1. Kirsty says:

    My two favourite bits:
    “the fact I’m wearing a costume does not excuse me from my ordinary ideas of modesty”

    “most people know when you wear a villain’s costume, you don’t agree with what the villain stands for. But when you wear the protagonist’s costume, people assume you think the protagonist is awesome and are in some kind of agreement with his or her point of view”

  2. I’m just going to pop in long enough to clarify a couple of things I said which I think were misunderstood.

    “Though it’s true what the character represents matters to me and she basically said it should not matter.”

    I never said it should not matter at all. Art matters! What I said was, “cosplay is not a single-dimension snapshot of a person’s character and beliefs.”

    Likewise, I said I do not support the themes of the Gor series. That’s not the same as saying no one should cosplay from it or that it’s a guaranteed trigger for me. Yes, if someone wanted such a costume as an excuse to grope women because he’s “just in character,” we’re gonna have a problem. If someone wanted to use cosplay to critique those themes — and social critique is one of the functions and duties of art — then I would be okay with that, or even support that challenge to those themes. In art (and scripture), content is not the question so much as the theme, or what’s being said about that content.

    “Are there any limits to what should be done during cosplay?”

    Of course! “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” 🙂

    Cosplay is not an excuse to punch or harass people, it’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card. There are always limits. Except maybe for chocolate. I’m not sure I’m on board with that….

    • Travis Perry says:

      Sorry to have misrepresented you a bit. It wasn’t deliberate.

      Though I’d like to add that I think if you saw a guy in a red-head wig and bare chest, with a short sword, and you asked him who he was cosplaying and he said, “Tarl Cabot from the Gor series,” you wouldn’t be pleased. Sure, you might not have a knee-jerk reaction against this hypothetical person, but the very celebration of that story world in a non-ironic and non-satirical way would be offensive to you.

      Or let me rephrase that–it would be offensive to ME and I assume from you knowing what that story world is about and what I know about you that it would be offensive to you as well. I would actually think there would be something wrong with you if you didn’t react negatively to someone sincerely celebrating Tarl Cabot in cosplay. Because as we both know, that character openly celebrated the sexual enslavement of women in the Gor novels.

      Perhaps you wouldn’t actually be angry if the guy was acting civilized. But you would not be taking his picture and joining in with him in his celebration of that particular story world. You may be very non-judgmental on this sort of thing, but there does come a point, even for you, in which a story world is simply not something you approve of.

      That was the point I was trying to make.

      Since such a limit to what a character stands for does exist even for very tolerant and reasonable people, I want to be sure to steer far away from the possibility of that kind of offense in what I do. That’s why I would not want anyone to confuse me supporting the philosophy of protagonists I can’t agree with.

      I hope that makes sense, even if you don’t agree.

      • Oh, it’s absolutely going in my mental file about that person, a data point in my array. 🙂 But for that data point I would also look at his portrayal and presentation, because the only likely reason someone would play a Gor character is to reference the sadist-subjugation themes, either for or against. (Let’s be honest, it’s not a compelling character, no one reads Gor for the plots, there’s not a lot of reason to even bring up Gor outside of feminist/misogynist commentary — I had no recollection of the character name… they have names? — so I’m going to assume any portrayal is more likely a statement than, say, cosplaying Vader or Captain America or Mr. Darcy or Snape.)

        Someone playing from Gor in a non-subversive, non-commentary way because he’s genuinely supportive of those themes is going to make me grumpy, yes, you betcha. But that person’s behavior is also going to draw my ire in street clothes as well. He’s crossed moral and biblical lines long before he ever put on a costume, and his cosplay is not the point at which we should find ourselves morally offended.

        Someone playing Grignr from The Eye of Argon is also playing a character from a world with horribly offensive ideas about women — but it would send a very different message, because like Gor, there’s no way to reference that world without the metacontent.

        • Tony Breeden says:

          Agreed. If you’re cosplaying anything from the Gor series, you’ve just broadcast the fact that we need to pray for you a bit harder than we’ve been doing thus far.

        • Travis Perry says:

          I read two Gor novels in my teenage years. I was not into S&M or sexual humiliation of women, but stumbled onto the series because of a general interest in fantasy, and because they were in my public school library.

          I was interested in the combat descriptions and also the idea another Earth could be on the other side of the sun, hidden from view. Though the sexual stuff caught my attention, too.

          I steered away from reading more than two because of Christian convictions growing in me that the books were inherently corrupt.

