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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LGBTQ+ Acceptance

Anime and gaming conventions have been around for decades, giving fans of all sexualities, genders, and identities a space to celebrate the fan cultures they love. Regardless of who they are or where they came from, fans can find solace in conventions. However, finding safe spaces to express yourself isn’t always easy. While LGBTQ+ acceptance has improved significantly in the last ten years, there are still struggles that LGBTQ+ individuals continue to face. Our conventions work relentlessly to keep the space as accepting and forward as possible, through both their policies and precautionary measures.

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A Quick Reminder

UsagiMed’s own Cody Steavens writes:

Greetings! We’re only a few days into the new year, and after the unfortunate events at Anime LA, UsagiMed would like to remind everyone in the convention community to be proactively safe and confident while you’re at con.

You can always count on UsagiMed to provide a safe place for con-goers at every convention we staff. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable around someone, not feeling safe, need a quite place for a minute, trust your instincts, and let us help you. UMG makes every effort to provide a safe convention place for everyone. We work closely with venue security and convention staff to keep folks safe, happy, and comfortable.

A quick reminder about this old blog we wrote some time ago. Keep your eyes peeled here for more useful information about keeping your experience safe and stellar.