercon but he was so swamped and surrounded by people that I couldn’t ask him about it. Still, if those cosplayers wanted to get involved, that would be amazing!

  9. trill

    I hope this project helps create a better environment, and that organizers stop ignoring these issues. Good luck!

  10. I think it’s a good start to raise awareness of the problem, but i’m not sure how effective it will be at stopping it. What i think needs to be done is not just raise awareness, but start teaching girls how to protect themselves.
    FTA: “But then their fingers wander to my butt, or stroke my back… And it makes me so uncomfortable. I just want to yell, ‘Hands off!’”
    Really… she should have yelled it. That’s the kind of things that women need to take to heart. Telling a guy to back off cause he’s making you feel uncomfortable is not a bad thing. Learn how the sexual harassment laws in your state work and what the policies at the conventions are. Sometimes even just telling them to back off and embarrassing them in a crowd will be enough to scare them off.

    • I think the reason most women don’t scream at someone is so they don’t cause a scene, or have someone explode at them. It’s a touchy subject, and I can see where both sides of this argument can come from, but at conventions, most of the time, people let it slide because everyone’s there for at least one reason, right? They love something about the convention. So I guess it’s because they don’t wanna spoil any fun. I’ve never been in that kind of situation, so I wouldn’t know exactly what might have gone through her mind at the time :c

    • No. The responsibility to not be creepy is on the person carrying out the harassment. Not the person being harassed. Always.

      Even if it the responsbility did lie with the cosplayer, it can be really really difficult to speak out. You don’t know what else the harasser will do, where else they will touch, what they will say, if they will explode with anger in front of you, if the people around you will support you or them, anything could happen and it is scary. Choosing to put up with the devil you know does not make you responsible for them.

      Men (and it is nearly always men) are perfectly capable of stopping themselves harassing someone. The onus is on them and to say otherwise does them a great disservice.

      • Jack Voss

        I feel that it’s would also be part of my responsibility to speak up if I witnessed such a thing. Right or wrong that is how I was raised. Being larger then most other people my father taught me it was my responsibility to do so. I would feel compelled to at least say something about groping or lewd comments. I think if more people did, this would help reduce it.

    • Kara Dennison

      Exactly this! The guy will likely call you a bitch or worse, but the people around you will see what’s going on as well. You will have more people for you than against you.

    • feminerdity

      Careful, that can sound a bit like victim shaming. “She should have done this to prevent that sort of behavior” is a dangerous statement. Yes, girl’s should know how to protect themselves, but boys should also be taught how to respect women. Society has bullied women into not speaking up about harassment because doing so makes you a bitch, a whiner, over sensitive, etc. It’s difficult to find the strength to stick up for yourself when you’re constantly told your feelings don’t matter. Several things need to happen: we need to start teaching our boys better and hold them accountable, we need to teach our girls that it is okay to stick up for themselves but it’s also not their fault when they can’t find the strength to, and society as a whole needs to speak out against these incidents when we see them happening.

      • I guess it’s a matter of perception. I look at it more as empowerment than shaming. II have long been a proponent of girls learning how to defend themselves. In an ideal world, it would not be necessary, but we don’t live in an ideal world. The real world calls for practical solutions.

    • VapRhap

      Actually, it’s not about teaching girls to protect themselves. Girls and women shouldn’t HAVE to protect themselves from assault (assault by law is any unwanted contact). Stop putting the responsibility on the women being touched without their permission. The responsibility is on every individual. HELLO, how can you live on this planet without knowing that touching someone without their permission is not a good idea. Also, for (some) of the men out there, if you wouldn’t wrap your arm around the shoulder or stroke the back of a man in cosplay, why would you do it to a woman? Because you feel inappropriate doing it to a man? Good. It’s also inappropriate to do it to a woman.

      It is not a woman’s responsibility to control men. It’s a man’s responsibility to control himself. Don’t touch ANYBODY without their permission. And where cosplay concerned it’s especially weird because most of the men perpetuating this are strangers who have never met the cosplayer before and have no underlying understanding or friendship with them that might put them in a closer sphere of comfort/contact.

    • Heidi Shimada

      While I agree that some of those people should have spoken up for themselves (or that bf should have stepped in), there are people who just don’t get it. While this doesn’t necessarily stop the random con goer, it helps to educate the wider cosplay/regular con goer community to step in and do something instead of look away.

    • Caleb

      Some people do this and just plain don’t realize that they’re making people uncomfortable, and some people do it thinking that they can get away with it and no one will care. I feel that something like this will bring attention to the things that people are doing, and the attention that it’s getting will cause them to simmer down and think, “Oh shit, people DON’T like being touched after all!”

      As for the “she should have yelled it” thing, yes, she should have. If you’re ever a victim of sexual assault, you should yell and scream and bring attention to it, but it’s not that easy, really. A few years ago when I was maybe 13 turning 14, I was dressed up as Alice from Alice in Wonderland. The dress I was wearing was short, but not horribly (Maybe halfway between my knee and crotch), and I was wearing pretty thick stockings. A big, (definitely older), man dressed as the Mad Hatter came up to me and asked for my picture, and then grabbed my arm and paraded me around, touching my butt for every photo op. until I was able to sneak away. Should I have yelled stop? Absolutely, but it’s not that easy, especially when someone it’s touching you and showing you off, you don’t want to draw that kind of attention to yourself. You’re already in a scary situation, and sometimes you feel like calling for help would just make it scarier because you don’t know how the other person will react. In my case, I felt like there was a chance the guy would get angry or hit me if I called him out, so I just dealt with it.

      Many women and men and everyone inbetween know their sexual harassment laws, but it’s still terrifying and off putting when someone comes from behind and starts commenting on your boobs and ass, or even worse, touching you. Sometimes the most you can do is go to the staff afterwords and target whoever made you feel uncomfortable, but that doesn’t always work, either. When I went to the staff to complain, they said to just stay away from him, that it happens all the time, and sent me off without even doing anything about him.

      That’s why I think this is amazing, the whole Cosplay =/= Consent thing, because it’s something we NEED to draw attention to, and that we NEED to get out there, because people just aren’t realizing the affect it has on cosplayers. With this we’re targeting it head-on, it’s giving the cosplay community a place to work on a cause together, and if we bring attention to it, there’s a bigger chance that people are going to ACT on it, which is amazing, and is something that needs to happen more often.

      Whoops, sorry, that was long, haha. uwu;;

    • sylph

      It’s easy to say that a girl should draw attention to unwanted behavior, but in reality it can be a very daunting task. There are feelings of not wanting to make an unpleasant scene at a fun event, not to mention the rampant victim-blaming that might make a girl second-guess herself. Since those who want to take a stand can’t be there in every one of those situations, I think it’s important to make the issue better known, and to induce an environment in the community where that kind of behavior is simply not tolerated, or where a woman would feel more comfortable saying “Hands off!”

    • Agree wholeheartedly.

      What was described is, in most jurisdictions, a criminal act of sexual battery, more often than not a felony.

      If someone does such you make a big vocal thing of it and contact a convention representative or rep of the hotel or center to press criminal charges.

      THAT is how you deal with sexual assault, not cute pictures with a whiteboard.

      You DO realize that for likely over 90% of males who view these pics of sexy women in revealing outfits and a white board most will not even bother to read the board, instead focusing just on the sexual aspect of the photo. Does not seem that effective to me at least.

      • Sushi Killer

        First of all, I’d like to give the men of this world more credit.

        Second of all, who is to say that some of these people haven’t tried? Or that they were too busy being scared and trying to defend themselves to stop the harassment as it was happening?

        This is a call to arms, and we have gotten some very supportive messages from people who “know [they're] not alone anymore” and are “inspired to speak out instead of staying silent next time.” So even if it’s just a baby step, it’s still a step in the right direction to spread awareness about this issue.

        • Just to be clear. I agree that is is a good first step, but it is just the first step. What i’m saying is what i think the next step should be.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            I’ve had a night to think about what really bothers me about the deny-ers here, and I think I’ve finally identified it.

            I don’t need your permission to be offended, uncomfortable, unwilling, or unavailable. You don’t get to tell me when my emotions are “okay” or “understandable” and when they’re not.

            I don’t need you to approve or disapprove of my costume. Cons are about being fannish, and part of being fannish is blind, childlike enthusiasm about something that makes me happy, with the hope that it makes other people happy too, and that we can be happy and nerdy together.

            I don’t need to explain why it’s okay that this person takes my picture and that person doesn’t. I’m not being unfair, irrational, hypocritical, or mean. I don’t even have to explain why one situation is really cool and fun and another is threatening, intimidating, or upsetting.

            I don’t need your permission to come or go.

            I don’t need to be encouraged to participate, or to be discouraged to get involved.

            I don’t need instructions in how to defend myself and avoid dangerous situations. I don’t need to understand what my attacker’s motivations might be, nor to ruminate and meditate on what I might have done differently to avoid being victimized.

            I don’t need someone to explain how men feel, nor to remind me that not all men are bad and not all women are good.

            I don’t need for you to do my research or to admonish me to consider another person’s point of view. If you think I have no empathy for others, not only are you wrong, but you don’t know me nearly as well as you pretend to.

            I don’t need for you to believe that I’m a fictional character, nor for you to treat me as if I were nothing more than a figment of someone else’s imagination. I don’t need to explain why I won’t engage in your sexual fantasies, however benign, simple, or unoffensive you feel them to be.

            I don’t have to talk to you, wave to you, smile at you, pose for you, or interact with you in any way if I don’t want to. I also don’t owe anyone an explanation for my actions, costume, deportment, speech, or venue. I have to take responsibility for what I do, but so do you.

            And yes, if you ask me nicely, you can take my picture. If I’m posing, you’re welcome to snap the shots, from a respectful distance and a decent angle. If you catch me at an unguarded moment, consider sharing the shot with me. As often as not, I’ll be happy for the attention and flattered that you like my costume. If not, please assume I have reasons for not being available, and please don’t take it personally.

            I don’t need your permission to be in public, but I’d be a lot happier if we all could get along and if you stopped man-splaining to me why I’m being irrational, unfair, uninformed, and intimidating when I explain that sexism is real, that women are victimized differently than men, and that it is the responsibility of the offender to control him or herself, not for the victim to be less “victim-y”.

            Most men are good people. Most women are good people. Most fans are seriously awesome people.

            And that it my manifesto.

          • Can you show me where i denied it was happening or said you needed to any of those things. So far all i’ve done is share one possible way of handling the situation. Feel free to disagree with me and tell me why you disagree with me, but i feel like you are attempting to vilify me by citing a ton defenses against statements i never made.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            1) your rant is ridiculous.

            2) if you are out in public you have zero expectation of privacy. The courts have actually, believe it or not, extended this to upskirt photos as well (a position I disagree with strongly). Simple reality… photographers have a right to take pictures and you have no right not to be photographed in public.

            You can push the PSA for ‘politeness’ (as you define it) but you cannot force or mandate it. That is what ‘rights’ means.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            Zarli, you have my apologies, because this posted beneath your comment, making it sound like I was responding or reacting to you, which I was not. I’m sorry if you felt singled out or vilified. This was supposed to post at the end of the thread as its own rant. You didn’t do anything wrong.

            As for Neal. *refuses to feed the troll*

          • Melina, cool. Mistake happen

            Neal: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/upskirting_outlawed_in_maryland_/
            According to this article, 45 states have outlawed upskirting as of 2006. Also, even if they had the legal right do to it, people also have a legal right to point them out.

          • Zarli WIn -

            As I recall the ruling was more recent than 2006 but I do not have it in front of me. When it was reported I had a hard time believing it, it seems nonsensical. But that was the ruling. I feel the same about the SC ruling that said Westboro’s BS was protected.

            Not sure how passing laws against it after it was ruled unconstitutional already would change anything.

            I am not defending the ruling, just pointing it out.

          • Neal, on doing a quick search, i found that apparently Washington State was where a court ruling was made like you described. Hopefully the laws get reworked there. My main point was that it seems most states have already made it illegal, so you are in full legal rights it they try (in those states).

          • Zarli WIn -

            Thank you for checking and I do hope you are right… I found the legal ‘reasoning’ astounding… how up your dress is ‘in full public view’ I do not comprehend, to be honest.

    • James

      I think a better thing to do would be the to teach the people/guys who have wondering hands that it’s not okay to do that sorta thing, which is what this project is about (I think). If you teach guys that cosplay doesn’t equal consent, then there’s no need for girls to have to protect themselves.

    • Chips Cosplay

      You’re right that doing so might stop the creeper in question from behaving that way in the future, or at least discourage it, but it’s important not to frame this as an issue that makes it the responsibility of the victim to correct. It’s the responsibility of everyone in the community to improve the community in any way we can, and that includes raising awareness about these issues and trying to shine a light on the perps.

    • Professor Cookie

      Im with you here and I would back any girl up who told a guy to back off because he was taking too many liberties and touching them inappropriately. Just remember girls if they do something you dont like, tell them then and there I guarantee the others around will support you and help you.

    • Morgan

      The thing is, girls are CONSTANTLY being told what THEY’RE supposed to do to stop harrassment (pamphlets, videos, those chain emails, the message is everywhere), when the lesson being taught should be to guys about why it’s not okay to do it in the first place. Placing the responsibility of prevention on the girl only sets her up to be blamed when something happens by assuming that the guy who did it couldn’t help himself. Instead, things like this movement need to happen, to make sure and inform guys that just because a girl is dressed in a costume, even a revealing one, it’s not okay to touch or photograph her without her consent or to make lewd comments.

      By strengthening the message that they – the HARASSERS – are the ones who need to alter their actions, we can make sure that they will either a) realize what they’re doing is wrong and stop, or b) realize that if they do it, no one will make excuses for them and doing it will land them in some hot water.

      When harassers know – and believe me, they do – that people will try to pardon the harasser’s actions with ‘yeah, but look how revealing her outfit is’ or ‘well she didn’t tell him to back off’ – they will feel empowered to do something they know is wrong. Movements like this are aimed to make sure that the responsibility of preventing harassment doesn’t fall on the shoulders of the victims (or potential victims).

      Telling one girl to ‘protect herself’ might protect one victim (keyword: MIGHT). Telling one potential harasser that it’s not okay to do inappropriate things – and more importantly, that they won’t get away with it – protects COUNTLESS more.

      • I agree that in a utopia, the harassers would be told to stop and they would. But in the real world, just how many of them do you think will see this message? How many of them will think it applies to them. While getting people to stop the harassment would be a good thing, a more immediate and practical course of action is for the victims to fight back.

      • Hob

        There are 2 different points here.

        A) Harassers need to alter their actions.
        B) Girls being told what to do to stop harassment.

        The problem is that conscious people all realize (I hope) that point A is true. But, as Zarli puts it, this media isn’t really the right way to get at them. So I think that socially acceptable people who “tell girls what to do to stop harassment” are only saying that “considering point A, point B could ALSO help”. Kind of like someone giving precautions to a friend who’s dealing with criminals.

        But those “socially acceptable people” are attacked saying they are ignoring the fact that the actual problem is the harassers, which I think is implicitly accepted by everyone (again, I hope).

        Dont take me wrong, post victimization is bad (AKA “You should have not…” or “It was your fault for…”), but precautions are always good (AKA “You should watch out for…” or “Maybe cover yourself more in case of…”) even if the precaution shouldn’t exist in the first place. Making an effort for the problems that shouldn’t morally exist (and that aren’t morally “your problem”) is a fact that everyone has to do to reduce the probability of consequences on ones self.

        tl;dr : People are dicks and “socially acceptable people” admit it. But it also helps to make an effort even if that energy shouldn’t be spent in the first place.

    • geekzyllah

      I wholeheartedly disagree with the “should”; it reeks of victim-blaming.
      I “should” be able to make my wishes clear regarding consent and interaction with strangers in a public place, but in the current cultural climate, I can’t always do that in a way that does not further compromise my safety. If I can’t respond the way I might want to, or the way you want me to, that does not mean that I deserve whatever is happening or have brought it on myself.
      The onus is absolutely on the aggressor to behave like a decent human, not on me to do [insert whatever here] to force that person to behave.

      • Sushi Killer

        Yes, exactly! Wonderfully put!

      • I’m not talking about victim blaming, but empowerment. I’m not blaming her for being too scared to say anything. I’m saying that in a world that has these types of creepers, women need to learn to defend themselves.
        I was a really small kid and got picked on a lot in school. It wasn’t until a friend told me to stand up for myself that it stopped. I see these types of creepers as no different from the bullies that picked on me as a kid.

        • Melinda Kimberly Layden

          The interactions between male and female are different than the interactions between male and male. To compare them is to misunderstand them. If a man is unable to control himself, he shouldn’t go out in public and hurt, embarrass, or shame others. Moreover, to use the “bully” metaphor ignores the stranger aspect of this. There is no relationship, no time to make one often, and the creeper can retreat into anonymity. No. This is all on the creeper.

          • If you take gender out of it, you are simply left with abuser and victim. No two situations are exactly alike, but i think there’s enough commonality. My point is still that yes, it would be really nice if all the abusers suddenly stopped, but that won’t happen by itself. What do you think a girl should do when someone does something that makes them feel uncomfortable?

          • To take gender out of it is to distort the situation. Gender IS part of it, and for me is inextricably part of the experience. And BECAUSE gender is part of it, then having discussions like the ones raised by the original post are extremely important to change the attitudes of this portion of society. It is up to US as fans to change the climate that allows abusers to abuse strangers, in public, with few attempts made to stop the behavior.

            *shudders at the thought of a girl receiving this treatment* To ask me what a woman should do when someone does something uncomfortable is courting an oversimplification.

            It depends on the woman, and the situation.

            *discards a few lame examples for the over-generalizations that they are*

            The problem here is I’ve been to so many cons and in so many situations that I know how quickly things can go from Fine to Sort of Okay to Not Okay to Really Bad. It can happen very quickly, because men who have poor social skills or a predatory mindset (and want to “get” girls) can turn on a dime.

            (Yes, there are predatory women. Yes, men can be victims too. Yes, the problem is very complex, so I’m focusing on strictly male/female interactions for now.)

            Most men at Cons are decent people. I have no problem hanging out with them, and I make sure to develop a network of support (male, female, and Other) so if I’m Not Okay, I have places to go and people who will back me up.

            If a man strikes me as Creepy, I avoid him whenever possible and communicate my discomfort to anyone who asks.

            The problem with male/female interactions is that men and women often come from very different mindsets. Society teaches women to get along, to be nice, to go with things, and to worry about the emotions of other people. Men are taught to be strong, to repress their emotions, to look competent, and that their attractiveness is linked to some kind of success.

            Without open and honest communication and the support and encouragement of a larger community, this is a disaster waiting to happen. For many men, being around attractive women is associated with the best kind of success, in which a man is potent, happy, desired, and envied by other men. It’s not surprising that, for this reason, men seek the company of attractive women. The problem is that the women are sometimes perceived as a commodity to be “gotten” rather than as fellow beings to be interacted with.

            I’ve gotten the “shut up and pose” treatment, and it really sucks, because it’s hard to get out of without being very curt, confrontational, assertive, or just outright bitchy. The kind of man who wants me to just shut up and pose does not deal well with a woman who won’t do what he says.

            So if it’s risky to be out while dressed sexily, why do I (and other women) do it?

            Many women want to belong and to be liked. Dressing sexily can attract a lot of attention, and if the majority of it is good, the act of cosplaying can boost the woman’s self-confidence. This means that men may notice her and even appreciate her costume. But too much of anything is tiring at best and intimidating at worst. How is a woman who’s been taught her whole life to “be nice” and “play fair” going to deal with a man who believes that if this “hot chick” will only show him her jugs, that all his friends will envy him?

            And the darker side of this: How does a woman who’s spent hours and hours prepping a costume deal with the unkind words of men who don’t think she’s as tall, as short, as blonde, as buxom, as lithe, as pretty, or as good as the character she’s cosplaying? Men are taught to say what they think. Women are taught to think before they speak and to take the high road by not arguing with strangers, no matter how rude.

            Even darker than this, what about the woman who doesn’t feel that her costume is sexy at all, who has covered herself head to toe, or who is cosplaying male and yet STILL receives unwanted attention from rude men?

            Nota bene: the final flaw inherent in any advice I might give to a woman who’s uncomfortable with attention is it assumes that the woman doing the cosplay is somehow seeking the approval of men. It’s entirely possible that she doesn’t care about men in general or a man in particular, and thus is doing cosplay because she enjoys the clothes, the character, or the experience. Cons are about self-expression, and art takes many forms. I know many women cosplayers who are lone wolves, and they dress for themselves or a small group of close friends, and so the issue of why women cosplay is as complicated as the relationship between men and women.

            Many people, especially men, assert that if women will just stand up for themselves, abusers will be cowed into submission. This idea is supported by stereotypes in the gaming and film industries, which make much of the “strong, independent woman”, who is sexy and strong and outspoken.

            However, when an actual woman is outspoken in real life, the admiration can end very quickly and turn to resentment or outright hostility.

            “WTF?! I just asked if you wanted COFFEE! GOD, what a BITCH!”

            I don’t think any reasonable person here would defend such an outburst.

            So what do I think a woman should do? A woman should feel safe and confident in her choice of attire. A woman should cosplay with a mind to her surroundings, and try to avoid costumes that are too uncomfortable, too hazardous, or too unwieldy. A woman should cultivate a community of support within the con she attends. A woman should make her feelings plain, and be firm if a man treats her in a disrespectful way. But putting the onus on the woman who feels badly — and not on the man who makes her feel bad — is to blame the result and miss the cause.

            The campaign of COSPLAY =/= CONSENT is akin to the current campaign to end sexual violence, which simply says “Don’t Rape.” The way to change the problem is to go after the cause. One woman expressing herself once to one man won’t change the mindset of a whole group of people, no matter how eloquent or clever the woman. But if many PEOPLE express their support to their fellow cosplayers, male and female, then they stand a chance to change the culture that makes questions of cosplay and consent so contentious.

          • Again i’m not saying the situation is exactly the same and every situation is different. But in this situation, i feel the best solution is the same… the victim should stand up for themselves.

            You: “A woman should make her feelings plain, and be firm if a man treats her in a disrespectful way.”
            So in other words you agree with me, but:
            “But putting the onus on the woman who feels badly – and not on the man who makes her feel bad – is to blame the result and miss the cause.”
            You also want to vilify me for things i never said nor feel.

            When did i say that the man is not to blame? Yes of course the man, in this case is to blame. What i’m talking about is a possible solution. One that i think will stop the problem 95% of the time.

            You “the final flaw inherent in any advice I might give to a woman who’s uncomfortable with attention is it assumes that the woman doing the cosplay is somehow seeking the approval of men”
            also another assumption that i have said or felt.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            I’m glad we have some points of commonality. Let’s hear it for civilized discourse.

    • Tigrel

      Easier said than done sometimes. I wasn’t really aware of cosplay (came here via a friend’s link) but I have experienced sexual harassment in a variety of ways since I was 10. Unfortunately when a bloke touches me inappropriately, my mind goes blank and I freeze. Eventually tears or making some kind of escape have got me out of these situations. Afterwards I berate myself for not doing something more and drawing people’s attention to the situation.

      The onus is most completely on those who are invading another person’s personal space. Unfortunately, as several people have already commented, there is a perception that men just can’t help themselves, something I have come across frequently. Even my own mother has made comments to this effect. I think this attitude both demeans men and enables those who think it is acceptable to behave in such a way.

      As an outsider reading these posts I can understand the points made by those who want a candid but not posed shot. As many have said ‘then ask after.’ Some people seem to be missing the main point that it is the inappropriate and objectifying shots that are most disagreed with. I’m sure there are some girls out there who would not mind bending over for a boob shot, but ASK FIRST! As for those who take up the skirt shots, that is just plain wrong. If a person has to take a shot in such a way that the other isn’t aware of it because they know they won’t approve, surely that should clue them in as to whether they should be taking the shot in the first place?

      As for the double standard that men should like sexual harassment if it happens to them, that is out of order too. Another wrongly encouraged attitude that men are nothing more than their sexual desires, that they are somehow less than men if they don’t appreciate complete strangers touching them.

  11. Amy

    Wow, what a great project to help expose these issues. I’ve definitely had my share of run-ins with creeps, including guys who have picked me up without my asking and held me bridal-style which I find very hard to jump down from. Mind you, I’m 5’9”, but this doesn’t deter some men from doing what they do. Anyways, I love this idea. Good luck with it!

  12. Jarrak

    This was written just today on facebook (name redacted), they were arguing with me both on that people should choose their own outfits (no, seriously) and also that skimpy outfits were ‘asking for it’, one post: Running around in a skimpy outfit (whether you’re underage or not) is begging for attention (whether you want it or not). Doing so at conventions carries risks. If they’re LUCKY, they’ll just get some looks, without the touches. I’m not saying they’re “asking for it” in terms of any physical sexual assault, but anyone who goes out of the way to show off skin with their costume and then complains about perverts staring at them or harassing them is an idiot. If they WANT that sort of usually-unwanted attention, though, then sure! As long as they aren’t kidding themselves, and are aware of the risks.

    My analogy is that doing this willingly is like bathing in shark-infested waters with an open wound, just hopefully less physically damaging. Good luck to them.

    • Nahjra

      I think you should be able to go allmost naked anywhere and people should respect you. Is something basic. I should be able to go in a bikini through the city and no one has the right to harass me.

    • “My analogy is that doing this willingly is like bathing in shark-infested waters with an open wound, just hopefully less physically damaging. Good luck to them.”

      So, what you’re saying is, all men are unthinking animals with absolutely no reason or self-control, and their higher brain functions are equivalent to that of big fish?

      Why do you hate men, Jarrak?

    • J-M

      You want to stop this at conventions. I can tell you how, no one is going to like it. I know the way to do it though. Start targeting the cosplayers who use sex to get fans. Now don’t start on some tirade about how none of them do. There are girls on facebook with huge bewbs and they put on a storm trooper helmet and a bikini and call themselves cosplayers. Then they get 200k followers and each post is “Oh ya tease me more” “you’re so hot” and other things such as that. Take a look at your fan pages. If you have people commenting on the size of your parts there and not the beauty of your costumes and not banning them…. maybe the online message is different that the one in person. I see it all the time.

      • Sushi Killer

        I don’t feel comfortable “targeting” them, but having their support for the project would be an amazing addition. If a cosplayer is openly inviting a certain kind of attention and condoning it repeatedly, then he/she is consenting to it, and that’s what this is all about. Just because one cosplayer consents to being objectified by his/her fans doesn’t mean the rest of us will.

    • The one thing that did really bug me about this was the boyfriend commenting how he didn’t step up to stop jerks from touching his girlfriend even though she clearly hated it, saying he didn’t want to look like a “possessive jerk or fanboy.” It is SO manly to sacrifice your girlfriend’s comfort to maintain your social status at a convention. Absurd. I’m so thankful to have a boyfriend who wouldn’t think twice about telling grubby hands to back off. By no means should a woman have to hide by a man, but that isn’t the point. It absolutely disgusts me that he laments over “oh, I didn’t want to look obsessive blah blah.”

      Why was it even a queston in his mind whether or not he should stand up for her?

      To me, his “story” highlights how even people who “care” about the objectified cosplayer can still contribute just as much to the problem. Because what he said just infuriated me. Put on your big boy pants and worry more about your girlfriend being assaulted than worrying about what people think of you. You are just as terrible as them for making the conscious choice of not stepping in, you emotionally selfish jerk.

      • Oops. That was intended to be a reply to this blog and not this comment lol

      • Sushi Killer

        I think the point he wanted to make was that he regrets not being braver and standing up for her. I hope if he finds this article he will be newly inspired to stand up whenever he sees something bad happening.

    • Kara Dennison

      You realise that by making this comparison, you’re essentially saying that these guys are, or should be considered, brainless animals with no capacity for higher thinking? If you’re being cynical and lamenting the state of the human race, then I suppose so. But you can’t hold sharks accountable for what they do. Their brains have not evolved past the hunt-and-kill instinct. No matter how little you may think of pervert fanboys, they are still human beings with higher mental functions and should NOT be exempted from behaving like human beings. That’s dangerous and wrong. No, we shouldn’t be *shocked* when it happens, but it’s demeaning to men to call them brainless predators and demeaning to women to tell them they’re foolish to be knowingly playing with brainless predators.

    • Jarrak, so what you’re saying is that we shouldn’t expect men at conventions confronted with a bit of female flesh to have any more self-control than a shark in a feeding frenzy? Can you see how insulting that is, both for the women being portrayed as meat, and the men being portrayed as brute beasts?

      Being looked at and having your costume admired for its creativity is one thing. Being groped, grabbed, ogled or surreptitiously photographed is quite another.

    • I agree that they take the risk with revealing costumes, if they don’t like it they should wear a less revealing costume. However, it does not give men the right to harass these artists in their costume choice. I agree that it is risky but hopefully men will see that what they’re doing is wrong and conventions should have security weed out creeps like that and actually should have security members with “Harassement Security” t-shirts made who walk around and look out for such creeps!! -_-

      • VapRhap

        “If they don’t like it they should wear a less revealing costume.” Negative. I have been clothed head to toe in a thick and bulky red ankle-length trench coat with black gloves, a knee-length skirt, opaque black tights, and black boots up to the hem of my skirt and still have been harassed this way. R. Tang, you’re missing the point. This happens whether or not the costume is revealing. The only skin showing was my face and part of my neck and I was still harassed this way. So your argument is invalid. I’ve seen this happen to women who were dressed in burka-style outfits from movies and television shows, and men we’re trying to reach into the fabric to see where the woman’s body began. It was awful. Fortunately, security stepped in and we got them banned from the convention permanently.

        And dressing like your favorite character does not mean you’re looking for attention. It means you want to dress like your favorite character and if you want a screen or page-accurate costume, sometimes those costumes are revealing.

        • Sushi Killer

          Yikes, what a horror story!

      • VapRhap

        “If they don’t like it they should wear a less revealing costume.”

        Nope. Wrong. This happens to women at cons (and elsewhere) no matter what they wear. I was dressed in a bulky ankle-length red trench coat with black gloves, a knee-length black skirt, opaque black tights, and knee high black boots (in other words only my face and upper neck showing) when I was harassed this way.

        Another woman who was dressed like the blue Diva from The Fifth Element, but in the before scene where she is wearing a blue burka-like contraption was harassed, with men trying to stick fingers through the wall of fabric to see where her body started.

        Women are not all trying to get attention by cosplaying. Also, even if they were, wanting attention is not asking to be abused or touched. Most of them do not cosplay to get anybody’s attention. They cosplay to dress like a character they love. And in order to be screen or page-accurate to their favorite costume, they may dress revealingly. Just like on the beach or in a club, the style of dress does not make it acceptable or understandable if someone touches them without their consent or tries to snap a skeevy type of photo.

    • Fallon

      I don’t wholly agree. If a girl goes to the beach in a skimpy swimsuit – she may expect that some guys (and perhaps some girls as well) are going to ogle her – and possibly snap an unasked photo of her. But it’s unlikely they would ask for pics of her, or with her, or stop and try to grope her. What’s going on at the Cons is unacceptable. My opinion about the touching is: if you wouldn’t do it when someone was dressed in street clothes… don’t do it when they are dressed in a con-costume.

      • Sushi Killer

        Well, I think some people WOULD actually touch others inappropriately in street clothes, but that’s besides the point.

        I’ve done some swimsuit modeling on my local beach and in that case I wasn’t surprised when people snapped pics of me without asking… I was already in front of a camera and those pictures often included the photographer too. But this is different. If I was on the beach with my family, I would be pretty damn terrified of someone taking my picture without asking, because that is predatory behavior and I would not feel safe.

    • Sinick

      Sooo, according to you, men are sharks. Violent predators with no higher brain function. Completely unable to control themselves in the presence of prey.

      That mansplains so very much.

      • VapRhap

        Uh no. Not all men. Just the ones who are douchecanoes who touch women without their permission. And though this MOSTLY happens to women from men, there are also a few women who touch men without their consent. And that has to stop too.

        I know plenty of men who are wonderful human beings who are delightful and respectful and never creepy. They don’t harass women and they stand up for anybody being disrespected (regardless of gender). I love those guys. :) I hang out with them at cons. One of them is my boyfriend.

