Home Cosplay Opinion: Troubles in the Cosplay Community

Opinion: Troubles in the Cosplay Community


Chloe Leahy is a well known Irish cosplayer, she acts as the official Cosplay Coordinator for AkumaKon and maintains a regular blog/social media presence for her fans. The following article has been reposted with Chloe’s permission from her blog.


With all that is currently going on in the cosplay community I felt the need to say my piece. 

While what happened at SDCC was horrific and my thoughts are with the cosplayer and her family at this difficult time, I am going to steer away from this incident as much as possible. The case is still on-going and much information is still to come to light.

Love it or hate it Cosplay on a whole is becoming more mainstream. With it’s increasing popularity around the world comes with it an increase in hate, trolling and general nastiness towards the community and the people within it. While for most of the community cosplay is a fun hobby that increases your friend circle and teaches you new skills, there are a few in the community that are doing it purely for the purposes of popularity. I am by no mean saying that not all cosplayers don’t like to be noticed. There is a feeling of accomplishment when you attend a con and someone recognises who you are or compliments your costume. Cosplaying for the purposes of popularity has introduced the idea of “The Perfect Cosplayer” which fuels the fire of hate for those who cosplay who they want to and not who the cookie cutter tells them to.
Cosplay in my eyes is cosplay the characters you love! After all you’re going to be investing time and/or money into getting their costume together, wig and accessories. What’s the point in cosplaying a character you only like just because the suit your physique/hair colour/skin colour/height? (need I go on?) 
Besides, as a friend once said, “If we were all to cosplay characters that we looked like we would only be able to cosplay ourselves”.

I have been lucky enough within the Irish community to not be on the receiving end of hateful or hurtful remarks. We are a relatively tight group and generally if you have been cosplaying for a while you get to know a lot of the regulars at cons. Generally if anyone has something to say to another cosplayer it’s something positive about the costume/ wig etc. Any critique is given in the form of constructive criticism or pointers on where they could improve in version 2.0 of their costume. But I fear this positive attitude could soon fade out. 
Speaking to a friend who was attending a convention in London, he told me a story about a person who had shouted for him to come over, from the other side of the event centre, just to tell him his wig was wrong for the character. Now I can understand someone letting a cosplayer know if their wig is falling back too far or if they have something a little off that can be quickly readjusted and fixed right there, but telling someone a large part of their costume is inaccurate or wrong is frankly rude. There is no way they can fix it there and then, and the cosplayer is probably very conscious of any slight inaccuracies. Remarks like these have been know to cause a person to quit cosplay all together! If you ain’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!

Cosplay is not consent is a moto that is used all throughout the community and is a fantastic campaign across the board in my opinion. Harassment and sexual harrassment of cosplayers is unfortunately still a huge problem that I have witnessed a shockingly high number of times. Recently, MCM had a convention in Dublin, as it was a new con, and I was curious to see how a profit based convention ran, I headed along  to check it out and meet a few friends. I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life. I was cosplaying as Mikasa Ackerman from AOT and was having sneaky pictures taken of me constantly throughout the day. It was incredibly unnerving. Now, I am not quite sure if it was purely because of the sheer amount of people, or the volume of people who were attending this as their first convention, but I have never seen such dreadful treatment of cosplayers. One of the most unsettling things I witnessed was the treatment of a good friend who was cosplaying as Demon Scanty from Panty and Stocking. Now this girl has attended some big cons and she felt so uncomfortable and upset that she felt the need to cover up her costume. The incredible disregard for her feelings was overwhelming. It’s as though people forgot that beneath the costume was a living, breathing, person who was just her to enjoy themselves. 
The harrassment doesn’t end at the conventions, it continues online with inappropriate comments on cosplayers pages or WIP pictures “FAP FAP FAP” seeming to be one of the most frequent terms used to express sexual pleasure achieved from looking at the cosplayer or their work. It sickens me to see it. I have to hold back every part of my being to not respond to some of these perverts. I know if I reply to try defend a friend or another cosplayer online I’ll just be in a losing battle with a troll. Cosplayers are not objects. They are people.

We have a battle on our hands as a community. We must band together. Needless drama and bitching had to be left to one side. We are an ever growing community and we should aim to be role models for up and coming cosplayers. “The perfect cosplayer” is not a seed that needs to be sewn. it’s an ideal that I don’t and won’t carry.

Let’s come together to remember why we cosplay, why we started out, why we love to do what we do. 

Chloo Cosplay