I hope you’re all having a lovely day! Today, I wanted to write about an issue that I’ve faced since day one of being a cosplayer. What’s more important: Accuracy or Comfort? While this question can be taken a variety of different ways, I wanted to talk about it this time strictly from a modesty/skin exposing standpoint.
Let’s Face It
Let’s start with facing the honest to goodness truth. About 95% of people are not going to have that perfect body required to cosplay Wonder Woman. Even Gal Gadot was scrutinized because “her chest” wasn’t large enough when she took on the titular role of said character. So no, we don’t always look like we were drawn in a comic book. For some people, this doesn’t bother them, but other issues regarding showing skin become a concern. For myself personally, I choose to not show a certain amount of skin due to my religious beliefs (my rule for myself is that if it’s covered by a one piece bathing suit, it better be covered when I cosplay and if it follows my own personal guidelines for everyday wear, then that’s even better).
So you choose to alter a costume slightly from the original design, but then you get the comments. The ‘Oh, you’re beautiful no matter what’, ‘Come on, show some of what you’ve got’, ‘It’s your body, show it off!’, or worse from a cosplayer’s perspective maybe, the ‘Oh, but it’s not accurate’, ‘it’s good, but it could be better if it was more accurate’, or ‘she’s ruined the hottest character in the whole show’.
Just a bit of personal insight from me, but don’t those comments all sound like if you choose to cosplay a character then you’re suddenly a piece of meat for the public? When did deciding to cosplay suddenly constitute an obligation to the public to be accurate?
It’s Not Going Away
As stated before, I faced this issue early on as a cosplayer and sadly, given the number of skimpy outfits worn by female characters, I quickly realized it would always be an issue. There have been numerous times where I passed up on a costume because I would not feel comfortable in said outfit. In fact, there was a time when discussing being part of a Sailor Moon group where, if it were to happen, I readily accepted the role of Tuxedo Mask, the male lead who wears a much simpler design (and albeit not as fun to make) because I wouldn’t have to wear such a short skirt. Now, I like the character of Tuxedo Mask just fine and frankly, I like him more than the female leads of Sailor Moon anyway, so it worked out just fine. But the point remains that the costumes the girls wore were an immediate turn off for me because I didn’t want to wear something that would reveal so much of my body.
There have been times though where I’ve cosplayed as a character who has exposed quite a bit because I’ve really loved the character, such as Starfire from “Teen Titans” or Frau from “07 Ghost”. In that case, I’ve opted for the use of body suits to allow myself to feel more comfortable as I portray those characters. Does it distract? Sure, it can and likely will for some. And as I’ve said, those insults can come and they can hurt.
Coming Back Around…
So the question comes back around: which is more important, accuracy or comfort?
Let me divulge into a bit of a story and realization I had as I started cosplaying. Soon after I started cosplaying, I began to choose who to cosplay as based solely off of outfits that I liked as well as personalities of characters that I found intriguing or interesting. I would on occasion choose outfits or do outfits at a request of a friend, but I always had the most fun just doing what I preferred to do. It then occurred to me: I’m cosplaying, spending my time, my money, and my talent making something, for myself. And if it makes me happy, it doesn’t matter what haters say – they’re not the ones putting the effort (or money mind you) into my work. If I like the end result, if I feel comfortable with the end result, that’s all that should matter, especially in regards to modesty and how I choose to expose or not expose my body.
So yes, the answer to the question should always be, in my mind, to choose comfort over accuracy. Be you. Do you. Even if you’re dressing up like someone else. Underneath it all, it’s you and only you can make yourself happy. So regardless of how much skin you want to show or not show, stay true to yourself. Remember that insults are petty. They have no value. But you have infinite value. So be comfortable and follow your heart. Giving up fun and comfort for “Accuracy” is far overrated anyway.