      • No one is saying all men are sharks and violent predators. Sadly, some people are (including women). Male cosplayers get the same unwanted attention and actions. Sometimes worse.

        • Agreeotherwise

          Male cosplayers are anime conventions get the same kind of unwanted attention with arguably even more unwanted physical contact. Anyone that knows what a yaoi paddle is know this is true,

      • Valhallan42nd

        She’s saying some people are seeing girls in skimpy costumes and taking liberties. Not cool.

    • Alexandra Erin

      Sharks are predatory animals governed by instincts. Human beings aren’t, or shouldn’t be. If there are people whose reaction to the sight of skin is an unstoppable instinctive predatory action, those people are the problem and they should not be going out in public (they’re just asking to see something that sets them off!) until they’ve gotten themselves under contol.

    • Jarrak…..comparing intelligent humans who have choice and control over their actions to sharks is insulting to men. Guys are not instinct-driven animals. They have consciousness and can CHOOSE not to be creepy douchebags, if we teach them that doing that stuff is not okay.

      Yes, women should be aware that wearing a skimpy outfit will attract attention. However there is a BIG difference between attention (people looking at you) vs. harassment and inappropriate comments/touching.

      And as mentioned multiple times above, it’s not just skimpy costumes. Women get harassed for being women, in a costume. Any costume. ‘Being a woman in costume = consent’ to far, far too many guys, and it needs to stop.

    • This. This is so true – let’s call a spade a spade. If you’re dressed up, you are looking for some level of attention. If you’re dressed at a strong deviance from the norm, you absolutely will receive attention. To say “ask before you take my picture” is, I’m sorry, ridiculous. You’re at a con, dressed to the nines, and don’t expect people to look at you and take pictures?? It’s a piece of stardom – I don’t doubt for a second that folks who dress up at cons wouldn’t think twice about snapping a candid shot of their favorite actor, especially if they were walking around at a con like this. It is why they are there – I have been to dozens of cons in various states of fan-dress, and *always* have zero expectation of privacy with regards to photography. Why? Because I was in a public place, asking for attention by dressing the way I did, and enjoying said attention for the hard work I put in to my outfit. If I were touched I made it very well known that wasn’t okay, but every person (male, female, intersex) who dressed up was well aware of the *fact* that it got them more attention by doing so. Conversely, the times I’ve gone without outfits and blended into the anonymous section were great too, and I knew that I wasn’t getting more attention because I didn’t have the outfits on. You cannot reasonably expect to the “right” of consent to every photograph though, that’s just ludicrous. Upskirts are never okay, and by all means shame those folks, but when you put on the outfit you enjoy a level of celebrity status; we all know that they have *VERY* little say in who takes their picture, especially when it’s non-commercial.

      • Sushi Killer

        We are only arguing the same thing as you. Nobody is saying photography shouldn’t be allowed or that cosplayers don’t want attention.

    • Scott

      Getting looked at? Yep, that’s almost a given…Getting harassed? Yeah, not acceptable. I’ve went swimming in nude pools, and seen everyone behave politely, without harassment happening, so why should a skimpy outfit give anyone permission to harass anyone? I’m sorry, we’re supposed to be able to control ourselves better than the previously-mentioned sharks, and if someone can’t control themselves, *THEY* deserve to be slapped down, hard, and publicly humiliated for their behavior, not the cosplayer…

    • The problem with saying “they should expect that” is it SHOULDN’T be that way. They are NOT asking for someone to come up to them asking for a photo and then try to squeeze their ass or side boob. That sort of behavior is inexcusable. Period.

    • This hits the nail right on the head though: the fact that someone has to assume there even IS risk is really messed up. Why is it that a guy can cosplay and have no assumption of risk, and a girl does?

      The only thing a cosplayer is “asking for” is ‘hey, great job on the costume!’ not ‘I’d tap that ass!’ Is this such a hard thing to comprehend?

    • James

      As has been said by others, your analogy is completely off. The reason why it’s dangerous is not because of what the woman wears but because of the frame of mind of the person who wants to grab/squeeze/feel whatever. You shouldn’t be teaching women that they shouldn’t wear skimpy clothes out of fear of something happening, you should be teaching guys that, even if a woman is stark naked, it’s not an invitation. Men do have self-control, they aren’t instinctual animals.

    • Chips Cosplay

      You might be surprised how many stories the cosplayers in the photos shared of being verbally harassed or touched inappropriately when dressed very conservatively. Revealing costumes aren’t to blame, the creepers are.

      • geekzyllah

        Wonderfully said! Thank you!

  13. aslinncosplay

    I love this! I want to see if I can help you with this project at my next con in sunny Gold Coast Australia. I might be able to get some cosplayers together and maybe ask a photographer for help. There are too many people (male and female) who assume they can do as they please to a person just because they wear a costume. It makes it easy for them to forget there’s a real person under it.

    • Mr. Morpheus

      I was thinking that would be a great idea. Being a volunteer at the Gold Coast con, we are made aware that there is a no tolerance for sexual harassment of anybody attending or working and if we see anything untoward happening will step in to attempt to defuse the situation. So anyone attending Supanova on the Gold Coast this April be assured that there are measures that can be taken to eliminate harassment of anyone, up to and including a ban for the offender. Personally i will not hesitate to step in if i see anything untoward. I also cosplay myself and dont mind having photos taken of me if asked or if someone takes the opportunity while i am posing for someone else and when having my photo taken with someone let the lady decide where she will place her hands and follow her lead, I also allow hugs.

  14. Ted

    I completely agree…..I hate that men and women treat people like pieces of meat. Seriously, these people have issues with life anyways, and Karma will catch up with them as well. Also since we now victimize the rapists now as well. I’m sorry but I enjoy watching and seeing cosplayers. They put a lot of work into costumes of characters they enjoy and that’s what I take it as, a talent that the person is displaying for the masses to see. I rarely attend conventions, but will be going to Anime North, with some good friends that are great cosplayers, I would be happy to try and get pictures as well.

  15. Wow. This was a great read, and I’m tempted to get a whiteboard to do a picture for this myself. Thanks for starting this!

  16. I cosplayed as a Shadowbolt with my boyfriend at a current Wondercon convention, and I tried not fangirling too hard over really good costumes. I’m socially awkward so whenever I ask for a picture, I’m normally like “h’ermegerd i uh- wow- great job- and uh?’ Like that. So I try not to take any pictures at all because of how bad I am with conversing > <' I know it can be extremely creepy, which is why I don't do it, but I also know the pain of getting pulled into a picture without any notice. I also can see why women should be a little better prepared during conventions such as these when they dress in specific costumes. I know it's tough for a cosplayer during a convention, but they should also take into consideration as to WHO could be there. Creepers, pedophiles, heck, at Wondercon, we had Jesus fanatics with signs about religion. A LOT of crazy stuff can happen at a convention, and I think with proper procedures, women, AND men can be better prepared for stuff like this, and know what kinds of steps they can take to let someone know that they make the cosplayer uncomfortable. At anime conventions, I feel hugging and really friendly pictures can kind of be gotten away with since most cosplayers at anime conventions are younger audiences, and that's where most people start when they cosplay. I'm really used to getting hugged and giving hugs, but I feel we should all know when, and how is the right way to do so c:

  17. I swear, if I hear another, “HEY, I SEE YOUR CAMMY-TOE” comment, while I’m cosplaying Cammy from Street Fighter… It really pisses me off that people think it’s OKAY to act like this. Yes, we are SMOKING HOT cosplayers, but like you said, that is not an invitation to act thusly. I really wish people would just have more tact.

    • Scott

      I’m guessing ‘introducing’ them to your toe…and the rest of your foot as an added bonus…is, unfortunately, not an acceptable response? ;) After all, they expressed interest in it! *adjusts halo*

  18. this makes me cringe. im sorry but the girls know what theyre doing. no one likes negative attention but wearing attention grabbing costumes is going to get you either a positive or negative response. you need to think about that before you wear it and be prepared for the response.

    i get sick of girls making this such a drama and saying that some guys are ‘such creeps’ but if no one said anything to them they would probably be more upset.

    if you want to act right then how about not wearing revealing clothes to events that are aimed toward younger age groups? WONT SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

    end communication.

    • Sushi Killer

      This is victim blaming and it’s part of the problem. People should feel free to express themselves through clothing in any environment without fearing assault or verbal abuse.

      • yes and by your logic people should feel free to express their opinion without being told they are part of the problem by the moderator.

        Its really not victim blaming. you are using very strong words when you say ‘victim’, ‘assault’ and ‘abuse’. if the incidents are to this affect then the authorities should be involved.

        The real fact is only persons actions you can control are your own. You can’t tell other people what to do, how to act or control how they feel. Its completely unpredictable.

        But you can assess the risk of something before you do it and decide if youre comfortable with both the positive and negative outcomes before putting yourself in the situation.

        • Getting randomly groped should not be one of the risks involved in any type of situation. Hell, it’s even illegal to touch strippers without their permission. Why should it be ok to infringe on a cosplayer’s right to have control over what happens to their body?

        • Melinda Kimberly Layden

          And when we defend women (and men’s) right to dress as they please at Cons, we ARE thinking of the children, who should be able to grow up in a world where dress-up and play are part of the fun, where people treat each other nicely, and where there is no place for the dark side of superficiality (she dresses like a slut so I get to call her names, be mean to her, cut her behind her back, and if she gets assaulted or treated roughly, I’ll laugh when she cries. Stupid sexy bitch.)

          Cons are a world outside of the normal world, and should be protected space. The space is only as protected as the most vulnerable members. Women, especially small, petite, attractive women, are often the most vulnerable.

          Stand up for someone else’s rights and you might find more people who will stand up for yours.

          Also, how would one know what is or is not comfortable until they try it? (“You can’t tell other people what to do, how to act or control how they feel. Its completely unpredictable.”) If people are unpredictable, then it’s up to the majority of the con-goers to protect their own and make sure cons are safe for everyone.

          Finally, there is a HUGE difference between someone saying, “Nice costume,” and someone taking a certain style of dress as an open invitation to harass, threaten, catcall, name call, force contact, or worse. You oversimplify by assuming the two extremes are to dress “normally”, whatever that is, and to be protected from bad people, or to dress provocatively and to invite assault. I wouldn’t want to go to a con where unsolicited sexual contact of any kind was considered a requirement for a given type of dress.

          So yeah, COSPLAY =/= CONSENT.

    • Jae

      @Kelly:

      Uh, no. I’ll take no attention any day over harassment. You’re also making the assumption that girls/women in general cosplay for the attention, which is where the whole problem starts to begin with. Creepers make the same assumption. “Oooh, she’s here for me and MY approval! She wants attention from ME!” Shitty unwanted behavior ensues.

      The attitude you have here is one that is far too common; predators know it and take advantage. They’ll keep on harassing, knowing that so many people will blame the victim instead of them. There NEEDS to be more of a risk of retaliation, or clear disapproval from the people around them before these assholes can be deterred from behaving that way. Instead they have “oh well she shouldn’t dress that way,” which enables them and frees them of responsibility.

      I cosplay out of my love for the characters, the art form, and the fandom in which I want to participate. I also like to compete in the masquerade competitions, which emphasize theatricality and skill; two things I appreciate. I don’t do it for the attention or approval of strangers, and certainly not for their sexual fantasies. I know MANY people, male and female, who either feel the same or have their own reasons.

      Maybe you should get to know more cosplayers and rethink the validity of your melodramatic attention whore cosplayer stereotype.

      Also, maybe when you get to know them you’ll have a little more empathy and won’t dismiss them when they speak out about the treatment they didn’t deserve.

  19. Hi there!

    I would love to share this on my website because I fully agree with you on this. I hope you get far with your project and wish you all the best!

  20. Nahjra

    I’ve had the WORSE experiences, since guys who want to date you just because, and just because they took some picture of you. I had the worse experience with my Storm cosplay (the white one), guys took more pictures of me from behind than front. I was going around feeling really bad. It’s a great initiative.

  21. JIMMAY

    Candid shots are usually considered journalism unless they are crossing the line. Crossing the line would be going out of your way to get a photo that can be considered erotic. A person or persons on the convention floor that is worried about having photos taken of them wearing a skimpy outfit probably should not be wearing the skimpy outfit, as a creeper is in the eye of the beholder at that point. If you don’t want the attention- wear something conservative.
    I found this video funny
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYhgRqJeuEo

  22. pounzer

    Just a small remark about this: You admit that “cosplaying women aren’t the only ones this problem affects”, but then go on about boyfriends who have to watch their girlfriends getting touched, as if cosplaying men never had to face such problems. I play some characters from the musical “Cats” and the costumes are basically painted spandex catsuits. And some weeks ago an elderly lady groped my butt, when I walked past her. It wasn’t like I was completely freaked out or felt bad somehow afterwards. But what I wanted to say is that what you describe here happens to cosplaying guys as well. In your article it seems like the worst that could happen to us is to witness something happening to a girl we know.

  23. Kari

    I agree with most of what this article says and absolutely NOTHING that Jarrak says. Jarrak that is the kind of mindset that rapists have – “if she didn’t want it she shouldn’t have worn that short skirt”. Or the thief who reasons that the person who lives in a $500,000 home deserves to have stuff taken from them because they are rich. Or the murder who decides you deserve to die just because of how you looked at them. It’s wrong, immature and dangerous thinking.

    One thing – please be as careful and considerate when sending in Creeper photos – the person you might photograph and label a creep could just be a hotel guest who doesn’t know about convention protocol and I’d hate to see an innocent person being tagged as a pervert or this project be sued.

    • UBCSMercenary

      I agree with you on what you say there Kari I’m a guy and when I went to my first con back in 2011 before I started doing cosplay I had some dude who apparently swings both ways ask me for a picture and I took it for him and then later he ran into me again and said he wanted another one with me in it and tried to touch me and then he asked me if I was single or not it was the most awkward experience ever, I understand that sometimes when meeting new people for the first time it can sometimes go amiss despite some of my fan-boying some like me some hate me and probably think the same of me I understand that you can’t always make everyone happy and sometimes others can get over reactive or over sensitive in some cases yes but regardless I wouldn’t deliberately go out of my way to do anything to hurt anyone else or harass them or make them feel uncomfortable on another note I’ve also got static over the character I cosplay some claim I’m “too skinny” to be that character despite the fact that with alot of characters, especially video game characters they are made out of polygon pixel graphics no human is gonna have a build that’s an exact perfect match its annoying when people try to nitpick at every single inaccuracy or flaw they can find creeps and critics are my biggest pet peeves whether it be making an inappropriate sexual advance on someone such as inappropriate touching or bashing someone because they’re either “too fat too short too tall too skinny” to be the character they’re cosplaying as its still not acceptable in my book

  24. Im a photographer over in the UK, and I think this is a great idea. I will be looking to add to your collection of images at the next event I attend. :)

  25. As someone who lives with an alternative fashion style, I am prepared and patient with those who are impacted by it. Not to be- well it’s unfortunate. People like to touch my hair…and if bright red hair gets peeps all excited- guest what a bright fun costume will do…be patient-be polite, have fun but know where security is…and YES- the only time Jim had to step in and keep someone from making indecent actions towards me…he was 18…and the only time I nearly grabbed a camera shoved down my cleavage…he was a teen…a gentleman taking a pic from a distance, usually isn’t creepy…but the yelling- teasing even CosPlayers being aggressive toward other CosPlayer is…
    I do believe Con SHOULD be a safe Haven to have fun…express yourself…and run around with a Cape & a Chocolate chip in your navel screaming, ” I’m Capt’n Chocolate Chip Cookie!”…
    Oh and Please….read some comicbooks ; )
    .and SpiderWoman…I would NEVER yell that to you….There would be Dinner, Flowers and Chocolates …:blush: I LOVE SpiderWoman <3

    And Jarrak… I was nearly raped when I was 8…wasn't wearing anything skimpy ….people who commit aggressive assaults are criminals …DO NOT blame the victims…

    Like I said Before…Know where security is- don't think twice about taking a pic of the culprit and they must leave or be arrested…and NOT for taking a pic from a distance… ;)
    okay- gotta draw some comics Peace Out!

  26. I’m an artist. I have been on the con circuit for a few years now and some of my best friends these days are AMAZING Cosplayers, male and female. Now this is New England and I am a woman who loves women but I’m also an artist I can understand how some things I have said if people didn’t know me might come off as sexist or some such (case in point friends GF was Elektra at BCC last year, one strap top, no clear strap/bra strap showing on other side but I’m a DDD and she was at least that much so I had to ask how she achieved the look WITHOUT having two straps. Breasts are heavy yo.) Someone overhearing us might have thought it was WAY too forward. Her boyfriend explained it was “This is Juli,” and she realized I wasn’t being creepy but I am genuinely fascinated with the construction work and the support garments required for some costumes male or female.

    THAT said- I am an Artist. I am female. I cannot tell you how many times I have been sexually harassed at Cons years ago, I’d smile and I’d laugh but then just get really quite and want to hide. Some of my fellow Alleyregulars noticed it… next thing I know I have 2 300 lbs dudes sitting next to me at every show to ‘watch out for me’ asking to have their tables with mine. One year it went too far and a dude was NOT leaving sadly my ‘security’ was on the other side of the hall and this Blade Cosplayer who I had never met before this massive dude with arms the size of my head just comes to my table, sits down and gives me a hug. “Hey babe, sorry I was gone so long want me to grab you a soda or something?” wouldn’t you know the guy harrassing me RAN OFF.

    To this day, Raymond (Blade) is one of my favorite people to see at shows he always watches out for me but not just me… like I said, Artist. Most friends cosplayers? I have a table. I have a LOCKED bag. Where better to keep your purse or backpack so you can go and enjoy the show and NOT put your purse down every 20 seconds for photos? I always keep snacks, cell chargers etc. I’m ‘That Guy’. Now I next to never stand up for myself but for others?

    Two of ‘my girls’ come over, SPOOKED. “What’s wrong?”
    “This guy keeps walking behind us in our photos and grabbing our asses… or worse.” I am LIVID. I just watched this same girl get down on a knee and hug a little girl because she wanted to thank her for ‘keeping us all safe’. There. Are. Freaking. KIDS. who could see this behavior and think it normal and it’s not like they were even in ‘sexy’ attire (they were covered to the neck and toe but even if they had been Emma Frost I would have been pissed COSTUMES ARE NOT CONCENT THEY ARE CHARACTERS, THEY ARE CREATORS, THEY ARE ARTISTS NOT YOUR SPANK BANK)

    Blade comes over, I signal him “You need help mama?”
    “I need you to get me Jim. NOW.” (Jim who runs the show mind you)
    By the time Blade is gone wouldn’t you know grabby hands comes over I get the girls to come behind my table. “Ooooh so a little girl on girl snuggle fest back there? Nice and cozy I see. Mind if I join you?”

    “Look you limp dicked jackhole. These women are LADIES. you hear me? LAY-DEES. You are to treat them as such. They do not have signs around their head that says they came here to be treated like meat by some ham fisted nobgobbler. So either show them the respect your mother would want or get the hell outta this show before I find someone to physically toss your ass out.”

    “F***ing C*** I am a PAYING customer I get to do as I like here.”

    “You paid for a one day $30 ticket. I paid $250 for my table. Who will the company want to keep happy? Me who has done this show 7 times and these ladies who are so wonderfully letting little kids STAY kids longer by seeing real life heros AND getting the show free publicity from major media outlets” (I point to the G4 booth) “or some douchnozzle who thinks all women are blow up dolls and like to be grabbed at?”

    “What are you some man hating lesbian? they were enjoying it.”

    “They were not. NOT GIRL unless she has some issues likes that from a random stranger. Oh look, here comes the con-organizer with three very large dudes. I’d back peddle faster before you are force ably evicted.”

    Since then the “Wicked Little Studio” booth has become the unoffical ‘cosplay safe haven’ so PLEASE. LADIES, GENTS ANYONE if you are at a show and SOMEONE is harrassing you please feel free to look for the ladies of Wicked Little Studio let us know what is going on we will not only keep you safe we will make it so everyone else at the show is safe. Usually it just takes a warning but sometimes asshats are more persistent and the people who run the show NEED to know that.

    Thank you for starting this campaign it has broken my heart to see so many wonderful people being messed with. I wont stand for it anymore not for me, not for anyone else.

    • than dont go to the cons dressed like a FUCKING WHORE simple so fucking dumb

      • F

        Sometimes it doesn’t matter, I’ve been creeped on in this way at cons wearing humble costumes, sometimes it’s happened to me even when I’m not in cosplay, and yes there have been multiple instances. There does need to be awareness brought for this reason. Now no matter what’s being worn, imagine for a moment that was your sister, how would that make you feel? Consider all the evidence before making an obviously completely uneducated opinion.

      • Chips Cosplay

        You’re a pretty terrible person. You should strongly consider unplugging your modem and rethinking your life.

        • Guys. He’s a troll. Don’t feed him. Combattive projection, bad grammar, spelling, and punctuation all give him away as someone who doesn’t give a s*** about anyone. Return the favor.

      • Vompir

        funny how male characters are dress in full body suits and women character are in practically nothing in the comics. yet if a girl enjoys a female character and want to cosplay as her she is titled a “whore”. You mister Randy Lucas are part of the problem! she is not a whore, she is someone who put time and effort into a character she enjoys. Men coslaying as He-man (who costume leave little the imagination) are never called sluts or whores so women dressing in any costume should not be called that either. full body suits or not. (ps i have cosplayed as a female character in a full body suit and still been treated like meat)

    • Sushi Killer

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s really chilling and horrible… but you should be very proud of the way you stood up to that guy. It’s inspiring.

      This project is just the first stem I am taking towards this kind of active opposition of harassment. I have seen horrible things happen at conventions and felt too scared or worried to do anything about them. I won’t ever be silent again.

  27. I think the Cons need to do a better job of protecting cosplayers from this type of behavior. I wonder if cosplay photo rooms with con employees making sure cosplayers don’t get mobbed. I however don’t want to separate cosplayers from the main con floor as it not fair to punish men and women who just want to have fun. As these shows grow this will become more and more of a problem I fear due to the anonymity a large crowd gives people.

    • Chips Cosplay

      I’ve heard some cons have gone so far as to publicize that people taking pictures should ask for permission and remind attendees that inappropriate behavior is still inappropriate when it’s directly towards a cosplayer. Those are both great ideas, that would be good if they spread. You’re right about the problems with large crowds, hopefully the community can address those problems better in the future.

    • Rachel

      If there was no prohibition from cosplaying on the con floor, but there *were* dedicated cosplay photo rooms, I would LOVE that! Cosplayers who want to be photographed could go there, and maybe the convention staff could set up professional-quality lighting, perhaps even nice backdrops and a green screen or two. Like, how fun would that be, to take some nicely lit photos, go home, and then green-screen yourself wherever you want?

  28. Brilliant and tastefully conveyed message. I love how you presented it. Obviously, we craft all our costumes for some attention but the “right” kind of attention. I love getting up to a someone’s new creation and asking about their stitching or makeup; that’s the stuff we appreciate. The ass-shots that end up in flickr galleries are insulting.

  29. Rick Drake

    Wow….I never considered that taking random photos would be such an issue. I take a ton of pictures at cons. Sometimes from a distance just because it is difficult to get closer. Or another group is taking a picture. I never touch, and I don’t consider myself a creep. I take pictures of all sorts of cos-play, men and women. I do ask permission of the subject of the photo is a child. I guess I will work harder to ensure those I am taking photos of are ok with it.
    But I do have to wonder if just taking a photo because you enjoy the cos-play and appreciate the effort that went into the costume is so bad. I don’t focus on trying to get perv shots. I don’t do upskirt, I sure as heck don’t touch the subjects of the photo. Is it wrong to assume that if you are in costume that your photo will be taken?

    • Sushi Killer

      No, it’s not wrong. I’ve added clarification in the meat of the article’s text if you want to take a look.

  30. Thank you for this, and thank you for including male cosplayers and female cosplayers alike. If you’re looking for East Coast presence, let me know. I’m by no means a professional photographer, but I have a camera and can get a whiteboard!

  31. I am a photographer myself and I agree with your project on a certain degree. I agree 100% that a cosplayer is not a stripper or escort to be treated sexually and should be seen as an artist and treated with respect. No touching, asking permission for a photo rather than taking sneaky shots of your ass or boobs HOWEVER, it is not creepy to take a shot of you while already being photographed and posing. I see so many cosplay videos of cosplayers who are posing and have a dozen guys taking photos of them. I do agree though that a guy/girl should not be taking sneaky photos of you from behind when you don’t even see them taking the photo. I saw so many videos where people point out creeps in the background, lol. Shame on them!

    On the other hand, taking candid photos of anyone at a public event is 100% legal. You are at an event where having your photo taken is Expected so you can’t expect everyone at the convention to ask permission – they might be too far from you or doesn’t have time to walk over and ask for a good shot so they take it from afar.

    I am on your side though on the project itself and I wish you great success and hope that this brings more attention to creepers who do try to take sneaky photos or unwanted touching! :)

    I love cosplay and think that you are a bunch of artist that do amazing work!:D

    • J-M

      To further this point – On the other hand, taking candid photos of anyone at a public event is 100% legal.

      You should probably take into consideration posting pictures of people on the internet and then calling them creepers is actually not legal and opens your site up to a possible lawsuit.

      What you are posting in regards to creepers and in reference to your subject matter is slander.

      • Sushi Killer

        Hence why the images themselves have been taken down, though I do not know why everyone is so quick to defend photographers taking ass-shots but not cosplayers when photographers post pictures of them in compromising positions and/or call them names publicly. I apologize for any hurt feelings in all of this, my intent was ever only to fight back and defend myself against a few creepy individuals who took compromising and inappropriate photos.

      • roymaciii

        Posting pictures and calling someone a creeper isn’t slander at all. At worst, it would be libel. Slander is spoken, libel is printed. Beyond that, matters of opinion are usually not considered legal cause for a defamation case anyway, and “creeper” is an opinion in the same way that saying someone is “beautiful” or “funny” is. In order to win a libel case, the courts generally look at whether the statement is provable or not. You can’t objectively prove or disprove that someone is a creeper, since it’s a matter of personal opinion.

        Full discloser: I’m not a lawyer, and if Sushi Killer is concerned about the legal implications of posting creeps’ pictures, I’d talk to someone with a background in law, but I don’t actually think that there’s any real cause for concern, legally, myself.

      • It isn’t slander if it’s true. If someone is going to sexually assault or harass another in public they should be prepared to deal with the consequences. Sure, it may have been behavior that didn’t use to have consequences, but people are speaking up now, and they shouldn’t apologize if that speaking up makes the creeper feel uncomfortable, ashamed, or embarrassed. By sneaking under a girls skirt to take pictures, grabbing her ass or her boobs, or making an unwanted, sexually explicit comment, especially in a public place where clearly at least one person saw/heard it and there is no doubt it happened, the behavior deserves to be shamed and that shaming is NOT slander, nor is it libel – it’s calling the creeper out for what he did. There’s no shame in that and good luck winning that lawsuit; and enjoy the counter suit for harassment and assault that comes along with it.

    • VapRhap

      Hmm, funny. All the cons I’ve been to everybody asks to take a photo first. It’s considered the most basic sort of courtesy. Unless you’re taking a broad shot of the crowd. But when you are focusing on a small group or an individual, it’s considered necessary to ask. This has been the case at all the small and large cons I attend and when somebody does not go by this rule, usually others in the crowd call them on it, or sometimes the cosplayer(s) themself/ves.

    • AppleRarity

      I somewhat agree with you, unless they are being creppy (like upskirt pics) I personally don’t have a problem with it; but other people might.while at public areas (such as a park,beach ,etc.,) its okay (at least were I live,) when you sign up for a badge to go into a con it states that while you are at / in that con you are not to take their picture (candid or not) without their consent.Now, I understand it’s candid, in that case take the picture then go ask! I find the “i’m too far away” or “there’s too many people” to be a lame excuse. If you want the picture that badly you can wade/weave through the crowd to them to ask. If you can do that when you see a friend across the room why can’t you do that with someone you just took a photo of?

    • Nicollette

      woah – woah. Strippers are exotic dancers, don’t put them in the same category as “escorts” or “prostitutes”. I entertain/dance for a living, I don’t give out sexual favors.

      Are you saying that women who are in such positions shouldn’t be respected?
      If so, that is not okay.

      I dance on stage to entertain, I do NOT deserve the comments that follow when I am leaving my workplace or the suggestions that are made to me. Where I work is a no-touch zone so a man grabbing my ass or breasts is just as creepy and bothersome at my work as it is at a con.

      Think before you speak. No woman deserves to be treated the way they are treated, stripper cosplayer or ordinary jogger. |:

      • ug

        “Are you saying that women who are in such positions shouldn’t be respected?
        If so, that is not okay.” I would say being a stripper is not a respectable career. Sorry. I don’t care how well you dance. That’s not what the guys going to strip-clubs are there to see.

        • Sushi Killer

          It’s still work, isn’t it? Strippers are still human, aren’t they? And if not, I want to know what strip clubs you’re going to, because I would love to see some alien/vampire/robot/cat strippers!

          Humans deserve respect and compassion as long as they aren’t actively making other people’s lives worse. I don’t see how a stripper is making anyone’s life worse.

        • Nicollette

          I don’t owe you an apology for my choices nor do I owe it to anyone else. I do what I do to be able to afford my home and my student loans for law school.

          What do you do that makes you able to hold your head so high? What makes you better than me? I don’t care if you’re make 100k a month, the fact that you can’t scrounge up respect for your peers proves that you’re a shit human being.

          Rethink. Reconsider. Let go of your ignorance.

          • Nicollette

            *making

          • Hear hear!

            I know some dancers and have, in my 50+ years, been to strip clubs a few times, and honestly the nudity is nice but kinda you seen one you seen em all kind of thing. What interests me is how well they dance. I have seen some pretty impressive dancing, especially this one young lady who was quite the contortionist as well who worked it in as a significant part of her act.

            She made significantly more than the other dancers that night as I recall.

            I just love those who look down on others… as if they are really in any way superior or that they think their feces don’t stink. Such hypocrites.

            Best of luck to you with your loans and law school.

      • Even escorts and prostitutes should have the rights to their body…

        Just sayin

    • Chips Cosplay

      Nobody is arguing that taking unsolicited photos in public at a con should be illegal, just that people ought not to engage in that behavior.

    • M

      THIS!

      I agree with everything you just said.

      It is absolutely unacceptable for people to touch a cosplayer or ask for poses/pester them while they are obviously busy. However, if you dress up (scantily clad or not), you should expect to be looked at and have pictures taken of you. By dressing up, you are purposefully making yourself stand out, making yourself more likely to be looked at. Cosplayers aren’t “at the beach with their family,” they are modeling.

      While asking permission is polite, people take pictures of everything at cons, so you shouldn’t be offended if someone is photographing you. Up-skirt and cleavage shots are never okay, but a candid shot shouldn’t be automatically creepy. Many people love the characters just as much as you, but can’t get your attention to ask for a photo.

    • Valhallan42nd

      Yeah, if you have an awesome or inventive costume, I’m likely to take your pic. It’ll likely be a candid, because I’m on my way to a game/shop/session. But I’m taking a pic of you, a person, and not your parts. If you want to see more than polite society allows, there are websites for that. A con exhibit hall is not that place.

    • Valhallan42nd

      Even strippers and escorts should be treated with respect. They’re people, too.

  32. Agreed on the entire concept until the end – the whole “caught creep” photos are a bit much. Sure, if someone’s taking an up-skirt photo or something else going out of its way to be extraordinarily lewd, that’s one thing – step in and say something, or find someone of authority for the location to do so.

    The “bit much” part comes in with EXACTLY the example photos you posted – there’s nothing indicating that these photos being taken are lewdly-intended in any way. If you’re in a place such as a convention center photographers are only limited to the rules held by the convention center. It’s polite to ask, but it’s crazy to assume there’s mal-intent if they’re not asking. There’s a HUGE difference between up-skirt photos and photographers standing at a distance – they should definitely not be lumped into the same category poised for public humiliation on the internet.

    If you find you’re being harassed or being made uncomfortable, report that person and get them kicked out. The people running the convention should be more than accommodating to this – they’re in place to make sure everyone is safe and having a good time. If you’re in a public place outside the con people can photograph you without consent – that’s how being in a public place works. If you’re being harassed in public (upskirt photos qualify here), say something and call the police – that’s exactly why they exist. Take a photo you can show to the police. The internet is not the judge, jury, and executioner – and lives can be ruined through simple misunderstandings.

