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Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Latinas Can't Cosplay!"

When I discovered the hobby of costuming back in 2006 and made the decision to try it, I was incredibly excited and told all of those closest to me. I had been reading comic books since I was 11 years old and was watching television shows like the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series and the Superfriends. As I grew older I not only began collecting comics, but toys as well and watched super hero themed films religiously (mostly Superman I & II and Batman Returns. We had limited comic movies back then). When I reached my teen years, I began writing fan fiction and drawing fan art. Now that I was an adult, cosplay seemed like the natural next step in expressing my fandom. Surprisingly enough, one of my closest friends (at the time) flat out said something rather shocking; I couldn't cosplay because I had tan skin. That's not something you expect to hear from one of your best friends and I was literally stunned to hear such a racist remark. But it turns out, he wasn't alone. Several people were telling me that I could not cosplay because I was a Latina.


Racism is nothing new and neither is hatred. I, like many, have dealt with both my whole life. Although things are better now than they were when I was growing up in the 80's and 90's (yes, I'm that old) it still  exists. People judge you based on the color of your skin before you even open your mouth and speak. They hate on you, treat you bad, bully you, threaten you and try to do everything in their power to make you feel inferior. Nobody deserves to  be treated like that and I definitely did not deserve to be told that I wasn't allowed to express myself because of the color of my skin. I had a very rough time deciding what my first cosplay character would be because according to my friend, I could only dress as characters whose skin tone I matched. I had to stay away from the pale skin ones. I decided to push the prejudice aside and put together my first costume; Aerith Gainsborough from Final Fantasy VII. I wore it to a local con and upon seeing me, my "friend" said:


"Oh nice. You do look like Aerith. Except with tan skin." Needless to say, the friendship did not last due to this and many other reasons.


Apparently my skin color was a huge deal to him and it didn't stop there. Upon finding a photo of me on Flickr from the con, someone left a comment saying that the colors of my outfit clashed horribly with my skin tone and I should have never dressed that way. Only white people should dress as Aerith. On a video game forum, someone said my Aerith looked "dirty" because of my skin color. The moderator refused to take the comment down upon my request ( it was Game F.A.Q.'s) Over the years I have read many hateful comments.  One person said  that I  did not deserve to wear Supergirls 'S' crest because I was a "Sue Storm ruining Jessica Alba looking chick" (actress Jessica Alba is half Mexican and a proud Latina). My boyfriend actually stumbled upon a photo of my Catwoman posted on a message board and was enraged when he read the following statement: "She would be a good Catwoman if she were white." A MEME was made of me and several other cosplayers saying that all Latina's fail at dressing as Hatsune Miku.




I'm going to be completely honest and human and say that it did get to me. The negativity and racism gave me moments of weakness and I wanted to give up. Every hero, every princess has that chapter in their story where they want to walk away but in the end, they pick themselves up and keep moving forward. That's what I did. I wasn't going to allow racists cowards who hid behind their computers dictate what I should and should not do, who I should and should not dress as. The color of my skin is not a "problem". It is not a disability. I have every right to costume just as much as anyone else no matter their age, race, gender, religion or weight. And I costume for one person only; myself. This is about my self expression and my creativity.

It literally makes me laugh and shake my head when I think that people have told me that Latinas Can't Cosplay. Here's a big, fat middle finger to all the racists. Don't let anyone ever tell you, you can't cosplay  because of the color of your skin and know that even though we may not know each other or ever meet, you have my full support. This Latina proved that you can become whatever character you want to be.


                                    
                                                                Official Facebook Page


24 comments:

  1. Thank you for not letting the haters win. The more who follow their hearts the more who will follow them into a better world.

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  2. People can be so absurd. Saying that Latinas can't cosplay is like saying that people with attached earlobes can't run a marathon. What the hell does one thing have to do with the other? Racism makes those who express it look so ridiculous. It would be funny if it wasn't so hurtful.

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  3. I'm guessing a bunch of them must be hating on us Puerto Ricans when we Cosplay at our conventions. But whatever screw them they aren't taking away our fun.

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  4. You are gorgeous ! People are jealous and envious of your talent and beauty! Racism is downright evil and people pay for it!

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  5. so docente quiero q sepas q esta declaracion la voy a usar para enseñar como se puede contrarrestar el buling y el racismo. ojala siempre tengas la fuerza para seguir adelante.

