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
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.
This Editorial Is Authored By UsagiMed Intern and Writer Allison Marrero
Con season is back! Anime, comic, and gaming conventions across the U.S. have been returning, with events like Katsucon, Holiday Matsuri, and Anime Weekend Atlanta scheduled to take place in the upcoming six months. Some events have already occurred though, with one of the biggest conventions in the east, MegaCon, having taken place in Orlando this August, boasting over 100,000 attendees over four days.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of last year, I, along with most con-goers, have been steering clear from the convention scene due to health and safety concerns. However, MegaCon stated online that they would be heavily enforcing attendees to keep their masks on at all times except during stationary eating. I decided to attend for the full weekend and see how the mask and distancing guidelines carried out.
Carolina Fear Festival has nothing to be afraid of. Usagi Medical Group was happy to provide advisory services to Carolina Fear Festival (CFF) as they plan their reopening this year. With one phone call that took less than an hour, we quickly discussed their concerns and current public health strategy, and some additional considerations for them to make as they plan their upcoming event, scheduled for May 29 and 30 in Raleigh, NC.
All of us are looking at the convention-planning horizon with undisguised optimism. We are all champing at the bit to throw a big party and get back to our cons. But we must continue to exercise caution. None of us want the public humiliation of fostering another outbreak that puts our friends and fans at risk.
The recommendations and mandates that have been in place for the last twelve months are slowly changing as we get more and more data about rates of infection, hospitalization, and the availability of a vaccine. As the data continues to get updated, Usagi Medical will help your con AT NO COST on an advisory basis. We’ll help you answer some critical questions:
Keep Your Con Safe in 2021: With COVID-19 cases at all time highs, many conventions have been cancelled or postponed in efforts to keep attendees safe. However, some conventions are still continuing, but with strict safety guidelines and population control to maintain a safe and healthy environment. To keep your convention (or any big event) safe in 2021, here are some mandates you should enforce:
We’re all adults here, right? If you’re not an adult, skip to the last blog post. But for the rest of us, we need to have a frank talk about how COVID-19 may impact your sex life.
Protected Sex Is A Necessity
COVID-19 has changed the way we maneuver our public lives, from mask mandates to social distancing. However, it’s crucial to stay safe in our private lives as well, especially when it comes to sexual encounters. Now more than ever, protected sex is a necessity. Whether hooking up or dating, it’s important to be conscious of our decisions when engaging in sexual activity, and remember how we can keep ourselves safer in these trying times.
We need to talk about the gorilla in the room… The same gorilla as before, but the guidelines, they keep changing. Why is that?
Because this is a novel disease, something we’ve never seen before. We’re pushing out information as soon as we think we have a handle on it, and then we get schooled by the virus again, and the information changes. Information flows faster now than it ever did before, so you get to see how science itself ebbs and flows. Science has always been this way, but we’ve never before had the ability to communicate it as fast as it happens.
We’re all concerned about COVID-19. Whether or not you’re one of the people who are buying out all the toilet paper on the eastern seaboard, we here at Usagi Medical Group would urge everyone to try to put their anxieties in check when it comes to COVID-19 and what it might do to the local convention scene. Panic seems almost reasonable these days, but panic creates more trouble than it solves.
The only thing that we can predict about COVID-19 is that we can’t predict much. This is a novel virus, and while the scientific community is discovering an amazing amount of information very rapidly, our society and this virus move even faster.