Cosplay is a growing trend worldwide. Because of its popularity, many don’t just consider it as a hobby but also an addiction, a career and to some, a business. But fame comes with a price and sadly, there will always be cosplay controversies. To begin with, cosplay is the art of dressing up and preforming in different costumes as you portray different characters from anime, manga, games and the like. Many say that cosplay is all about attention to detail. In cosplay competitions around the world, cosplayers are judged based on how meticulously their costumes were made and how well each cosplayer could portray their fictional character selves. But cosplaying isn’t just about the clothes cosplayers wear, there are also other details that need preparations like the hair, the eyes and other minor details that can make a cosplayer be recognized as a certain fictional character. Some die hard cosplayers even go to the point of painting their skin a different color just to represent a certain character. However, there will always be an unspoken line that cosplayers should never cross. And that is when a cosplayer tries to pretend to be of a different race or ethnicity. Such a practice is called brownface or brownfacing. Brownface or brownfacing is an example of a cosplay controversy. This practice involves cosplayers putting makeup or face/body paint in order to darken one’s skin. Since this involves a different race, it only attracts the attention of those who don’t like racial discrimination. Many cosplayers and fans think that a certain character’s skin color is not part of cosplay as it only encourages racism which is a very big issue around the world. But brownfacing isn’t the only cosplay controversy out there.
In fact, even cosplayers who tend to lighten their skin are being targeted for racism. Cosplayers especially female cosplayers who tend to wear contact lenses to make their eyes bigger or those who wear too much make up are also being targeted. It is another cosplay controversy as they are being called as fake when in reality, they can and should change their looks in order to look like a certain character that they are portraying. Another cosplay controversy is when young kids cosplay especially when they cosplay characters with very revealing costumes. To many, it is a form of exploitation. This is also said to apply to many young girls and even teenagers. Because they choose to wear such costumes, they are often either bullied or harassed. Either way, it becomes a cosplay controversy because they choose what they wear and most people think that it is because of those choices which is why they are being held responsible for what happens to them in and out of cosplay conventions. Another cosplay controversy includes winning in cosplay competitions despite not having really good craftsmanship and not convincing portrayal on roles. I can go on and on about cosplay controversies and sadly, it is hard to find a solution to them all.
If you are a cosplayer and a fan, you would know more cosplay controversies and just like me, you would be clueless as to how to change all that. It is hard to take sides on these things especially because we are all entitled to our different opinions and points of view. I may not like the cosplay community to be filled with cosplay controversy but it looks like it will stay. Just like in showbiz, actors and actresses are always under the public eye which only makes them easy targets for criticism, ridicule and controversy. To me, cosplayers are no different. The only difference is that they are less popular than those in showbiz but that doesn’t exempt them from being included in different controversies. But then again, cosplayers can avoid cosplay controversies too. As long as they stick to what society doesn’t like and like. That way, they can be crowd favorites since they are people pleasers. It might not be favorable to many cosplayers but I guarantee that it saves them from cosplay controversies. If you are a cosplayer, why don’t you try it? Cosplay controversies will always remain a part of the dark side of the world of cosplaying. I just hope that it would be more about the craftsmanship and creativity rather than many other petty factors which do not embody the meaning of cosplay at all.
This is a photo of Ashton Kutcher doing the brownfacing trend on TV for an ad for Pop Chips. Because it was considered racist, it had to be removed from being played on air. Same goes for cosplayers who cosplay characters of different ethnicities who need to get with the brownfacing trend.