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  6. Cosplay is for everyone regardless of size, color, shape, or what have you. from my perspective the 2 biggest aspects of cosplay are, 1) you have a passion for the character/fandom/geekdom of what your cosplaying 2) HAVE FUN! I don't understand all of this hierarchy within cosplay. We're geeks, we share the same interests, we should be supporting each other not tearing each other down. I like to boast that the geek community is the most supportive community I've ever been apart of, but things like this make me sad. In any case, keep having fun, and in fact the next time someone says something to you about "not being the right color" simply smile and tell them, "I'm having fun and I'm happy!" In the long run that's all that matters.

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  7. Yo. I'm a HUGE fan of Marie Doll.. and she's a latina cosplayer.. and she's probably one of my favorites.. even if she isn't all that big yet. She's amazing.. and sooooo sweet! Plus she's a fellow taco lover. :D

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  8. I'm not really white or tanned, yes I'm latina(raised in PR, born in Chicago. I guess an in between.) and I've been told that I'm not "white" enough, they expect me to be snow white to cosplay as certain characters. It's never gotten to me, since I can always look and act like the characters I choose to be. I'm about to take up the challenge to do an Esmeralda cosplay(the gypsy from The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and I'm going to expectt hate since I'm not tan. I'm up for it because haters will always be there, but you gotta be strong. Show them that it only motivates you more, they'll be silenced because they know they can't get to you. I'm glad that you were strong and that you didn't let them get to you <3 c:

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  9. As a biracial man, I'm so proud to read your blog and not letting a-holes tell you what you can and cannot do. Keep the awesome costumes coming and for what it's worth you're the hottest supergirl I've seen. ;-)

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  10. What those people said was cruel & heartless. One thing that can never be tolerated is racism. If a white person wants to cosplay as an Asian character, they can. The same goes with gender, weight, height, etc. No matter what, if you're a fan of the character, no physical characteristic about yourself should stop you from portraying that character! Your Snow White & Huntress are some of the best I've ever seen!

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  11. I think it's ridiculous because I look at you and I see you as someone with white skin, just not snow white! I have seen Caucasian women with your skin color. Anyway, even if you were darker, you'd still have the right to cosplay. Saying you have to match the character's skin, etc is ridiculous. Good for you for standing up to them!

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  12. These self-appointed 'guardians' of an art form really annoy me. I hope you continue to cosplay because you obviously enjoy it and you're really good at it too!

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  13. I agree with you completely, you are beautiful and your cosplays are amazing. I was really happy to see Elsa cosplayers from several different ethnicities at MomoCon this year, they all looked awesome!

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  14. You NEED to cosplay Black Widow! You have the face for it!

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  15. Anyone should be able to cosplay whatever their favorite character or hero is without regard to what ethnicity they have within them. Thank you as some one said prior for not letting haters win.
    Have fun doing what you love to do. :)

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  16. the only people who can't cosplay are the ones with big heads and ride on high horses, I cosplay Madam Red from Black Butler and I am a big girl some have told me to throw the cosplay away because I insult the character, I might have done so if the comment like that weren't out weighted by the comments of I am the best they have seen when it comes to formal Madam Red (I wear her ball gown.) Also from what I have seen of your photo's on this story you are an amazing cosplayer so screw what others think.

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  17. I really felt for you when I read this. I'm a black cosplayer. I always feel pressured to not cosplay a character that's not my skin color. What I've learned is that the color of your skin does not make a good cosplay. Your heart and passion does. If a person can't see past the color of your skin, then they are not worth your time of feelings. Keep your head up and smile.

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  18. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you. you might have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is something that not sufficient people are speaking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled across this in my seek for something referring to this.
    corset skirt
    the fashion corset shop
    party tops

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  19. I am really impressed with how fair you are able to transform your skin with makeup. Can you share tips with that process ? I too am latino going into the cosplay world. You look fabulous.

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  20. I know exactly where you're coming from with this. I'm half Canadian and half Indian, and have experienced hate as well. Reading this has given me hope, and the courage to try cosplaying as a paler-colored anime character.

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  21. I know exactly where you're coming from with this. I'm half Canadian and half Indian, and have experienced hate as well. Reading this has given me hope, and the courage to try cosplaying as a paler-colored anime character.

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  22. I'm now afraid to cosplay :/
    I have no where near your confidence to say that considering i am a latina but, that's pretty inspirational that you didn't let it faze you so much. Ill just have to muster up my courage now

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