It is really easy to get bogged down by the negativity that comes to the surface of the cosplay community ever so often. With all the good that people get out of cosplay there seems to always be a handful of people ready to rain on the parade.
I know what I have struggled with over the years is when someone goes out of their way to insult you. Presumably from people you have never met. I've been reminded time and time again that internet comments mean nothing and not to take them to heart. I don't take them personally but they still manage to sting and stick with me. Maybe I need to cosplay as an Onyx ginjika to thicken my skin.
I have come to terms with the fact that trolls will be trolls and jerks will be jerks and they will be a constant presence on the internet. So today I'm airing out my dirty laundry and I hope it can serve as a lovely reminder to my fellow cosplayers that the ridiculous insults you get online are just that - ridiculous.
My non-exhaustive list of hate received online:
Notice the nice contradictions, it's almost poetic. It's a great reminder that you can't make everyone happy and there is no point in trying to achieve that goal while cosplaying.
Will they ever solve the mystery of whether I did or did not get a boob job? Only time will tell. I'm waiting for a greater sample size of comments before settling on the real answer.
The list could be much longer. Like many other female cosplayers the boob comments are endless and you could make a list of just that. These are just a few that have stuck in my head or came to mind while I was writing this. It's a sad thing to say but I probably have it easy compared to people with bigger followings. I can only imagine how deep that rabbit hole goes.
How to Deal?
I will gladly take the hit to my stats if it means I don't have deal with a jerk on a regular basis. Most websites where you have to register an account allows you to block people from viewing your content or at the very least, block them from posting on your pages.
The Silent Treatment:
Don't give the trolls the joy of getting you riled up. Just delete or hide offensive comments if blocking is not an option.
Bystanders - Call people out:
You have to walk a fine line here because 1- you don't want to overstep your bounds and appear to speak on behalf of the cosplayer who was insulted and 2- although not as satisfying, the troll will get comfort in getting bystanders angry. I find a simple "Don't be like that" "Don't be a jerk" "Don't be rude" tends to work. Just be sure not to respond to any follow-up hate they post. It is important to be polite an to refrain from name-calling. Don't stoop to the same level as them.
If you don't want to risk it: You can report offensive comments which may be necessary depending on how vulgar they get.
Before getting discouraged about the negativity, remember the positives: the friends you've made, the skills you've learned, and the adventures you went on thanks to this little hobby called cosplay.
I think back to the people who were grateful for a tip I gave at a panel that helped them finish their cosplay. Or the people who sometimes call me their cosplay sempai or inspiration (I'm still surprised to hear that - it's super flattering). I think of the people who were unsure about cosplaying outside of their race but felt encouraged after seeing my work.
Surround yourself with positive influences and people who support you and give you constructive criticism.
Cosplay should bring people together instead of tearing them apart. While people are debating my body parts and where I land on the bitch scale, I will be to busy doing what makes me happy to care. I hope you can all do the same.
Side note: This post isn't for sympathy points. Don't worry about commenting with "Oh MM you're not ugly and you're boobs are fine the way they are!" I'm ok, but thanks for the thought. Instead please share your own experiences.
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.