Today I want to touch upon something that’s bugged me for quite some time. Before you think this is just another post about modesty and cosplaying, just hear me out. Although my opinion is that you shouldn’t wear something you would be embarrassed to show your grandmother, the issue of modesty in cosplay is already widely discussed. If someone doesn’t want to be modest, one more blog post about it isn’t going to change their minds.
However, I am going to talk about the false pretenses that showing off certain body parts (especially… enlarged body parts) causes for those of us who do not have such features.
I do not have big boobs. I cosplay anyway. I know dozens of girls with A-cup sizes, B-cup sizes, etc. that also cosplay. But I also know exactly what they’re thinking when they do cosplay because from time to time, I think it as well: “Well, I can’t play THAT character, because I don’t have the right body shape.” This same thought is repeated in minds of cosplayers everywhere for different reasons. Either they think they’re too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short, and so on. But, at least for me, and I know I’m not alone, that also means that we fear being too flat-chested for something to work.
Unfortunately, the world says the tinier your waist and the bigger your boobs- the sexier you are. If you are an average sized girl with an average-sized chest, you can be “cute”, maybe “pretty” even, but compared to your bigger-chested peers, you may rarely be called “sexy”. Especially when your bigger-chested peers are pushing them up, highlighting them, and unzipping their cat suits – and you’re just standing there in your tee shirt and jeans. And for those girls who are well-endowed in that area, the world tends to expect them to flaunt it! For smaller girls, dressing as seductive characters like Poison Ivy and Catwoman is sometimes out of the question because of thoughts like, “I’m not sexy enough for that.” For girls with bigger chests, characters that dress provocatively like the aforementioned are nearly expected. If you don’t have Poison Ivy in your wardrobe (especially the skimpy versions of Poison Ivy), what are you doing even cosplaying?
This causes so many problems for those of us with and without large chests that don’t like to pop them out there for everyone to see. We get swept into this world of false pretenses, peer and fan pressure, and judgment when we don’t meet the world’s expectations. I cannot tell you how many times someone (mostly male) has seen me in my Harley costume and then somehow figured out a way to ask me if I was doing Poison Ivy in the future… and what version I would be dressing as.
There’s no way to separate cosplay into two groups: those that like to show off their bodies and those that don’t. For us that don’t like to be risque or don’t feel confident enough in our bodies to do that get judged the same way cosplayers that do more risque things do. We cannot separate these two groups in the world’s mind. We all get clumped together as just “cosplayers”. So when those of us who don’t feel comfortable- or refuse- to go “the sexy route” don’t do what the world expects female cosplayers to do, we get ignored, teased, mocked, or pressured to be more like them.
Because the big-boobs-are-sexiest (especially when they show) idea is so widespread, a lot of girls shy away from cosplays they might otherwise want to try and go for something their straight figures and flat chests can pull off that they can be comfortable in- like male characters. At least this way they can feel confident in their cosplays right?
I wish I could change this viewpoint. I wish I could turn the world around and tell every one of you girls that you’re beautiful. In my opinion, the more you show doesn’t determine your beauty and the bigger your cup size doesn’t either. Unfortunately, sex sells in every market. Your spotlight might be stolen from you because someone else is showing off what you don’t. It might tempt you to try the same thing or to alter your body in some way so that you can get the same attention that they do, or so you can become as famous as them, or sell more prints, etc.
Please, don’t! You’re gorgeous the way you are. You don’t need push-up bras and highlights, unzipped catsuits, or alterations to your body. You keep being you. You practice ethics. You follow a moral code. If the fans can’t see that you’re beautiful for being you, then why have fans anyway? If they will only like you if you change who you are, then they’re not worth it.
Stop comparing yourselves to other cosplayers. Stop being jealous or frustrated with them.
Just be you. Set an example. Let the world follow, not lead.
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