By Meredith Placko
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
If you haven’t checked your daily nerd news, you may have missed a bit of controversy going around that involves cosplay. SHOCKER. Comic artist Tony Harris recently went off on female fans over on his Facebook, calling them out as not being real nerds, who prey on men in the fandom; all while slamming the male fan-base as a bunch of virgins with no social skills. It’s caused quite a stir on Twitter, even prompting comic writer Gail Simone to declare Tuesday as Cosplay Appreciation Day.
While cosplayers and creators alike have banded together to share their love for the fellow fans who recreate and dress up as their favorite characters, the point Harris tried to make is a sentiment still held by many. This isn’t the first time we’ve had women called out as being disingenuous and only into comics, video games, anime and the like to garner the attraction of unsuspecting men.
Harris claims that most women who cosplay do it for the attention and have no real knowledge of the medium behind it. As he so articulately states, they rely on Google to find the most mainstream characters to which they can play up to the male fans.
BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW SH*T ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. Google is really helpful when finding reference photos. Honestly though? I prefer Tumblr. I mean, I can’t be bothered to BUY comics and actually look for references there, or read about these characters I dress up as. I don’t even know how to read. I’m a girl.
The thing is, and Harris knows this, the only reason we dress up is because we want the attention of the thousands of lonely, horny, desperate men we meet at conventions. But he is here to let you guys know the truth about us despicable vixens who prey upon the unsuspecting men at these events.
“The are being preyed on by YOU. You have this really awful need for attention, for people to tell you your pretty, or Hot, and the thought of guys pleasuring themselves to the memory of you hanging on them with your glossy open lips, promising them the Moon and the Stars of pleasure, just makes your head vibrate.
And also, if ANY of these guys that you hang on tried to talk to you out of that Con? You wouldnt give them the f**king time of day. Shut up you damned liar, no you would not. Lying, Liar Face. Yer not Comics.”
You guys got that? The only reason I slut it up in my slutty costumes at slut cons is because I need men to PLEASURE THEMSELVES TO MY MEMORY. It’s like an addiction. I don’t know how to start my day if I’m not thinking about all the things guys do in private with my photos. It validates my entire existence.
Sure, there are girls in the fandom who do things exclusively for the attention of men. It’s part society’s fault for having raised us to need that validation to feel good about ourselves. It’s also some people’s business model if they are doing it for money / selling prints / having guys buy things on their wish list. The many, however, should not be judged by those few.
The idea of what it means to be a nerd is evolving. We’re no longer seen as a bunch of basement dwellers who are made up of fat, lonely guys who live with their mothers. We are a diverse group of men and women who show our love for our fandom by not just collecting every issue of Spiderman out there, but finding creative ways to showcase what this world means to us. For some of us, that means dressing up as our favorite super heroes.
I think, because of cosplay, women have found a way to be more comfortable within the male dominated world of conventions. It empowers us, it gives us the ability to feel strong and confident about ourselves, while still hiding behind a mask of someone who is a lot more respected, or at least accepted, by the men around us.
Update: Tony Harris has updated his Facebook profile with this message:
So I guess I broke the Internet in half today . Lots of interesting commentary, to say the very least. Didn’t realize that many people would care about one guys opinion. Also extremely savaged and humbled by the vicious response that went so far beyond any reason whatsoever, with personal attacks on my family, my sexual history, and accusations of advances being rebuffed cosplayers, which has never ever happened. My candor and my delivery of most things can be and usually is quite blunt. Can’t help who I am, but what I’m not, and never have been is a misogynist or sexist or any number of things I was called. I have the utmost respect for all the women in my life from my mother, my sister, motherinlaw, my wife and wonderful 2 daughters. This is my final word on the subject so move on. I won’t address it again.
Meredith Placko is a freelance journalist, pop culture expert, and cosplayer who also goes by the name Ana Aesthetic.
[Picture Source: Geeks are Sexy @ SDCC 2012]