Been wanting to talk about this for a while but never got around to it. And I didn't even realise it until someone left me a message on Deviantart asking me “ Do you go to local events?”. Was really taken aback by that question since I always try to cover as many events as I can.
Then I realise, it's not my participation but my cosplaying at the event! Yes, without my conscious knowing, I've stopped cosplaying at events save a few big ones for very long. And It's especially true this year as I had to miss Cosfest for some personal matters.
After such a long prequel, what I want to talk about, really, is why I've stopped cosplaying at events. To set the record straight, I'm not consciously doing it !
1. Lack of space for changing & makeup
Not sure about you but I personally don't enjoy squeezing with 30 other random girl in a single toilet. Lack of changing area for cosplayers is not a new problem here but it's one I never seem to get over. my last experience at SOY'C was horrifying. The toilet was badly ventilated and I felt like I was steaming inside, literally.
And when I went for the event that was screening May'n the Movie. I had to share a single disabled cubicle with 3 other friends. Not fun.
2. Lack of baggage storage
Again, another old problem. Cosplayers with our big costumes and props very obviously have a lot of baggages.
This is what I brought when I cosplayed Haruhi at STGCC. I find it hard to comprehend why a simple school girl cosplay have so much baggage to lug along. But the fact remains that I do have and usually when I cosplay, I have no choice but to leave it aside.Singapore’s well known for her safe environment but I still don’t think leaving your valuables lying around is wise.
3. Too much random passerbys
You probably think I'm saying this because I usually cosplay girls and I'm afraid of pervy males. Partly true. But the bigger issue is the sardine pack lack of space! Not only does that gives you lesser walking space, it also gives you lesser photography area. Meaning to say all your event photos have sh*tloads of people behind.
And because so much non Animanga/game attendees are participating in the event, the event becomes less appealing to me. Because I know I'll be exposed to a lot of random people who don't understand, don't appreciate and possibly even condescend this hobby.
I feel like I'm exposing myself to possibly unhappy situations (overhearing their distasteful comments etc.) and I subconsciously try to avoid that .
4. Random Pervy males
Because it's annoying and scary. Thankfully for me, I don't have much sexual appeal so I don't get as much unwanted attention. But I've heard way too many scary experience from fellow cosplayers to take things lightly.
One of the comments from my previous entry speaks of how many random Event attendees like to touch the cosplayer's when they take a photo together. Have this happened to any of you before?
Pervy Sage by ~Minato-117 (obviously this guys is a cosplayer himself and not a random pervy passer-by lols. But he did a really good pervy look no XD? No insults to him hokay! )
Personally, the really annoying notion is the understanding that they are there not for Animanga but for the babes. And I feel frustrated to be 'feeding' that demand.
5. I can't cover the event
As you guys know, I run this blog (duh) and I cover events to share with you guys. I learnt the hard way that if you want to cosplay, your ability to cover and enjoy the event will be highly compromised.
Secondly, when you're in costume, more often than not your mobility is restricted. It will be a challenge to even reach the end of the alley much less cover the event. If you're wearing a huge costume with big parts jutting out then it's wiser to just stay in one corner.
I don't usually wear bulky costumes hence I have one less worry. But what I do encounter is getting stopped for pictures so much that reaching the end of the alley without delay is impossible. (disclaimer: I am in no ways implying I am popular. I'm not)
I really try my best to be nice and accommodate every request I get because I like to believe they are fans of the series too. But the scary thing that happens next is the photographer's wall that builds up simply because everyone likes free stuff! Not because they like your series or think your cosplay is good, but because they happened to be there with a camera so why not snap this willing subject since she/he is already posing?
And before you know it, 5 minutes, gone.
6. Photographs ? What photographs?
Not only do I spend a substantial amount of time posing for other people's camera, I also have to deal with the fact that I'm probably never going to see 98% of them, ever!
And that’s on top of the worry that someone’s gonna snap an awful picture of me to point fingers and judge critically with their friends.
I'm not exactly the most comfortable in front of a camera and it takes perking myself up to work the camera. After all the work of rushing your costume, doing your makeup and putting in effort to posing in front of the camera, you'd definitely want to see the results right?
I'm not trying to be mean or bitchy and I can sugar coat my words if I want. But the fact remains that, all my hard work is reduced to mere event entertainment. Free Mascot and crowd pleaser.
In the past, when the local Cosplay & Animanga community was budding, this arrangement seemed fine with most of us. We didn't mind paying to attend the events and having our pictures taken by random person because we cherished the little chance we get to mingle with like minded fans. And most of us don't own a camera anyway, so it was our only way of getting a photo memory back.
But now, I personally feel less enthusiastic about it because I know for a fact that commercial entities are using Cosplayers as a selling point.
But what I detest is blatant exploitation and poor treatment. I'm not dropping names or blaming any organisation because the fact is, it's a dog eat dog world out there. It's only politically correct for a businessman to think business so I don't feel I have the right to judge that. The only thing I can do is not involve myself in it if I don’t feel up to it.
I'm not saying it's bad to cosplay at an event and neither am I'm implying that all event organisers are the big bad wolf. There are many well organised events that make paying for it worthwhile and of course, taking part in an event is like joining a Matsuri/Festival. It's for the fun and getting together and all the memory weaving!
What I'm doing is just listing out my honest opinion on the Cons of cosplaying in a public place and encouraging cosplayers to rationalise and possibly, set their own expectations right before getting disappointed. Hopefully, some event organisers will also chance upon this entry and have an insight into what the event attendees want.
And ironically, I’ll be cosplaying both days at AFA 2011. See you guy there!
Not promoting Cosplayer pacifying BTW =)