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Look, But Don’t Touch: An Examination of Sexism & Harassment in the Cosplay Community

mackenzie.allen April 4, 2017 687

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Cosplay is Not Consent Sign @ Toronto Comic Con 2017
A sign displaying Comic Con’s Cosplay is Not Consent rule, which sat directly in the convention’s main hall.

Everyone knows about Comic Con, but did you know that Toronto holds its own Comic Con in March? Every year, nerds, geeks and pop culture enthusiasts flock to the Toronto convention center to live out every fan’s dream, and among the most dedicated of all are the cosplayers.

“Cosplay” is the act of dressing up as your favourite character to enhance your con-going experience: think Halloween, but about a thousand times more impressive. But it’s not all smiles and sunshine, though. What should be a fun event for everyone is made harrowing to woman cosplayers by the inconsiderate people who grope, harass, or treat them like dirt. Suddenly, a chance to flex their creative muscles and express their passion becomes an uncomfortable test of boorish endurance.

I caught up with three cosplayers (each with different levels of experience and exposure in the community) at this year’s Toronto Comic Con, and they had more than a few things to say about the current state of the community as well as the steps that are being taken to stop the abuse and harassment.

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