    It’s very important to make women feel comfortable in these settings, but it’s also important to push your message forward in a responsible manner.

    • Sushi Killer

      Again, I seem to be getting this criticism a lot and it is justified as this was a last minute addition to the project as an effort to protect the people who I worked with more directly, but if I took a picture of the people NOT being creepy and not asking, I would have an album of 70+ pictures just like the CONsent photos. These people were, in these situations, being inappropriate.

      I will be editing the photos to blur important identifying information ASAP, as well as adding captions that better describe the circumstances in which the photos were taken. These few people, I believe, do deserve to be called out on their behavior (and I did so loudly as I took the photos) and if they are comfortable taking a picture that makes cosplayers vulnerable without their consent, I figured it would be hypocritical of them to refuse my pictures directed their way in response.

      Still, this was last minute and needs to be re-evaluated in terms of methods. I think an element of public shame can be a good dissuasion for taking inappropriate pictures, though I don’t want this to escalate to harassment or false accusations.

      • Scott

        I agree that adding in details of exactly what they were doing wrong would be a good thing…Some people might not even realize it was wrong! Seeing it spelled out, what was wrong, and why, might just help some of those photographers with thicker skulls that just haven’t realized they are acting like creeps….One can always hope! ;)

      • Stephen

        How were they being inappropriate? It is legal to photograph anyone who is in a public place without their consent, provided they do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy (i.e. being in a bathroom, locker room, etc.). If you are outside in a public place, it is legal for someone to photograph you without consent.

        • Sushi Killer

          From behind, after someone expressly said they didn’t want their picture taken, etc.

          • While I see your point, and we could all welcome more civility in society, the fact does remain that they are entirely within their rights to take ‘behind shots’ or if you say you do not approve.

            Not as polite and accommodating as some might wish, but assuming you can really stop them is a bit naive. As by the law they are doing nothing wrong. And I do not foresee any changes to the law as it would be hypocritical to say the least for the government of Surveillance Nation to try and limit pictures others can take in public.

            In general I do like your project in cases of unwanted touching and actual harassment. As you have modified the article and removed the pictures of the alleged ‘creepers’ I think you have seen where that can get you into trouble and possibly sabotage the entire project.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            *takes troll’s feed away*

            Have a nice day.

        • Scott

          Just as Cosplay =/= consent, legal =/= appropriate. Just because it’s legal to take the pictures, it does not mean it is appropriate to do so.

          • Doesn’t mean it is inappropriate either.

            You know one of my pet peeves on ‘appropriateness’? It is when NPD types claim that their whims trump anyone’s RIGHTS.

          • Matt Dark

            Unfortunately, some people seem to think that just because they have a camera, means they can take pictures of whatever they like. Apparently they are in the belief that their rights are greater then that of the person they are taking pictures of.

            Worst of all are the types who think they know what they can and cant do because they looks up photography laws on Wikipedia and claim they have a knowledge of the law, just so they can justify what they are doing.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            Neal is a troll, a mansplainer, and a bully. No matter how reasoned your arguments, you’re not going to convince him because he’s sure of his logic and psychology. If I were you, I’d disengage.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            How typical of an NPD type you seem to be… you issue one ad hominem/slander after another, then falsely accuse your target of personally attacking you.

            Project much?

            So, rather than actually try and disprove my statement you choose to prove you cannot do so and instead launch into an ad hominem tirade.

            Got your number, sister.

          • *waves hello to the troll here too*

            Have a nice day, Neal.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            How typical of an NPD type you seem to be… you issue one ad hominem/slander after another, then falsely accuse your target of personally attacking you.

            Project much?

            So, rather than actually try and disprove my statement you choose to prove you cannot do so and instead launch into an ad hominem tirade.

            Got your number, sister.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            Have a nice day, Neal.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            How typical of an NPD type you seem to be… you issue one ad hominem/slander after another, then falsely accuse your target of personally attacking you.

            Project much?

            So, rather than actually try and disprove my statement you choose to prove you cannot do so and instead launch into an ad hominem tirade.

            Got your number, sister…

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            Glad you have my number. Have a nice day.

    • I agree with the “Caught Creep” thing. It makes me very uncomfortable as it risks calling people (mostly going to be men) creeps who are not, in fact, being “creepy”.

      Take “caughtcreep4″ in the flickr album. There is nothing “creepy” about that. He’s not trying to be stealthy about it or hiding the fact that he’s taking the photo. To me it just looks like he saw the Gambit costume and liked it, but perhaps it looks like Gambit is heading somewhere and he doesn’t want to hinder that so he just snaps a quick un-posed shot as Gambit continues on his way. In a convention setting, there is nothing creepy about this. In fact, one of my favorite shots of my Power Girl costume came from this very thing.

      My BF likes to snap quick photos similar to this type, and as we make our way from point A to point B at Dragon*Con (because at a place like that it’s possible you’ll never see the costume again), but he always tries to make it fairly obvious that he’s about to take a shot. He also asks for posed shots when it’s viable as well as joining “photog groups” in front of already formed posed “hallway” and “floor” shots. He also happens to be the go-to photographer for our chapter of a costuming charity group and takes a lot of candid shots for us at events. If I ever saw him labeled “creep” on a project like this for doing those things I would be livid.

      Not every shot is going to be posed (or even directly asked for) and there are many valid reasons for it that do not make the photographer a “creep”. We need to keep the distinction between actual creep and “Oh! Look at that costume -Click-” clear and concise otherwise calling real creeps out loses it’s value because “oh, they call everyone with a camera that.” The overuse and over applying of a word can cause that word to lose it’s effect and right now our words are our most powerful tool.

      Not to mention the fact that shaming them on the internet might not even be effective as there is a chance they’ll never even see it. No, the best way to handle a real photo creep is to confront (or shame) them in person; either by stepping in front of the lens and telling them “No, it’s not okay for you to do that.” and/or finding an authority figure to have them warned/removed. Snapping a photo of them for identifying or proof purposes when taking it to an authority figure is fine, but doing it for the sole purpose of shaming them on the internet really isn’t.

      • Sushi Killer

        That particular photo was taken after I stepped behind my boyfriend to get out of the way of the shot since I was half out of costume and had said I didn’t want pictures taken of me.

        There are obviously some grey areas here, but the idea is just to give cosplayers a way to identify the people they are having trouble with as a warning to others and in case they need to show someone the picture for identification purposes.

        Otherwise I agree with you completely. Nothing illegal or creepy about most candid shots, though most cosplayers I know hate them. It’s also better to deal with bad people in person, but when you say “no” and they still press down on their button, I think all bets are off. If they aren’t comfortable with being photographed, maybe they should consider my feelings when I said “no.”

    • Chips Cosplay

      If your argument is that it’s okay for photographers to take unsolicited photos of cosplayers in public and post them on the internet, isn’t it also okay to take unsolicited photos of photographers in public and post them on the internet?

      • The difference is intent. These candids of photographers are be taken with the express intent of “shaming” them. That makes it not okay. Also, in a convention setting taking photos of cosplayers is not really “unsolicited”, what you’re talking about it the difference between candid and posed.

        And I’m talking about candids NOT creeper photos. There is a different.

    • (posting again as this comment seems to have gotten lost in the moderation queue)

      I agree with the “Caught Creep” thing. It makes me very uncomfortable as it risks calling people (mostly going to be men) creeps who are not, in fact, being “creepy”.

      Take “caughtcreep4″ in the flickr album. There is nothing “creepy” about that. He’s not trying to be stealthy about it or hiding the fact that he’s taking the photo. To me it just looks like he saw the Gambit costume and liked it, but perhaps it looks like Gambit is heading somewhere and he doesn’t want to hinder that so he just snaps a quick un-posed shot as Gambit continues on his way. In a convention setting, there is nothing creepy about this. In fact, one of my favorite shots of my Power Girl costume came from this very thing.

      My BF likes to snap quick photos similar to this type, and as we make our way from point A to point B at Dragon*Con (because at a place like that it’s possible you’ll never see the costume again), but he always tries to make it fairly obvious that he’s about to take a shot. He also asks for posed shots when it’s viable as well as joining “photog groups” in front of already formed posed “hallway” and “floor” shots. He also happens to be the go-to photographer for our chapter of a costuming charity group and takes a lot of candid shots for us at events. If I ever saw him labeled “creep” on a project like this for doing those things I would be livid.

      Not every shot is going to be posed (or even directly asked for) and there are many valid reasons for it that do not make the photographer a “creep”. We need to keep the distinction between actual creep and “Oh! Look at that costume -Click-” clear and concise otherwise calling real creeps out loses it’s value because “oh, they call everyone with a camera that.” The overuse and over applying of a word can cause that word to lose it’s effect and right now our words are our most powerful tool.

      Not to mention the fact that shaming them on the internet might not even be effective as there is a chance they’ll never even see it. No, the best way to handle a real photo creep is to confront (or shame) them in person; either by stepping in front of the lens and telling them “No, it’s not okay for you to do that.” and/or finding an authority figure to have them warned/removed. Snapping a photo of them for identifying or proof purposes when taking it to an authority figure is fine, but doing it for the sole purpose of shaming them on the internet really isn’t.

  33. Lorri

    Thing that stood out most to me was the quote from the cosplayer’s boyfriend saying how when he sees his girlfriend is uncomfortable with the attention she is getting he can’t intervene without looking like he is possessive etc. Why does it matter how you are percieved? All that matters is helping your girlfriend.

    Also, while it is never okay to touch someone without their consent it seems that in some cases consent has been given ie for a photo but not defined. Let the guy (or girl) know what you are happy with and if they do something that makes you uncomfortable tell them. Cosplaying friends of mine have had this issue but everytime they mention it they’ve never asked or told to person to stop. If someone is not aware that they are making you uncomfortable how are they suppose to know to stop? I’m not talking about random people walking up and just grabbing your arse etc but if consent to touch has been given not everyone knows what each person finds comfortable and acceptable.
    Cosplayers need to speak up more – not after the fact but while it’s happening. It’s not hard to tell someone to remove their hand and most people aren’t bad people and are likely to do as you ask and feel embarrassed about it.

    • VapRhap

      No, cosplayers do not have the responsibility to school jerks. Some choose to raise awareness (like on this page) and that is utterly awesome. But the onus is on people never (ever) to touch someone without permission and consent to pose in a picture with someone is not consent to have their arm around their shoulders. Consent given for an arm around the shoulder is not consent to stroke back or ass or face. Period.

    • There are different levels of consent to touch out there. For example, if someone is cosplaying my character’s love interest and wants to take shippy pictures together, then I’ll most likley agree, but if you’re planning on doing anything more than hugging, then you need to get further permission.

      I’ve also had a lot of good experiences where people really liked the character I was cosplaying and came up to ask if they could give me a hug. I almost always say yes! And these people have always kept the hugs as non-sexual. If someone had decided to grope me during one of those hugs, then it would have been inapropriate, and that should be obvious. Permission to hug doesn’t equal permission to touch inapropriately.

    • Morgan

      It’s true that a cosplayer who agrees to photos has agreed to a very, VERY basic level of proximity with someone else – but don’t you think it’s the responsibility of the person who wants to do the touching or approaching to ask if it’s okay first, rather than the cosplayer to make a list of what is and isn’t okay? It’s as simple as “Do you mind if I put my hand on your waist?” or “Can I hug you?”

  34. I think one thing the program should do is to educate cosplayers on what their rights are, concerning the law because EVERY OTHER BUTTSNIPER argues some sort of public waiver you sign away when you’re at a public event or at a private convention or something like that?

    I’ve gotten into near-fights with “butt-snipers” because I had to ruin their shots as though I WAS THE ONE AT FAULT?! There’s something wrong witht he culture at large when they think they are that entitled that they’d get mad to fight for their supposed “right” for a buttshot than to realize they got caught taking one and get scared.

    • Sushi Killer

      It’s true! Anything you wouldn’t be able to do to a non-costumed person in a public venue is still something that shouldn’t be done now. I will look more into this and hopefully include this info in a follow-up article.

    • J-M

      That’s when you go and get security.

      • Melinda Kimberly Layden

        *agrees with J-M* At CONvergence in Minnesota, that kind of crap would NOT be okay. The con takes great pride in its self-policing, and often the male staffers are more pissed than the female, because they know it only takes one creep to give the con a bad reputation.

  35. I accompany Cosplay Burlesque to all of their cons as videographer and photographer and would love to get the performers involved in this. Our good friend and one of our hosts Uncle Yo brought this to our attention via Facebook.

    I’ve had to deal with a few harassers of the troupe. It’s always very unpleasant, particularly to someone who spent his childhood being bullied.

    I would like to contribute photos and possibly a short video to your project. Our next major event is in June, if you can wait that long.

    • Sushi Killer

      Absolutely! I think I saw some cosplay burlesque people at Wondercon but they looked to busy to take part. That would be great to have you involved, and as this project is ongoing and doesn’t have an end date, I don’t see a problem with waiting until June.

      Thanks for the support and interest!

  36. PlagueDoc

    You’re right, Jarrak. What were these women thinking? Wearing sexy outfits is EXACTLY like swimming in shark infested waters. Choosing to dress up in a costume, seeking attention, or participating in a mainstay tradition of nerd culture means they totally deserve to be touched, objectified, harassed, stalked, creeped on, assaulted, or worse. Having sexy women around just makes men dangerous, and these women should have known that. Better that they should have worm a burka so no one could see their female shapes, that’ll absolutely protect them. I mean, women who wear jackets or burkas or conservative dresses or business suits or jeans or sweats (ETC ETC) are never assaulted, harassed or raped. Better yet, they should know that driving, walking down the street, heck even leaving the house is super dangerous. Better not even risk it or they’re just asking for something bad to happen to them. I mean, seeking attention (even when they’re underage, right???) totally justifies harassment!

    • AppleRarity

      whoa there lassie! While you are correct Jarrak stated that what he posted was an argument he was having with someone else and that’s what THE OTHER PERSON said!I agree what that person said was terrible but don’t attack poor Jarrak when they are siding with you/us!

    • Melinda Kimberly Layden

      *agrees* And at the end of a the day, anyone who doesn’t have control of his/her eyes, camera, hands, genitals should not be out in public.

  37. Malicious K

    I love the “caught creep” idea, lets turn the tables in them!

  38. Teighlor

    Thank you so much for doing this!! I cosplayed as Kida from Atlantis at Wondercon this past weekend, and had a really bad experience with someone trying to pull down my top during a picture. I ended up changing back into regular clothes because i didn’t want anyone else to try anything like that. Seeing people speak out against harassment at Cons is great, and I wish I had seen you because I would definitely would have taken a picture with the whiteboard.

  39. Jennifer

    While I whole heartily agree with the “Cosplay =/= Consent” message as far as people touching inappropriately, saying inappropriate things, thinking skimpy outfits somehow means the person wearing it is a loose slut, and so on I do have a problem with one aspect of this article. The taking ‘stalker’ pictures and ‘not asking’ to take pictures part. I’m sorry, but you chose to dress as a character (no matter how good or badly by individual standards) and when into an environment that would center attention on you for dressing that way. You can’t seriously for one second think no one is going to take a picture of you. On top of that, you want every single person to walk up to you and ask permission?

    Okay, I do get it that in an ideal world that would be nice. When I cosplay/dress up, I also would like people to ask as well so they don’t get that picture of me picking my nose or so that I can pose and look awesome for them. In a loud and busy con, that is NOT what’s going to happen! When I see someone across the hall dressed as a character I personally like or they did a costume very well, I may not be able to physically get there without shoving people out of the way or with my luck by the time I get there they have moved on, so I will take a distance shot. If I see someone/group already posing for photographers, I will jump in to take a quick shot or two because it may be my only chance. Personally, I think running after someone and calling to them through a large crowd just to stop them and ask permission looks creepier and fan-ish in a NEGATIVE way to others watching me than just taking the chance shot when I have the opportunity to do so.

    Please don’t misunderstand me! I do respect the cosplayer and not take ‘candid’ shots when they are trying to eat or rest or talk to friends and family or do personal shopping. I do try to ask permission when I can, even if that simply means holding my up my camera in the silent asking way and I do wait for their nod of approval (I’ll take it) or shake of rejection (I won’t). I also don’t take “creepy” shots in the sense of focusing on boobs, butts, crotches, up-skirts, etc. That’s just plain disrespectful and nasty. I also don’t use it as a means to hit on someone.

    I just like taking pictures of awesomely costumed people, even if I don’t know what/who the character is or where it is from. I love taking candid shots when the person is not always posing or “in character”. Some of my best shots are of character smiling when they normally wouldn’t and the like. I still do respect the person. I don’t want to run after them and seem like I am demanding or hounding them for a picture.

    Some of what was said in the article by both the author and the cosplayers made me scratch my head though and seem to say I was a bad person for even wanting to take a picture. Mainly that if I don’t walk directly up to the person and say “Can I take your picture?” even when they are already taking a moment to pose for others or simply can’t get to them “in time” before they move on then I must be a creeper.

    Please believe me when I say that I not trying to sound like “You dressed that way, you deserve it”! However, you have to admit that there is truth in the thought that when you dress up to a con you can and should expect your picture to be taken. Ideally, everyone would ask your permission and not be a creep or jerk about it. I would love to see that happen as well. In a semi-related offshoot, I’d also ideally like to see ANYONE being able to cosplay no matter their weight, size, or skin color. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been harassed at cons for being size 16 instead of size 6.

    • Sushi Killer

      Hey, thanks for taking the time to write that out, it’s very good criticism.

      Like I had said to John Joseph Cord Jr, the people I specifically included were not just taking a pic of someone on the move or even to shy to ask. They were getting cleavage shots, shots from behind in tight spandex, or deliberately reacting to a cosplayer saying “I wish more people would ask before shooting.” All of those things are rude and inappropriate.

      If that angle was somehow shifted into the main point of the article, I must apologize for being unclear. This was mainly about the things that make cosplayers feel uncomfortable and that can be anything from getting yelled at by a passerby about their breasts or, depending on the person, being caught in a vulnerable position when someone takes their photo without permission.

      And as a fellow plus-sized cosplayer, maybe you can understand? I, personally, prefer people to ask because I know what angles of my body look good, and in spandex this is especially important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found unflattering, candid pictures online of myself that get more attention and traffic than my good ones just because anyone would love to jump at the chance to call a young woman fat and destroy her self esteem. That is why I, personally, would like people to ask me, again, personally, for my picture. But I don’t think this is creepy, just annoying and a little scary.

      The people I am including were creepy. I am reevaluating my methods and think I will blur/black bar visible faces and add descriptions of the scene to better explain my methods.

      • Jennifer

        I saw the note addition to the article since writing my comment, which turned out to be the same/similar to so many others. Thank you for adding the note and clearing it up a bit. The article at times did make it sound it was directed at all photographers who don’t ask permission each and every time are considered ‘creepers’ to some extent.

        As far as candid shots go, I still like to take them because I don’t always want the out of the box pose. Yes, I get that you and other cosplayers want to look their best. Sometimes those great shots do come from the candid smile or horseplay and not the predetermined forced in character pose. Not saying those shots aren’t good as well.

        I do like your suggestion I saw in an earlier post about going ahead with the candid shot, but then showing it to the cosplayers and asking them if it would be okay to keep/publish it. I will try my best to do that.

        As so many others have said, cons can be so fast, loud, crowded, and busy making it generally difficult to stop and ask permission every single time. Aside from that, the way some cosplayers act, even if they are just being “in character”, can make it hard to approach them. Especially for someone who is already shy about walking up to a complete stranger and asking. I have been out right put off at times based on the way the cosplayer acted. I have even taken fake pics just so they thought I did it and I can move on quicker. If they didn’t want me to take a pic (maybe I didn’t notice they were busy or in a hurry or something), they should have simply said so in a polite way. Basically, if the cosplayer wants respect and good-natured attitude towards them then they need to give it as well.

        As to the plus size cosplaying in general, it’s one of the greatest things I love about Ren Faires and Steampunk: the layering! It’s not nearly as embarrassingly revealing or gets as much flack as comic and anime cosplays. I take my hat off to you and others brave enough to face the critisms and harassments and willingness to try to change it. While I hide behind my fabrics… If I could cosplay any female comic character, it would be Harley Quinn from the 90′s Batman cartoon (the only good one imho, lol).

        Once again, thank you for clearing it up about who exactly the article is directed at.

    • VapRhap

      See, I attend one of the biggest, busiest cons in the country and yet unless people are taking a broad shot of a crowd, they always ask permission and it’s frowned upon by the masses if they don’t. If you don’t have time to ask permission, sorry, but it’s rude to take the shot. Professional photographers hired by the con even ask! Even though they are allowed to by the agreement on the back of my badge. They always ask. If they can’t get to me (or other people to ask) they move on.

  40. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid harassment, but I am relatively new to cosplaying. I love this project.
    The unfair conundrum: if you are cosplaying a character who has a revealing outfit, and DON’T match it perfectly some people judge your as being inaccurate and not a real geek. If you match it perfectly, it seems some are harassed and objectified. The issue, in my opinion, is in the original source material. Give those women better uniforms and armor.

    • Chips Cosplay

      This is a good criticism. Perhaps ironic isn’t the right word, but it’s sad and odd that women are harassed so often for wearing revealing costumes when the costume is in fact completely accurate to the source material.

  41. I think this is GREAT!!!!!!

    However, I looked through your photo album (cause I wanted to see how bad the creepers were, lol) and I gotta say, I would disagree with a couple of those pics being “creepers”. I mean, someone taking a photo at a distance of a cosplayer, or a couple together, doesnt necessarily make them a creeper. Maybe there are too many people standing around them to get close enough; maybe they’re too intimidated to go up and ask for a pic (my first time at a con I was fairly intimidated and I was in cos myself); or maybe they just want some pics of cosplayers with their fans around them like that to show off the atmosphere (I know a guy that takes pics at con for that reason). Obviously there are some creepers out there; but you cant say someone is a creeper for how they are taking a pic… unless it obvious they are trying to take an inappropriate pic.

    • Sushi Killer

      True… I hadn’t forseen this. And it is hard to tell, but I was not taking pictures of the people who I felt were being shy or intimidated (and I saw many of those too.)

      My issue is this: all of the photographers I posted were being inappropriate. And you can’t tell from the look of the photos, but most were taking pictures from the cosplayer’s (or MY) back. For someone in Spandex, this can mean an ass-shot. Another photog held his camera above the crowd and was pointing it into a cosplayers cleavage. This is not OK and needs to be addressed.

      And in the other cases, the people pictured tried to snap a photo in response to me having a conversation with someone about asking before shooting. To have your photo taken from the side, during conversation while holding all your bags and whatnot… especially after the photographer was standing around and heard you and the people you were talking to saying “It sure would be nice if people would ask before shooting” and THEN jumped into action to get a candid shot of you, it’s just beyond rude.

      In the beginning, I hadn’t planned on including this part and it’s clear that as many people find it empowering, there are others who find it very flawed and I can respect that. It was a last minute addition after seeing and hearing so many people talk about inappropriate, non-consensual pictures, and I thought I had to try to do SOMETHING to protect the people I was working with, because they were already making themselves vulnerable for me.

      • I just have a hard time labeling someone a creeper when there can be so many explanations to the pic they are taking… I do really like the idea of taking a candid then showing to the cosplayer for their approval, that’s a fantastic idea. But there again, we also know there are gonna be instances were a person taking the candid maybe cant get to the cosplayer, for whatever reason, to get that approval. We all know how crowded and overwhelming it can be at times.

        • Also, for the true creeper taking pics… they’re not gonna give our cosplay sisters the respect they deserve, so it’s up to all of us cosplayers to keep an eye on one another and protect each other.

        • Alexandra Erin

          What’s interesting to me in all this discussion about candid photography is that it seems to be governed by the unspoken assumption that the photographer’s rights–or maybe the art of photography itself–should trump the rights of the photographed to control their image and be free from surveillance.

          For instance, the scenario where it’s impossible to get to a cosplayer to ask them if the picture you took is okay and if they’re okay with you keeping/sharing it… well, if we’ve established that consent is important, then in that case, wouldn’t failing to get consent mean you delete the picture? I’m not saying that’s definitely the case, just that nobody who’s defending candid photography seems to have considered it as a possibility.

          Now, you might be thinking that the alternative basically kills the idea of taking photos at a con because you can’t take a picture of the con floor without getting people in the shot. But isn’t there a material difference between taking a picture of someone as a subject and taking a picture that they happen to be in? It seems like there’s a pretty clear line there.

          And if you’ve set a standard for yourself that includes asking your subjects for consent (either before taking the picture, or before keeping/posting/sharing it), I don’t see why a “convenience exemption” should just be accepted as a matter of course.

          • Be careful throwing around the word rights. Not disagreeing with the sentiment in here but in terms of actual rights and legality if you are in a public space the law is on the photographer’s side technically. What is right may not be on their side but what they are doing isn’t illegal. You don’t have a right to control your image and be free from surveillance and that takes me down a whole different road of issues which are best not covered here.

            As for the people taking photos, not saying this is the case here at all or is even likely but… there are people I know who go out in groups with friends or partners or whatever and they snap photos of each other at any random time from any random place. The way I put it might sound odd but think of when you are on holiday and someone in your family (or a friend) is having such a great time and you want to catch that so you take a photo. That is the sort of thing I am talking about.

            Those random people who take shots from far away with lecherous intent, certainly horrible. Those who do it for the “art” form need to be taught the etiquette and perhaps need to know how it looks and feels from the other side because of the history.

          • I read through the article and comments, and I really expected to see at least some nod to the legalities involved here.

            The photographer’s rights are not part of some unspoken assumption, and that’s what this discussion leaves out.
            It’s a shame, too, because it obscures the greater issues of consent in regards to being touched and photographs that violate reasonable expectation of privacy.

            The photographer has the right – and this has been backed up repeatedly in court – under the 4th amendment to take pictures in any public space and this includes businesses open to the public unless a posted policy states otherwise.

            This does not include pictures in places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy – like bathrooms and upskirt photos.

            It *does* include unflattering pictures such as a bad angle, you eating, or relaxing, a shot of you from behind, etc
            These are issues of *courtesy*, not consent.
            Consent is legally held to exist based on your choice to BE in public.

            And the photographer OWNS those pictures and may post them anywhere.
            What the photographer may NOT do is use or sell them for *commercial* use without the consent of the subjects.

            But on the flip side, the law is *exactly* what backs up these other issues of consent.

            You don’t get to touch someone without their consent, and if you do they can legally file charges of Battery. If you have consent to put an arm around my shoulders and you move that arm somewhere more private or move your hand in a sexual manner you can be charged with Sexual Assault.

            And I agree with the major premise of the article and movement –
            We tolerate this behavior, WHY?

            It’s not just being a jerk – it’s the law, so IMHO the local laws on Assault , Battery, and Sexual Assault ought to be posted at the Check-in of EVERY ‘Con and maybe that would get some attention…

          • KayKay

            Alexandra- I definitely understand your point from an ethical perspective and in many ways agree. The likely reason why so many people assume the photographer’s rights trump is because legally, they do. If you are in a public place (ie: anywhere with a crowd, people taking photos, etc.) the legal reality is that there is no expectation of privacy. That means any photos taken are not in violation of privacy law and, under copyright, owned by the photographer. This makes these candid shots legal even if they are ethically problematic in many situations.

            I actually think an article delineating between legal rights and ethical guidelines would be clarifying for a lot of people (especially con attendees) in these sorts of situations.

          • Sushi Killer

            But there are also rights that protect models. For example, not being able to use photos commercially without a release. Also the fact that for underaged people, the parents’/guardians’ consent must be involved. Especially when it comes to photos of questionable material, like a cosplayer in spandex bending over to tie his/her shoe, it’s an invasion of privacy and unethical to take certain shots even if it is legal. I am not going to argue about legalities, just morals and decency.

  42. Malicious K

    Something I think that would make a good addition to this project is make a set list for people of “Do”s and “Don’t”s. Like telling a cosplayer that is a sexy costume is ok, as opposed to saying “I would f*** you” or a hand around the waist is only acceptable if you ask for permission first. I don’t think there are any set list out there that tell people what is and isn’t ok.

    • VapRhap

      There should not have to be a set list. If you wouldn’t do it to your teacher’s daughter upon meeting her for the very first time, don’t do it to a cosplayer. If you wouldn’t do it on a blind date with someone you JUST met two seconds ago, don’t do it to a cosplayer.

      If you were going on a blind date would you put your arm around them if you had just met them? If you were just introduced to your professor’s daughter for the first time would you comment on how much you want to F$%K her in that cute outfit?

      • David

        Here’s the problem, though. Putting your arm around someone when taking a picture with them is almost instinctual for many people. I’ve been in group shots where people have put their arm around me and I never thought it was weird or inappropriate. I’ve even had cosplayers put their arm around *me* when posing for a picture and none of them ever asked for my permission. To some, it’s just part of the etiquette of taking a picture.

        So, if you’re now expecting people to ask permission to put their arm around you, then that *is* something that has to go on a set list, because it goes against the grain of what most non-creepy people think is ok.

        Not saying that cosplayers don’t have the right to set rules of good/bad behavior, but if it’s going to be something that most people aren’t aware of as inappropriate, such as arms around you or taking candid shots, that it is something that should be made known through a set list.

    • It’s really a sad world when people need to be told not to be a lecherous pervert and make crude comments… if people don’t get it already then I don’t think a list will fix it. Now in terms of photo taking and such, that might be different. When I first started going to cons and found out about cosplay I knew nothing about the etiquette, nor did I have a camera. I think conventions should share that etiquette information on their websites, forums etc. Most probably do already.

    • Chips Cosplay

      That’s a decent suggestion, it’s just that I suspect the exact lists would be highly individual. As a general rule though, “ask first” is great!

  43. Kira

    I was followed by a man with a video camera down a hall way when looking for my friends I had begged them not to leave me alone as he has been acting weird all day by loitering nearby. I eventually had to run away to find a crowded area where I could be safe. I stopped cosplaying publicly after this, there is some seriously unhealthy stalking at cons and often it can be by con staff.

  44. I don’t know which one makes my blood boil worse; men openly groping women just because they think they can or women who make snide, hurtful comments to female cosplayers. WTF is wrong with people? If you think a women has a big behind or is too fat to wear that outfit, think it in your head. Hell, even whisper it to your friends but don’t shout it out loud for everyone else (including the person you’re referring to) can hear. And girls have every right to punch groping men right in their teeny tiny package.

  45. Chernabog

    Vendors and attendees of these conventions simply need to ignore cosplayers, period. We can no longer assume that someone is even ‘in costume’, and not some outlandish, everyday outfit. Limit any conversation to transactions/weather/time/directions & with no embellishment, and speak to them only when spoken to. Male/Female regardless, these cosplayers seem to not understand that the outfits they wear WILL garner attention. When that attention is deemed sexual in nature by the cosplayer, these issues arise.

    Best way to avoid this in the future is to altogether ignore them. They’ll get it and either discontinue their cosplay plans, or learn to lighten up.

    • Sushi Killer

      You know, coming from someone who doesn’t seem to respect a cosplayer’s right to their own body and their right to be treated with human decency, I don’t think they’d miss your attention anyway.

  46. I’d like to start off by saying I’m all for proper treatment and respect of women. Real creeper shots/gropes/comments/etc I do not condone. I’d like to state though that the issue is much bigger than just in the cosplay world, its a societal issue with the treatment of women. You can see this in any sort of event where there are women in skimpy clothing. This of course does not make it right in any way shape or form. For example just recently cyclist Sagan grabbed the podium girl’s butt after finishing a race. Not right but it is a bigger issue than just in cosplay but I’m all for awareness of it as raising awareness to an issue in a proper manner is the best way to get people to change.

    What I don’t agree with though is the blanket statement that candid photographers are creepy or that they are in the wrong. In certain cases yes there are creepy candid photographers, ones taking pictures of your butt, up your skirt, breasts what have you. But candid photography is a legitimate form of art. There is really no other way to capture the essence of an unadulterated moment in time, event, or situation than the candid shot. They often produce the very best pictures of people in a moment. I worked in yearbook and all the best shots we had were candids whenever there is an awareness of the camera people tend to act unnatural. We pretty much threw out almost all of the posed shots. Asking for a candid doesn’t really work either since it is pretty much the exact opposite of a candid after that. Busting someone for a creepy candid is fine, but please don’t slam the art of candid photography.