          The existence of this series is part of a long list of Speculative Fiction I see as wholly or partially corrupt. Conan the Barbarian is in fact generally similar to the Gor stories, only somewhat milder in terms of treating women like objects in my observation (Conan rapes women in at least some of the novels). (Yeah, I also read some Conan.)

          Books like Gor are part of the reason I seek to write a better kind of speculative fiction.

          And yes, the story had characters. I imagine the main reason nobody cosplays this world is the backlash against someone who did so would be immense. Though of course my reasons for not cosplaying Tarl Cabot are the same as not cosplaying Conan. Cabot is only a more extreme case.

    • Tony Breeden says:

      How can he suggest that there should be ANY sort of limits to our consumption of chocolate and yet claim that he’s NOT a legalist?

  3. Joshua Cookingham says:

    Always good to see Christians advocating for a stronger conscience, especially in matters of a fandom 🙂

    Good post.

  4. Tim Brown says:

    “I am in fact entitled to oppose cross-gender dressing as a personal conviction. I’m also entitled to defend the idea that ‘crossplay’ is something Christians should not do.”
    Thank you for making this point. Lately I’ve been feeling that any criticism of anything any Christian fan does is supposed to be beyond reproach. It gets a little tiring to read comment after comment and article after article saying, in effect, “everything I/we do is okay, because my/our conscience/s aren’t bothered by it.” I may or may not always follow my conscience within my own fandoms, but I can’t and won’t deny the importance of always questioning my own actions in its light. I know that makes me all uncool, narrow-minded, cowardly, a “weaker brother” and so on and so on, but there it is.

  5. Tony Breeden says:

    Where are the pictures you’re referencing?

  6. notleia says:

    I submit that this is indeed, about comfort zones, just not strictly the physical types of comfort. And that’s okay.

    And I’ve crossdressed, too, for a high school play, in a mostly Southern Baptist rural community, and — this is the important part — no one cared. Because it’s a costume and reasonable people understand the contextuality of a costume as opposed to street clothes. You don’t wanna, you don’t hafta, but if you DO wanna, don’t be scared off by thinking that people will think you’re gay or trans.
    Our society typically wants a reason, like a play or Halloween/fall festival, for dressing up in a costume, but expectations are shifting to include cosplay as a socially acceptable reason. On a scale of one to Super Rebel, cosplay in of itself only merits a “meh.” So go soar, you little butterfly, you.

    • Travis Perry says:

      With respect, Biblically speaking (please read through Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8 if those contexts are not fresh in your mind), you have no right to tell me what I think is right and wrong is actually a matter of my comfort zone. My conscience before God is between God and me. You have as little authority to tell me what the contents of my conscience is in regard to things I do and do not do than I would have in imposing my convictions on you.

      Sorry if the directness of my paragraph above sounds angry. It’s not intended to be. Feel free to develop your own convictions and I will leave you to them.

      But please, don’t imagine you actually somehow know I’m all about something other than what I said matters to me. You don’t know me well enough to even imagine you had good grounds to say that.

    • Autumn Grayson says:

      I cosplayed as L once at a Halloween party(my boyfriend cosplayed as Light), and it was pretty easy for me since L basically just wears a long sleeved shirt and light blue jeans. I think it tends to be far easier for girls to ‘cross dress’ as guys because…well… guy clothes aren’t guy clothes anymore. Nearly everyone in modern society wears pants at least now and then. For girls who cosplay as guys, many probably think nothing of it since it probably feels like wearing the same clothes they would on a day to day basis.

      I wear my share of ‘girly’ clothes when I go to formal events, and I’m ok with that for brief periods of time. But girl clothes tend to be sort of uncomfortable, so I wonder if that contributes to guys feeling embarrassed about it. The uncomfortableness of most girl clothes is probably a constant reminder that they are wearing something out of character for them that probably draws attention, and maybe it’d be like that for nearly anyone not used to wearing super girly stuff.

      To be honest, I think it’s far harder for girls to truly cross dress now days due to the everyone-wears-pants thing.

      • notleia says:

        [Insert screed about the uncomfortableness of women’s fashion and how we’re expected to put up with it for little to no reward but potential societal punishment if we don’t bother]

        I was lucky that it was relatively easy for me ’cause I am of the skinny, flat-chested variety (still am), but some people do make a lot of effort, not just with stuff like binding chests, but developing makeup skills. Like Laura’s sister doing the Whatshisface from Videogame crossplay, with the subtle stubble makeup. Subtlety is hard, y’all.

  7. cg says:

    What about Harry Potter movies books and cosplay? For the longest time I’ve felt they are just fantasy.

What do you think?