Currently in the cosplay community, there is a movement taking place known as Cosplay =/= Consent. You can read more on it here, but it’s basically stating that just because someone is dressed in skimpy (and sometimes, not even that) clothing, doesn’t mean you can objectify, man-handle, or just, in general, be rude to them. Honestly, you shouldn’t act this way at all in society, much less because someone is in costume, but, there are some things to also keep in mind.
Plain and simple, people (yes, men and women) will ogle. If someone says they never do, they’re LYING. People tend to stare at things that stick out or appeal to them, whether aesthetically or sexually, it will happen. When it turns into something that is overwhelmingly uncomfortable, by all means, SAY SOMETHING. Make it clear you’ve noticed and don’t approve. However, do be polite about it unless you have to take that extra step. We have enough negativity in the scene and sometimes, it’s best to be the bigger person.
The people who claim they don’t want any objectification need to keep in mind that society’s own rules have played against us. If you’re wearing a male character’s costume and blatantly sexualize it when you make it a female costume (and vice-versa since men do this too), you’re not asking for it, but you will receive it on some level. You’re turning a non-sexy character into a sexy character, and while you’re awesome for having that type of confidence, expect to hear it. You don’t have to tolerate it, at all, but do expect it. I do every time I wear certain costumes, and I ignore stupid things (or laugh at it genuinely in some cases), but if you personally cross my line, you’ll know it.
And in NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM is it okay for anyone to touch others. If you want a hug, high-five, anything like that, ASK. And by all means, you grope or touch someone inappropriately, you deserve the consequences of your actions. No matter what they may be.
As this community continues to become more mainstream (I’m looking at you SyFy; remember what happened to G4TV when they messed with cosplayers), we will have to deal with this type of stuff. We don’t need to be completely stand-offish and rude, but we do have the right to feel comfortable geeking out in costume. Speak up and speak out, but don’t be too horribly surprised when people act stupid. Society kind of told them it was okay to do in the first place. : /
You can see a more up to date version of this article over on CosIQ!