    • Chips Cosplay

      A great option for would-be candid photographers is to go ahead with your photo and then show the subject after you’ve taken it and get their approval. If they object to being photographed, you can then delete it, no harm done.

  47. Elf

    One of the things that bothers me intensely is when I cross play Jareth (from Labyrinth) I wear an athletic cup under the tight grey pants. To get the right effect. Most folks are very complimentary but not all. What really bothers me is when complete strangers, usually men, grab my cup (yep, they actually grab/touch my groin area) without permission.

    Just because I’m dressed like a man with a package does not give you the right to “see if it’s real”. And no, I don’t find it funny. Grr.

    • Sushi Killer

      And this happens to men in spandex all the time too. It’s a big problem for all types of cosplayers.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

  48. Also pondering on this further, I feel like this more than anything will make photographers feel awkward about taking pictures even non candid ones, that it may discourage people from taking pictures overall. And I have no hard evidence but I’ll venture a guess and say that the people that will take the most from this are the readers that are already non creepers to begin with and will only make them second guess if they are.

    I know its meant to include guys as well but I pretty much find this overall very girl power oriented and frankly kind of alienating to me as a male reader. Just my 2c.

    • ^^^^^^AGREED!!!!!

      • Melinda Kimberly Layden

        *to both Johns* If your feelings were hurt, I’m sure it was unintentional. If you’re not sure if you can take pictures, ask. If you’re concerned about saying something wrong, look for social cues. If a woman looks uncomfortable, don’t press. Until rape and inappropriate sexual contact are no longer something that 1 in 4 women has to deal with, you will have to deal with women’s fear and discomfort. And as for women harassing men, yes it happens, and in my experience the women (esp when drunk) are harder to deal with than their male counterparts, because they tend to rove in packs and be completely unrepentant about yelling, whistling, grabbing, making inappropriate comments, or allowing a non-consenting man leave. The problem with harassment is it comes from the belief that sex implies power, and one is either the “f***er” or the “f***ed”. I think that’s why male victims tend to be further victimized in public opinion, which tend to imply that they are homosexual, weak, effeminate, or “asking for it”.

        As a woman and a cosplayer, I can relate. I’ve been very lucky in my own experiences.

        So let’s get back to your hurt feelings and your concern about men being intimidated by fear of hurting or offending women. This is a legitimate concern. That said, being a jerk is being a jerk. Don’t be a jerk and you’re helping. Correct someone else who’s being a jerk and you’re helping more. Stand up for yourself when someone’s being a jerk to you and you’re helping more than that. No one should be made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable at a con. If we can fix Cons, maybe we can start to fix our society.

    • VapRhap

      Which is worse? People not sure about when it’s appropriate to take a photo (they can ask), or commodifying the sexuality of unwilling participants? Is it more important for photographers to take photos of individuals without asking or is it more important to make sure you’re not being a creeper first?

      It’s far worse to creep on someone than to not be able to take a photo of them, full stop. And if you feel alienated by this article, so be it. You are probably not the kind of person who I would want to be at a con with.

    • wendyzski

      I’m sorry – but this isn’t about your feelings as a photographer.

      It’s about the feelings of the women and men who deserve respect for their work and instead endure graphic language and inappropriate groping in what should be a safe public setting.

      If any photographer feels intimidated or uncomfortable about the ideas expressed in this article, then here is what you can do.

      If you would like to take someone’s photo, you say “May I take your picture?”. If this is too hard, simply holding up your camera or pointing to it, along with a questioning look on your face will often suffice. If they say “no”, then thank them and go away.

      Following these simple rule will pretty much guarantee that you will get some photos of some very skilled (and possible very attractive) cosplayers, and that you will not be labeled a “creeper”.

    • I understand the want for Candids, but as a photgrapher, you should at least advise someone of your taking photos and give them veto power after, that’s the mark of a true non creeper. And this doesn’t get into unwanted touching..

    • Jasmine M.

      I’m actually glad you brought up the guys. In a few conventions I’ve been in, there are girls asking male cosplayers dressed as male characters to do yaoi scenes in public with other random male cosplayers. So you see, it’s not just creepy dudes cat-calling and groping, it’s also annoying yaoi fangirls asking (sometimes demanding) cosplayers to make out in public for their dumb shipping.

    • Amphigorey

      But what about teh menz???

      • Sushi Killer

        They’re included too! Do you not see them???

    • The author writes from the perspective she lives. Why does this need to be alienating to you? Women have to relate to men all the time in media and in real life; why is it difficult to do the same by relating to a woman? She’s a human being who wants to be treated with respect, just like you. Why is that difficult to relate to?

    • D

      I don’t think this something for debate.
      If you are a photographer and you want a picture of someone in a costume, ask. They may say yes, they may say know, and as cosplayers we have the right to agree or deny your request.
      I’m sorry that you as a photographer, who thankfully respects us as photography subjects, are directly effected by those who have basically ruined this for you. Perhaps over time people will stop objectifying cosplayers so much and then you can resume your photography ideas?
      However it’s really unfortunate that you are taking this so personally when it’s the difference of you not getting a shot and us feeling humanly compromised. I just don’t feel that your plight is quite as dire right now.

    • You say “alienating to me as a male reader” as though women aren’t constantly alienated at conventions where they go to have fun. Being harassed at conventions or being accused of dressing like a “slut” to bait hapless male con goers is alienating. Being treated like you’re just there to be eye candy, that you can’t enjoy a hobby for yourself unless you allow yourself to be oggled is alienating. Being insulted or being called a bitch for asking people to not get in your personal space or make inappropriate remarks is alienating, and something that I myself have experienced as a very androgynous male con goer.

      Being asked to treat 50%+ of the con population with respect and dignity isn’t alienating. It’s just common human decency.

      It’s a shame that you have to view “please be respectful” as discouraging – I think it’s a chance for us guys to make conventions a happier, safer place.

    • ^^^ Agreed.

      I agree with R.Tang, Joseph and Jonathan above.

      I’m a bit bothered by this movement.

      I will openly and freely admit to having taken a few pics of costumed people in a crowd (mainly because they were already surrounded and posing for pics, or on a stage, and even of some folks I know…)… and quite frankly it’s unrealistic to expect everyone with a camera that takes pictures to approach the costumed people and ask permission or inform them after the fact every single time.
      It’s NOT going to happen… add to this the factor that there is no legitimate ‘right to privacy’ in a public setting in the first place. Technically, anyone with a camera can take your picture whether you want them to or not when you’re in public… ‘permission’ is an illusion and only really an incidental matter of respect. =/

      That said… to avoid being labeled a ‘creeper’, I likely won’t be taking nearly as many con-shots as I used to.
      I’ve had people come up to me and ask to take a pic… and I KNOW for a fact I have had my pic taken ‘from further away’ when posing for another pic… but I’m not going to label the ‘offender’ a creeper for it. =/

      The creepy ‘ick’ upskirt-downblouse candids and the wandering hands, though?
      Yeah… hell yeah… that has to be brought to a more-civilized level… but there’s no way you can stop all the pics.

      That said… I’m totally on-board to wear ‘Harassment Security’ identifying logos at cons upon request. =)

      • Although… another take on things… there are some cosplayers out there that have costumes with – let’s call them – ‘cleavage windows’.
        Some of those cosplayers sell pictures OF themselves wearing these costumes and some of those pictures are deliberately taken to observe those same cleavage windows.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not justifying ANY behaviours… but I’m curious as to whether certain ‘creeper-labelled’ people simply might feel they can take the SAME photo of a cosplayer that the cosplayer themselves is SELLING for personal profit?
        … and then extending that mentality to other cosplayers in similar outfits… after all ‘Power Girl is Power Girl, right?’

        Just a thought.

        • Sushi Killer

          And interesting question, but there is never any reason NOT to ask for something so personal as a close-up of a person’s cleavage. And also, cosplayers who cosplay the same character are still individuals. That kind of generalization is a stretch.

    • Chips Cosplay

      The goal of the project isn’t directly to get the creepers to stop creeping, it’s to call the wider community’s attention to the problem, so that they will call out and/or stop creepy behavior, more indirectly reducing the amount of creepiness.

      In what way did you find the article alienating? Could you expand further on that?

    • Morgan

      While cosplay harassment occurs with all sorts of gender arrangements, the ‘girl power oriented’ nature of the article and the project is simply a result of the fact that a majority of harassment is done by males, to females. If that alienates you, I’m afraid to say it’s just too bad, because going to a convention dressed as a character you like and then getting sexually harassed is a very alienating experience in itself.

      As to the candid photography issue mentioned above, I think everyone else has summed it up well: the ‘creeper’ gallery is mainly intended for people deliberately trying to get an ass/cleavage shot. If you want to get a candid photo, as others said, take it and then try to show the cosplayer your shot; if that’s not possible, try to find a way to contact them later if you post it somewhere and ask them if they mind you posting it, or something like that. Candid photography is cool and all, but you always have to keep in mind whether the subject wants a certain photo taken.

      I don’t think anyone will ‘second-guess’ themselves after reading this article – but if they did, and maybe they’ve done something borderline-not-okay, then isn’t it a good thing if they re-evaluate that? No, this movement will not strike revelation into the hearts of ‘creepers’, but if everyone based their movements for change on whether the “worst of the problem” people would be miraculously transformed by the project, then nobody would try to change anything at all.

      If it doesn’t teach the ‘creepers’ not to do something by showing them it’s wrong, then it shows them that lots of people agree that it’s wrong and won’t let them get away from it. If a guy catcalled a girl and everyone around him told him he was being disgusting, he probably wouldn’t start agreeing with them – but realizing he was surrounded by people who didn’t think it was okay would probably make him shut his mouth.

      • Sushi Killer

        Yes, this is exactly what I am trying to communicate. Thank you so much!

      • Lots of conclusion jumping and white knighting here, but:

        1 not a photographer, I bring my cameras to cons but I’m hardly a photographer, I however believe in the art of candid photography and what it captures.

        2 I prefaced the entirety of my 2 part comment about how wrong creeping is and how I’m an advocate for the equal treatment of women and how I support the ideas behind this cause. What I don’t agree with is the blanket label of people taking candid shots as creepers prior to some edits in the original article. If someone is legit creeping call them out, but don’t call out regular candid photographers.

        3 The reason I bring up it being an alienating read is that that the article attempts to be but loses its focus and ends up alienating. There are ways to raise awareness to a cause, making others feel awkward isn’t it. A wider audience is reached when approached with both audiences in mind, unless I’m missing the point of this. I took this as a piece to raise awareness about how women (or men?) in cosplay should be treated and respected. So in that respect I raise the concern of alienating your audience or how it became one sided. If this were an opinion piece I’d change my tune.

        It wasn’t so much of a write this so it includes me, its a write it in a more open manner to reach a larger audience. I’m all for this cause, I’m probably one of the largest proponents for female rights and equality that you’ll meet, I just feel the wrong approach is taken too often to this. If you’ve read my first comment you’ll see I follow a lot of these issues closely and do not at all condone this treatment of women let alone anyone.

  49. I understand the other issues with harassment, but not regarding photography. Harassment != photography. If you’re in a public space, you can be photographed. That’s the law. No consent required.

    If you don’t want to be photographed, don’t put on a goofy costume and go to a convention.

    This otherwise very good post about an important, serious topic was compromised by that single, very stupid assertion.

    • Sushi Killer

      I have clarified our stance on this in the text of the article, if you want to have a look. It’s unfortunate that one poorly worded paragraph is threatening to compromise our project.

  50. While wearing X-23, which is kind of revealing, but not the most I’ve ever done, I got so many lewd comments or creeps such as yelling across the hall “Nice tits” and surprised I said “Fuck you” right back. I even had one girl come up to me and ask to touch my legs and when I said no, I kinda politely let her hug me instead, she was rude, touched them anyway and told me if I’m wearing something like that I’m asking to be touched when I said it wasn’t okay.

    I also found a picture of just my butt in my Yoko costume on someone’s public facebook and the stupid person being upset when I reported it. Yoko was a difficult costume to wear when people are so used to treating cosplay girls like this.

    I know I can be kind of overprotective to the point of being aggressive, but I hate seeing any of my friends (guys or girls) creeped on or myself. And I always have to fight back to the point I’m unfairly called a bitch or uncaring because I won’t give my number, won’t have time to pose or I’m busy. I’m a photographer too, so I get like this around the cosplayers I’m shooting for them and get branded a jerk… but really, who are the real jerks?

  51. Luke "Mini Cthulhu" Sims

    I understand where this is coming from, ive started to looking into cosplay with my otherhalf even though we been engaged for just over 2 years we doing our first convension in th UK (we cant get to the states :( ) and im worried about creepy old men with her, it simply because yes she a gamer girl and she is whereing a get steampunk cosplay as a 40k imperial guard commissar that enforsizes her bust but i no means feel that she get perved on by them.

    Well done for bringing this to light and we both wish you all the best in your endevores

  52. Emily

    I do completely agree with this project. No one should ever feel threaten or uncomfortable in a public place like a convention. Cosplayers work hard on their outfits and have a lot of pride in their work. That feeling shouldn’t be turned in to a negative experience.

    I do have a problem with the public shaming of creepy photographers. Yes, someone who takes a photo from under someone’s skirt should be punished but public shaming them is kind of doing the exact same thing to them that you want to stop. What they’re doing can be punished but let the proper authorities handle it by reporting them.

    Also, the public shaming of people taking photos without permission is not okay. A lot of other comments have pointed out that you are in a public place and a lot of them are not doing anything inappropriate so I won’t rehash those points. The one point I do want to make is that a lot of cons have clauses in their registration saying that if you come to the convention you consent to have your picture taken by other con goers. I’m not sure if cons still do this but I’ve been to conventions where that clause is on the back of my badge. So, those people are taking photos of cosplayers that have already consented to having their photo taken via registration.

    However, there is a huge difference between having your photo taken and being harassed. I agree that this is a problem at conventions that has been ignored for far too long. I applaud this project and I hope it succeeds at what it sets out to do.

  53. Cosplay takes a lot of courage (and money…. time…. and thought).

    I have always admired those who do it right.
    Never thought about this. Then again, I am of the mind nothing changed in person. They are just having fun dressing. Its not like they are clubbing…

    The way I look at it is art. Ok to look, but don’t touch.

  54. Ed

    I’ve advocated for a long time that cosplayers need to stand up for themselves, however they can, against their ridiculous treatment by attendees and the media, but I’m going to be honest-the gallery of creeps is something I find extremely offensive as a cosplay photographer. If they’ve posted shots, then yes, slam them, but there’s no way you can prove they’re being a creeper. A candid shot?

    Male photographers at conventions are generally scrutinized just as much as revealing cosplayers and there’s piles of stereotypes that we have to disprove. But I’m going to be honest; aside from perpetuating that people are creeps, you’re actually opening yourself to litigation for libel, if any of these people ever find that gallery, because you’re damaging their reputation without proof. Unless the camera is directly aimed at your butt or breasts, there’s no way for you to just so casually say, “This one’s a creeper.” That generalization is extremely harmful to us. Do you know how hard it is for us to get cosplayers to trust us? We have reputations to build up within our own communities and that takes a long time and trust.

    I’ve held the camera above my head to shoot a crowd before, as well. Do you really, honestly think that a man is trying to get a cleavage shot holding a camera over his head like a hail mary toss? He’s trying to get a crowd shot. You can just as easily take a perverted photo from eye level as you can with holding it in the air. I guess we’re all creepers by this logic. I’ve even laid down on the ground before to take a shot, but I’ve never abused the angle and the cosplayers I work with are completely trustful of me, because I’d never do anything to disrupt that trust, nor am I a creep.

    An old man with a cellphone? Obviously his libido never died, he was taking a sweet 4 megapixel photo from his superior cellphone optics from across the way, zooming in on cleavage because he has a thing for pixelation. I’ve seen countless times at conventions elderly individuals who were there for other reasons, but take a photo because “My grandson is into that.” I doubt gramps is trying to take a butt shot for Little Mikey at home. The casual sitting cell-phoner? You mean when you see an awesome cosplay and you just want a quick snapshot without getting up?

    However you want to spread a message is absolutely fine, but this gallery of creeps is absolutely ridiculous. People take candid photos. It’s a convention and you should expect cameras-it’s one of the most public of places you can be. You’re perpetuating stereotypes and you’re damaging what we do as a whole. So do what you have to do to spread your message and I’ll support that message, but know that you’re also tarnishing the reputation of all cosplay photographers with the creep gallery. Instead of assuming every candid of you is some perverted creeper, maybe you should look at people taking photos of other cosplayers where you can actually see if they’re being a creep or not.

  55. wendyzski

    I have contacted the author about expanding this project to the midwest.
    I’ve been costuming at conventions for more than 25 years, and though I’m fat and 40s now and thus don’t get a lot of this crap any more, I did when I was younger.
    I want my community to be welcoming, because that means we get to meet more creative and fun people to learn from/hang out with. That means becoming the kind of person who says “This is NOT okay” when it isn’t.

  56. Wyrdwad

    I don’t think it’s right to lump in people who sexually harass cosplayers with people who take “unauthorized photographs” of them. Assuming you’re including totally innocent candid shots, anyway.

    The former is despicable, but taking candid shots of people in costume is pretty much something anyone who cosplays should expect and allow IMHO — I’ve had it done to me plenty of times, and I’ve done it plenty of times as well. I mean, you’re in costume, so of course people are going to want to take photos of you, and candid photos in general just feel much more “authentic” than photos where the person poses. And while I can respect your desire for the person to later go up to the cosplayer and show him/her the photo that was taken, a passer-by may have already taken THEIR photo by then and posted it with the #CaughtCreep hash tag thanks to this article, directing false accusations and internet hatred toward that person unfairly.

    Plus, what if you spot someone in a cool costume from across the room and can’t possibly get to him/her before he/she gets in a car or something? I certainly wouldn’t want to miss that shot for fear of being labeled a “creeper.”

    In the case of people trying to take upskirt shots or something, yeah, that’s totally unacceptable. But your article doesn’t distinguish very well between that and people who just want a good shot of a cosplayer going about his/her business.

    I do appreciate this article overall, don’t get me wrong — but that one part seems like it might need to be expanded upon a bit so people don’t get the wrong idea. Candid photography of people in costume is not a bad thing by any means, and no one who does it (provided they’re keeping it clean and not trying to capture underwear slips or something) should be vilified for it IMHO.

    Just my two cents!

  57. I’m an amateur photographer who takes lots of pictures of cosplayers at conventions. Here’s how I do it:

    “Excuse me, may I take your picture, please?”
    (If yes) “Great! Thank you.”
    “Your costume looks really great. Did you make it yourself?”
    “OK, got it. Thanks very much. Have a great con!”

    If they say no, I say, “OK, maybe some other time. Have a great con!”

    Everybody walks away feeling good, and I get some really great pictures.

  58. vdragonmpc

    Im sorry I have been doing cons on staff for a very long time. There are always people who take things too far on both sides of the issue. I cant tell you how many ‘cosplayers’ I have had to send to their rooms for inappropriate costumes that break con rules.

    When I first started the cons were fairly calm and yes there were some cosplayers around but many were with someone. Now the numbers have gone up, the costumes have increased in quality and there are far more attendees with no idea how to react to seeing some of this. I saw this handled extremely well at several cons. They outlawed ‘booth babes’ as they would push the limit as far as possible and instituted some baselines on dress codes. I understand your desire to be a perfect representation of a character but you have to think about some things that can go wrong with it.

    What needs to happen badly is not only rules at the con for cosplayers specifically but with attendees also. Its not that hard to have some inter-action guidelines. HOWEVER, you cannot call out or get offended by people taking pictures in a public area that are simply getting shots of the con. I have personally witnessed at a huge gaming con that starts with a ‘G’ a cosplayer get upset with a person taking pictures of his friends booth (she did not know he was staff) and started harassing the guy. He did not even want her shot and offered to erase it as he simply was getting the setup shot to confirm that they were ready to their boss. So lets remember that there are many people just looking to be ‘harassed’ and will cry wolf also.

    Anyone touching another attendee, cosplayer or not should be informed that it was the wrong behavior. The same goes for the perv shots you spoke of, lewd and rude comments are wrong and all should be brought to the staffs attention or at least a security person. What you need to realize is that some of these people can escalate. We are there at every con to support YOU. Just because we made you cover up a bit and requested an alteration the bottom line is that we want everyone to have a safe and fun time at the convention you attend.

  59. Yes! This, so much.
    I’ve experience sexual harassment while cosplaying (which I never know how to deal with, as I recognize that I’m somewhat representing a brand/group). It’s even worse when someone takes it as an excuse to tell you how ugly you are- as if, by dressing up as my favorite character (and being tasteful about it, and aware that I am not a size 6), I am asking you to loudly comment to your friends how unattractive I am.

    As far as the candid shots go- personally, I have no problem with someone taking a candid shot of ME (although I’d love to see it and say hi, if you do), because I understand shyness and exhaustion and all that. What I have a problem with is someone taking a candid shot of one PART of me (like my boobs, or my butt), sneaky creepy style. I’m not a celebrity, I don’t expect to grant people permission to take a photo for personal use, but it’s really not OK to objectify me and the character I’m dressed as by taking photos of just a body part.

  60. 1.awesome,
    2. I’m doing the fashion show for PdX GEAR Con, and I’d love to somehow include this idea into the show or at least for part of it.

  61. well me about in Jan i was Harley Quinn from batmen i drop my wallet so i get it like i usually do (bend my knees) and this guy with a camera passes by goes down with his camera and says and this is Harley Quinn ass big and round, i was insulted, !!! how could he do that ! for god sake it made me yell AND THIS IS HALEY QUINN HAMMER , he look and walk away giggling with his friends , then 5 min later he passes and make the comment about my chest T^T like what m i meat ? made me feel discusting ( like my cosplay covers my holy body ,yes its a skin tight but if you know me its a huge step for me, i hate how i look

  62. CupcakeTerror

    Well done, Sushi Killer! This is the first article I’ve read on the site, and I have shared it with many of my cosplay friends and groups. I certainly hope this article leads to positive discussion on how to combat harassment of Cosplayers across the world.

  63. Kat

    I shared this not only on my FaceBook, but on the forum page of a con I attend.

    I’ve got to get a few points off my chest.

    A) Costumed really doesn’t equal Consent. WITH IN REASON. If I’m out in a cosplay, I expect pictures to be taken. Why else would I be dressed to the nines and made up?? What I’m not giving consent about is touching. I’m fine with a hug if you ask me, let’s face it, I love hugs!, but please ask. Certain cosplays I kind of expect to get asked about hugs (like Ed Elric.).

    B) I’ve been blessed that only one guy has asked for my number after a picture but, even if you aren’t emotionally/ romantically attached, “Oh I’m sorry, but I’m here with my boyfriend/ girlfriend/ husband/ wife, He/ she is wandering around.” works REALLY well.

    C) It does seem a little one sided. I know a lot of guys are thinking this is an attack on them, but it isn’t. This is an attack on the skeezies that give good guys a bad name. You see a cosplayer, male or female, in distress, step in! Maybe they don’t have a ‘handler’ (someone to help carry a bag or help with cumbersome parts) with them. As a cosplayer, I know our hands get full. It’s a pain in the neck trying to find a clear hall spot, take off glasses, then pose. If you throw in a creep (male or female! I’ve met some wicked creepy chicks) on top of it, the con becomes stressful and not fun!

    D) Why does it seem like a convention is off limits to politeness, manners, and human decency?? Yes I know, it’s vacation for most of us, but still. Don’t be the ‘Bad American’! (Yeah I’m an American too, but I don’t live up to that stereotype!) Remember, that person in spandex, pleather, whatever is human too! They deserve to be treated kindly like everyone else! SO DO THE PHOTOGRAPHERS. If one IS being skeezy, however, and *I* catch them, I’m screeching like a Banshee at an old peoples’ home.

    D-2) Same goes for anyone who touches me in an inappropriate manner. Screeching as loud as I can, finding their name on their badge and letting everyone in the vicinity of me know that they were being disgusting and sexually offending me.

    Come on people. It’s simple. You are, usually, an adult and know how to act in public. And if you aren’t an adult, you are shaming your momma, your grandmomma, your aunties, sisters, all your female family and friends by acting nasty like that.

    “Stop, no! don’t touch me there! That’s my no-no square!”
    <3's

  64. Hi there. Great article. I shared it on my cosplay page with a couple stories of harassment of my own. https://www.facebook.com/PyrandaCosplay

  65. I once had a random passer-by at a con asking me if my breasts were real. I looked at him in complete shock and he figured out pretty quick that he’d stepped over the line. He appologised and ran off. At the time I’d chalked it off to big city mentality (I’m from a small town, and that was my first time in a big city), but when we got a local con, I started noticing people harassing some of the younger female cosplayers.

    I’ve got pretty thick skin, so I can laugh about my own experience. The guy never touched me, and though he should have known better than to comment in the first place, I have to give him half-props for appologising. But not everyone is that lucky.

    I’m going to post this on the Facebook group for my local con, I’m sure we can get lots of people to participate!

  66. Fran

    http://photo.irlevents.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/20120824_KN1_01_0017-web_m.jpg

    we had this image posted all around Cos & Effect 2012, but I don’t know if it helped much. My boyfriend at the time was getting hugs and felt really uncomfortable, especially when they came from other guys. The gestures are nice, but it’s not for everyone.

  67. Xander

    I’m wondering if you’ll be at Fanime in San Jose. This is a great project and a great idea overall. I’m glad someone’s finally addressing the issues, especially the idea that people are entitled to photos of you because you’re in a costume. It’s common courtesy to just ask for a photo.

    • Sushi Killer

      Yes, we will definitely be at Fanime!

  68. As a cosplayer, I do not like my photo being taken with out permission. Period. If I’m posing already for someone else, of course someone can take a photo. When I’m walking, eating, or talking to someone (or sitting down to take a break with my costume in disarray), I DON’T LIKE IT! I have never EVER told someone NO if they asked for a photo. I’ve also had photographers take a candid photo, but they SHOWED me the pic and asked if it was okay. I have never once said it wasn’t, and I thanked them for asking me.

    When it comes to the male readers, we are actually encouraging male cosplayers to participate as well. There is also an article in the works regarding body image for cosplayers as a whole.

    • Valhallan42nd

      That’s nothing you can control, though.You might not like it, but, in reality, candid shots are going to happen. You can’t have a expectation of privacy in a public exhibation place. I’m sorry, but I’m going to take candid shots of people who have cool costumes. Mainly because I’m just passing by and I have some place to get to quickly. I usually ask permission, never touch, and never pull the shenanigans that these bad actors do.

      But sometimes, you see a really cool Thor/Dalek crossover thing, and you have to get the snap.

  69. Seth

    As a father of 3 little girls, I appreciate that someone is working to make the geek-culture safer. I don’t want to have to tell them ‘It’s just not safe for you to dress up for cons.’ or have to hover around them (with a billy club. yeah, I’m THAT kind of dad.)to make sure they aren’t the ‘spank-of-the-day’ at some little pervers collective. A message to geekdom: If you want more girl cosplayers, don’t make them regret doing it.

  70. Diva27la

    Idea: at the next ComiCon, have undercover San Diego police officers go in costume. When somebody grabs them in appropriately, that person gets arrested for sexual battery. It might force some people to think twice before they act.

  71. Thank you. Just, Thank you. :)

  72. Here in Australia our bigger cons like Supanova (and I am sure many others) make a point of saying on their websites and all sorts of places they can that people should ask to take photos. I’ve also seen it specifically said not to glomp random strangers.

    http://www.supanova.com.au/the-top-10-tips-you-need-to-enjoy-supanova/

    Personally I tend to take shots when people are already posing for a group of people taking photos, as that seems to happen A LOT and on the rare occasion that I see someone that I have to get a photo of I’d certainly ask. The crowds and constant movement would make it rather difficult to get a photo without permission at most of the venues I’ve been to, unless it was when someone is sitting down to eat or something like that – away from all the action. In that case it is probably best to not even bother these people, I wouldn’t like to be taken away from my lunch!

    A big plus for taking photos is the cosplay competitions, these people are getting up on stage in front of everyone and know that photos are going to be taken and they’ll pose for the crowd. Then there are the skits which people record too.

    On the side of touching, unwelcome hands are always a no… that’s should be very clear… even if you think it is harmless or not much it IS molestation. Anybody who faces this should make a stink in the con environment, it should be a place where you feel safe and if anyone is being too touchy they should be scared. If you want to yell hands off, do it. If your girlfriend is being pawed and she doesn’t like it, do confront the person doing it. Who cares if you look possessive, it’s called being a man. There was a time a guy would find himself on his ass with a black eye for stuff like this and that was what was expected. Now I am not saying violence is the answer but it shows a change that needs correction.

  73. This is an amazing idea, and I do plan to submit and to get my friends to submit in some way in the very near future. In addition, I was wondering if you would mind me using some of the ideas and possibly a few of the photos in the article for a panel a friend and I are working on. We have decided that enough is enough with people not knowing basic con safety and courtesy, and are putting together a panel to inform people. This project fits in really nicely with the content and I’d love to spread the word on it. You can e-mail me if you like, as well. Thank you for the great article and I look forward to seeing where this project takes you!!

  74. Hi! I’m the admin of a Facebook group dedicated to cosplay in Argentina. We would love to help you out raising awareness about this kind of situations, given that in our country cosplay is still an unusual hobby and some of us (cosplayers) are strugling to make ourselves be heard among the prejudices of the fandom (they range from “if you’re wearing it, you’re asking for it” or “you were posing already, I don’t have to ask permition if you gave the consent of being photographed”). I’ve translated with LadyLemon (a very popular cosplayer who wants to take part on the initiative as well) your article to spanish. Where can I send it out to you as to spread the voice? I’m uploading it to our community (for the ones who doesn’t understand english :-) ) but, by all means, feel free to use it as you may see fit.

    We hope to keep in touch in the future! Loving the initiative :)

    • Sushi Killer

      Thank you so much! That would definitely be useful to us and we appreciate the time you’ve taken to make this more accessible to everyone!

      If you could message a link to our facebook page, we will send it out over twitter, tumblr, etc so that the word gets out. Muchas gracias!

  75. chefyego

    Wow. We dont that in this country. If you do you get abused mentally and verbally by non understanding fans and idiots
    And yes perverts taking fotos “for fanzines”
    You all look great and fantastic article

  76. I had an incident at Blizzcon when I was dressed as my troll, fully covered in shaman tier 12 and had Sulfuras. I had two drunk guys come onto me, asking to take a picture holding my weapon. I politely told them ‘no’ as the runes were starting to come off (it was the end of the day) and I didn’t want any more damage to it. They kept pressing, saying it was the guy’s birthday and I told them firmly ‘no’ again and the reason why. They finally relented and then suggested taking a picture with me holding the mace. I agreed and the next thing I know, one of the guys PICKS ME UP and the other takes the picture. They laugh about it and he puts me back down and says “Heh, I got to hold it after all.” I wish Sulfuras had been real at that point so I could have hit them.

  77. Neal Feldman

    Sorry, but this is ludicrous.

    I agree no one should touch another person without their consent.

    HOWEVER, there is no such thing as privacy in a public setting. If you do not want to be photographed in public I suggest you not dress in a way as to make your appearance unusual/interesting. Are you outraged that in a convention setting you are likely on at least 3 cameras at any given time? Even if not dressed up or unusual in any way?

    Photos up dresses are, again, unacceptable without consent, but to expect a photographer to not take a picture, ever, unless they get a signed consent form from anyone who even MIGHT be in the shot is patently ludicrous.

    As for sexual comments, geez people get a clue! If you dress and run around like an oversexed and under-dressed slut that is, honestly, how many will treat you. It is like a person who gets tattoos all over their body and then gets all uppity and offended if anyone notices.If you cannot handle a few crude comments (not talking threats/stalking here, just comments) you really have no business running around in a public setting half (or more) naked. At least take a college level course in Psychology (specifically human psychology) to see how ridiculously unreasonable your demands are.

