Being Better

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I had several ideas for blog posts this month. I thought about documenting how the progress on my Hippolyta cosplay is going. I considered writing an armor tutorial. I gave serious thought to getting out all of my feelings in regards to the tragedy that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia two weekends ago. I played with the idea a lot, as I have some really strong feelings and opinions about the matter. I reminded myself that I write for a nerdy website, and I’m essentially the “cosplay expert” of the crew. “How can I bring these two things together,” I asked myself? How can I possibly write about something as frivolous as armor creation when there is something so heinous going on in our country? I struggled finding a way to connect these things, until last Friday. Special shout out to cosplayer Alisa Norris, AKA Alisa Kiss for embarrassing the entire cosplay community with her blatant and disgusting display of racism, bigotry and hatred and giving me something to fucking tie everything together for this post.

I am not going to include a link to her story, as I am not going to give her any more clicks as she is soon to be entirely irrelevant in the cosplay community, but to make a long story short, she is one of the many assholes who decided last weekend that somehow, our country was no longer a safe space for white people. Yeah. You heard that right everyone, white people are complaining that their rights are being taken away from them, in America. Just sit there along with me and shake your head slowly, I’ll wait. If you are reading this and not staring at your screen with a sense of confusion and disbelief, congratulations, asshole, you are part of the problem too. But we will get back to that.

The white supremacy riots in Virginia are appalling and disgusting. I watched the videos and read the stories and felt tears spring to my eyes. That being said, it’s very easy to watch something like that and also feel a disconnect to a story like that. I have worked very hard to clean up both my personal life and social media life in order to keep myself incredibly distant from people with beliefs that are full of hatred and bigotry. I see things like the riots, as I turn on the news, and think “Oh there it is, the good old boys in the Southern states. Leave it to the Bible belt to bring in all the hateful rednecks.” I didn’t fight with one SINGLE person during that weekend who defended the Neo Nazis and KKK members who attended that rally. When that is the case, it is extremely easy for me, and I am sure many other open minded and accepting individuals to feel a real disconnect to an event like that, even if it does cause rage. I spoke out in anger, and I am comfortable with that, I have no problem with the fact that stuff like that makes me completely furious. I also thought about how grateful I am to not have people like that in my life, how happy I am that I do not have to deal with such things. When I read the article about cosplayer Alisa Kiss I truly immediately felt shock. The cosplay community that I am used to is so open minded, so openhearted, ready to accept everyone, so reading that someone so prevalent in the nerd community could publicly be involved in such a disgusting display of bigotry really shook me to my core. It felt like it hit closer to home for me; suddenly I did feel less of a disconnect. When I initially posted the article on my Facebook page one of the first comments I received was from a good friend of mine who stated “Have you ever been in a comment section of a PoC (Person of Color) cosplaying? It’s clear why this gal would feel welcome in that community.” That was hard for me to read, honestly. The nerd/cosplay community that I have been lucky to be a part of are filled with some of the kindest, most supportive and open minded people that I know. That being said, I can acknowledge that my white privilege has made it so I personally am not a witness to shaming or racism within the community, so I did a bit of digging myself and did find myself disappointed. To be fair, many people that follow the more famous cosplayers in the community are people that are not actually nerds, they just like seeing beautiful women in skimpy costumes. That is another form of douchebaggery; this blog post is not about them. This blog post is for my people, the nerd community; the cosplay community. After doing a lot of research and reading some comments on the Instagram and Facebook pages of some well known POC cosplayers, I have a question to pose. Are you fucking kidding me? YOU ARE NERDS. You damn well know what it’s like to be picked on, to be harassed, to have negativity and hate spewed at you growing up. Come ON. I want to believe that we as a community are better than this, I really really do. Alisa Kiss was really just the tip of the iceberg though. She is a beautiful blonde white girl and that is why she is getting all of this attention, albeit negative. Reading comments on cosplayer Kissy Victory’s photos or one of my all time lady crushes, the gorgeous KayBear, who I have been following for years, is so fucking disheartening. The N word is being thrown around, racial slurs, disgusting insults, it shocked the hell out of me, but I guess it shouldn’t. I want to believe that we as a community are better than this, but are we? After reading the comment sections on some hella talented cosplayers pages, I really don’t know anymore. If you’re reading this post and you are someone that has used racial slurs before, has insinuated that cosplayers of color can not cosplay traditionally white characters, believes “black face” isn’t a big deal, or uses the term “snowflake” to describe those who are vocal about injustice, GTFO. No, seriously, get the fuck off this page. You are not welcome here. I am not even going to dignify your stupidity with a full on post. This post is for those of you that have seen this type of hateful havior publicly, whether online or in person, and have shrugged it off. Recently I saw someone post an article in a cosplay group about the cosplayer mentioned above and the amount of comments I saw that involved things such as “why as this such a big deal?”, “who really cares?”, “aren’t there more important things to worry about?” comments absolutely floored me. Complacency is a disease, my friends. Shrugging off bigotry and hatred because it doesn’t affect you directly is just as bad as being a hateful and bigoted person. We as a community have got to be better than this and one of the most important things we can do is to not remain complacent when we see acts of hate and injustice. If you see someone making a racist or sexist comment, online or even at a convention, step in, SAY SOMETHING. If you see that kind of behavior happening and refuse to say anything, are continuing to perpetuate the problem. We are a group of people that idolize superheroes, the fictional characters who are written to do the write thing and fight injustice in the world. While not all of us wear capes or rescue kittens from trees or strangers from being mugged, almost all of us, at one time or another have witnessed something hateful or unkind happening to someone else. This is our chance to come together as a community and do the right thing. This is our chance to become the heroes we have idolized for so long. I am not saying these bullies need us or need our salvation by any means, but for me it’s just about doing the right thing, not staying stagnant, not shrugging our shoulders and saying “well, everybody deserves freedom of speech.” That’s true, you included, so let your voice be heard and show our community and those watching our community that we WILL NOT STAND for this shit any longer.Hatred and bigotry are not “just other opinions” they are wrong, every single time. Do something, say something; complacency is the enemy.

*Some comments from KayBear Cosplay’s facebook page*

 

I could rant about this forever, but the time for me to close this post has come. If speaking the truth leads me to lose friends and followers, good. I didn’t want you as a fan anyway. Period. If this struck a nerve to you, and made you feel defensive, think about it long and hard and ask yourself why that is. Lastly, if you are just someone that has seen this kind of thing happen, but always been nervous about speaking up, please reconsider. Say something. 9 times out of 10 there are other people who are nervous about speaking up, and seeing someone else do it really could start an amazing chain reaction. We are nerds. We have to do better than this, we have to BE better than this.

 

Rowan

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