Cosplayer’s Religious Family Kicked Her Out Of The House Over Cosplay; Church Continues to Harass Her

It is both shocking & saddening to see a fundamentalist religious family kick their granddaughter out of the house because she’s a #cosplayer.

Lady Iredell (her real name was withheld due to ongoing church harassment) found friendship & belonging within the #cosplay & #costuming communities when she first discovered the hobby in 2015. Once forced to make her #costumes in secret late at night and keeping them hidden while living with her family, she now lives with a friend; but the harassment continues from the church that most of her family continues to attend.

Lady Iredell said that the church often encourages families to shun family members who leave the church. Since she left, Lady Iredell has not been allowed to speak with her younger brother and church members have visited her apartment trying to pressure her into returning even though she hadn’t told anyone where she was living. (Lady Iredell’s landlord had passed information about her whereabouts to her family.)

Costuming & cosplay are artistic forms of expression. Freedom of expression is the driving force behind the hobby. We sincerely hope that Lady Iredell will be able to continue to improve her life and to live to life as she chooses.

We wish Lady Iredell all the best and encourage those in the costuming & cosplay communities who know her to help her if she ever needs it.

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Original Film-Worn “Iron Man” Costume Missing

The Los Angeles Police Department (#LAPD) is investigating the disappearance of an original #IronMan #costume worn by Robert Downy, Jr. in the 2008 movie. The missing costume is valued to be worth $325,000.

The costume is believed to have disappeared sometime between February and April of this year from a prop storage warehouse located in Pacoima, California. It was first reported missing on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, though it’s not immediately clear who first reported the theft.

Marvel referred questions about the missing costume to Walt Disney Studios, but Disney has not yet issued a statement.

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Public Perceptions of Costumers, Cosplayers & Furries: Who’s Responsible?

All #costumers, #cosplayers & #furries share one common responsibility: public perception. That public perception applies to the fandom(s) being represented by costumers, cosplayers & furries; the perceived reason(s) why costumers, cosplayers & furries dress up in #costumes; and (most importantly) the types of activities that costumers, cosplayers & furries engage in while in costume.

Any time that costumers, cosplayers or furries are in costume in a public space, members of the general public who are not costumers, cosplayers or furries themselves will also be present and they will be able to observe what the costumers, cosplayers or furries are doing while they are in costume. A public space could be a public park, a city street, a convention center, a hotel lobby, etc.

Who are the members of the general public? They are, in all likelihood, a combination of adults and underaged children. Also, members of the general public are going to be a cross-section of society itself, which includes a myriad of beliefs, as well as a myriad of ethical, moral and political points of view.

While there will always be a wide variances in the points of view that different people have, there are also going to be some points of view that are probably going to be commonly held by most people when they pertain to intimate behaviors between people who are in a public space and how acceptable those intimate behaviors are.

  • Some types of intimate behaviors that are likely going to be regarded by most people as being acceptable while in a public space include a couple holding hands; family members or friends hugging each other; someone kissing another on the cheek; a brief kiss on the lips between adults; etc.
  • Some types of intimate behaviors that are more likely going to be regarded by most people as being unacceptable while in a public space include very long passionate kisses on the lips; physical contact that is more than a simply embracing or hugging; touching parts of the body that are never shown while in a public space; etc. At this level, these types of intimate behaviors can cross over to being regarded as sexual; and anything construed to being a sexual activity or imitating a sexual activity while in a public space is probably not going to be an acceptable behavior.

Let’s ask a question: what may happen if people (the ‘participants) are observed by others (the ‘observers’) while they are actively participating in unacceptable intimate or sexual behaviors while in a public space?

Obviously, many (if not most) of the observers are going to quickly develop a very poor opinion of the participants. But it doesn’t end there: if the participants are identified as being part of a specific group, there’s a good chance that many of the observers are also going to associate other members of that same group with that behavior, then apply the same poor opinion to other group members even though they weren’t involved. It also won’t necessarily matter if the group as a whole doesn’t condone that type of unacceptable public behavior: they’ll still bear the burden of that low opinion caused by the actions of a few.

Now, let’s take this up a notch. We live in a very interconnected society thanks to the Internet and smart phones that include cameras capable of taking both pictures and videos. If an observer takes out his or her smart phone and takes pictures or or video of the participants as they are actively engaged in an unacceptable public behavior, then that observer shares those pictures or video on the Internet, what’s going to happen? Within a matter of seconds the total number of observers will increase from a handful of people to potentially millions of people.

As we have discussed in past posts, some costumers & cosplayers are members of costume clubs; and many costume clubs have written charters that include codes of conduct that define specific types of behaviors that are not acceptable for costume club members to engage in while in costume or otherwise representing the club. Why? To maintain a positive public perception of the costume club and its members. Members who engage in an activity that violates the costume club’s code of conduct face potential punishment that could include suspension from the club or even banishment.

Similarly, many businesses and corporations require their employees to take annual training in order to prevent the employees from engaging in behavior that could potentially cause a negative public perception of the company,  which could undermine the company’s bottom line: it’s ability to conduct business and make money. If an employee violates a company’s policies, he or she may be suspended, be put on probation or possibly be terminated.

So, who then bears the responsibility of public perception in the costuming, cosplay & furry communities? We all do!!!

Are there any examples of what could go wrong when one or more costumers, cosplayers or furries engages in unacceptable behaviors while in a public space? Unfortunately, yes; and the most recent occurrence that we are aware occurred at “Furry Weekend Atlanta” (FWA) two weeks ago. Ironically, our previous post was about the dance contest that occurred at FWA.