    If I am out in public and see something or someone I wish to preserve in a photo, I will take the photo. No request of permission is warranted or required. No one has a right to go out in public and expect no one or nothing will notice or photograph them.

    And you know what? I have done so and the subject might notice and to a one, without exception, they start vamping for the camera… men as well as women. They put a lot of work into their outfit, accessories and acting and to a one, as would I, they were appreciative of the compliment of the attention. But on a crowded con floor I am not going to try and ask a hundred or more folks for their consent before taking a picture, especially since doing so would completely lose any chance of getting the shot in the first place. That is a wholly unreasonable expectation.

    But if you are an even half-way attractive male or female and go running around public buck naked (or nearly so) you really have no legitimate basis to whine and cry that folks take notice of (and may even video or photograph) you.

    • Sushi Killer

      I have said this in other comments ad nauseum, but I am not saying anyone can’t take a picture of cosplayers. It seems you and I agree that upskirting and touching is wrong. I mentioned other cosplayers’ preferences to be asked fore photos but that is not the formal stance we are taking as a group.

      However, slut shaming is another story. You and I may never see eye-to-eye on that one. How a person chooses to express them self should not make them any less of a person. Unless, of course, they marginalize or threaten other people, then I will admit that I think less of them. Even so I will treat them with respect and instead of being hyper critical and insulting I will try to treat them with decency, one human being to another.

      • Melinda Kimberly Layden

        Neal is a troll. Don’t feed him; it’s not worth it.

        • Still obsessed with me, I see. Poor little princess found someone who does not have their nose up her rectum and is willing and able to call her on her BS. Welcome to reality.

          But your exceptional proof that you cannot prove your claims is duly noted by your unhinged stalkerness.

          LMFAO!!

          • *waves hello to the troll*

            Have a nice day, Neal.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            Still obsessed with me in your NPD rage, huh?

            How pathetic of you.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            *waves again*

            Have a nice day, Neal.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            Still obsessed with me in your NPD rage, huh?

            How pathetic of you…

          • Neal, I do not know what your obsession and/or vendetta against Ms. Layden is (and I really don’t care), but could you PLEASE give it up, let it go, move on and GET OUT? Yes/yes. Because whether or not you started as a troll in the conversation, you have now become one and it’s not needed here. Thanks.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            *to Wiccy Christina* I would reply to the remark directed to me, but can’t find it on this thread. I apologize that this (and at least two other) conversation have gotten ridiculous. I will follow my own advice and withdraw. Thanks!

        • Yes, I think at a certain point WordPress no longer let’s you post to the same comment thread. It’s weird and annoying and completely disrupts the flow of conversation.

          Anyway, thanks.

  78. Hammer Man

    This is a very good article. I applaud you for standing up and standing out! But we have a big problem here. There are too many “cosplay” fans that dress up for that specific attention. As a director of a major department of a 50k+ attendance convention, I see it a lot, I see the cosplayers that will pose in sexy seductive poses, inviting people to take pictures with them in this manner. So people are led to assume it’s okay then by all. Perhaps including something in your article to that degree warning the ones who dress up to be careful with those actions? I am also a photographer and am more than happy to step in and ask a person if they mind if I take their picture, and I think that’s the respectful thing to do. I wished more people would do this as well.
    Unfortunately with the available readiness of cameras and camera phones these days, everyone has one, so if you dress in costume, just like a Hollywood celebrity, you have to expect no privacy while you’re in costume, unless you have a large entourage escorting you wherever you go. Then it becomes no fun for the one in costume. It’s a give/take relationship on both sides. Both the person in dress, and the person looking on.

    I hope your message gets out there, and I hope to see some of this out here on the Eastern side of the states as well. I don’t know if your blog shows you an email address if someone leaves it in their info but I’ll be happy to help at the Con I’m a director of if I can.

    • There’s a HUGE difference between taking a sexy photo of someone who is specifically posing sexy, and sneaking behind someone in spandex to get a picture of their rear without their permission.

      I might want to dress up as a scantly clad character because I like the character. It doesn’t mean I want cat-calls and comments on my breasts, or inappropriate touching.

  79. Not sure if it’s just me, but I can’t see your caught creeps doing anything that would deem them as creepy aside from taking a photo at a distance. I did chuckle at the old guy and fat guy in the first few images. That’s really not helping the stereotype!

  80. MissLady

    Although I don’t know anything about this CosPlay (I’m not even sure what it is), I’m extremely disturbed to read of the abusive harassment faced by the women who participate in these events. Women should be able to enjoy themselves at these events without having to face a gauntlet of sexual bullying from these immature creeps.

  81. Todd the Wraith

    it’s not that hard to ask the cosplayers if you can take a picture. they don’t bite. i always ask them if they want a photo taken. though as a sidenote, you should probably also ask them if they mind you uploading them to facebook and the like.

  82. I have a couple of thoughts about all of this. Over the years I have had plenty of candid photos taken of me. IMO it goes with the territory of being in costume at a convention. Hell, when you buy a ticket for a con, it usually says that your photo can be taken and can be used at a later time.

    So I honestly don’t worry about it much. Of course I am a guy and maybe my mind set is different. I understand that a photographer is there and wants to get their shots to cover the con. That’s their deal and I don’t expect them to have to try to make time to come to me to make sure the shot is ok. Just use some common sense and pick photos that flatter the subject and the con.

    Now I know that there are plenty of news type photographers at cons trying to capture pics too, some are used to make fun of us. My suggestion, while in costume, if you care, then always try to be on your game. Don’t do anything in public that you don’t want posted online. Don’t wear anything that you don’t want posted online. Worried about a costume being too revealing and someone getting a shot of something they shouldn’t? Then alter the costume to avoid the wardrobe malfunction. Don’t rely on someone not taking the pic, your costume, your body, your responsibility.

    That being said, this doesn’t really cover the people out there that are taking inappropriate photos. I know of people who lurk around cons to get shots of boobs, butts, etc… and do creep around. THOSE photographers have no place. I have no issues of calling someone out on their behavior if they are creeping.

  83. For financial reasons I can’t afford con going or cosplay, but whatever happened to chivalrous behavior that, ironically, exists in many video games, anime, and cartoons?

    I may be gay, but even so I would never treat anyone in the behavior above. Then again though, i am very shy when it comes to approaching others so take that for what it’s worth.

  84. Erinovauch

    Yeah, this is a big thing, I’m a male cosplayer myself, and at least one of my female friends has actually had her skirt flipped no less than 25 times at a single convention, and I myself have had a stalker before(one year she followed me incessantly, the next she followed my friend who was with me the whole weekend) it gets really creepy and can actually get to the point where it is frightening(not an easy thing to do when we’re both fairly fit and above 6 feet, myself think Germany from Hetalia and him Heavy from Team fortress 2[what we were cosplaying our respective years of being stalked]) my point is that some individuals take their being fans of characters way too far and…yeah, i’m not all that great at making points.

  85. This is fantastic and Ia m glad you are doing it. It is really unfortunate that this even has to be said and that people didn’t learn in kindergarten that you should keep your hands to yourself and if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. And ”nice tits” is not something nice to say.

    At my first Anime Boston in 2011, my first time wearing a costume of Ty Lee from Avatar: The Last Airbender, my friends and I were admiring a booth in the Artist’s Alley when someone passed behind me and ran their hand down my bare back. We never even found out who is was because they were gone with the crowd when I turned. At NYCC 2012 I was cosplaying as Zelda from Skyward Sword and someone asked my boyfriend to to take a picture of him with me. While my boyfriend fiddled with the camera to figure it out, this man put his arm around me and squeezed one of my breasts. Yup. In sight of my best friend, too, who did actually see it happen. I had no idea what to do that wouldn’t cause some kind of scene in a very crowded space, so this fella has a picture with a very horrified looking Zelda. I’ve also had a guy ask me if I wanted to “blow on (his) ocarina” while in my Zelda costume. No. I do not.

    Girls (and guys!) should not have to be afraid of being harassed or having their personal boundaries crossed because they want to show their love for a character by cosplaying them. End of story.

  86. Alex

    As a cosplayer I like this idea for the most part, but as a photographer I have a major issue with the “caught creep” portion. I don’t think it’s right to call someone a creep because they took a photo at a public event. I mean if they are obviously a drooling fanboy who’s going for an up skirt or down shirt shot then yes they are a creep.
    I noticed that a few of the “creeps” actually have press passes, and they may just be collecting interesting photos of an event which is what they’ve been assigned to do. In most cases an editor will prefer a candid shot over a posed one for their publication.
    Some of the those phone camera people may just think “oh that’s not neat!” and snap a photo to share online or show someone later, it doesn’t necessarily come with a malicious or perverted intent.
    If someone’s at a public event and they’re wearing an interesting costume I don’t anyone should be surprised that people will take photos of them, and that’s definitely not the same as someone physically grabbing or verbally harassing a cosplayer. This is like calling people creeps for taking photos of a parade or a shadowcast. I appreciate the intention, but I think the execution of the idea is flawed.

    • Sushi Killer

      The people I tried to include only fell into the creep category, and that’s given some pretty conservative standards for it. Hence why I only had 4 images instead of 5,000.

  87. The lady

    I don’t like candid shots. If you want pic, run and yell. That is what I do. How does a photographer know it’s the one chance they will have?

    Candids of people minding their own business is very intrusive, and most likely end up online embarrassing the cosplayer. I honestly wonder if that is the candid shots photographer’s goal.

    I fully agree with taking a picture of someone who is trying to sneak a picture. I don’t understand why photographers who claim they respect cosplayers are making excuses that contribute to a cosplayer feeling uncomfortable.Also if cadid shots of cosplayers are ok, why aren’t candid shots of photographers ? I am not sure why photographers need to be protected from candids while cosplayers aren’t.

    • David

      Honestly, as a photographer, I find candid shots can be more interesting than posed ones. Having been to a number of conventions over the years, I have hundreds of pictures of people in heroic poses with grimacing faces and wielding weapons. They tend to blur together in my mind. But one of my favorites is of Dr. Strange going through a box of comics. It’s unique, memorable and totally candid.

      I take pictures to capture a unique moment. I have occasionally asked a cosplayer to do something random, like asking a Jedi to hold up the “End of Line” sign he was carrying, but often the most memorable shots are candid ones. I get that cosplayers want to be photographed in a flattering way that shows off the effort they put into their outfit, but photographers often want to capture a picture that encapsulates something more than “person in a costume making a pose.”

      My intent has never been to make a cosplayer feel uncomfortable, just to get an interesting shot. Perhaps I could do more to approach someone afterwards, but at large conventions we know this is not always possible.

  88. I will grab a whiteboard and try and get as many photos from cons here in UK. I’ve had a couple of guys come up wanting to take a photo of me, and then grab me. I usually call them out on it, but it does help that I have a big group of friends.

  89. Theresa

    I think what bothers me most, is when I’m NOT in cosplay and my picture is being taken with or without my consent. I’m aware that when in my street clothes, I still dress in mini-skirts, so I could be perceived as “sexy”, but it doesn’t mean it’s okay for someone to say, “Hey, can I get your picture?” OR to sneak my picture! I wouldn’t expect someone to take a picture of me in my street clothes while I’m not at a con, so doing it while I’m at a con also isn’t okay. A lot of my guy friends will be like, “You should be flattered, because you’re really attractive, so they want your pic even when you don’t cosplay.” But I still see something really wrong with it, it’s like… If it was your girlfriend, would you be okay with some stranger asking for her picture when she’s not in a costume? Probably not. So what makes it okay when it’s your friend? :(

    I’ve actually had to block people’s cameras with my hand from taking a picture of me without my permission before, as rude as it is, sometimes it’s the only thing that works. :/

    But I definitely agree with this article, I know one guy (we are not friends anymore for this specific reason) who not only creeps on girls at cons, going so far as to follow a cute cosplayer throughout a con at a chance for a good picture of her. But he also would try to tell me what I was or was not “allowed” to cosplay as, based on how attractive the character I wanted to cosplay as was. Generally he ONLY ever suggested skimpy cosplays. Really annoying, and frustrating, and demeaning. I’m not his friend anymore because I don’t want to deal with the headache of telling him what I do with my body is my decision, and it doesn’t give him the right to tell me how to look, how to act, or give him the right to objectify me in any way.

  90. John

    I agree with everything except the “candid shots” bit. Not asking for permission isn’t creepy, it’s just more polite to do so. You just get different types of shots when you’re candid as opposed to staged. Being in public, especially where picture taking is the norm, there’s no right to privacy with photography (with the obvious exceptions of upskirts and things like that). People are perfectly within their rights to take a picture/video of you if you’re in public, at least here in the states. That’s just part of the law.

    The whole taking pictures of people taking pictures and shaming them is a bit of a bully move I think, especially considering you’re taking pictures without permission in order to shame people that are taking pictures without permission. The person who is doing the shaming can easily say they other person is doing something they’re not, with no way to verify. They feel they’re shaming perverts, but what if they just misunderstood?

    Obviously the touching and upskirts and other inappropriate behavior is horrid, I’m just commenting on the photography bit. And if what the rest of the article says is true, I can understand why certain cosplayers would feel like candids can be creepy.

  91. Aspen

    This is a fantastic project, I’m always finding picture of me in candid shots and some of them I’m not happy with. I wish that photographers would show you the picture before they post, or if a picture is taken that credit is given where credit is due. I haven’t had a problem with inappropriate pictures since all of my cons so far have been small, but the problem will make it to these cons eventually. Nip it in the butt!

  92. SMH

    Huzza! I was at Antrocon, and granted the furry fandom is separate, but there’s the same issue. I had a few badges on, I wasn’t even in costume, and at Subway, the one worker interpreted this as meaning I was a good target to have a very forward conversation with. Nothing outright explicit, but the message was clear. And in the moment, he just seemed to enjoy talking, but if I had bumped into him outside of the store, say at night, I would have been worried that he might not just talk, but ACT on his interests. Gave me the hebegeebies.

  93. Amanda

    love the idea!! going to PAX prime this year and will definitely keep this in mind.

  94. As a Cosplayer, I don’t mind candid photos at all. That’s my personal opinion. None of the outfits I wear are revealing, and I usually dress as a male character. I certainly hope no one catches a picture of me picking my nose (lol), but I don’t mind a photo of me eating. (Hey! Orochimaru’s eating a sandwich!) Unless the photo or photographer are intentionally being inappropriate, I feel safe.
    When I go to a convention, I expect pictures to be taken with or without my knowledge. I enjoy hunting for the pictures online after the con. I understand how hard it is for everyone to get your permission. Honestly, I’ve had people yell for me while I’d stand there in the midst of hundreds, looking around in pure confusion before moving on because I couldn’t identify the speaker.
    It’s kinda common sense that coming to a public event dressed up is going to attract photographic attention. If I didn’t want photos, I wouldn’t go, and it’s physically impossible to hunt down everyone who ended up in the photo (intentionally or not) and ask their permission. There are hundreds upon thousands of people that go, and you may end up getting about twenty people in the background thaf you didn’t want in the picture.
    It’s hard when female cosplayers dress in almost absolutely nothing. It draws eyes to places they shouldn’t go, unfortunately. No woman should be harassed or taken innapropriate pictures of, but every candid photo taken of her doesn’t always carry the intent of being innapropriate. I make an effort NOT to take pictures of the scantily clad females.
    No one should be harassed EVER, and permission should be asked if possible, but people need to understand how hard it is to do so in a rush of people.

  95. I’d have to agree with a lot of what’s being said in the article and the comments. To add to it, so much of what constitutes a ‘creeper’ is subjective. That is to say some things: cleavage, up-skirts, etc. are generally considered to be universally creepy but as mentioned maybe someone is too shy to ask, or couldn’t get into the crowd to ask. I suppose a good rule of thumb would be to say that it’s the intent that makes the person taking the photograph creeper or not. I will also concede that intent is such a hard thing to judge in this environment: take the pictures on Flickr of the photographers: the older gentleman from far away I wouldn’t consider to have a creeper’s intent. Though the photographer that was (I assume) by the doors, should know better especially since he seemed to have some credentials with him.

    There’s no such thing as implied consent when it comes to photographs in public, as such just simply being in costume in public means that anyone taking your picture without your prior knowledge is in violation of the law. That being said, I think the idea that has been bandied about in the comments of asking about a candid shot after the fact is a good one; at least that way the person taking the photograph is giving control to the subject of the photograph.

  96. thespian96

    I love this article! I was at wondercon with my girlfriend, she was dressed as wonder woman. As she was posing for a picture a man walked behind her, flipped up her cape and took a picture of her ass with his cell phone. I started to make moves toward him (love my girl) before I could get within ten feet of him she was on his ass. Resisting breaking his wrist (black belt btw) she grabbed him and took his phone, deleted the picture and had him thrown out.

    • I would like to applaud your girlfriend’s actions. Kudos to her!

  97. Destructive Doll

    This is an amazing project idea, I personally don’t really enjoy it when people just take photos without asking, after all we all do work hard, and we have no problem with you taking good photos if you just ask, plus then we can really show off the best angles of our costumes. Not to mention, it’s strange to come across images of yourself online later that you know you didn’t pose for!

    But what’s worse than people not asking permission to take your photo, is having someone ask permission to take your photo, and then you later find out they are selling those images online, and the definitely didn’t ask to do that!

    But it’s good to see these problems as a whole are beginning to bring the cosplay community more and more together and it seems to definitely be eliminating any cosplay elitism that still lurks. But I look forward to seeing more from you! ^^

  98. Silly

    To be brutally honest, you seem to be firmly in the creeper camp.

    Evidence: You make it all about your poor, hurt feelings and how ~alienated~ you are, when the topic is actually about a common pattern of sexual harassment. I am sorry, but when you value your “right” to take photos whenever you want regardless of what the person you’re photographing wants over their right to say no, well, then you’re a creeper.

    And then you directly say ” I pretty much find this overall very girl power oriented” as if that were a bad thing…

  99. Roadkill

    Having been involved with cosplay and conventions for nearly 30 years that puts me in the age range where alot of cosplay costumes do not really suit my age. I therefor choose those that suit me. Also being a guy i need to choose wisely. Every convention i go to from small local cons to very large cons like Dragoncon in atlanta i do see these actions to cosplayers happening. Not as much here in the southeast as out west. However very recently at a medium sized Anime convention here in the south east there were 3 assaults on cosplayers. 2 were female and 1 was male. All the assaults were from people that were involved with ” another convention ” also booked at the same hotel. This convention was not a sci fi or anime convention of any sort and was filled with ” undisirables” . 1 girl was ” attacted ” as it was stated in an elevator. The other 2 in the general sections of the hotel convention spaces .

    As i said before i am fully versed in conventions and have never taken a picture of a female or male cosplay character with out their permission and would never ” grope ” them at all . This is just plain respect for them and their personal.space and those who do not respect them should be put out of the convention . I just hope that when my daughter is older and decides to wear a costume that may get these stares etc that i will not have to do any thing i might get arrested for ! So far i have not had to when my wife is also cosplaying with me.

  100. Silly

    And this is why I stopped cosplaying.

    So many men who seem to think it’s their god-given right to sexually harass me over and over. Touching, groping – and any complaint I made made *me* the “bitch”. Because, as someone above said, it’s clearly only my fault and I should have expected it, because expecitng men to behave better than animals is, apparently, mean and unwelcoming.

    So yeah, great project and I hope it catches on. It might be safe to cosplay again eventually if it does.

  101. Roxana Hire

    I love the message of this PSA!

    I have been a cosplayer and a professional “booth babe” for several years.

    While I completely agree that cosplay does not equal consent, I think it is also important to get the message out that cosplayers need to take responsibility for their own public safety…..sadly you just can’t place your safety in the hands of others

    I have been the spokes model for corset companies, artists and card games. I do not kid myself that my knowledge of the industry is the only reason I am hired. I am SEXY, and the costumes that I make and wear are designed to stimulate a sexual response in men (and some women). It is the most basic biology that revealing outfits will stimulate the male sex drive. Many female super heroes were drawl by men for men, and thus when we women recreate these male stereotypes of women we are setting ourselves up to be viewed as stereotypes and as objects.

    I am NOT saying that it is RIGHT for men to treat women (or women to treat men) as objects. Just that it is basic biology that the cruder members of our species will react to this basic programing.

    Personally, I do not have anything against being viewed as a sexual object when I dress in a sexual manner…because I know I am sexy, I got dressed to be sexy……I am trying to be sexy…I am also a talented costumer and I have a PhD…..but no one knows that when all they see is my tush sticking out of my booty shorts… Photographers who take pictures of me at cons are only capturing what everyone else sees (the exceptions being “up skirt shots” which deserve a swift kick in the balls). I accept that if I dress as Caprica 6 that men are going to think of me as a sex-robot… if they TREAT me like a sex-robot….then they need to be corrected.

    Decent humans will not say what they are thinking when they see my tiny corseted waist and ample cleavage, but the indecent ones are out there, and this is why I say that cosplayers need to take responsibility for their own safety.

    NEVER go anywhere with a photographer alone….
    NEVER walk in a strange city alone….
    NEVER get drunk with people you do not know….
    ALWAYS report to security when someone touches you inappropriately….that person can be thrown out of the con and even arrested for SEXUAL ASSAULT!
    ALWAYS stand up for yourself!!!!

    This last part is the most important…..I have learned that if you don’t want to be viewed as a object you HAVE to speak your mind and show them that you have one…Show those pigs that if they pinch your ass or make a lewd comment that you won’t just pout about it, but that you will have security come and ARREST THEIR SORRY ASS!

    The only way to make “should be treated” into “are treated” is to stand up for yourself and your fellow cosplyers. This post is a wonderful first step, but to make this translate into real world change we all need to take action against pervs!

    (stepping off my soap box)

    • This I completely agree with.

    • SMH

      So very important! Even if there’s a broad shift in attitudes, there’ll always be a few rouges, who can be obnoxious, or dangerous at worst.

  102. So I’m probably going to get a lot of hate for my opinion, but I thought I would share anyway since I seem to go against the grain.

    I have been a cosplayer for fourteen years and I have worn a variety of costume types. Sometimes I crossplay as a male, sometimes I dress of as a female of varying degrees of dress. Frankly, if I choose to walk around in spandex or mini-skirts or corset and borderline lingerie, I really don’t see a reason to get upset when people choose to enjoy the body that I am showing off. Since I am choosing of my own free will to show my body, that is in a way tacit permission for people to look. If you don’t want people to look at you “inappropriately”, then don’t wear revealing clothing.

    I do agree to draw the line at touching without permission. Basic rule of thumb: if it isn’t acceptable in standard public setting, it isn’t acceptable at a con either. But if you walk down the street in skimpy clothes, you’re going to get hoots and whistles. If you go to the beach, people will stare at your body. It’s the same thing.

    In essence, take some responsibility for the image you’re showing. It’s your choice what you choose to wear, so accept what comes along with it. Being in a costume does not elevate you to some untouchable pedestal where the standard rules no longer apply. When people behave out of line, have the strength to simply tell them no and correct their behavior.

  103. I wish I had seen this in action when I was at the con, what a great idea!
    I was appalled by some people believing Cosplay is consent on the net, it’s great seeing a method to highlight and fight it

  104. Steve

    I’m a fit, handsome, male cosplayer. When I wear spandex, it shows off a lot of my benefits. Everywhere. So I get a lot of the same attention that is complained about in this article.

    But I love it. Getting yelled “i’d fuck you” is most certainly a compliment and being constantly touched and groped by women (and even men, I’m a straight male comfortable with my sexuality) is fantastic.

    If I didn’t want, or in the very least expect, sexual attention I wouldn’t be wearing sexually attractive outfits.

    That’s not to say inappropriately touching cosplayers is automatically okay, that’s still one step above molestation and three steps above rape. But I feel some of the reactions given in the article are a bit over-reactions.

    The girls not liking strangers touching their ass without permission? Yeah I totally get that, screw those creeps. A girl upset at people shouting they want to fuck her? Well I mean it’s just a statement of fact. Socially acceptable? Maybe not. But not outright negative or bad. Deal with it or don’t cosplay. There are three main reasons to cosplay and everyone has all three reasons, love of the media they’re portraying, showing off skill, and attention. Everyone will have different levels in each, one person may be all about attention and less a lover of the media while another person may really want to show off their skills or another just absolutely loves a character. But all are still doing all three things.

    It makes it so cosplaying is a form of entertainment and entertainers deal with a lot. If you don’t want to be or can’t handle center stage, then get off the stage. (AGAIN, this mindset is not forgiving borderline-molestation, but the things closer to people yelling about sex).

    Also I want everyone to touch and enjoy me at every show I go to. So keep an eye out. Free gropes of my body, free kisses.

    • Kiki

      This is the same as saying girls who are raped were “asking for it” based on what they were wearing. Just because I’m wearing something that someone else thinks is revealing is NO excuse for people to verbally or physically harass me. And just because you are okay with it, does not give you the right to tell others that they should be okay with it, too.

      • Steve

        If you think my opinion is the same mindset as claiming raped girls were asking for it, then you are disgusting person who is belittling the entire act of rape to try to make a point.

        This is the the concept of saying a raped woman was “asking for it” by being dressed sexually (hence why I even point out that my point is not saying it’s okay to touch women or did you not read my post?) it’s the same mindset of calling out a comedian for complaining people are saying he’s funny all of the time.

        As Jenella pointed out under this, if you are dressing provocatively in a public place you cannot complain about verbal statements regarding your outfit (MEN and women). It shows you are comfortable with your sexuality, comfortable enough to take some verbal statements about your said sexuality. If you don’t want that attention, then I feel cosplaying in public isn’t for you.

    • Chips Cosplay

      Just because something is okay with you, doesn’t mean it’s okay with everyone. As a thought experiment, consider the possible existence of someone, somewhere who would like a random stranger to come up to them on the street and punch them in the face. This person may or may not exist. That does not mean that it’s okay to punch random strangers in the face, just as you existing and being happy with random strangers yelling sexual come-ons at you or groping you does not mean it’s okay to do that in a general sense.

    • Morgan

      It’s great and all that you’re so comfortable with yourself at conventions. The thing is, when’s the last time you felt both physically and sexually threatened by someone? When’s the last time you’ve been in the vicinity of someone that you knew was interested in you, that you were not interested in, and felt worried, anxious about what they might do?

      A lot of women have to live with that feeling constantly, and it’s pretty arrogant to say they should just ‘get off the stage’ if they don’t like harassment. The people who feel this way about those comments are not in the minority, and they should not have to feel intimidated away from a place where they should be having fun.

      The reason having “I want to fuck you!” yelled at you can be almost terrifying, is because a lot of women – and guys, and people of all sorts of genders – do, in fact, almost constantly live with the fear that someone they have no interest in will want to have sex with them, and won’t care that they don’t want it. Someone who thinks it’s okay to holler lewd things at cosplayers – it begs the question, what else will they think is appropriate, what else do they think they can get away with? Sometimes it’s not just a statement, it’s practically a threat. And it shouldn’t have to be up to the recipient of the harassment to distinguish that, it just shouldn’t have been yelled in the first place.

      Being comfortable with unsolicited sexual attention from strangers is the sort of privilege you can afford if you’ve never been afraid of being caught in a situation where saying ‘no’ doesn’t work and you can’t get out. A revealing costume is not an invitation for harassment, not even of the verbal variety.

      • Kiki
      • The point is still valid. If you are not comfortable with recieving sexual responses as compliments, then don’t dress in sexual clothing. Dressing in sexualized clothing is non-verbally stating that you are comfortable with your body and your sexuality. If you aren’t, don’t do it. If you are someone who lives in fear that everyone who shows the slightest interest is out to rape you, don’t put yourself in that position. No one is forcing you to dress in revealing clothing and strut in front of hundreds of people.

        • IhearwhatursayingBUT..

          I totally agree with you! Now, touching is NEVER acceptable, IMO, but stupid verbal behavior or unwanted picture taking while in a PUBLIC arena is part of the “cost of doing business” as my accountant likes to say. Just ignore the comments and pretend the pics weren’t taken, or, as you suggest, stay out of the scene if it’s that uncomfortable for you. I mean, years ago, I made the mistake of joining my guy friend at a world famous Halloween parade that is about 90% flaming gay men thanks to where it’s located. He and I are straight, BUT we have great bodies, so guess who’s arms got groped by 3 gay dudes? I nearly lost it and actually shoved someone after he touched me (lucky I didn’t get arrested). So, do you think I would EVER go back to that parade again, despite how much I LOVE Halloween? And if I did, do you think I would ever wear something that showed off MY physique again?

      • Steve

        I’ve been in situations of much larger men or women getting pretty physical with me and, if I wasn’t so comfortable, could have easily made me anxious. Any of them could have potentially followed me and genuinely harmed me in a sexual manner. More than a few times that was a genuine fear with people I met and a couple times I was afraid of being caught in a situation where saying “no” wasn’t working and it was difficult to get out of the situation, but I didn’t bitch or complain about it because I was dressed provocatively in public with people who may not be socially acceptable.

        Also you make it sound as if everyone is out ready to rape cosplayers all of the time. I’m sure that if any cosplayer has ever been raped, it had nothing to do with their cosplay. Granted I know you keep talking about the harassment, but bringing up the whole real fear thing is a very slippery slope that I just think you (like the people I’m complaining about) are over reacting about. Verbal harassment is just that, verbal only. And especially when it’s coming from a stranger who is immediately going to disappear in a crowd, I can’t see what’s so horrible about it.

        It’s a stage. People on stage are subject to harassment, because you are putting yourself in the spot light. If you don’t want the harassment, then you shouldn’t deal with the spot light.

        • Melinda Kimberly Layden

          I’m from a family of performers, and inappropriate touching is NEVER a part of backstage life. If a woman (or man) is undressing backstage, anyone who is creepy about that person will probably not be cast/included in future productions.

          Verbal harassment can be a prelude to more serious harassment, especially if the offender or someone encouraged by him/her corners the cosplayer later on.

          Rape happens to 1 in 4 women. It has many reasons, but misreading or ignoring social cues is one of the big ones. People who commit assault and sex crimes are predators, and thus will go after whomever they perceive to be “weak”. To pretend this doesn’t or can’t happen is misleading at best and naive at worst.

          So check in with cosplayers from time to time. See if they’re fine. If they’re not, be willing to call an ass an ass.

          We can change the community.

          • So, according to you, apparently, all men are rapists. Your slippery slope fallacy is juvenile at best.

            You need to dial back your paranoia… not everyone you see is intent on raping you, NPD or no NPD.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            Most men are good and decent people. Most men do the right thing. Most men know how to behave in public. Most men can interact with women without being obnoxious about it.

            You are not most me. You are a troll. I refuse to feed you.

          • Sorry, dearie, but your delusion is showing again.

            NPD is so pathetic and sad.. you really should get professional help for your apparent affliction.

          • *waves to the troll as she passes*

            Have a nice day, Neal.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            Still ranting your NPD rage I see. Obsession and delusion, apparently your only tactics, will not serve you well.

            But no matter how much you obsess about me you are still on the crazy side of Michelle Bachmann.

            As for you calling me a troll all I can ask, with a huge smile on my face, is “Project much?”

            Do let me know if you ever have the capacity for reasonable and rational discourse and can ever back up your BS, OK?

            LMAO!

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            *waves*

            Have a nice day, Neal.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            Still ranting your NPD rage I see. Obsession and delusion, apparently your only tactics, will not serve you well.

            But no matter how much you obsess about me you are still on the crazy side of Michelle Bachmann.

            As for you calling me a troll all I can ask, with a huge smile on my face, is “Project much?”

            Do let me know if you ever have the capacity for reasonable and rational discourse and can ever back up your BS, OK?

            LMAO!

          • Hi, I come to ask that you please stop responding to Mr. Feldman completely. Trying to get the last word only encourages him to continue troll you, and through you the rest of us trying to follow and/or engage in the actual conversation. Just stop typing at him and he will eventually get bored and leave, Thanks.

    • My hat’s off to you, sir. I would like to meet you at a convention some time. I think we’d get along swimmingly.

    • I once wore this costume for Halloween: http://www.halloweenandcostumes.com/images/Product/medium/4976.jpg

      I wore it because I like Ninja Turtles. I thought the skirt was a little short for my taste, so I wore leggings underneath it, but it wasn’t too low cut, so I didn’t add anything to the top. I spent the entire Halloween party I went to being called “Spandex Turtle Girl with the Big Jugs”. It was humiliating. I just wanted to be a Ninja Turtle, not the centre of attention.

