About a week or so ago, cosplayers stumbled upon an old article on Tumblr that another cosplayer had posted called Liz’s Rules of Cosplay. Their response… was astounding. These rules were disgusting due to the amount of elitist snobbery behind them. Liz couldn’t handle it and deleted her Facebook fanpage and the original post. But it’s the internet… Someone always keeps what you try to hide.
As such, I’ll be listing them here… And responding. You can see the original post here. The rules will be bold, and my responses will be in normal font.
1. Know thy character. This should go without saying, but don’t cosplay a character you don’t KNOW. Don’t just cosplay a character because you think s/he is cute or because your best friend/significant other is playing the counterpart. When you’re cosplaying, you ARE that character… not just dressed in the same clothing.
I understand this, but you know what? I’ve cosplayed plenty of characters that I don’t necessarily know. I find designs I like, reserach the character a bit, find different reference arts, and use those. I have never watched Fate/Stay Night, but know the characters a bit and like their designs enough that I cosplayed Dark Sakura.
2. Know thy body. If you’re 5’3″ and 300 lbs., you’re never going to pull off a Sailor Moon costume, no matter how fucking awesome the costume itself is. Stay within your body type and range. Every time a fat girl wears a fuku, God kills a kitten. Please. Do it for the kittens.
First and foremost, the girl that wrote this is no tiny thing herself, so practice what you preach if that’s the case. Secondly, this is just rude. You should cosplay what you love, but decide how to best tailor an outfit, modify it, etc. to best fit your body type. There will always be negativity in this scene if you’re big or small, so you should expect it unfortunately. But don’t let it dictate you!
3. Know thy material. Cheap costume satin is shiny, but does Kagome REALLY wear a satin school uniform? No. So, try and at least pretend you’re going for accuracy. Otherwise, your costume just looks lame. (*rimshot, for those who sew and know their fabric.*)
This is something I can agree on, but if you’re new to the scene, you’ll learn as you work with materials. Or on a budget. Work with what you have, what you know, and always feel free to educate yourself by asking questions.
4. Know thy series. Whether you’re cosplaying an anime character, a video game star, or a book hero/ine, besides knowing the CHARACTER you are portraying, know the world that they are in. It’s really annoying to be, for example, cosplaying as Asuka from Evangelion, and running into someone cosplaying Rei who has NO CLUE WHO YOU ARE. (Yes, this has happened to me.) Group shots at conventions are awesome, and other cosplayers are fans just like you, so be respectful enough to the series you’re playing in to recognize your “co-stars” on sight.
This goes back to the first rule of hers, but you do not have to intimately know details of everything. Sorry, it just doesn’t happen. ; P If you do, though, and you’re loving the series, awesome!
5. Know thyself. If you can’t emotionally or mentally pull off a character, don’t. If you’re too bitter to play a happy character, or too happy to play a bitter one… in short, if your ACTING SKILLS are not up to par, please play a character that won’t take so much work out of you.
Do what you want, kids. I am an introvert and tend to cosplay a lot from Sailor Moon. I have to smile and be happy a lot, and just because I may not want to doesn’t mean I won’t try. Cosplay who you like. Ths is a rule that just is asinine.
6. Know thy props. If you are supposed to carry a giant boomerang made of bone, then do your damnedest to make it look like it’s made of bone. Making a cheap subsitute with duct-tape looks cheap, and detracts from your costuming. You can do things lightweight, legal, and good-looking, it’s just going to take time and patience.
Props are hard to make. You have one? Awesome. If you have the time, try to make it however you can. But if you can’t, that’s how it is. Trial and error is how we learn. ❤
7. Know thy timeline. Putting together fantastic cosplay takes time, heart, and dedication. If you don’t have all of those, then it’s best for you to step aside and just enjoy the show.
This is silly. If you have a deadline, then plan accordingly. That’s all there is to it. You run out of time? Continue the project at a later date.
8. Know thy fandom. Be aware of the ebb and flows of fandom. If everyone and their brother is doing Fullmetal Alchemist cosplay, try Urusei Yatsura cosplay instead. Everyone in the same costumes gets old after the third or fourth Edward Elric you see.
Nope. Wear what you want. Who cares how many of you are running around? That just proves there’s other people who love the same characters as you.
9. Know thy gender. Don’t crossplay. I don’t care if you really like a certain character. If you’re a male, cosplay a male character. If you’re a female, cosplay a female one. (Certain limited exceptions can be made for very, very bishounen male characters being portrayed by females… but a good rule of thumb is just don’t do it.) Trust me, no one is impressed, more people are disgusted than anything else.
Ohhhh, eff you, Liz. Crossplay is one of the hardest cosplay aspects to do. Don’t be jelly because you can’t pull it off. So for the crossplayers out there, have fun with it and ignore the haters.
10. Know thy make-up. Even if you’re not in full-body paint, you need to wear at least a touch of MATTE make-up, if for nothing else than keeping your face from shining with sweat and oil in all those pictures… which leads me to:
Understand that you will have pictures taken of you. I can’t stress this one enough. Before you did cosplay, you were likely the one on the other side of the camera. Be courteous and kind and nice to your fans… just like other cosplayers were to you when you stopped them for a shot. Don’t count on getting anywhere fast, and be gracious, even if it takes you 40 minutes to get 15 feet down a hallway. I’ve been there, I do it every convention.
Make-up is important, especially getting photographed, but you’ll learn how to best do it with practice. She is right though, be nice to those asking for pictures, as long as they’re not making you uncomfortable. Then speak up and tell the person with the camera that you’re not. Plain and simple.
There’s Liz’s Rules of Cosplay. There are some other things in the original article that she also said that were… HIGHLY offensive and rude. You can click the link above and read it for yourself.
I will say, though, that this is a hobby. We do it because we enjoy it for our own reasons and that’s what matters. Always remember that!