Recently Avalon Cosplay hosted a panel at CPAC on how to be safe while cosplaying at conventions, and a significant portion of the panel was targeted at fans, with advice on how to behave so as not to be a creeper. She posted the major points of that part on her Facebook page, and gave us permission to re-purpose it here. Read below for some excellent advice and observations on one of the most challenging parts of the cosplay experience.
“Hey, AC Fans. So, forgive me if I get ranty, but this past CPAC brought a lot to light about our community, and I feel like I need to address it.
As some of you know, I hosted a panel this past weekend called “Cosplay It Safe: How to Protect Yourself at Conventions and Online.” In it, not only did I describe various scenarios on creepy behavior and how to get yourself or your friends away from it, but I also discussed how to not come off as a creeper yourself to others. This latter part was quite extensive, as the behavior my friends and I have experienced ranged from simple annoyances to outright creepy.
Several of my friends, as well as myself, were the targets of various creepers and stalkers. And sadly, this activity came from the same group of three or four people. It was disgusting and disheartening to hear that such a hefty amount of people were being creeped on by the same one or two people, and it needs to stop immediately. I will not disclose any names, as I do not wish to start a witch hunt, but it’s still not appropriate.
Personally, I needed to block a fan of mine after this weekend due to the fact that he became too obsessive, overly affectionate, and had messaged other friends of mine in the community about me and who I associated with. It’s never pleasant to lose fans, but please understand that there is a difference between being a fan and being obsessed to the point of spending your conventions looking for one single person when you’re not spending your hours messaging them constantly on social media.
I’d like to reiterate, if I may, a few points from my panel that I believe are crucial to know when interacting with someone you admire:
- At conventions, DO NOT BECOME A HOVER FAN. Ask for a photo, say a compliment, maybe exchange a few lines of dialogue, and move on. DO NOT interject yourself into a person’s conversations that they are having with other people or follow a person around. When you start following, especially without the person’s expressed, explicit consent, you’ve overstepped your boundaries.
- If you are a fan of a cosplayer, unless you have been told to add them on personal social media, or if they add you as a friend the first time, stop sending countless friend requests. The fan I recently banned was already aware of my “I do not add fans” rule and was warned to stop, but continued to attempt to add me, eight times in one night, and several times during another. This is inappropriate and it is not my responsibility if by the eighth time and several warnings, you cannot pick up a hint and are therefore banned. It does count as harassment.
- The person you are interacting with, inside the costume and wig, is a human being. They are pretending to be something that you like, and are not the actual character. They are not your “waifu,” not your “husbando,” and not a future girlfriend. Do not treat them as such because it is completely unfair and they do not owe you anything. Know the difference between fiction and reality. Please.
I know this got really ranty, but I do want to see everyone both enjoy cosplaying safely at conventions and enjoying seeing others they admire. However, we live in a community where what is socially acceptable is constantly prodded at and tested to the limits. I hope to bring my cosplay safety panel to other conventions around the Northeast to promote safe habits in the cosplay world, regardless of being behind a table, camera, or computer screen.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for hearing me out.”