      Cosplay is basically the same thing. Maybe I just want to cosplay Black Widow because she’s an epic character. NOT because I want people to comment on how my ass looks in a cat suit.

      • I honestly think you are in deep denial regarding human psychology.

        And I would bet that if it were Brad Pitt (or your idea of the sexiest man alive to you) referring to you as Spandex Turtle Girl with the Big Jugs” you would have no problem with it at all.

        Hence the double standard. Hence the loss of all credibility for your argument. IMHO at least. All in the US are supposed to be treated EQUALLY… even those who are not your epitome of paramour.

        You might consider that.

        • Chips Cosplay

          It’s not a “double standard” to prefer to be treated differently by different people. If you were married, your wife might be completely happy with you surprising her with a kiss when she walks in the door after work. That in no way means that she should be happy with being surprised with a kiss from a random stranger when she walks in the door to a con.

          Also, it’s illogical to presume to know the feelings and motives of others and then attempt to draw conclusions about them based on nothing but your own guesses and assumptions.

          You might want to consider that.

          • In fact it IS a double standard. It is the *definition* of double standard.

            We are not talking about treating spouses differently from strangers. Please try to stay on point. That is not a double standard as the two being compared are not equivalent. Double standard is two random folks being treated differently (bad enough) but also having entirely different expectations and acceptances. Such as in my example, same statement but would be accepted or rejected differently. Hence, double standard.

            I do not know whether it is ‘illogical or not, Mr Spock, but I feel I am on a very sound footing for my ‘assumptions’, having studied human psychology at length.

            You might want to consider *that*.

        • roymaciii

          I honestly think you have no idea what “equality” or “double standard” actually mean.

        • No, I’m pretty sure that I would have felt that way had any other stranger referred to me that way, gorgeous or not. If the person had been a good friend or even a friendly acquaintance, then I might not have felt as uncomfortable, but strangers? No, that would have been humiliating no matter what.

          • *to Neal, because now he’s pissing her off*

            I’m a cosplayer.

            I don’t owe you anything.

            I’m not required to be nice to you in order to be logically consistent.

            I’m not required to interact with you at all.

            I’m not married to you, and so you do not have the same rights (sexual or otherwise) that my husband would.

            If you refer to any part of my body as “Jugs”, you are automatically creepy unless I’m carrying two pitchers of water.

            If you were Brad Pitt, I’d wonder what the hell had happened to your personality, and ;lament that you were such a jerk in person.

            I don’t care if you’re handsome. Handsome guys can be the most Creepy because some of them believe that because they are attractive, every woman wants them and thus will be flattered to the point of hyperventilation by their attentions.

            They’re usually wrong.

            I care far more how you treat me than how you look. I’ve had cute guys be asses and men who are not my type be fascinating and fun. I’ve also had the reverse. Part of the fun of Con is getting to rub shoulders with all kinds of people and make new friends who share my enthusiasm for SF/F and nerd-tastic stuff.

            And I’m going to go back to this point, because I think it bears repeating: I’m not required to be nice to you in order to be logically consistent.

            I’m not required to do ANYTHING with,for,to,or around you in order to be logically consistent.

            My comfort and enjoyment trump your logic.

            And, judging by your replies, here and elsewhere, if you have studied human psychology, you learned the wrong lessons.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            Aw, I am ‘pissing you off’, huh? Do you always react that way to being proven wrong? See my earlier comment regarding your apparent Narcissistic Personality Disorder (DSM-IV).

            I am a con-goer and amateur photographer.

            I don’t owe you anything.

            I am not required to be nice to you in order to be logically consistent.

            I’m not required to interact with you at all.

            Your marital status is entirely irrelevant. I am fully aware of what *my* rights are. You seem quite confused and without factual foundation for your unreasonable demands for rights that do not exist.

            “If you refer to any part of my body as “Jugs”, you are automatically creepy unless I’m carrying two pitchers of water.”

            I guess then you consider over 70% of the population of the US to be ‘creepy’. And you really should watch your aspersions. The moderator already has edited the article regarding ‘creepers’ and removed the photos she had of some she so identified after being informed she could be held liable in court should she be sued.

            You should really take that into consideration regarding your ludicrous rants and personal attacks (ad hominem).

            “My comfort and enjoyment trump your logic.”

            Actually, no. They don’t. There is your NPD surfacing again.

            “And, judging by your replies, here and elsewhere, if you have studied human psychology, you learned the wrong lessons.”

            Oh, coming from you that is the height of hilarity.

            And ‘elsewhere’? Are you one of those creepy net stalker chicks? Again, just going by what you present of yourself here.

            Better luck next time, but thanks for playing.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            I make reasonable assertions of my rights as a cosplayer.

            You attack me personally, call me crazy, ill-informed, and uneducated.

            Congratulations. You are now a Troll. I no longer have to interact with you.

            Let me know if you ever learn why being “right”, which you’re not, is less important than being kind, reasonable, and respectful.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            Your assertions of your ‘rights as a cosplayer’ are irrelevant, as there are no such ‘rights’. And I have yet to see a post from you that would accurately be described as ‘reasonable’.

            You may have a preference, but that is a far cry from a right. The fact you so flippantly seek to violate ACTUAL rights is just the cherry on the top for your priceless claim.

            And for you to whine that I threw your own antagonism and idiocy back in your face is priceless in its abject hypocrisy. LMFAO!

            “Let me know if you ever learn why being “right”, which you’re not, is less important than being kind, reasonable, and respectful.”

            You are a regular laugh riot!

            First, I AM right in everything I have said here. You have yet to prove otherwise.

            Second, after all your animosity and aggression in your posts, for you to try and comment on anyone else lacking in kindness, reason and respect, is exceptionally laughable in its brazen hypocrisy.

            Lady, you seem the epitome of the definition of double standard.

            I honestly pity anyone who has to deal with you on a regular basis..

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            Neal, you are a troll. I don’t need your approval, or to explain anything. I also don’t have to interact with you. Have a nice day.

          • “Neal, you are a troll. I don’t need your approval, or to explain anything. I also don’t have to interact with you. Have a nice day.”

            Clearly it is you who are the troll… making all manner of BS claims without any credible basis whatever. I need your approval even less than you need mine.

            But each post you further admit that you cannot back up your BS, and you continue to prove that apparently it was not just in that example where you are clearly unhinged.

            Not used to folks calling you on your BS, huh princess?

            LMFAO!

          • *waves to the troll*

            Have a nice day, Neal.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            I see you are still obsessed with me in your continuing unhinged state.

            You should know however much you obsess over me I am still not interested in batsh!t crazy like you represent.

            But do continue proving me right about you.

            LMAO!

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            *waves to the troll*

            Good morning, Neal!

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            I see you are still obsessed with me in your continuing unhinged state.

            You should know however much you obsess over me I am still not interested in batsh!t crazy like you represent.

            But do continue proving me right about you.

            LMAO!

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            Have a good day, Neal.

        • Matt Dark

          I hate how people who don’t experience this themselves just assume that if it were someone good-looking that it would make all the difference.

          YOU might want to consider that some people just want to enjoy dressing up as a character that they admire without people making snide, crass comments.
          Its not the cosplayers fault that the person they are dressing us generally has a sexy appearance, or may not be as heavily clothed as male counterparts, as unfortunately, sex sells. But they shouldn’t have to feel like people will try to take advantage of them because of this.

          Its laughable that you talk about how people are supposed to be treated equally. Yet I bet you don’t have to worry about people doing stuff like you. If cosplayers were treated ‘EQUALLY’, you wouldn’t get all of these stories about them getting touched up in the first place.

  105. I wouldn’t have just stood there & let guys touch my girlfriends butt. That’s not going to make them stop. DOING something will make them stop. Despite what other people will think about you. Who cares what they think? Defend your girlfriend, for gods sake. Don’t just watch guys grab her butt. What good will that do? If you know it bothers her, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

  106. This makes me not want to take pictures. I’m pretty new to photography and hope to pursue it professionally. My rule of thumb so far as been if I’d take a picture of somebody in plain clothes doing it, I’ll take the picture of somebody in a costume or uniform doing it… (I’m not going to take your picture as you leave the restroom… unless you’re in a Star Trek uniform-cuz that’s just classic) I also have most interest in documentary/photojournalistic style photography and 95% of the time if I take a picture of somebody who’s posed I’m equally interested in taking the picture of the photographer they are posing for. I wouldn’t ask permission from a deer, a flower, a sunset,or a terrorist with an AK-47… I’m probably not going to ask for yours. I know I’m not a stereotypical man… not that I know what that means… I’m a third wave feminist. If you’re going to dress the part of a strong character (particularly females) and cosplay any positive traits don’t fuck it up by being a weak ass human in real life. I’m sick of how many women are misogynists.

    • Sushi Killer

      That’s fine, take our pictures, by all means. But please have the sense not to post them if they aren’t flattering. And likewise, know the difference between a candid photo and an intentional panty shot, cleavage shot, or ass shot.

  107. Becky

    I got a very cute candid by accident when a cosplayer kissed her fiance in the background of a shot I was taking of another cosplayer. I posted all the posed photos I took but held that one back, When some one tagged her in another (posed) photo I messaged her and sent her the shot. She was delighted and asked me to post it, any other response would have resulted in me deleting it.

    • Morgan

      That’s how it’s done, everybody.

  108. Nicoline

    Hi all,

    I love this project and the discussion thread below the article. Some good points have been made.
    One advice that keeps coming up is to tell cosplayers to set their boundries in a loud way.

    Helpful as this may have been meant, I have two problems with this advice.

    1) I feel it is unjust to insinuate that cosplayers are not wise enough to say ‘no’ to harassment. I bet these educated, brave men and women would kick anybody in the shins if they were harassed on the street. But apparantly they feel uncomfortable doing so on most comic cons. Even the boyfriend quoted feels uncomfortable defending his girlfriend in the setting of the comic con.

    Rather than advising to ‘just say no’, we should acknowledge where the problem really lies : the unsafe environment for people in costume at comic cons.

    2) The quotes given in the article indicate a lack of moral support for whoever sets their boudries. More likely than getting a shameful ‘sorry’, she who says NO will get a comment like ‘she can’t take a joke’ or ‘what a frigid b****’. While shaming the metaphorical butt-pincher may work in plain clothes on a street, this will not translate directly to costuming.

    The answer, I feel, is in the agreement of clear boudries. If I you get harassed by a random person in the street, you can kick him/ call a cop/yell. These are all socially accepted responses. Anybody on the street agrees that grabbing random people’s asses is a no-no, no matter how they are dressed. This is a clear boundry.

    If these clear boundries fade, it is time for action. The person crossing boundries needs to be educated, with sanctions for violation. I am thinking of clear rules of conduct (e.g. ‘no touch without explicit permission’) written down on tickets, websites and walls. Clear sanctions for crossing these boundries (like being kicked out). This creates an atmosphere of What Not To Do. Only when it is socially accepted not to do something, will saying ‘no’ have the desired effect.

    Cosplayers are not the problem, so they should not be the ones providing the sollution. The problem is the ‘touching is allowed’ atmosphere in a comic con. This should be addressed, pronto.

    • Sushi Killer

      Great commentary, I couldn’t agree more.

  109. Krystal

    One of my favorite costumes to wear is female!Thor from the Earth X run. Though I’m otherwise covered from neck to toe, it has holes ripped all up and down the sides. So a guy comes up to me and asks, “Hey, are you wearing underwear?”

    The answer was obvious.

    I told him it was none of his fucking business and walked off. I figure it was one of two things: either he just wanted me to admit that I wasn’t wearing traditional underwear, or he wanted to communicate, “hey, I’m thinking about your vagina!” Or maybe both. Either way, it was a gross thing to say to a stranger, and under any other social circumstance, it would be completely unacceptable. So why is it OK at a convention?

  110. Jon

    Alexandra, there are certain legal tenets at play here, too. First is the concept of fair game. When a person is out in public, whether as a normal civilian or as a cosplayer, that person can be photographed without permission. If that tenet weren’t allowed, then, for instance, news photographers would have to get permission from every single person in every crowd scene they photograph and that’s just not going to happen.

    Another tenet that comes into play is if the photograph depicts the person in an unflattering light. Casual pictures, such as when a cosplayer is surrounded by fans, when he or she is milling about the exhibit hall, what have you, are not unflattering, not by a reasonable-person standard. Butt and cleavage shots, however, are easily argued as unflattering and you could possibly even pursue legal action against the poster of such shots.

    I do like the idea of a Catch A Creeper page. Legally, I don’t know if it has as much standing as when photos of criminals, particularly sex offenders, are posted on the internet, but I think it’s a good start. Good luck.

    BTW, are there any “Cosplay =/= Consent” t-shirts available?

    • Sushi Killer

      Yes, we are only trying to call attention to the people that are truly doing something wrong. Most cons have a clause in the registration agreement that consents the attendee to a certain kind of photographic involvement (crowd shots by press, for example) but if the photography is something that wouldn’t be allowed in a public park (like specifically sexually photographic someone without their knowledge or consent) is wrong and shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere, including conventions.

      No shirts yet… But what a novel idea! If we get enough interest, we will definitely consider making them!

      • Melinda Kimberly Layden

        *is interested* I think it’s a great idea!

  111. Thank you so much for the amazing article. It’s not ok to harass people at a beach, so why would it be ok for it at a con? I know that I’m showing skin when I cosplay, I’m honestly ok with people looking at me and getting pictures take, but that isn’t an invitation for people to harass or touch me inappropriately.

    Anyways, I wasn’t at wondercon to see this movement so I made my own picture~

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=430559303702414&set=a.336655286426150.76901.334152963343049&type=1&theater&notif_t=photo_comment

    • Sushi Killer

      Thank you so much! You are a wonderful Yoko by the way!

  112. Last year at ACen I was walking around as Princess Peach and this guy, who I didn’t know, grabbed me and would not let me go. I kept telling him to let me go, and he kept trying to get me to slow dance with him in the middle of the sidewalk. I got so angry…I finally threatened to beat him with my parasol, which I was fully prepared to do. Then he finally let go. It really upset me…and to make it worse, no one seemed to be willing to help me when I was telling this guy “No, Let me go!” There were several people around, too. And that’s just one of my more recent experiences…I’ve had several others. Just because a person is cosplaying as a character you like or are attracted to, it is NOT an open invitation to be a creep. You do not touch someone with out their permission, be it grabbing someone on the shoulder or grabbing someone’s waist or breast.

    • Sushi Killer

      Yes! Thank you for sharing. This is exactly what I am trying to communicate. We need to be aware so that we can help and stand up for one another when this happens. Together we can change things!

  113. Kiki

    Here’s my story: I was dressed as Misa from Death Note, and I was just standing in a circle of close friends talking in the hotel lobby at a smaller, midwest con. A random guy walked up to us, he was wearing all black and also had on sunglasses (indoors, mind you). He looked straight at me and said, “show me your t*ts.” I was so shocked and confused that I just stared and said, “excuse me?” He repeated himself, and then he and his other two similarly-clad friends walked away laughing. My friends were in just as much shock as I was, but they encouraged me to report the harassment. At this point my heart was pounding and I was near tears. I found a female hotel staff member and told her I wanted to report being sexually harassed. She took one look at me and burst out laughing, as if in my Misa costume I was surely “asking for it.” She then loudly announced on her radio that “some girl” was “claiming she was ‘sexually harassed,’” still laughing. I started crying and she eventually apologized, I think sincerely. Security came promptly and took me to the underground portion of the hotel, where they helped me look through security video and identify the culprit. They dispatched all their officers to look for him, but he had already left. They said if he returned to the building they would catch him, and they took down my info, but I never heard anything. This was about 6 years ago.

    • Sushi Killer

      Oh god, that is terrible… Sadly this sort of thing is still happening all over the place.

      Thank you for your bravery in posting this. I know it’s very personal and can be touchy, but it’s stories like these that make the need for awareness of this problem and support for those it affects apparent.

  114. Love the project idea, however I poster a point on a Cosplay artist’s fanpage, in reply to this: thought id add it here. One of the issues of this whole thing is that one cosplayer exploits their fans sexual orientation by taking upskirt photos of themselves, to show off or sell i imagine. while stroking their ego’s as a army of drooling men come by and post lude and crude comments. what cosplayers should keep in mind, is to be careful what you show your fanbase, I assume this could attribute to the mentality of some of the people actually commit the harassment in question. All cosplayers should be able to dress as any character they want, by all means without people harassing them. but the cosplayer needs to be responsible about what they show their fans. feel free to correct me if i am wrong. Its just a thought. I think those who harass cosplayers should be barred from conventions but I also think Cosplayers should be more careful what they choose to show their audience.

    • Kiki

      Sorry Kate, but I think this is victim blaming. Other people are allowed to do whatever they want with their own costumes, photographs, and bodies. Just because some pervy guy sees pictures of a cosplayer in a certain light, does not mean that it is okay for him to assume that all other cosplayers want that–or even the SAME person he saw in the photos. She has the right to choose who takes those photos of her. We should all be allowed to dress and act how we like so long as it’s not hurting anyone else, without having to worry about being harassed. The harassers are the ONLY people to blame here.

      • Then you misunderstood me. I agree, unauthorized photo’s or touching should be met with complaint, reporting to security etc etc. but I cant help but think some cosplayers, exploit the sexual orientation of their audience by selling dirty suggestive photos on their websites and pages. the harassers are to blame very true, and im not arguing that at all. I just think that certain cos-players are hypocrites when they rightfully disagree with candid pervy photographs being taken by strangers, then take similar images and sell them to strangers. thats my point, im not trying to generalize all cosplayers in this, I just think over all, this whole thing is about responsibility, people should keep their hands to themselves and cos-play artists should be careful what images/photos they self produce to their fanbase. i

        • Chips Cosplay

          All people have a right to control over their own bodies. If someone wants to take sexualized pictures of themselves or pose for sexualized pictures in one setting, that in no way gives others permission to take sexualized pictures of that person in a different setting.

          • Chips, I never once said at all, I said it “NOT OKAY” for people to take unauthorized photos. twice now. I just think (my opinion) that cos-players should be careful what they deem to show their fans. if they are worried about adverse effects. not saying that harassers only harass cos-players due what they see on the fan pages and such, but it “COULD” be apart of it. is what i am saying. you can never be too careful. and exploiting a fan base using sexualised material, could bring undesirable fans to your door, like we have seen with lewd comments and what not on cosplayers websites and fanpages. but im sure you or someone else will read what I type and choose what they want to read and try and burn me at the stake for it. I’m just sharing common sense.

            Just because people shouldnt do something it doesnt mean that some people won’t do it. so you avoid those that wont, and do what you can to avoid that. and you have a better chance of not meeting those who will do it.

            AGAIN I am 100% against the harassment discussed im just raising an opinion on this side of it. not that all cosplayers have websites or fanbases and so this tiny little opinion may only affect a few people.

  115. this is a joke you so called cosplayers are just attention whores, if you dont want the negative attention then dont fucking go to the cons with your tits hanging out otherwise thanks for the show. dont turn this into something it isnt just because of this article i will start my own campaign against this . this is so stupid and not needed try getting the cosplayers that matter like jessica nigri and see what she has to say about it. we dont need dumb bitches fucking up our cons go away.

    • Sushi Killer

      OK, this is exactly why this campaign is necessary.

      All cosplayers want attention. Nobody is saying they don’t. And sexual attention from the right people can be flattering. But the thing is, we as cosplayers can choose who we want that attention from and are allowed to protect ourselves from the attention that makes us uncomfortable. Nobosy should assume that touching a cosplayer is appropriate just because they are in costume because that cosplayer is NOT trying to attract everyone.

      For example, say the cosplayer is gay and doesn’t want the attention of the opposite gender? It’s true that many cosplayers enjoy cosplaying sexualized characters and some of the sexual attention it gives them, but this isn’t an all or nothing issue. It’s a matter of respectfully complimenting a sexy cosplayer, not telling them you want to “tap that.” It’s about asking to pose next to them in a picture, not smacking their butt, groping their breasts or trying to pull them into your arms.

      If a woman (I assume you are staight based upon your heteronormative stance here?) that you thought was unattractive tried to corner you and stick her tongue down your throat or her hand down your pants, you’d have the right to be upset and reject that attention. Likewise, cosplayers of all types (including men!) have the right to protect themselves.

      • hear hear!

      • Kiki

        If you click on his username, you can see him and his lovely friend having a conversation about your article as well.

      • Don’t feed the troll. He’s not worth your time. Your message is for people capable of understanding it.

        • Also, this would be one of the reasons I don’t watch CBS: his resume says: CBS
          Writer/Comedian · Burbank, California
          write pilots new material and stand up

          That’s more than a little scary, assuming it’s true.

      • IhearwhatursayingBUT..

        When it comes to touching, I TOTALLY agree with you. That is NEVER acceptable. And, yeah, as a very heterosexual man, I cringe at the thought of an ugly woman doing that to me, and I hate it when gay guys simply oogle me. But you just showed what a double standard this is by your comment “And sexual attention from the right people can be flattering.” So, if (name the hottest male celebrity you can think of) took a picture of your butt in a PUBLIC arena without your consent, for example, would you really be that pissed off about it? And as far as the creepy comments go, just ignore them!! Trust me, you give the jerk who said it power when you react to it, but you take away all his power when you don’t. Like I said, you’re in a public arena, so you’re fair game to photos, and, thanks to the 1st Amendment, I’m guessing you’re also fair game to rude comments, Just be the bigger person that I know you are, and don’t let it mess with your head so much. I HAD the uncomfortable experience of a few flaming gay guys grope my arms at a big annual Halloween parade that I made the mistake of attending. About 90% of the people there are gay, and I was naive enough to think that they would leave me alone if I minded my own business. Well, I found out I was wrong. I pushed and told off each of them, and I’M lucky I didn’t get arrested for assault. I love Halloween, but I will NEVER go to one of those again, because I now know that is how the crowd acts.

        • Chips Cosplay

          Why does it matter whether cosplayers would like attention from some people if they don’t from others? The default should be to give people the respect they deserve, not assume that they would like your attention.

          Secondly, citing the first amendment is silly. Nobody is saying that people who take candid pictures or say inappropriate things to cosplayers should be jailed (what the first amendment actually addresses), what we’re saying is that it would be more courteous to not be boors to cosplayers. Telling someone that what they just did is shitty in no way violates their first amendment rights.

          You’re also right that men (and male cosplayers) can absolutely be subject to assault, and I’m sorry to hear you had such an awful experience. Nobody is denying that, least of all this article.

          • Why does it matter? Seriously? Apparently you are far more OK with double standards than I and others are.

            Just because you do not happen to be sexually attracted to the ‘admirer’ does not make their attention toward you the act of a ‘creeper’. I do not know how many times I have seen guys very politely try to strike up a conversation with a cosplayer or ask them for a cup of coffee or something only to be completely crushed by the insulting and elitist attitude of “how DARE you notice me you insignificant worm!? I am only dressed like this for those *I* am sexually attracted to and no one else on the planet is allowed to look at me, much less actually show any interest at all in me!”

            After 90% of these cosplayers treat someone like this why is it such a stretch that those who are routinely (mal)treated in this manner would basically return the ‘favor’, (because everyone just LOVES being shot down and offensively humiliated in such a manner).

            As soon as a double standard comes in they lose all credibility with me. I presume many others as well.

          • Sorry, Chips, this is aimed at Neal below.

            I’m a cosplayer, Neal, and I don’t owe you anything. I don’t owe you a smile, a wave, a hug, a picture, a word, an explanation, ANYTHING.

            I. OWE. YOU. NOTHING.

            If you’re rude to me, I’ll avoid you or correct with a few choice words. If you appreciate what I’m doing in a reasonable fashion, I’ll probably thank you for your attention.

            No woman owes any man sexual favors or sexual interest. No cosplayer is required to interact with any man in order to be “fair” to all men. She is not required to interact with anyone she doesn’t want to, with or without explanation.

            So now I’m back to my real-con situation:

            I’m wearing one of my best evening gowns and the I-beam heels that I love. I’ve been walking around for two hours. My feet hurt. My corset hurts. I’ve had 3 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours, because it’s a con and sometimes that counts as “fun”.

            A guy I don’t know sidles up and wants to take me out for a cup of coffee.

            In my experience, that means he at least wants to monopolize me for the next 2-3 hours, and probably is hoping to get me out of my heels and into his bed.

            I tell him, “Sorry, but you’re not my type. Thanks, though.”

            He slinks away, crushed.

            Another guy sidles up to me, wanting to “just talk”. He also gives me a bad vibe. Because I’m tired and in pain, I’m a little short with him when I say no.

            He slinks away, crushed.

            I’m just trying to find a place to sit down because my feet are killing me and it’s hard being eight inches taller than I’m used to. I almost clock myself in the head getting through the Consuite door. A spot on the sofa is free.

            A guy sits next to me, admiring my legs. “Hey, you’re cute.”

            I really don’t want to get into whys and hows and explanations of why this is totally NOT the time to come on to me. I just want to sit and be left alone for a minute before I go back to the party I was invited to earlier.

            “Not now, please,” I say.

            “I was just asking if you wanted coffee,” he says, sulking.

            “I don’t,” I say.

            “It’s just coffee,” he says, wibbling.

            I tell him to fuck off, and I leave the room, because it’s easier than dealing with this weepy creepy.

            Is that the right way to act? Maybe. But in that case it’s what I choose, and that’s okay.

            As for the poor sods who are crushed by a woman who doesn’t return their amorous intentions, sorry, Neal, but that’s life. He has the right to not like me, to even be angry with me, but his not liking me does not take away from MY right to say no. At any time. For any reason.

            And if I happen to bend over (because my frickin heels are so tall) to get something from the Consuite table, he does NOT have the right to photograph and post my cleavage as retaliation because I told him to fuck off.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            What you think you owe or do not owe is entirely superfluous and irrelevant. If I want to take a picture in public I have *every right* to do so, without or despite any input from you. You have NO right to not be photographed in public.

            You really should acquaint yourself with these facts.

            “If you’re rude to me, I’ll avoid you or correct with a few choice words”

            I cannot control what *you* consider to be ‘rude’ but I can assure you I can match you choice words for choice words.

            The main difference being my words will be based on facts, evidence and law while yours are apparently based on irrationality, unreason and hysteria. I am well versed in the law so give it your best shot. I dare you. LMAO!

            Your whining does not change the factual nature of what I pointed out. If you think you can prove otherwise, give it your best shot. I certainly hope your posts so far are not your best shot as that would be quite pathetic and sad for you.

            In your example that was a polite rejection…no crushing or humiliation at all and, as such, not at all what I brought up in my example. Please do try to stay on the subject of what you are replying to, OK?

            Any discomfort in your costuming is YOUR choice. No one else is responsible for it, as such it is unreasonable of you to take it out on innocent others. Your lack of sleep at the con is, also, YOUR choice… no one else’s. And why are you so able to ignore that those interacting with you are just as uncomfortable or just as tired as you are? Why do you only rate courtesy and not them, hmmm?

            Basically all your examples have shown is that you are apparently an extremely petty, unreasonable and unpleasant person. Not much else other than an ego the size of Jupiter.

            Your use of ‘wibbling’ in the example shows this all very clearly. Also you prove you are always ready to fly off the handle dropping F-bombs and shrieking like a lunatic. At least this is how you are presenting yourself. You might want to take that into consideration.

            “Is that the right way to act? Maybe. But in that case it’s what I choose, and that’s okay.”

            And then it is equally OK for folks to consider you a ‘b!tch’ and spread the word around about that aspect of your personality, right? You do not want ‘gentlemen’, you do not want ‘politeness’… you want effluent adoration and a full acceptance of anything YOU want regardless of law or anyone else.

            What do you think that makes you, hmmm? I think there is something in the DSM-IV (that I am also quite familiar with) about Narcissistic personality disorder.

            If you are curious:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

            “As for the poor sods who are crushed by a woman who doesn’t return their amorous intentions, sorry, Neal, but that’s life. He has the right to not like me, to even be angry with me, but his not liking me does not take away from MY right to say no. At any time. For any reason.”

            Sorry but again you are misrepresenting what I said, creating a straw man ‘argument’ that you subsequently attack. It is your straw man, I will let YOU defend it. I am not talking about ‘poor sods’ being crushed because they were politely rejected. I gave an example of what *I* was talking about.

            Should you wish to discuss what *I* said, I am here. Should you wish to just rant on with your straw man BS please spare us all the waste of bandwidth, OK?

            “And if I happen to bend over (because my frickin heels are so tall) to get something from the Consuite table, he does NOT have the right to photograph and post my cleavage as retaliation because I told him to fuck off.”

            Actually, again, you are incorrect. In a public area such as a Consuite table area he would be entirely within his rights to take such photos, post such photos (so long as not for commercial purpose) all without your consent and even despite your vociferous objections, and he has every right to relate events so long as it does not rise to the level of actual libel, slander or harassment.

            Do you know what rights you have to stop him? Try ZERO.

            So you might want to take this into consideration before you drop your f-bombs and attack/insult others.

            Just because they are not in a costume does not mean their feelings do not matter, even though that seems to be your position in spades.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            I make an argument, based on real world situations.

            You attack me personally, call me crazy, ill-informed, and uneducated.

            Congratulations. You are not a Troll. I no longer have to interact with you.

            Have fun in court.

  116. Hmm. my comments seem to not be posting… So I’ll reiterate: I do think people should be able to take candids, but it is often obvious that those people who are being creepy are being creepy. Of course I came back to the states from France where the laws are clear cut, even public photography of people is illegal without their express permission. Conventions are not in fact public property but private property under the ownership of the convention halls and hotels where this goes on. I have no issues with candids per se, but after the fact you should ask the person if it is ok and give them a opportunity to veto the photo. People put a lot of work into their costumes, and for me, every photo I have seen that was candid almost always catches me in a pose that makes me look like i have 3 chins (i’m reasonably height weight proportionate), or shows off the most unflattering side of me, this is particularly hard as im 4’10″ so if you don’t know what you are doing i end up looking like dookie. If you don’t feel comfortable showing your candids to the person modeling, why would you think it’s ok to blather the photo all over the internet? I have and will continue to ask people to take down photos i don’t like; be it on facebook or elsewhere. At worse you are asking to be sued, so why risk it? And touching? someone touches me they get the knee to the closest body part. touching is an assault period, and no no one asks for it, even if they were walking around in nothing but body paint.

    I run fashion shows at conventions and for sub genre shows; I have men try to barge in on the model area and get photos or glimpses of the half naked models all the time; I don’t allow it and it’s a one way ticket to getting your behind thrown out of the convention as a whole. This issue is kind of endemic with the whole nerd community as a whole; non withstanding the behavior at events like defcon and pycon, which are developer and security conventions. Ive had friends of mine get rupee’d at the open source convention in portland oregon, and I’ve heard of rapes and other assaults happening at video game conventions. I believe that we can fix this, but we have to change the culture that tells people that this is ever ok, and the first step is standing up and saying something. And It needs to be said.

    I’m Running the Fashion show at GEAR Con in portland OR this year and I will be showcasing this project with my models.

    • Chips Cosplay

      This is a perfect system for candid photos, thanks for doing it right and fighting the good fight against creepers!

    • While anyone can file a lawsuit, case in point Orly Taitz, winning is another matter entirely (again, case in point Orly Taitz.).

      Honestly, if someone were to threaten to sue me over a picture at a convention (in public, regardless who specifically owns the property) I would laugh in their face and tell them to give ut their best shot because if they lose, and they will, they would be dealing with the counter suit as well as every penny of my legal costs (which I would ensure would be immense).

      • Chips Cosplay

        Your emphasis on lawsuits is misplaced. You’re right that people are within their legal rights to take pictures of others in public, but the message we’re trying to communicate is that it is impolite to do so without permission, and that it would be preferable to ask first.

        • I made no emphasis on lawsuits. Someone else posted they would sue and basically I replied ‘good luck with that’.

  117. Kinda concerned that the #caughtcreep tag is going to get abused. I’m all for the positive messages and positive pictures, but asking the Internet to post pics of people they “think” are creeping is a bad idea.

