Convention season is fast approaching and you know what that means; comics, celebrities, toys, panels and cosplayers! Oh my! Cosplayers at a comic convention are like the actors at Disney World. They bring a little bit of extra magic to the experience and release your inner child. Upon laying eyes on the real life Rogue or Harley Quinn, you literally squeal with delight and make a mad dash towards your favorite character, camera in hand. Yes, it's surreal to be standing by the side of your childhood hero but this is where the lines of fantasy and reality tend to get blurred.
Con goers can sometimes get overly excited and due to this excitement, they may treat the cosplayers in an inappropriate fashion. You're no longer viewing the cosplayer as a person; you're treating them as cartoon or toy that has suddenly sprung to life. True, cosplayers come to expect to be approached and asked to pose for photographs but we also expect to be treated as human beings. This philosophy also falls into place when photographing a "booth babe". Remember; we are fans too and are there to enjoy the show as well. Having both experienced attending shows as a cosplayer and working at events as a booth babe, I've decided to dedicate an article about rules and guidlines that people should take into consideration when approaching a cosplayer.
#1. Please don't disturb our phone calls
This pet peeve ranks number one with me. I absolutely cannot stand it when someone interupts me when I am talking on my cell phone at a show. To disrupt a person's call is considered rude in the real world and why people think it's okay to do it to cosplayers and models at a convetion boggles my mind. I have flat out said "No" to people who have interupted me when I was talking on my phone. Unless our costumes are torn, someone got shot or the building is burning down there is no reason why you can't wait until the cosplayer is finished with their call. All of the convetions I attend are NOT local for me. I travel a pretty good distance. Take the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con for example. I was thousand of miles from home. I had never been all the way across the country before and so far away from my friends and family. My family was constantly checking up on me and words cannot express how much I missed them. I'm not going to stop whoever I am talking to mid sentence so someone can take a shot of me. I don't turn my phone off in case of family emergencies (which has happened before). So please wait until someone is off the phone to request a picture of them. You never know who they are talking to or what's going on in their personal life and it's not the end of the world if you don't get a shot.
#2. Use your 'Inside Voice'.
Be honest; how many of you enjoy being literally screamed at every few minutes? Screaming may catch someone's attention but it also can make someone highly uncomfortable and can literally make someone jump out of their skin. Imagine someone running up to you at 100 miles per hour as they're screaming at the top of their lungs. What would your first instinct be? Probably to turn around and run in the other direction! I understand you're bursting with excitement at the sight of three Slave Leia's but there's no need to shout in our faces so try using your inside voice.
#3. Respect the children
If you think attending these shows releases your inner child imagine what it's like to actually be a child at these events. Cosplayers like myself love to see the chidlren's faces light up and take the time to talk to the kids at eye level and spend a little time with them. Please don't disturb these moments and don't take the magic away. You can wait your turn.
#4. Bathroom breaks
Yes it's been known to happen; every once in a while Captain America has got to pee! If you see a cosplayer with their sights set on the loo and their making a mad dash for it, for the love of God let them go to the bathroom! You can ask for a photo once their blatter is empty.
#5. We get hungry too
Let's face it; convention food is probably worse than hospital food and it costs $10 just for a hot dog. Despite this fact, us cosplayers still get hungry and we also need to rest our feet. Please let us relax and enjoy a meal so we don't end up passing out on the convention floor. Furthermore we don't need to worry if we have ketchup on our face or if our lipstick needs retouching because we were chowing down on that over priced hot dog.
#6. Watch the hands, pal!
I think most cosplayers would agree with me that we don't mind if a fan places their arm around us as we pose for a photo but watch those hands! Don't try to cop a feel or grab our lady (or man) parts. If you want to sweep a cosplayer off their feet or have a different idea for a photo, be sure to ask first and keep it decent. If you're making crude requests or gropping a cosplayer guess what; that qualifies as sexual harassment and you will get into trouble with authorities.
So there you have it! I hope you found this article enlighting and that it gave you con goers a different prespective of what cosplayers go through. Just remember that cosplayers are people too and we simply ask for consideration and respect when strutting our stuff on the convention floor! See you at the cons!