DWH wrote:That's not a problem with the cosplayers, it's a problem with the commenters. This is not a hard distinction to make.
You don't think a teenage girl who dresses up like Bayonetta and posts a pic of herself with her boobs hanging halfway out on cosplay.com and checks the little "Allow Comments" checkbox knows what she's doing? Do you honestly think she dressed that way and posed that way and posted the picture online for any other reason than to have her physical looks complimented by tons of anonymous men? Sure, there's bound to be exceptions to the rule, but that's the way it is in general.
To me, that itself is problematic. It's more of this cultural "women have to be sexy; women are judged by their looks" nonsense, and when Suzy Sexy Cosplayer plays along with it, she's participating in her own objectification.
I mean, again, there's exceptions to every rule, I'm sure there are some sexy cosplayers who do that sort of thing but aren't mentally caught up in it, but most probably are. Most of these young girls posing like this probably seek validation through compliments on their looks. Which, if it was an individual thing would be bad enough, but it's cultural, it's imposed, it's demanded.
For contrast, just look at all the vitriol fat/ugly cosplayers get. In a culture where women aren't allowed not to be sexy, pandering to the worst offenders can only be harmful.
Now, it would be very fair of you to say, "But Hufflepuff, everything you just said applies exactly the same to any sexy photos women post online, so how can you say you're okay with that, but not cosplay?"
Well, this goes back to the fact that originally, I was talking about professional photoshoots (I keep wanting to link to examples, but I don't want to give them any hits); just regular people cosplaying wasn't remotely on my mind. I was talking about when a photographer decides he (almost always "he") wants to do a cosplay photoshoot, it seems to me that a whole lot more sexism and misogyny (and honestly, misandry) underlie that decision than if he was just to do, say, a bikini photoshoot.
Because probably 99% of heterosexual men like seeing attractive women in bikinis, you know? All such a photoshoot is necessarily
(<-- key word there) pandering to is the normal, healthy sexual attraction of heterosexual men. But a sexy cosplay photoshoot necessarily
panders to sexist attitudes. I mean, a man might look at a swimsuit model and see just a piece of meat, but when a guy looks at a sexy cosplayer, I fear he sees a subserviant
piece of meat.
Yes, a simple bikini photoshoot can
be loaded with sexism and misogyny and even misandry. But it's not by default
; it's possible it's just simple, innocent "naked women are nice to look at." Sexy cosplay photoshoots, however, do necessarily
bring in all sorts of mental baggage, like subserviance and so forth. At least that's how it seems to me.
Ama wrote:For the record, I was talking about both. Anyway. I think lykin is basically right about what the cosplay audience is. Women are mainly participants, men are mainly spectators. So that is a big part of where the terminology comes from. I'm certain if you talked to women about male cosplayers you would find plenty of them willing to use words other than "cool".
That's fair. I need to start chatting up some of these young sexy cosplayers. Problem is, how do I do that without coming across as one of those pathetic commenters of theirs who thinks he has a chance?
Ama wrote:Also I don't think I'd characterize anime fans in general as adolescent. In Japan, anime is for everyone, not just young people. It pretty much targets all demographics and it's perfectly normal for older men to watch anime or read manga.
No it's not, that's a grand delusion held by Western anime fans. Yes, there's seinen and josei manga and anime, but it's not like manga and anime consumption is equiprobably distributed through all demographics in Japan. I don't have the exact statistics, but well, well above 50% of manga and anime consumed in Japan is consumed by 8-14 year olds or whatever the age bracket there is. And what's more, there's a big difference between a fourty-year-old Japanese woman who reads Kuragehime and a sixteen year old American boy whose bedroom walls are plastered with anime posters, who has two full bookshelves full of manga, another one full of DVDs, etc.
Otaku are far more loathed by the general public in Japan than in America. Because in America, it's just like any other nerd-bashing (twenty years ago it'd be D&D players, thirty years ago it'd be Star Wars fanatics, etc.), but in Japan, the attitude is, "these idiots are giving us a bad name. And attracting freaks from Europe and America." Not to mention that Japanese culture is far more conformist. An otaku is much more likely to garner a reaction of "meh, whatever floats your boat" in America. In Japan, it's more likely to garner, "ugh, freak."
Don't get me wrong, you or
lykin -- there's lots of anime and manga that I like. But I'm not going to pretend there's no undercurrent of sexism or misogyny because of that. Plus, remember Sturgeon's Law. Rose of Versaille is enchanting and Lucky Star is hilarious and Wolf's Rain is beautiful and Serial Experiments Lain is intellectual, but in any given season, in any given year, 90% of what's released is unwatchable/unreadable crap. Same goes with movies, books, music, videogames, everything. Good stuff is in the minority; don't let the fact that anime isn't mainstream in America skew your vision so much you can't see that. And certainly don't let it blind you to the rampant sexism throughout anime and manga.
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