In case you haven't noticed I have a minor obsession with cosplay currently so it's not surprising that I came across a blog post about it recently but what is surprising is the content of it. You can view it below for yourself.
Basically the writer of it believes that cosplayers are ruining Anime. Obviously he's wrong so I thought I would do a quick post on Cosplay & Race.
You can read one of my earlier posts about cosplay where I define what it is and even point to a documentary that you can watch on it if you're interested. What I want to highlight is that cosplay is for fun. There is no right or wrong way to do it. However if you're going to cosplay you should already be prepared for the weird looks you'll get especially if you don't look exactly like the character.
Personally I try to pick characters that I can easily do, are fun to build or that I want to do a different take on. Because there aren't many well known black characters and because I like to go for details this limits my choices slightly as I want the character to be recognised.
There's absolutely nothing stopping me from doing a white/asian/hispanic character but if I did do one I'd want it to look believable. This might mean me getting a mask and staying in character or it might mean a little makeup. Or I might just choose a character that has a recognisable look and do my own take on it.
Someone recently asked what I thought about "black face" and if it's ever acceptable to do for cosplay. This person wasn't trying to be offensive and was honestly curious. To me it would depend on the character and how they were portrayed as to whether it would offend anyone. It would also depend on if there was a need to put the makeup on in the first place.
The one thing every cosplayer has is options. There's 101 different ways to do a cosplay. If you're going to do a cosplay most people with common sense will immediately realise if it's going to offend people. However as someone who constantly puts his foot in his mouth and makes lots of mistakes, here's some sound advice for when deciding on cosplay (especially when race is involved) and life in general:
Always get a second opinion
What you think looks good might actually look good there's no denying it, however it might also not and you have to be prepared for that, the same way you have to be prepared for the fact that some cosplays may offend people.
While I say this please don't be afraid to be you. If you love a character enough to want to cosplay it, do it.
So you don't have the right shaped body or you're not the right height or you're not the right race.
Do it anyway.
Make it your own.
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