    • Sushi Killer

      I agree, and I advise against doing this unless one is 100% sure about it. I only took 4 photos because although I saw many people taking discreet photos all weekend, those 4 instances really rubbed me the wrong way as being unsafe and non-consentual. Taking a photo of a cosplayer’s back is not ok, and overhearing a conversation about asking for permission and in response jumping into action with one’s camera to challenge that is also not ok.

  118. Pirate Ted

    Sushi Killer: I don’t think I have had this problem. I can honestly say I don’t know. Everyone has always been real polite in wishing to take a photo of me, even more so when I have a cosplayer in a photo with me. Should we attract a crowd, I whisper in her ear, “I’ve got you.” Then I close the gap between us a little. I then offer an elbow, I let her cling to me should she feel the extra need of protection, or to show photographers (for lack of a better word for these creeps) that she is under my protection and I walk with her till she is with friends or she feels safe enough to leave my side. I had always done this before I read this message you shared. I dress as a Pirate (authentic to my world complete with real blades and replica pistols), and as such I am usually at my table selling and promoting the Fantasy/Adventure books I co-write; as a pirate by myself, I haven’t had a bad experience. When at GenCon Indy, Tracy my writing partner has had people sexually harass her (and she doesn’t dress up) when I wasn’t there to protect her, thankfully we have friends at near by tables that jump to her rescue when I can’t be there (I pitty the fool if I catch them). I will have a sign at my table (Gencon Indy, Author’s Alley) with this symbol upon it from now on, to also show Cosplayers they have a safe place to go to when they need a break! I am also a “Rennie” (I travel around to several Renaissance Festivals) we can spot a perv before they reach the opening gate! All joking aside, we “Male Rennnies” have a knack for making ladies feel comfortable around us, and intimidating pervs with a raise of an eyebrow. I am Pirate Ted and I am here for you ladies at Gencon Indy, Origins (if I can make it and not be at the Kentucky Highland Ren Faire)…and if you all need it, feel safe in knowing should any cosplayers be at a renfaire (I have seen many, and I have a small following of Furries, that come to my booth…since they don’t speak I have no idea who they are! LOL!) Rennie look out for anyone dressed up in costume.

    ~Pirate Ted

    • Chips Cosplay

      Thanks for fighting the good fight!

  119. Emma

    i remember a middle-aged guy with this huge camera asking to take a photo of me in costume, then pointing his camera at my legs and crotch, snapping a picture, and walking off. i couldn’t have been older than about 15 at that time, either… i still wonder where that picture ended up, exactly. it’s a little uncomfortable.

    this is why people should really prioritise getting cosplayers’ consent. until you ask, you do not know anything about us! for one thing, you don’t know how old we are or where our boundaries are in terms of photos of ourselves being online. you also have no way of contacting us if we WANT to be credited for appearing in your photo and you have no idea how we would WANT to be photographed.

    please bear in mind that even in costume and no matter how ‘interesting’ we are, we are not JUST the subject of your photo.

  120. Lots of very interesting replies here. I had a thought come to mind… and it’s tied to people who say “Ask before you take my photo so I can make sure I look my best”
    While this is the ideal, it’s unrealistic to expect it. If you are doing a photo shoot with someone and have an agreement to be able to say yay or nay to photos prior to them being posted, then that’s one thing. But at a venue like a con, where your ticket basically says that by entering the con your photo may be taken, that’s for you to be aware of. Your best side may not and most likely will not always be forward. So if you aren’t comfortable with ALL angles being taken of you, good, bad and the ugly, then it’s probably best to not put on a costume that day. If I am feeling extra self conscious on a given day, I have chosen to not “suit up” until I felt better.

    Everyone should remember, you don’t always get to control what gets posted on the interwebs.

    • Well, what we are asking for is the consideration of letting us decide after the fact, it’s simple, courteous and not a big deal.

    • Chips Cosplay

      Do you agree that it would be preferable for photographers to ask before taking pictures? If so, you agree with the message. Nobody is arguing that people who take candid photos without asking should be put in jail or fined or anything, just that it would be more courteous for them to ask first.

  121. Kiki

    Hope I’m not over-posting, but I think this is a GREAT article and I keep going back to it for conversations like these: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/08/09/an-incomplete-guide-to-not-creeping/

    • Sushi Killer

      I second this!

      And no such thing as over-posting :) I’m thankful that you are so interested!

  122. Meira

    I read an article a few years ago, a woman had an online conversation with her rapist. They were both drunk. He’d been told she wanted it by someone else, she kept saying politely please stop, he would stop for a little bit then continue. He thought that if she didn’t want it she would scream and yell. She never did because she was afraid.
    Some men don’t understand a polite no. They understand a polite punch to the face or yelling at them that they are wrong. It might be hard but you might be teaching them that doing that is wrong and not worth the risk of being yelled at. You might save the next woman from these behaviors.

  123. Rory

    I really love this whole thing. I’ve gone to a few cons, and at each one I’ve seen people acting like jerks. At one, a man who wasn’t even a part of the convention was openly making fun of cosplayers as he took pictures of them. When asked to stop, he threatened a con-goer with violence. When confronted by security, he accused the person of pushing his son.
    I’ve also had issues with people harassing me. Most of the time, I’m overly understanding and just laugh it off. But there have been instances where people have come up to me and blatantly tried to grab my chest or crotch, saying they didn’t think I was really a boy and had to make sure. Just ask me, seriously. I’m not going to get offended, I know I look very feminine in some of my cosplays. It’s sexual harassment to grab someone like that, and that could get people in a lot of trouble.
    There have also been times when a person I don’t know has run up behind me and jumped onto my back, or run up and tried to kiss me while I’m just walking with friends. It’s turned me off of cons for awhile before, because I always get that anxiety of ‘will someone try to grab me? will it be worse than just a grab?’ Cons should be fun for everyone, not an anxiety inducing experience. No matter what someone is wearing or doing, common courtesy still exists at conventions.

  124. chips cosplay

    I would argue that if taking photos of cosplayers at a convention is okay, taking photos of anyone at a convention must be okay. Also, what do you presume to be the intent of a photographer taking a covert photograph of a cosplayer from the rear without asking permission to do so?

    • I would say the intent is to take a picture.

      Anything beyond that, unless he is an uber creeper drooling troglodyte, is pur supposition/assumption. Barring the above example, what makes you so sure of your assumption/supposition?

      • Chips Cosplay

        I’m not making any assumptions. I don’t think it’s necessary to prove that a possible creepshotter did, in fact, take pictures with “uber creeper drooling troglodyte” intent prior to posting their photo online. That hypothetical creepshotter didn’t extend the subject cosplayer the courtesy of asking for permission prior to taking their picture, why do they deserve that courtesy?

        • I beg to differ, as you are clearly making assumptions.

          The photographer in a public place is entirely within their rights and the law to take the picture. Consent, direct consent, might be preferred but being in public gives consent to be photographed. Mountains of case law on this.

          • Neal, you and I meet in the hallway. I’m fully bustled and corseted, cosplaying my Victorian Lady Eleven, complete with bowtie and fez. You present me with mountains of case law proving that you can take any picture of me, any way you want, and you intend to post whatever pictures on your website without my permission because it’s completely legal to do so.

            I run screaming for the elevator and notify Ops.

            Congratulations. You’re now Creepy.

            Here’s another situation:

            You and I meet in a hallway. I’m scary and cool and putting the PUNK back into Steampunk. You indicate your camera, asking with your eyes because the words won’t come out right. I grin widely, posing as you take the shots. You ask me to turn this way and that. Once you’re done, you show me what you have taken. We both have a great time.

            I Friend you on Facebook and look forward to seeing you at the next Con

            Congratulations. You are now a Gentleman.

            Here’s a third situation:

            You and your friend and I meet in the hallway. I’m in my Ballet Stilettos, my favorite brocade corset, and carefully tottering my way down the hallway. You go “WOW!” at my shoes, which are insane and neato, and ask if you can take my picture. I of course say yes.

            Your friend leers. I start to get uncomfortable.

            You keep taking pictures.

            Your friend whispers something to you. I’m getting really uncomfortable.

            You keep taking pictures, and now you want me to stand facing away so you can get a shot of me looking over my shoulder. I’m pretty sure you’re filming my ass.

            I leave and avoid you in the future.

            Congratulations. Your friend is now Creepy and you went from Gentleman to at best Enabler and at worst Creepy.

            I don’t owe you an explanation for any of my social interactions. I don’t even have to have a reason for any of my social interactions at Con. Chances are very good that I’ll cheerfully interact with you, so long as you are reasonable. And if you’re not, I have the right to call you on being an ass.

            Moreover, I don’t need your permission or approval to wear whatever I like, but you DO need to be respectful to me to interact with me. Part of that respect is the basic assumption that I have a right to her feelings, costume, actions, and interactions, no matter how inconsistent, unfair, or unreasonable you think they are.

            You also have the right not to interact with me if you feel you’re being treated unfairly.

            But when you stop treating me like a person, no amount of case law will make you anything other than Creepy.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            In your first example I am not creepy in any way. You are unhinged. There is a difference. You notify Ops, they contact me, I explain you are unhinged, you are ejected from the con. Buh-BYE!

            In your second example you cannot demand what you are trying to demand. And to be honest neither I, nor anyone else, are subject to your definition of ‘gentleman’.

            In your third example you are making one hostile assumption after another and trying to hold me to be the keeper of whoever I am standing near. Entirely irrational and unreasonable of you.

            So far, IMHO, you have given three examples of YOU being the cosplayer equivalent of a ‘creeper’. Do you always project like this? It would explain a lot!

            “I don’t owe you an explanation for any of my social interactions. I don’t even have to have a reason for any of my social interactions at Con. Chances are very good that I’ll cheerfully interact with you, so long as you are reasonable. And if you’re not, I have the right to call you on being an ass.”

            Fascinating! I was just about to say the same thing of YOU.

            “Moreover, I don’t need your permission or approval to wear whatever I like, but you DO need to be respectful to me to interact with me. Part of that respect is the basic assumption that I have a right to her feelings, costume, actions, and interactions, no matter how inconsistent, unfair, or unreasonable you think they are.”

            Actually it is the photographer that DOES NOT REQUIRE your consent to photograph you in public. They have a RIGHT to do so, and honestly you have NO right to say “BOO!” about it. Well, you can speak, of course, free country, just like photographers can photograph.

            You might want to educate yourself on civics and constitutional law – you appear quite misinformed on the topics.

            It is those with attitudes such as yours that turns off those who might otherwise agree with the PSA because of your irrationality and lack of sane reason based on law. So, you think it is OK for you to violate the rights of photographers to take pictures in public… so would you also then agree that it is OK for ‘creepers’ to feel you up in violation of your rights against such?

            Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Double standards suck.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            I make an argument, based on real world situations.

            You attack me personally, call me crazy, ill-informed, and uneducated.

            Congratulations. You are not a Troll. I no longer have to interact with you.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            *now* And you are exactly the kind of person this article is trying to highlight in hopes (vain though they might be) that he sees what he’s doing wrong and why his interactions with women might be problematic.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden -

            Delusion is quite sad.

            I pity you.

            And I said you appear such. And you do. (the unhinged case was in an example you provided) Can’t handle the truth, hmmm? Typical.

            If you claim I attacked you, please be specific. So far you are batting 0.000.

          • “*now* And you are exactly the kind of person this article is trying to highlight in hopes (vain though they might be) that he sees what he’s doing wrong and why his interactions with women might be problematic.”

            You call me a troll for calling you on your BS and pointing out the facts to you? You are quite the piece of work, I give you that.

            You claim I am wrong, even though the facts support me, not you. Clearly you have no clue how a rational discussion goes. Probably your NPD raging again.

            But if you wish to cease posting your insipid and unhinged drivel be my guest… less disinformation from you to counter. So far not one of your posts here has been anything but a waste of bandwidth.

            You really need to grow up, to be honest.

          • Melinda Kimberly Layden

            Neal, you are a troll. I don’t need your approval. Feel free to froth away.

  125. Chips Cosplay

    Do you agree that it would be preferable for photographers to ask before taking pictures? If so, you agree with the message.

  126. First world problems

    Women dressing up as sexualized characters complaining that they’re being sexualized?
    Oh noes…

    • Sushi Killer

      Not just women, and not just sexualized characters. And that’s not what is being said here. What we want is to be treated like PEOPLE, not objects. We have opinions and rights and we don’t deserve to be touched without our consent.

      • Pirate Ted

        I think it also more to point is that we are adults, and need to act like we are adults. With all the negativity I have been reading I would have assumed that most of us have received some form of formal education be it go to school or being home schooled. Just stop with all the name calling and finger pointing…it is your fault more than ours. Your fault cause you want this to happen rather than stop it, this makes you worse than a sexual deviant, this makes you worse than a serial rapist, or a peeping tom, which ever adjective you prefer to use insert it here ______________. So you would think it your brother or sisters fault for getting molested at a con because of how he/she dressed, and worse you stood by and watched? Oh, and do not suppose to say you wouldn’t let your brother or sister out of the house dressed like this?! LOL! I would definitely laugh in your face to prove you wrong; and also do not suppose to think that your brother or sister has too much class or what ever to dress like this or wouldn’t put him/her self in this sort of situation to begin with. This happens to my writing partner occasionally and she is dressed in regular attire.

        Remember we are ALL: Nerds, Geeks, Dorks, etc. and we all frequent these venues, which also means visitors are some form of Nerd, Geek, Dork, etc. You didn’t like getting picked on in school, pushed around, beat up, etc. No one stood up for you.

        This is pretty much the same thing. People are getting picked on, in the worst way mind you…and instead of enjoying the fandom, you would much rather watch these people get fondled while you stand by and watch….think about this carefully…your now a peeping tom, a voyeur, a pervert. You looked on and did nothing, you are now apart of the sexual harassment, and as such I would report you as well for letting it happen.

        I enjoy the creativity that goes into creating a costume…most of which costs more than your annual salary (I know mine does). Stop this form of sexual harassment, and enjoy our creativity. For most of us (I am speaking for myself not sure of anyone else here), this is how we get peoples attention to what we are promoting as a vendor…meaning this our LIVELY HOOD. This is how we make MONEY, it isn’t for you to think you have get a free feel.

        And for all you “Nay Sayers” your just there for the freebies anyway. You don’t bathe or eat, your just there getting your rocks off in an imaginary world of make believe…these people are real?! Play your cards right and you could probably score, and not have to resort to scoring with your left or right hand!

        For you low life, communist shit, twinkled toed, cock suckers, I wonder if I had a police line up with a Vagina, a doughnut, and a mop; if you could identify which one was indeed a vagina?!

        So I would challenge you, get a girlfriend, do some exercises and get into shape. Both of you dress up, and experience this first hand. You can’t know or comment correctly if you don’t have a leg to stand on to begin with.

        I kind of wish my good friend Christophe the Insultor went to cons, I would not only pay him $100 to make you cry, but I would stand by and watch you, record it and post it on Youtube! Hell if the situation was there, he’d probably do it for free! LOL!

        • Sushi Killer

          I am not sure I agree with all of what you said, but you also make some interesting points and you are clearly passionate about the subject. Thanks for chiming in!

    • Chips Cosplay

      Part of the problem is that almost every female character in comics or games is excessively sexualized. There aren’t very many non-sexualized options for women in the fandom who want to cosplay. In a way, your comment unintentionally highlighted that problem.

      Also, you apparently haven’t heard stories from cosplayers who were in completely non-sexualized, non-revealing costumes. They get harassed too.

    • I once was asked if my breasts were real while I was cosplaying a fully covered male character. I just handed bound my breasts down because it was my first cosplay and I didn’t really give that much of a shit about accuracy. So it’s not just women who are dressed as sexualised characters being harassed.

      But you know what, even if it was? THAT STILL WOULDN’T MAKE IT OKAY.

  127. Lardiss Black

    I’m not condoning stalking behavior or unneccessary personal space violations. However, anyone who goes out in public risks having their picture taken. While we can all comment about what is “polite” and “impolite”, “creepy” and “acceptable”, etc., a cosplayer has no ultimate control over whether their photo gets taken. Best to praise those who ask and ignore those who don’t, but ultimately, it is the cosplayer who must accept that they are putting themselves in this position. Running around in skimpy fantasy garb and not expecting your picture to get taken is like going out onto a football field and not expecting a 300-pound guy to smash into you.

    • Chips Cosplay

      Nowhere in the article were “rights” discussed, merely what is morally preferable. You’re right that people are within their legal rights to take pictures of others in public, but the message we’re trying to communicate is that it is impolite to do so without permission.

  128. nikki

    Great article. I support you whole-heartedly! I didn’t realize the harassment was so widespread. Please continue with your work! :)

  129. Icecream please

    Touching a person male or female because of they way the are dressed, is not cool. I agree. But people should know that when in public there are no laws stopping people from taking pictures. If they print them in a publication they need your permission but not for just taking them. It sucks but this holds true for cos players and non cos players a like.

    • Chips Cosplay

      Nowhere in the article were “rights” discussed, merely what is morally preferable. Your emphasis on laws is misplaced. You’re right that people are within their legal rights to take pictures of others in public, but the message we’re trying to communicate is that it is impolite to do so without permission.

  130. As a cosplayer, moments when someone grabs a feel are very quick and leave feeling awkward. you don’t want to freak out or start reming them out but there should be some sort of plan in a persons mind when this happens to bring attention to the creep and make them think twice. maybe stopping the photos and tell the person they dont have permission to grab you only get a photo. this calls attention, says what they did, and does it publicly.

  131. Shut up, everyone.

  132. Nick Sinclair

    Wow… This is fantastic. Having been an awkwardly oogled crossplayer (yeah… Dr. Girlfriend at SDCC last year) I applaud this effort.

  133. Kai Charles

    I’ve often wondered if there was a controlled area where people could showcase their outfits if it would be safer. I don’t cosplay but I have noticed that when walking the floor it’s very easy for something unsafe to happen.

    At Wondercon this year I saw a woman in a very revealing costume make an appearance and she was instantly surrounded with tons of picture takers. It literally stopped traffic. She appeared to be alone and my first thought was hopefully no one gropes her.

    I was thinking you guys might see if anyone was interested in volunteering with a cosplayer as a companion. Someone to look out for them. I find I’m much more alert a cons now in case someone needs support. Education is very important but there are con predators that will not change their ways .

    • Sushi Killer

      A buddy system is actually not a bad idea. Cosplaying with a buddy that will help defend you if something goes wrong seems totally reasonable as a precaution against this sort of thing.

      Also, fun fact: in Japan (where I lived for half a year) the conventions don’t allow cosplay outside of specific areas. Also strangely enough, I never saw or heard of problems with this, even considering the horror stories of train perverts and whatnot you might hear. Cosplayers get to the convention in normal clothes, change in gender-segregated rooms, check their bags with a convention staff member, then head straight to the photo area where photographers are only allowed to talk to give posing directions and exchange information, and they aren’t allowed within 2 meters of the cosplayers. It’s an interesting system!

      • I have a conhusbando, to whom I am a conwaifu. We go together to every con, stay in the same room and are generally joint at the hip. Lately we have gotten into more separate things (she’s starting to really like the ME fandom and I haven’t got into it yet), but we always make sure that neither of us is left alone (for example, I know she’s safe with the ME groups because we have several friends in common in there, and I always have a friend if I’m with the Black Butler group).

  134. Luke

    I know there isn’t a universal answer to this, but I was hoping for some opinions just the same. As far as physical contact goes, the examples of rubbing somebodies back or touching their ass seem blatantly inappropriate to me, but is putting a hand on the shoulder/waist for a photo in that category as well?

    • Sushi Killer

      I personally find that to be ok, but if you are ever in doubt (say they have bare skin showing where you are about to put your hand) it’s always better to ask. I guarantee any cosplayer who has had problems with harassment will be inclined to say yes simply because you were considerate enough to ask, and that makes you more trustworthy.

    • Matt Dark

      I’d say as long as you ask if its ok, I know some people may not want someone trying to hold them if they are worried it may damage part of their costume (I’ve seen some people who have gone round conventions with friends going rounds as aids to stop being bumping into them as the wings of their cosplay were quite fragile)

  135. Allison

    I really appreciate this movement! I’m a plus sized girl so cosplay can be very daunting for me, I honestly have reserves about dressing up anymore as some characters I enjoy because I get very negative comments on my weight and that I’m not thin enough to dress as a character. That can be just as damaging and getting visually felt up by someone. I’m also a new fursuiter and have heard the horrible stories of mean people calling us bad names, assuming horrible things about us and have even heard about them getting felt up at cons by perverted people or even stalked! This movement can extend to so many more groups in the con community! Please, for all of us out there who feel fear of being who we want to be, don’t let this die!

    • Sushi Killer

      Thank you so much for speaking out about this! It’s good to hear supportive people amongst the critics.

      And I’m so sorry about your experiences so far… I am plus sized too and get that all the time. Apparently to some I am worth objectifying and to others I am only worth belittling. But we’re all here for each other and I hope this project stays alive so that more and more people can get involved and start coming together as a community.

  136. Kersten Hackney

    I’ve shared this article on the Facebook pages of both the ACen (Anime Central) group page, as well as the Anime Apocalypse Convention group page.
    the troll Randy Lucas can GTFO. what ruins Con is being touched, groped and fondled by pervert who do not know you, do not have permission to touch you, and being made uncomfortable by another person’s actions, behavior or words. it’s people harassing ANY person attending con that has made MANY people stop cosplaying or stop going to con all together. My husband worked IRT (Instant Response Team for several of the cons a few years back, I’ve hear HORRIBLE stories.

  137. Greg

    I think, at least the way the sign is written, the emphases is on promoting the website over trying to solve the problem. Hell, the website is every listed before the cause. It’s like using a genuine problem to promote a site, which I find shameful.

    • Sushi Killer

      Eehhhh it was more so that people could know where to find us if they wanted to be a part of the project. I didn’t have business cards to give out that weekend so this was the best thing I could think of. I guess there’s no way to prove that and you can and will think what you want, but the fact that so many people have found us and are now working with us on future stages of the project because of that url is good enough for me.

      Honestly the traffic is a bit overwhelming and I don’t think any of us thought this would get so much attention in a billion years. It’s very humbling!

  138. PhotonuclearSin

    The problem isn’t so much cosplaying harassment then it is just harassment. Obviously no one wants to be touched if they’re not comfortable with it regardless of the situation, you can literally swap out comic/fantasy/anime/ convention with any other place (club, concert, you get the idea) and the problem is still the same. Those kinds of people sadly exist. It is unfortunate and totally not okay, but good luck trying to stop harassment in general from stopping, its only been around since mankind could walk.
    Secondly, honestly dressing up super loudly and asking people not to be interested is like trying to tell a fish it shouldn’t swim in the water. If your going to an event like that you’re going to have to know to some degree that people are going to be that way. if i walk down the street in costume and people are taking pictures, I’m not concerned. because I acknowledge that by dressing that way I’m drawing the attention to myself. I guarantee you, many of you don’t mind laughing at the plethora of hilarious and embarrassing photos from memes on the web. millions of embarrassing moments at your viewing pleasure at the touch of a button. I highly doubt that most if any of them were taken with “consent.” We’ve all laughed at them, you can scarcely deny it, so by demanding consent you are saying that you are okay with other people enduring the same thing you’re complaining about. Again, I agree about the touching, es no bueno without consent, but candid photos? c’mon by demanding consent you’re basically being a hypocrite.

    • Sushi Killer

      Once again, and I can’t say this enough, I am not saying to stop paying attention to cosplayers or even to stop taking their photos under certain circumstances, but cosplayers have a right to their bodies and that includes a right NOT to have their butts or breasts or whatnot photographed up close without their consent.

      I’ve never seen a cosplay cover less than a revealing swimsuit. If you saw a person on the beach in a tiny swimsuit and didn’t think”whelp, they are showing it so that must mean I can walk up behind them while they sunbathe and get a picture of their ass-cheeks” then you shouldn’t think that way about cosplayers either.

  139. PhotonuclearSin

    slight typo * good luck trying to stop harassment from happening

  140. LOIS L. LaBOUNTY

    This unfortunately is not a new problem with cameras. They have been used to make even innocent pictures into sex pictures. Marilyn Monroe had men take pictures up her skirt, while she was sitting on stage.
    It needs to be addressed by everyone. Especially by women about this being done to women. Not that it being done to men is alright. But women have always been a target for all sorts of aggression and harassment. Just for the fact that they are female.

  141. FancyIndia

    I love making costumes, but am really shy. I’ll do the photo thing, but it is not something I really like to do. I have been stalked online by a photographer who I caught taking inappropriate photos of me (luckily my sister stepped in and said something). Another time, a photographer actually blocked me from leaving an area as I declined taking photos with him. I actually had to get security at several cons throughout the year after that because he would follow me and take photos. He finally left me alone when I posted photos of him and what he was doing on forums. I also disagree with people taking photos from far away or shoving a camera in your face while you eat or are walking. If you want a photo and aren’t a creep, ask. I understand people want candid shots, but without permission from the cosplayer why should you be allowed those candid shots? The cosplayer is not your friend, in fact, you are more than likely a stranger. If you did that on the streets, you would be marked a stalker or harasser, why should it be different at con?
    To the poster, don’t fret the people running to defend the creepers action. They are probably guilty of the behavior that is upsetting everyone and they don’t like to hear it. I support this project not only as a cosplayer, but as a woman, too. I think it is important to stress respect and common courtesy. :) If you think the issues talked about are ok, you really need to think about how you would feel if it were you or your girlfriend or family member in the cosplayer’s shoes.

  142. Oni Tmashii

    In all honesty, I agree with the message to a point. I don’t think it’s right for anyone to take inappropriate candids of another person, regardless of setting, dress, or gender. That said, I feel that people – especially at conventions and public gatherings – should expect their photos taken (in an appropriate manner, consent or not.)

    From what I’ve gathered from these comments, I do think a lot of the duress here is self imposed, mainly worries of “what if someone gets an incriminating or embarrassing picture of me, or a picture of me that can be misinterpreted.” – and worries that such photos will be open to public criticism. While this may be a legitimate worry for some, I feel as though this is natural under any circumstances and not just at conventions. I also feel that this particular worry was not the primary focus of the original article.

    Cosplayers – myself included – who cosplay in public view, even if it is for their own enjoyment, are a part of the convention. Those who paid to enjoy the contents of that convention should be entitled to do so, so long as it does not infringe on the enjoyment of other con goers.

    I also think that cosplayers should expect to be photographed, considering that in all honesty the cosplay is probably the biggest attraction at any con. Consider what a convention is – a gathering of people with like interests, sharing those interests, and congregating amongst one another. It seems only natural then that the people in attendance are the most prominent part of a convention, and while yes there are MANY who would pervert this for their own wants – there are just as many who simply wish to photograph others for the sake of the memorable occasion, or fine craftsmanship. Alas, I digress – to the point. I have seen many posts here of those who say they cosplay for themselves, and not for the benefit of those others in attendance. While that is admirable, and good for you folks who enjoy doing so – That is not the point of a convention, as previously stated. The whole thing is supposed to be a social event, for the benefit of ALL in attendance. Taking the initiative to cosplay should be considered (in my opinion at least) a step towards that social interaction, and not as a solitary activity. Many people DO cosplay for the sake of saying “Hey! I’m representing a fandom that I am passionate about, and am proud to be a fan of! Share in the enjoyment by appreciating my efforts to support something I enjoy!”

    At least this is what I think a convention is all about. Yes, in most cases it is polite to ask permission before taking a photo of someone, but when cosplaying it’s generally meant as a compliment when someone takes a photo, because they share in the same passion as you – and wish to be able to enjoy it long after you depart.

    Those people who take inappropriate opportunities are a problem, I agree, because they are not doing so to appreciate the efforts or fandom of the cosplayer, they are doing so for their own sake. Forgive the fragmented rant – It’s 3am and I had many things to touch base on. ^_^

  143. Shini

    I once had some guy walking up to me and talking about the plans he had with a few girls at the con.. it was quite disturbing and he was creeping me out that he was only going to the con to try to get girls into his bed at the conventionhotel.. even tried to ask me if I wanted to. And I heard about some girl that got drunk at a convention and they also used that to get her in their bed..

    Some people seriously need to learn some respect and need to learn that we are no toys for your pleasure moments =.=

    I myself don’t really mind pictures being taken from me but I guess it’s still better to ask as some people do mind. it’s against people’s privacy if you just take pictures from them without them knowing + agreeing to it.

  144. OMG i totally agree! People think just because you wear something that shows skin that means its a free pass at touching you, but its not! Creeps make me sick!

  145. Thank you so much! I really hope this will help.

  146. Kevin

    As a guy some of these comments disturb me. Specifically the ones trying to justify some of this bad behavior. I’m a guy i’ll admit when I see a woman in a sexy outfit (cosplay or not) I admire the view but i don’t make lewd comments and I don’t touch people (male or female) or take their picture without asking. Its called self control boys (and yeah if you don’t have it your a boy not a man) Now to address the situation clearly it needs to stop and I have a few thoughts on how to help that along. First as far as taking normal (as in not butt shots, cleavage shots, upskirt etc) pictures without asking I agree its rude but its not exactly in the same catagory. Keep in mind the mindset in some of these cases. Now we all knwo that the stereotype of the socially awkward geek is far from universal BUT there are plenty of guys in the gaming and comic community that get awkward around attractive women. Obviously this does not justify groping, breast shots or other immoral behavior but I would wonder if some of the guys that are simply taking pictures of cosplaying women without asking are to shy to speak to the girl. Think about high school (sadly the same mentality tends to stick around in adults I’ve seen it over and over again) most of us knew (or were) that awkward person who’d blush and stutter around someone they thought was cute espescially if that person was dressed in an attractive manner. Now ask the poor guy to walk up to her and ask her to let him take a picture. Its not a good thing but again in the case of non invasive photos (a cosplayer simply standing there or posing for other pictures for example) I think some slack may be in order. To my knowledge (and granted i’m not a lawyer and the laws will vary from area to area) if you are in a public place theres a degree to which you lose the privacy you have at home. That does NOT make it right but its also the nature of the beast. So my first suggestion is for convention planners. At some of the cons I go to they have an actual stated policy of “don’t take someone’s photograph without their consent.” Yes its good manners, yes people should do it anyway but ettiquette does vary from culture to culture and even subculture to subculture so its better to spell it out in writing so there’s no confusion. Unfortunately the same probably would help with some of the groping. I agree its stupid and unreasonable that anyone needs to be told “don’t go up to complete strangers and grab their rear just because you like their outfit” but some of these idiots really do need it spelled out in black and white. Add “any violation of these rules will resort in expulsion from the event without refund” and their more likely to pay attention. It shouldn’t be necissary but sadly with some people it is. As someone else suggested I think in many cases women should speak up more as well. Obviously theres a time and a place but a lot of these guys aren’t going to read articles like this and if someone isn’t telling them to stop they are never going to get it. THat is THEIR problem not their victims but still the goal here is to stop the idiots bad behavoir not to hope for a better world. At the least consider going to Convention security afterwards and explaining the problem. They might not take action after one complaint but if enough people stand up and say something any decent convention should be doing something about it. Keeping their guests safe is, in my oppinion, part of their responsibilitys.

  147. There are reasons why heroes and villains wear masks, there are reasons why people are bigger assholes on the internet, even historically when masks were worn in a party environment…. it allows you to step away from yourself. Anonymity changes behavior. I think the cosplayer needs to be cognisant of this too. I believe you have the right to be untouched and groping (without consent) needs to stop… and I don’t think dressing in costume, character, or revealing street clothes entitles another to violate your personal space. I can definitely get behind this aspect. I shot pictures at a special event in Port Washington, Wisconsin in the heart of the most conservative county in Wisconsin.. Ozaukee County… They have an event called Kiss of Indulgence… it is meant to bring women to the downtown and basically trick or treat through the local shops. I did a photo op booth in a store with a very large man in a Lincoln mask. He was not particularly fit and the mask was not particularly awesome but those women were all over him and it did make him uncomfortable. The anonymity of a mask or disguise or costume or whatever… will alter behavior no matter the setting. I would suggest avoiding the hotel bar… the lowered inhibitions from anonymity and intoxication can be a dangerous combo. Please stay safe. I do love the costumes and am working my body to a more super hero appropriate shape with the intention of joining your ranks myself.

