In my little circle on Instagram, there’s recently been a lot of Discourse™.
This discourse has been about what seems to always be a point of contention among many cosplayers. Seeing as I’m quite new, I haven’t seen this happen much but in short, it’s all about the ramifications of underage cosplayers and cosplaying the underage.
Generally speaking most people in the community agree that if you are cosplaying a character who is underage, you should absolutely not “lewd” them. Lewding simply means to take lewd/sexual pictures of act in a sexual way while in cosplay. It’s a simple enough request, but some have contested it, saying it’s the age of the cosplayer that matters rather than the actual character.
In my opinion, lewding underage characters is a very easy thing to avoid doing. So just don’t. It’s quite simple.
However I have a specific pet peeve with minors cosplaying characters who are from very sexual series/properties.
Every now and then I see an underage cosplayer cosplaying from a work that has some very sexual elements to it, and it makes me uncomfortable to say the least. As much as we can preach body positivity and sex positivity, I think there’s a line we should toe when it comes to minors. While we shouldn’t have to, its pretty important to keep in mind that to some people, cosplay = consent, or that cosplay is more of a kink or sexual thrill than just a hobby. Minors would need protecting from that kind of crowd.
As a personal anecdote, I was underage when I went to my first convention. I went as Lara Croft, because it was the first cosplay I could think of. All I did was spray paint some guns, wear some holsters and then walked the con floor. Not 5 minutes after entering the venue, I was approached by a Star Trek cosplayer, who complimented my outfit and asked for a photo.
I was completely high off the thrill of a compliment, so I obliged and we took a photo together (Captain Riker and Lara Croft make a very odd duo) and he quickly thanked me and stepped away, whereupon a few more people asked for my photo. And then a few more. And a few more.
I never got those pictures back, and none of the people asked what my age was before taking the photo.
I’m EXTREMELY lucky to have had my big brother with me because had he not been keeping an eye on me, I feel like I would have had MUCH more uncomfortable experiences.
Now that the anecdote is over, I find a few things to take away from this: people simply do not ask your age at conventions. That has never happened to me so far and I’ve had many pictures taken of me (subtle brag). More importantly, Lara Croft is not a sexual property. Lara Croft is an iconic female game character, but not a sexual one. So I just imagine how much more weird I would have felt had I been cosplaying from Nekopara or Helltaker. I have a less specific worry with minors cosplaying from Danganronpa, being as some of the characters get quite lewd voice lines and particularly Mikan Tsumiki’s EXCESSIVE fanservice nonsense BUT at its heart, Danganronpa is just a fun murder mystery romp and the slightly saucier elements do not make up a significant part of it whatsoever.
This is all just my personal opinion, and I can’t physically stop you from cosplaying whoever you want. And no matter what character you do, rule 34 exists, so people find potential for lewding any character. It is just a matter of making me quite uncomfortable and kind of worried.
If you have any fun zesty opinions about this, please bellow them directly into my lughole here into my CuriousCat!