Sunday, May 19, 2013

Some further thoughts on crossplaying

A follow up to the post I've written way back, with a few more things to comment after some experience and observations.

On occasion, I would mention how I think Nonomy is overrated.

Of course, overrated or mainstream does not mean they are (necessarily) bad; it's just that you'd be missing out on other equally good stuff out there... but anyway. One thing that I've recently noticed is how, even in the best (male) crossplayers, it is this: no matter how good you are, once people have found out, there's bound to be some rejection and discrimination. Just think of the reactions upon being told 'it's a guy' for all those traps pictures shared on the internet, and you'll get a good idea on what I mean.

'It’s unfortunate, but most males who cosplay as females are discriminated against. I have faced a lot of discrimination and trouble myself. People find it disgusting, cameramen will deliberately avoid me, and I can’t even enter events'. - Nonomy

So yes, no matter how general visiter of events and general public are at least tolerable to the idea, it's still a taboo for male to dress as female. Personally, I feel like it's something which you can't really do much about it - the best you could hope is to find other like minded people, and steer clear of outright hostile ones, I suppose.

One of the issue I do have though, is how some (perhaps even the cosplayer themselves?) equate crossplaying with crossdressing - when I view those as totally different. One of it is more of becoming a character, whereas the other is more of becoming the opposite gender - is that difference much more clear now? Perhaps it's a good idea of putting aside the question of whether one 'pass for the opposite gender' and focus more on becoming 'in character'. Most are rather quick to look at the whole 'becoming the opposite gender' aspect more than the 'in character' one, in my opinion.

Personally I hate it when some people try to equate crossplaying a character as being a drag. If there was any pet peeve that I have with the aspect of crossplaying, it would be this.

In the past I would very much be agitated about how certain crossplayers who aren't putting enough effort in what they do - but then I said, hold on; if that was the case, then shouldn't I be equally worked up on cosplayers who don't put effort in cosplaying?

My personal favourite crossplayer: nabebugyou 
(but you might already know about it anyway)

Yes, perhaps some of the more idealistic ones place people such as Nonomy for the benchmark in crossplaying, and are quick to give up and do a hall assed work at it when they realize they couldn't reach that kind of level. But if there's anything that I've learned, it is that no matter how good you are, once people found out how you're a male crossplayer, then you better watch out for some backlash. It's kinda disheartening, yes, but it's just how society works.

Which of course goes back into the question on why start the whole cosplaying deal in the first place anyway? If it's something you do out of passion, then you'll find a way to get around - work something out, improve, choose aspects which you could tackle realistically. We might not reach the high standard set by these traps everywhere, but if you don't show any effort, passion and self-respect, how would you expect people to take you seriously, right?

You do it to the best of your extent and hope for the best. If anything, you could always reach out to like minded people in the community.

nisikawahikaru: one crossplayer which I applaud how he manage to work around his physique 

Now, I have something to talk about on a rather touchy topic (for some), something close to home: the situation of the Touhou cosplayers around here.

I've heard a few people making a point how the male Touhou crossplayers have attracted much attention (the not so good type, mind), leading some to question why is it that we don't see much more female Touhou cosplayers - and whether we should reach out to, well, attract more of those. If anything, to quiet down the critic that the series are mostly with guys in it... I suppose.

Buttttt first of all, lets look at the whole business of cosplaying in the first place, shall we?

I would sometimes ask 'why do people cosplay?'. The answers varies, from 'because they just like it', to 'because they like the attention given to them', and perhaps the lesser discussed (but perhaps rather true) 'because everyone else is doing it'. Whatever the reason are, I believe the 'doing it because it interest them' is I believe the strongest reason out of the rest - if you do it because you like it, you won't be involved in these... 'dramas' which you bring it to yourself.

One of the best insight into cosplay was mentioned - rather unlikely - by someone who is not a cosplayer himself: he mention how in cosplaying, it is somewhat of a free advertisement: you're basically putting up a sign on how you have an interest in the series, and how that could serve as a point to break the ice between fellow fans. But does it stop there, then? What about those other cosplayers who take their hobby more than it is? Well... as long as they're passionate about it - without having any other agenda than having fun - then I suppose it's all right if they are to go big... whatever that means.

So, getting back on what I was saying on having more female Touhou cosplayers. It does sound like a good idea at first (removing the notion that Touhou series are mostly guys crossplaying, maybe?), but it wouldn't last long - and doesn't really solve the problem. Casual con goers would get more eye candy maybe, but that's it. If it was really about meeting other fans of the series, then this shouldn't be much of an issue for me. The platform is there, the people is there, it's only up for you to make the connection.

...Although I would of course be lying if I said I don't want more female cosplayers for the series, hahaha.

For the time being, I hope others would think on whether their dedication and passion will carry them through. For the taboo part and society reaction to it... it's perhaps humbling to realize that even those excellent 'traps' experience some hard time from the public and even people in the community... And speaking of them, it might be almost impossible to reach the high standard expected, but hey. Just do it at the best of your ability, improve on what you can, get around with people, and just enjoy.

After all, isn't that the whole idea you are involved with in the first place?

'So if people say that we're faggots... at least one day we'll look back on our 'days of glories', how we had a good time back then. Even if we're 'faggots', then at least we had fun together' 

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