    • Melinda Kimberly Layden

      Sackie, if this posts below your last comment, please blame my luddite ways. This is not aimed at you personally, but is just me giving a specific example to what most people on this comment thread are saying: a given community will be as reasonable as it is expected to be.

      *sets the Way Back Machine for 1969* We are in Minnesota. It’s cold in the Twin Cities, and time for the annual Winter Carnival. This sometimes involves a huge ice castle, usually involves ice sculptures, and always involves a parade.

      People line the downtown streets of Saint Paul. Among these are many women, who have come to watch the parade and see the sights of the Winter Carnival.

      The floats pass. People in costumes frolic and wave and interact with the audience.

      Then comes the Vulcan float.

      On board are not the bowl-cut, pointed-ear Star Trek Vulcans, but men dressed mostly in red and orange to represent the pagan god. Most of them have painted their faces and some of them wear masks. They’re whooping it up, quite possibly intoxicated, and making as much noise as possible. They are following a nearly century-old tradition, which is to be the anthropomorphic representations of the power of the sun to melt away the snow and cold of winter.

      Many women really hate the Vulcans, because of the tradition they follow: they are not only allowed, but expected and encouraged to jump off their float, go out into the crowd, and grab the butts, breasts, and waists of women. The women are expected to submit to being fondled, kissed, and harassed because it’s Tradition, and you know how men are.

      Boys will be boys.

      But If we set the Way Back Machine even ten years later, the practice would be falling into its rightful place in the Stone Age. Women in particular had objected to being manhandled in public. After enough protests and objections, first from women (many of whom were vilified as “Party poopers” “Man-haters”) and then from men who saw that yeah, grabbing people is not really appropriate in a family event, and the women were often traumatized by the unwanted attention. At last, the community as a whole decried the practice of costumed men grabbing strange women, seeing it for the assault it was.

      Fast forward another 10 years. It’s the centennial of the Winter Carnival. There are ice sculptures, one of the largest ice castles ever built, and of course a parade.

      There is a float with Vulcans on it. Not a one of them assaults the women watching the parade.

      Why?

      Because the community no longer feels it’s acceptable.

      So how does this relate to COSPLAY =/= CONSENT?

      I’m actually very encouraged by most of the comments on this page, because I see again and again people calling for reasonable approaches: don’t be a jerk, ask when possible, communicate with the person you want to take a picture of, and women and men shouldn’t be harassed, intimidated, or assaulted. I’ll even grant some of the suggestions for cosplayers in general and women in particular to take so they can be more safe.

      But rudeness and bad behavior will only keep happening if the community allows it.

      So. Let’s not allow it.

  148. ZetraGild

    I can’t say I’ve had much bad experience like that. But that’s not saying it doesn’t exist. Usually when I say no or lol what are you doing?” people go “Ah, sorry ^^;” and back off.
    Though, this one time when I was dressed as Kuja some creepy old guy came up to me and didn’t speak a lick of english. He took a regular photo of me but then threw his camera at my friend and grabbed my waist, pulled me in, and was breathing all creepy in my ear.
    We got the hell out of that area and thankfully never saw him again.

  149. What people need to be educated on is:
    -Yes, folks that dress up appreciate your attention…but THEY define the nature of that attention not YOU.
    -Dressing up is not an INVITATION of anything other than to admire the presentation-that ranges from a cosplay outfit to a pretty skirt or nice shoes.
    -Fandom does NOT suspend the rules of civil behavior, neither for the participants or observers-you are NOT being invited into a fantasy world where the rules of behavior are suspended just because someone is dressed like a belly dancer, cosplay character…or any other presentation.

    We have had this issue effect not only the female members of our troop but the male members too. Some women think that a very tall attractive man who is friendly and dressed funny must CERTAINLY want them to paw and hang all over him, begging for pictures that involve physical intimate contact.
    I truly appreciate this issue. I have CHOKED a person for pulling my wife into his lap and groping her under the excuse “he was having his picture taken with her”…and that kind of response can certainly lead to legal hassles (I got away with it that time).
    I don’t think large, clear signs posted at events stating the accepted behaviors is at all out of the question or unreasonable. INFACT…if this became the NORM ACROSS FANDOM- the posting of signs that simply stated cosplay does not equal consent we might realistically change the behavior.

  150. VWolfe

    Really You are in costume in public, It’s reasonable to expect your picture will be taken. It is ridiculous to expect every one who takes your picture to ask for permission before or after the picture is taken. You are a particularly popular or well done cos-player you have time to stand in line while 6000 people ask if they can take your picture and then time for them to actually get the picture? No you don’t it would be waste of your time.
    Inappropriate pics like upskirt or body shots feel free to call people on it loudly report them to the con people there are rules against this.
    The inappropriate touching that is something to get pissed about. Tell them and tell the people running the con. There are rules against this sort of things and there are usually patrols. Get proactive as long as you do not say anything people will go on thinking what they are doing is “just good fun” or whatever. Not saying anything doesn’t change anything.
    Of course I agree you shouldn’t HAVE to say anything but obviously you do. If someone inappropriately touches you make sure everyone knows it is not ok. Be loud if necessary if nothing else it will shame them in to keeping their hands to them selves.
    The comments unfortunately all you can do is let them know you its rude. Even normally dressed and in every day life I hear comments on what I am wearing how my body looks. I am female that tends to happen and usually from both males and females. Doesn’t make it right but unfortunately it is part of our culture to judge people on their looks and people wont hesitate to say mean things and think they are entitled to do so.

  151. I guess I’ve been on both sides of this. DragonCon is my main convention. It’s always packed and crazy. I like to get general ‘in the hall’ sorts of shots that aren’t focusing on anyone in particular. If I’m taking a photo of someone specific I ALWAYS ask, even if there are already a ton of people taking pictures. The person may be tired or really need a break. I don’t want to assume that they’re willing just because everyone else is. And I’ve had times where they asked if I could hold of for a sec so they could get a drink or fix a slipping costume piece. I even had one cosplayer run to the bathroom and meet me a few minutes later.

    I also cosplay through the whole con, so I totally understand all of the above issues. I’m a larger lady, and my costumes inevitably involve a corset. I get maybe one comment a day I consider over the line, but I don’t usually get persistent attention. In a way, it’s sad to me that (usually) guys feel it’s ok to just make a throw away comment while they’re passing me in the hall. They’re not attracted to me, they just want to point out that I’ve got large breasts. Yes, I buy all my own bras, I’m aware of my cup size.
    The strangest thing that happens to me – EVERY SINGLE YEAR at some point in the convention, a drunk lady will ask if she can put her head on my boobs. Or ask if she can hug me and then snuggle in. It’s always a woman; I’ve never had a guy ask me that. And so far, they’ve always been drunk. They always ask and they take no for an answer, but I find it odd that it’s happened every year I’ve worn a corset.

  152. I’ve been a fan of conventions for years but didn’t ever have the chance to attend one until last May at the comicon in Phoenix. I can completely understand the whole issues of Cosplayers having a hard time with those who don’t ask for pictures or who try to do perv shots or make lewd commentary. I applaud those people who can stand up for it, but I also want to give a huge shoutout and thank you to those cosplayers who indulge the children. My youngest daughter was 4 when we went, and I was constantly being drug around by the hand of my mini me as she spied all the wonderful people in costume. Whenever she found someone she wanted a picture with she would always stop about a foot away, and after I got the cosplayers attention she would ask for a picture (I had coached her in this for -hours- before we got there) Each and every person I photographed with my daughter were honestly thrilled that they had such a half pint fan who not only knew the characters they cosplayed, but because she was so excited. my daughter is now 5 and as she see’s pictures posted on my wall she is always asking me when we get to go to the next convention, and is always telling me what or who she wants to be. The generosity of these great Cosplayers made her so happy that she wants to be just like them

  153. Does anyone have any good resources for writing convention guidelines or internal policies?
    Or tips from convention staffs that feel they are able to reduce incidents like this at their events?

    Background: I have my degree in photo journalism, work as a photographer, and work as security staff and a photographer at and for various conventions. My own guidelines are I don’t ask permission to photograph groups of people at panels, attending readings, around gaming tables etc. Photos of small groups or individuals I do ask, before or after the shot, and show people the photos, if they want the photos deleted, they get deleted.

    From a convention security perspective and the staff’s part in helping create a fun, relaxed, safe atmosphere, it can be frustrating. Well communicated polices that are enforced, even if means ejecting somebody, watchfulness, good people skills to remind people when they are out of line and to quickly cut trouble makers out of crowds all helpful. Having approachable staff members, female staff members in particular has been a help as well so people report problems.

    Still, any good suggestions?

  154. Thank you for making this project! I think every CON should have a notice on their webpage of how to treat cosplayers. “Hands Off” “Ask Permission” and “Don’t Harass” should be the three golden rules. I am going to Vancouver’s Fan Expo in a few weeks and I was actually taken aback at their description of Cosplayers on their website;

    “Fans dressing up in costumes, or cosplay as it is known, is a BIG part of Fan Expo weekend. Literally hundreds of amazing costumes are available for your viewing pleasure throughout the weekend. Don’t be shy; get your photo taken with all your favourite characters or come dressed up yourself.”

    source: http://www.fanexpovancouver.com/attractions

    This might be why some people are angry about being refused as they are under the impression that we cosplayers are there and should always be available “for your viewing pleasure”.

  155. Fair. But where do we draw the line — I’m all for killer cosplays, but I’d also like to bring my daughter to a Con at some point and not have to worry about her seeing someone walk around in a thong and a piece of ribbon across their chest because they’re doing a spot on representation of Vampirella.

    I walked by a dad at WC who had his 8-10 year old son with him passing by a bunch of Mortal Kombat cosplayers as Katana, etc., and the kid was GAWKING at the exposed parts. How can you blame him — kid’s going through the early stages of puberty and realizing girls don’t have cooties. The dad realized his son was infatuated, then rushed him along with a look like “Damn, I wasn’t expecting my son to see someone dressed like a stripper here.”

    In a sense, isn’t this type of cosplay alienating other fans and upcoming fans? Not saying all cosplayers dress this way, but to the ones that do — they can take a note and realize conventions aren’t all about them; people still bring their kids to these shows and to flaunt your stuff is one thing, but to flaunt it in front of kids? I dunno, man… I dunno. As a new parent, my perspective is changing.

    Also, I have to sit in that same panel chair that shirtless, sweaty Bane dude just got out of. Yelch.

  156. I really love the sentiment of the CONsent project and am reminded of The Everyday Sexism Project. http://www.everydaysexism.com/ The boundaries of personal space and appropriate touching seem to be lost on some people and these projects give voice to unwanted handling being very NOT okay and unacceptable at conventions and in broader society. Good luck with your awareness campaign.

  157. Ahh, I was at WonderCon 2013! I wish I had gotten a picture with the sign; I’ll take one soon and submit it to you guys. I wrote an angry rant on Tumblr after an angry debate on Facebook about this very issue and had this page linked to me several times, so I’ll chip in anything I can do to stand behind your cause!

  158. I have to say right off… I’m a fan of anime, I’d love to go to a convention, but I have never cosplayed; the closest I’ve probably gotten is a Renaissance Fair costume.

    However, I am a photographer; by serious hobby, if not by profession. What the handful of posts here I read seem to just throw us all into one lump group, and I do not think that is the proper way of handling it.

    There are some people who are just there to enjoy themselves and take pictures; they probably won’t ask permission, may or may not consult the person afterwards (probably not), but they are also not likely to do anything with the photos they take. Those are just for memories and enjoyment. In my opinion, this is fine. These people are not intrusive or deliberately insulting in their pictures, and if they got something that looks weird they probably just think it is honestly amusing. The only unfortunate thing is that it is unsure whether these will end up online or not, depending on whether these people have a group they want to share the pictures with. But if they do end up online, what are the chances of you or friends recognizing yourself in the photos? There are numerous places these people may post them, and they may or may not receive much attention at all.

    There are some, more like me, who will be photographing with intent; we want good shots. This may involve posing, but as many have also said here, often as not some of the best photos you can ask for are candid shots. I may not be in on the act, but if I see Batman chasing someone, I am going to take pictures! I am not likely to be interested in someone who is sitting around looking bored (not acting at the moment), but if I am then I will still be trying to take good pictures of them; the most engaging facial expression is not always a smile, after all, especially if there are more interesting details about the face or makeup to be captured. If you’re standing in line or something I probably have zero aesthetic interest in you, unless your costume is amazing/someone I immediately recognize, in which case I will ask you to pose.

    Afterwards I would expect to approach the people and show them the pictures (assuming they have not run off too far), and of course, the entire time I am shooting, I am prepared to stop if anyone asks, and after showing them the pictures, will readily delete anything they disagree with. In my opinion, this is only the decent thing to do. All serious photographers (at least in settings such as this) should maintain respectful attitudes toward their subjects.

    I’ve been shooting in foreign countries before and a lot of the time, they don’t -ask- you to stop; they come up in your face aggressively and -tell- you to. Sometimes you just need to run away before they get any closer, but other times deleting the pictures and walking away works fine. o.o; There are some cases where I would endorse sneaky photography in these countries, but at a convention where there is no pressing need to photograph, and no inherent danger of violence in openly photographing someone, I discourage it. The people who try to photograph cleavage, up skirts, and other revealing shots just need to get stomped on, and deserve it too. They’re creeps, not photographers, and they need to be told point-blank that that isn’t acceptable; my best recommendation is an intimidating group of friends to get them to delete the pictures. Not necessarily violent, just intimidating…

  159. Kat

    I’m absolutely in love with this campaign and hope it spreads to gulf coast and east coast conventions! As for a story, I remember years ago, my first cosplay was Natsuo Sagan (Loveless) with a roommate of mine cosplaying my Youji. We took a step out of the elevator into the crowded lobby when I heard a high pitched squeal and a girl came running at me, threw her arms around me so suddenly and almost choked me hugging my neck and elbowed my roommate’s face in the process. I was so embarrassed and haven’t worn that costume since.

  160. Matt Dark

    This was a nice read, I go to a lot of the conventions in the UK, and there have always been little stories here and there with similar situations.
    A lot of people seem to forget that even though someone is in a costume, they are still people. I’m not going to say I’ve never looked, hell, stared sometimes. But when dealing with people face to face, I’ve always tried my best to be courteous to them.

  161. Erika

    I guess it’s only OK if you’re gay.

    I’ve never been disrespectful to other female Cosplayers.
    But on more than one occasion, I’ve been in a situation where another girl has really made me feel uncomfortable.
    But I guess people think it’s OK in that situation, because men seem to like it and I did not want to make a scene.

    I just think it is important to point this out because not many people do.
    There is a clear difference between being a homophobic jerk (which I am not) and wanting some respect.

  162. Anissa

    So, I LOVE this movement, but I struggle just a little bit with one of the photos here.

    Sushi Killer, you mentioned in one of your comments “cosplayers have a right to their bodies and that includes a right NOT to have their butts or breasts or whatnot photographed up close without their consent.” Which is absolutely true.

    So I struggle a little with the photo you have of two girls, one is bending over with a “Don’t touch my butt” sign and the other is groping her butt. Both look happy/flirty about it. I struggle with this shot a little because I feel like it negates your message, and backs up the message of all the harassing jerks who imply that cosplayers are “asking for it”. Because that girl implies, with her body language and expression, that she really is…

    Am I just crazy? Am I missing something fundamental?

  163. Sam

    I’ve never had a problem like that at a convention, and I hope I never do. I really don’t like being touched by strangers due to curtain events. When I cosplay I don’t cosplay someone who is showing a lot of skin :s I mean I wear sweaters in the summer lol.
    I have a friend who had to deal with a rather creepy guy. He went for some chest and butt shots, she only found out after seeing the pictures online. :/

  164. Nate Davis

    Harrassment happens to men in cosplay as well. My story is not as bad as others but it’s not a competition. Anyways I remember cos-playing as the 3rd Hokage from Naruto at one Convention in Texas. This was around the time when the Hokage died fighting Orochimaru and another cosplayer, a woman, dressed as Tsunade. Wanted a picture and a hug. I didn’t have a problem with it because she asked for it. Well through out the day it seemed as if everywhere I went she was there hugging and calling me ‘Her Hokage’ or ‘ Her Sensei’ to the point where it got really creepy, uncomfortable, and a bit more sexual each time I saw her. So I would just avoided her where ever I went for the rest of the weekend because I didn’t want to know what she had planned next time I saw her. Even my friend, dressed as Itachi, was keeping an eye out. Then on top of that being glomped by random people out of nowhere wasn’t helping my day get better either. The next day I didn’t even dress up so I wouldn’t be recognized.

    I really hope that a few bad people won’t ruin the whole cosplay experience for both men and women. Most cosplayers are respectful or try to be in a sense. I really wish we all could just have fun without things like this being a major problem not only in the cosplay world but in the world as a whole

  165. Okay, I’ve been flipping trough this cause wow, there’s a ton of comments here, and I gotta say something, while going through here I’ve found a couple (not as many as I was afraid there would be I’ll admit) comments about how this movement is just run by femi-nazis (not exact phrasing but that’s what you’re thinking so I’m gonna call it for what it is) and this will just die down when people come to their senses and get over themselves. No. The reality is you’re the ones who need to come to your senses and get over yourselves.

    I am NOT a feminist. All too often the term “feminist” gets paired with the idea that women are better than men. I do not agree with this and in my mind its no better than the idea that men are better than women. If you need to label me as something, call me an “egalitarian” since I believe that while men and women are different from each other, both are equally valuable and important. So this is not a feminist movement, this an outcry from fans. Now I realize that there are indeed fanboys, fangirls, fan photographers and cosplayers alike who go to conventions to treat them like a bar-crawl booty call. This is not an unfair, inaccurate statement at all. I personally know several people who do this and while I know people who do this and remain respectful of their fellow con-goers cause they appreciate how rare it is to have so many like-minded people in one place (you know who you are ;3) I also know people who do not and generally there have been times we were ready to strangle you cause we’re tired of the drama that comes with you being on the con scene (you know who you are :/). The overall concept you need to grasp is that while you may go there to do those things chances are good that MOST of the people around you do not. For the majority of us, this is like our day trip to Disney World. You may go there to get drunk and wreak havoc, but don’t be shocked when you get tossed out of the park (yes, this actually happened, youtube it).

    Need a more practical reason not to be a creeper if they “Hey, be cool, don’t be an asshole” call isn’t enough for you? How about this then: ever heard of Shoujocon? No? Not surprised, it’s a dead con. It also happens to be my very first anime convention and I had an amazing time there. I’m so glad I went since it’s what started my love for cosplay and conventions and has lead to so many other fulfilling aspects of fandom for me, but I noticed that things got tense there. Here’s the unofficial story: Shoujocon 2002 located in this rather lovely hotel in New Jersey. Over a thousand attendees, great vendors, guests, cosplayers and the obligatory rave. In general, an awesome event. That was until a couple UNDER-AGED cosplayers were sexually harassed in the hotel parking lot. Now they were able to get away from the guy so that’s the good news but here’s what went down because of the this as best as I understand it. The hotel wanted it kept quiet and did not want to notify the authorities. The con-chair however was of the opinion that “Eff you, I need to protect my con-goers even if you won’t protect your hotel guests.” I know nothing about whether or not they caught the guy who did it or if the girls pressed charges but here’s what I saw. In the end the cops were called, they showed up, asked questions, and walked around the hotel a bit. The con called in as many volunteers as they could and put boots on the ground having people walk the hallways and stairwells, talking to people and asking if everything had been going okay. Basically being seen and having a presence which is a basic and useful concept in security.

    However because of the problems with the hotel, the convention had to change venues. That combined with the push-back date cut the numbers of attendees in half and killed the con. Now I know this is unlikely to happen at a more established convention like say Anime Boston or Otacon but this much more problematic for smaller cons. Everything that I have just told you is technically hearsay. You won’t be able to prove it and the Shoujocon wiki page doesn’t say anything about it but I promise you, its more or less what happened.Yes, this was an extreme case but there are serious, real-life consequences for harassment, some of which maybe you’ve never even thought about so no, this is not a feminist movement. This the fan community standing up saying we don’t want to put up with bad behavior so you need to wake up and understand that your standards of personal conduct are not the same as those around you.

  166. Thank you for speaking out about behaviour that shouldn’t be tolerated, but is expected since we happen to be women. It takes a lot of strength with the amount of vile waiting to be thrown at anyone who does so.

  167. Dom

    I almost always ask and have never had an issue taking a picture with anyone. Of course with the growing popularity of the comic and anime culture, you start getting those who do not care for it at all and even people you probably wouldn’t want to attend. Now if there was an issue, I’d always feel the person would let me know in some way or communicate it at the least. Though I just feel that there is line that was being crossed. I feel there was some very deliberate and perverse actions taken by certain individuals that do not represent the cosplay community and are probably have no association with it. I honestly can’t believe this was going on under my nose even to the extent of a professional level based on what I have read. I am not saying I have never crossed a boundary or anything like that. I’m not perfect, but if someone let me know not to do something, if it were me, I would want to be respected and I try to honor that same respect as well. I feel a bit disappointed that this is going on because I always felt that conventions were a place to have fun and enjoy yourself and not think about certain things for the weekend. It’s too bad I had to come across something like this. It’s just my opinion, but this sort of thing should not be going on and should not have been started to begin with.

  168. Nell

    Thank you so much. I would love to cosplay in the future and I hope that this issue will be sorted out by the time I do cosplay. I think it’s great that you and so many others are doing so much to stop pervy picture taking of cosplayers. Thank you!

  169. Michelle

    Allow me to add my personal experience. While portraying a Venetian courtesan at our renaissance festival (I know not a con)… I am part of a performance troupe a patron’s decision that I was HIS personal entertainment ended very badly for everyone. . At the end of the day this drunk a$$hole smiled at me as I was waving goodbye to patrons and since I am ‘working’ I smile back. He took this as PERMISSION to walk right up to me, grasp and take hold of my hair horns (period accurate hair-do). He doesn’t let go…i scream…he doesn’t let go…I scream more and start to struggle..my co-worker is screaming…I’m grasping at him and circling away to get away…it’s not working. Our third troupe member gets security as I continue to struggle. I resort to pulling myself into hom and start kicking. He doesn’t let go until he realizes security is on the way. He is detained and charged with assault.
    My gown was torn in two places and I was bruised up pretty bad on my leg (from me kicking him).

    He pled guilty to misconduct…he will be on probation for a year, paid 1200 in fines(plus a lawyer), random drug/alcohol tests for a year, 20 hrs community service, and has behavior management classes. Plus I asked and the judge granted–for him to NEVER be allowed to return to the festival. IF he does he will be arrested.

    Just because someone has a costume on, looks ‘sexy’, looks scary, is funny, etc does not excuse the rest of us from legal obligations.

    YOU MAY NOT TOUCH WITHOUT PERMISSION.PERIOD.

  170. Fancy Deadpool

    So, I like cosplay because I’m fan, I’m a fan of the medium of comics/movies/whatever, I’m a fan of the effort and skill that goes into a costume and the effort and skill and goes into wearing it. I have a crappy blog that I like to showcase good cosplay (I showcase men and women and try to be as non-objectifying as possible, in my stupid “persona” writing days that wasn’t always the case but I’m better now). I haven’t been to a convention in years but I’d like to go to the Chicago Con because that’s the closest to me. Now I totally get the permission thing but I feel weird snapping a picture and then posting it without giving the person the option to be able to go and see it afterward. So my idea is to get cards made with just my actual first name (so there’s some connection to a real person but I don’t want my personal info out there), my writing pseudonym (so they know who I am on the blog) and my blog site and then give it to the person getting the picture. The goal being so they know who’s taking the picture, where they can see it and who to contact if they’d like it removed, it’s in no way a “come on” or anything like that. Is this stupid? Should I not feel like the option should be given? If it’s me and I’m getting my picture taken with the expressed purpose that it’s going to be put online I would want to see the article, I would want to see the context, I would want to know where it’s going and who’s got it to know that this person isn’t telling me one thing and then posting it on a “Worst” list making fun of me or a “Sexy” list exploiting me. Maybe I’m weird like that. But I thought I’d get your perspective on it since this seems like a good place to get honest, helpful feedback.

    I really enjoyed your article, thank you and I apologize if this was addressed before, I read probably 70% of the comments before I just decided to ask. Articles like this really help me considered multiple sides and understand the topic better which then help me change my thinking so I can attempt to be less of a dumbass.

  171. ylightami

    hahahahahahahahhahahaa

  172. As a photographer, I will explain this. Legally, I can shoot pictures in a public venue without asking permission. If it is open to the public, I am not violating any laws. If I can see from a public acess, you are fair game for my camera, whether you like it or not. That is how the law stands currently. Personally, I usually ask, if it is possible and I don’t feel I will be in danger doing so. By the law, I can’t enter a private residence without permission or private property. If I can see it from a public location, I can still photograph it. So even if you are not asked, in a convention, the photographer, is most likely not breaking any laws.

  173. I was kinda with everyone up until the “girls do this for attention” bit; yes, I think people should have the sense to see that they’re pushing the bar for tolerance (even restraint) if they’re going to indulge in raunchy cosplays or any scanty costumes but, this all boils back to the “hooker” debate where some cop remarked that if some girl didn’t want to be mistook as a sex worker, she shouldn’t dress like one (Toronto, ON).

    It’s kinda a matter of expectations and discourses–aesthetic and sexual–portrayed through and to the public by the media and such. I mean, clothes don’t necessarily “make” the man or woman–you should have the SENSE to realize that. The actions make the person. Actions speak louder than words or clothes…and it’s kinda ignorant to assume someone’s attention-seeking or immoral based on something as trivial as clothing choice–and, in the case of cosplayers or costumes, it’s a clothing choice for a very BRIEF time based on paying homage to a fictional character they like.

    If I like Emma Frost’s costume, that doesn’t make me a slut, and if I decide to cosplay it, I won’t be doing it for attention–I’d be doing it cuz I think she’s damn cool. You also have to look at the animators/comic artists here: what’re their motives for giving female characters that wardrobe and what ideals does that inadvertently imply? I kinda feel like that could applied to the shirtless, muscly man characters or those wearing tight clothes–if they cosplay them, does it mean the guys are looking for attention too or that they’re gay since spandex is stereotypically attributed to implying homoeroticism?? Well, if you’re using that logic for women, it should since gender equality is a two way street–but it DOESN’T because it’s ignorant.

    Like I said, I think that there’s a degree of accountability here too; there are some people who actually do this to seek attention and I don’t think it’s realistic to expect you’re not likely to get hassled even if you don’t because you have to see the standards (however ignorant and simplistic those are) of clothing and how people can judge you…but, I firmly believe that a lack of clothing doesn’t really speak to a lack of character regardless of how the larger society decides to spin it.

    You have to look at things from all angles here: the characters, the artists’ choices to clothe their characters in a certain way, the context and the motive.

    Don’t think you’re gonna get lucky or meet a sexually uninhibited person based on a freakin’ cosplay costume choice that they wear for all of a day or a few hours–have the SENSE to see that. If you wanna indulge in catcalls and sexual innuendo, don’t expect not to get called out for being a simplistic douche who bases his/her opinions solely on the costume choice of someone for a cosplay convention or costume event: the funny thing about cosplay and costumes, they come off after the cosplay or party is over, and how long do you think they last?

    Then again, I don’t really go for the scantily clad look or costume but that’s just me. Besides, where have people been? The Internet is chalk full of girls and guys doing duck faces, flexing their muscles or just going for the open-mouthed pout whilst looking spaced out–and, they do this fully clad–in the hopes of looking cool. That’s pretty lame in itself and just furthers my point that it’s not all about clothes–it’s about action and attitude, and just not being shallow from either end.

    I also think it’s a little simplistic and ignorant to go around pointing fingers and complaining about getting oogled visually and commented on–again, you have to anticipate some unwanted attention based on your costume/cosplay choice because of the standards. Do you think guys or girls( just general people who’re sexually attracted to women) check out characters like Emma Frost, He-Man and the like in wardrobe because they like/are attracted to their brains and morals? I’m sorry to say the general public doesn’t think that way.

    Kudos to the real fans.

  174. I am new to this discussion here, but I feel like I need to join it. I want to work to help make conventions safe and inviting places for everyone to go, that means eliminating harassment, stalking, and bullying that occurs at them, be these acts sexually motivated or otherwise. Problem is I do not know where to start, or have an network of like-minded people with which to organize. I am applying for rover positions at the conventions that I regularly attend (Fanime, Sakura-Con, Big Wow Comic Fest, Kumori-Con, and maybe SDCC) as well as trying to volunteer for Gamers Against Bigotry and Men Can Stop Rape. What more should I be doing? Who should I be talking to?

  175. Rachel

    So I often go to the London MCM Expo, and one year I cosplayed Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time, I had a fairly short puffy skirt on and a low cut top, but nothing that revealing really, and I was covered in purple face paint. As I was walking a LOT of guys were stopping me to take pictures.

    Usually I find people want a picture just of me and not of me with them, but these guys all wanted to be in the picture with me, and none of them even seemed to know what I was cosplaying. Something just felt off about the whole thing and I was starting to feel uncomfortable. Then another guy appears and asked me for a photo. I agreed and did my pose (which included me having my mouth open in an ‘ohmygosh’ way as was fitting to the character) the guy said to me ‘Nice cock face’ and ran of. It was at that point my friend and I realized that my face, or any part of my body other than my breasts were in the shot he took.

    After that I was too worried to let anybody else take my picture, and even when I did let them I insisted on covering my cleavage first. One guy I walked past started grinning at me and nodding suggestively, I was clearly uncomfortable and when he wouldn’t stop I flipped my middle finger at him, and he STILL carried on. I ended up sitting in a corner with my friend the rest of the day trying to avoid people.

    The next time I went I cosplayed Anna from Supernatural. After the Lumpy Space Princess cosplay I was VERY careful about what I wore, my top had a little cleavage, but I had a jacket on and very long loose fitting jeans which I hoped would be okay. I was wrong.

    The Hotel I stayed at with my friends was on the other side of the convention center to where we wanted to go for a drink that evening, I walked from one side to the other just fine, but I realised I left my purse in the hotel and went back to get it. I don’t know if it made a difference or not that I walked there with a male friend or maybe because I was just alone now. But as I walked back I had so many comments shouted at me like ‘Hey sexy red-head!’ and ‘Alright Gorgeous?’ (the last one was followed by him puckering his lips at me, and high-fiving his friend when I showed that I was obviously uncomfortable with his comment).

    It’s gotten to a point where my female friends and I are scared to walk around without a male friend with us, especially after last time my friend went of to the bathroom on her own she got comments from somebody about the size of her breasts.

  176. Can you make this sharable to facebook directly? I’d like to be able to make sure the proper credits are made on my post, and tagging EVERYTHING is a pain.

    • Sushi Killer

      I’m not sure how that would work, and I am not very tech-y… Is linking to the article directly not working?

  177. This is why i dislike convention nerds. The way they harass female cosplayers. I wish I can punch those loser geeks for touching the women inappropriately.

    • Sushi Killer

      Violence is not the answer! But we appreciate the support :)

  178. I see many beautiful and sexy ladies cosplaying and as a man, I have to admit that I do have naughty thoughts about them from time to time. But, being that I was raised with manners and to act like a gentleman at all times, I have never thought that in anyway was I allowed to touch, fondle, grope, etc. one of these ladies. I have also never thought that just cause she was being nice or friendly, that it meant I could get her number or such.

    Guys that act like or think that because these ladies or cosplaying sometimes skimpy outfits gives them the right to act like a jerk are nothing better than immature boys.

  179. Andrew Head

    I hate the fact that alot of convention goers think it’s ok to pull crap like this simply because the girl.. or guy is dressed in a skimp costume. I have personally seen it happen and when I do I confront the guy. the most recent incident was a guy upskirting at last years GenCon. I risked getting in trouble myself to frog march the jerk to security. What we need is more people standing up against these types of people. I know that when I am at a con, if I see something, I WILL do something about it even if it ends my GenCon experience. I was raised properly, and if I have to sacrifice my fun so that some guy or gal doesn’t get harassed or end up with pictures of their neither regions on the internet then I’ll take the steps needed, and I hope other people will to.

  180. Big thank-you for including Crossplay in this photo series!

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