For Cosplay, you can always choose two different kinds of settings. The first one is intimate, where you are there with a select few individuals, who are either your friends or people from your Cosplay group. The second one is public and includes attending large-scale mainstream events such as Comic-Cons & Cosplay-Cons.
Both of them offer a uniquely different experience and you can opt for anyone of them based on your own preferences. But you need to remember here that irrespective of whichever type of event you have decided to attend, unwarranted situations can arise anywhere and you need to be well equipped in dealing with them.
This is no way suggests that the responsibility of something bad happening rests on your shoulders and not on the perpetrator, but being mindful will ensure that you are aware of what can come and take necessary steps to minimalize the risk as much as possible.
Here are some of the most important things you will need to take care off to ensure your safety while attending intimate or public Cosplay events:
One of the worst invasions of privacy that can happen during Cosplay is being forced by someone to take a picture. So always be prepared to tell anyone getting ready to take a picture of you that you would not like to be photographed by them. This might sound easy but it often isn’t because we are often so much bound by ideas of courtesy that we just cannot refuse a picture even when we don’t want to.
This is wrong and you need to practice saying no when you feel uncomfortable because remember, you did Cosplay for yourself, not to get photographed and people should respect this.
As a rule of thumb, make it a point to give explicit permission to anyone you wouldn’t mind taking your pictures while turning down the rest.
If you a person who doesn’t mind getting your picture taken with other individuals, you need to understand that giving permission to get a picture clicked with someone doesn’t double up as an open invite for them to also be comfortable in touching you as well.
While there is something called friendly touch that involves things like someone putting their arms around your shoulder, harassers often use this social convention to secure an opportunity to touch you in a lewd way.
Other times, they are often very subtle like for e.g. when they ask you whether they can touch the realistic baby dinosaur puppet you are wearing on your shoulders because they find it too cute to resist. To not succumb to such pressures and rue the incident afterward, always set some rules for personal space before you go in to any event and never compromise them for anyone.
Though telling people on their face that you don’t like touching can sound rude, but remember that doing this is better than facing an incident of unwarranted harassment.
This is something we often don’t see as problematic but it most definitely is. Requests are usually made to Cosplayers by fans, especially at mainstream events to strike a certain pose or say a certain dialogue of the character that is being emulated by the Cosplayer. However, these requests can also be lewd or offensive at times and you need to understand that they are not to be obliged to.
For e.g. if someone asks you to say something that involves vulgar language just because the character does that too, don’t do it if you are not okay with it. Remember, you are the person in control of your boundaries and regretting saying or doing something that you didn’t like to just because you were requested isn’t right.
Set boundaries on what you will or won’t do in the event in case of a request and stick by them.
Cosplay is a chance for you to show your fandom to your most beloved character or to show off your quirky side to the world. It’s a chance for you to explore an identity that’s different from yours and when done right, Cosplay can be the most liberating experience ever for an individual.
Setting boundaries and knowing how to stay safe will allow you to enjoy Cosplay while reducing the chances of getting into harm’s way by a significant margin.