Cosplay Is Not Consent

This Editorial Is Authored By UsagiMed Intern and Writer Allison Marrero
Trigger Warning for Mentions of Sexual Assault and Harassment

On October 9th, 2014, attendees of New York Comic Con entered the event seeking exciting guest panels, performance events, and of course, coveted cosplay photoshoots. However, fans saw signage at the entrance that permanently changed social expectations across the cosplay community: “Cosplay is Not Consent”

Cosplay Is Not Consent

Cosplay Is Not Consent

This motto is now commonplace at most cosplay conventions such as Anime Weekend Atlanta, Megacon, and FanExpo Canada, reminding attendees that while they can look at people in cosplay, they cannot touch them without their explicit consent. And it’s not restricted to physical contact–offending behaviors include harassment, catcalls, etc. In Alexandria Ellsworth’s 2018 UCF thesis I’m Not Your Waifu: Sexual Harassment And Assault in Cosplay, Anime, & Comic Conventions, she interviewed numerous cosplayers, male and female, asking them about their experiences cosplaying at conventions. One respondent “Lexie” stated she was “pinched and slapped hard on the backside” while leaning down in a Harley Quinn costume at an overseas convention.

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