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“Body Image and Cosplaying” an editorial by Sandra Toure.

Regardless of one’s gender, ethnicity, or size, absolutely everyone has the freedom to put on a wig, buy some fabrics and design a costume, and proudly strut their stuff in public such as conventions. This simple fact would seem logical enough, but unfortunately not everyone agrees and some greet cosplayers who do not fit into a certain status quo with rather negative criticism. Taking an individual’s weight and body size into consideration serves as a perfect example of why a cosplayer might be forced to face negativity and discrimination within the cosplaying community. Whether men, women, supernatural beings, or even aliens, the majority of comics, film, and TV characters that cosplayers find inspiration in have a certain look and physique, thus cosplayers often feel obligated to fit into said body type. Taking iconic characters such as Wonder Woman, Superman, and Captain America into consideration, it is evident that comic book characters are often portrayed as overly fit, muscular, slim, and it perfect shape which is expected since they are athletic crime fighters. But in the real world, outside of comic books and film, people are all different, not everyone is 6’2, wears a size four, and has impressive biceps; everyone has a different physique, wears different sizes, and is unique. But why must cosplayers face negativity simply because they do not look a certain way? Cosplaying itself is a form of dress up and everyone should have the right to dress up as any character he or she admires regardless of appearance. A young woman who wears a size thirteen should have the right to slip into a latex catsuit and cosplay Catwoman, just as an Asian woman should be able to cosplay Storm if she is inspired to do so, or even a man should have the right to dress up like Wonder Woman without having to deal with negative criticism. But often the cosplaying community is not always as welcoming as it should be towards those who are different and do not quite fit into a certain ideal. This particular subject is often more of a personal dilemma for female cosplayers who are often already self-conscious about their appearance and body, and this sort of unfair criticism does not help them in the least.

That being said, many admire cosplayers who hold their heads up high and go out and flaunt their cosplaying excellence and skill despite what others might think. The best examples of such admirable cosplayers include Ivy Doomkitty, Envy Us Deviant, and AlyChu, for they are all well known for their curves and are very comfortable within their own bodies and in who they are despite not wearing a model size zero. Female cosplayers and even cosplayers in general who fear the criticism and negative opinions of others merely because they are different should look up to these exemplary women and take note of their fearlessness and innovativeness. None of this is meant to lower the credibility of or denounce slimmer cosplayers who can fit in better, by any means, but rather it offers a novel perspective about the beauty of diversity within the world of cosplay that should be encouraged. Regardless of size, age, ethnicity, or gender men and women who cosplay often find that they have a lot to live up to, above all if they are popular within the cosplaying community or if they are cosplaying a particularly renowned character. But regardless of what one looks like the cosplay community should welcome cosplayers from all walks of life and if one is a size four or a size twenty should not be a factor, for cosplaying is made for all shapes and sizes and it is a community of passionate fans.

For those who need the motivation to cosplay check out these amazing cosplayers below:

Envy Us Deviant: http://www.facebook.com/envy.deviant?fref=ts

Ivy Doomkitty: http://www.facebook.com/IvyDoomkittyIvy?fref=ts

Alychu: http://www.facebook.com/AlyChuCosplay?fref=ts

Andy Rocket Cosplays: http://www.facebook.com/AndyRocketCosplays?fref=ts

Kitty Honey Cosplays: http://www.facebook.com/KittyHoneyCosplay

Alexia Jean Grey: http://www.facebook.com/AlexiaJeanGreyFanPage

Disclaimer: All picture used are owned by the models and more can be viewed on their individual cosplay.