2 weeks ago, 2 individuals (presumably men) dressed as human pups (by wearing what is typically viewed as being fetish attire) started to play with each other as puppies in the hotel lobby where FWA was occurring. The 2 individuals wrestled with each other and then one got on top of the other and remained there for roughly 30 seconds, which gave the appearance that some sexual stimulation was occurring in that position. As these 2 individuals were engaged in this actively, other furries were walking by, as well as members of the general public. Then, one of the FWA attendees who was on a balcony overlooking the lobby took video of the 2 individuals and did what? Posted an edited video emphasizing the 30-second period when one of them was on top of the other onto their personal Twitter feed. The backlash was immediate and includes an unflattering article in a well-known British publication.

We learned about this incident from the World of Rooview YouTube channel:

One very important distinction that Roo points out is the difference between fursuiting and the adult activity known as “pup play”:

  • Fursuiting is the creation of anthropomorphic characters through costuming. Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities, including animals and animal characters.
  • “Pup play” is an adult activity in which one or more humans behave like a puppy. It is a type of zoomorphism, which is the attribution of animal behaviors and characteristics to humans (or other things). Thus, it is the opposite of anthropomorphism.

While the 2 “pup play” participants that were publicly wrestling with each other in the hotel lobby were not wearing fursuits at the time they were filmed, there is a presumption that they were also FWA attendees because they were wearing fetish pup play attire. Whether or not they were actually FWA attendees, they’re costumes associated them with FWA, other furries in attendance and the broader furry community at large. Had these 2 individuals only engaged in this activity in a more private location (such as their hotel room or some other site away from FWA) then this would not have become an issue. Also, had the person who filmed their questionable public activity taken their concerns to an FWA representative instead of posting it online for millions of people to see, then this would not now be associating FWA or the furry community as a whole due to the actions of only 2 participants.

Our request here is simple: if you are in costume in a public space, please do not engage in behavior that could be deemed as sexual, imitating sexual activity or be otherwise interpreted as being inappropriate or unacceptable in a public setting. Because if you do, it can reflect poorly on everyone in the hobby.

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What is Fursuiting?

Of the various forms of #costuming & #cosplay, one of the forms that has a very vibrant & creative community are the #furries. Furries (or #fursuiters) are people who dress up as anthropomorphic animal characters, usually ones that they have created themselves and that may be a combination of 2 or more types of animals put together. The characters may appear like very realistic animals, but they are often very colorful and cartoonish in appearance, which makes sense because many fursuiters take inspiration from anthropomorphic animal characters from cartoons and animes.

Furries typically congregate at furry-themed conventions, though some may attend more generalized comic or anime conventions. They also have their groups and clubs where they like to get together. Their main method of communication is the Internet, with sites like Fur Affinity and many others.

Unfortunately, some cosplayers & costumers who aren’t furries don’t have positive opinions of furries; but in our opinion, these views are not justified because furries are technically no different from any other cosplayers & costumers: they design, create and wear costumes for both having fun and for charity work.

The biggest differences between furries and other costumes & cosplayers is that furries tend to emphasize the design of their own characters (as well as what furries call a “fursona”, which is the furry equivalent to a persona), while most costumers and cosplayers typically wear a costume that represents an existing character from a specific sci-fi, fantasy, superhero/super-villain, etc., franchise (or is a custom costume based on existing characters). Also, the vast majority of costumes worn by non-furry costumers & cosplayers aren’t based on a furry character. Exceptions include (but are not limited to) Chewbacca (from Star Wars), wampas (also from Star Wars), Rocket Raccoon (from Guardians of the Galaxy), etc. All of these mentioned characters are anthropomorphic characters.

If costumers & cosplayers (who don’t consider themselves to be furries) can wear furry-based costumes, so can furries. Thus, furries are just as much a part of the overall costuming & cosplay community as any other costumers & cosplayers and should always be treated as such.

If you want to know more about furries, we highly recommend viewing this student-made documentary about furries that was created for a film class in 2016. Check out the reasons that many people become furries and you’ll hear reasons that are essentially identical to why people become non-furry cosplayers & costumers.

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Fursuiter Acquitted of Abusing Boy at “Furry Parties”; 1 Plead Guilty; Others Awaiting Trial

On Friday, a PA #fursuiter who was arrested last year after being accused of abusing a 9 year-old boy has been acquitted of all charges. Prosecutors had alleged that the boy had been abused at furry parties that occurred 2009. The fursuiter who was acquitted (Kenneth Fenske, a.k.a., LupineFox), had been accused of abusing the boy while dressed in a red fox costume. However, Mr. Fenske had not obtained the fox costume until 2015, 6 years after the alleged abuse had occurred.

There were reportedly other inconsistencies with the boy’s (now 16 years old) testimony. Mr. Fenske maintained his innocence from time that he had been arrested.

This isn’t the end of the story though: one of the other people (a furry) arrested last year (David Parker, a.k.a., RebelWolf) plead guilty in federal court to one count of child sex trafficking last summer while several others are awaiting trial.

Fursuiter Sonious (RooView on YouTube) discusses the situation in a recently posted video:

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The Odd Direction for Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” by Disney & LucasFilm

*** Spoilers *** For those who haven’t yet seen “#StarWars VIII: #TheLastJedi”, you may wish to not read this article yet.

The villainous character Kylo Ren was first introduced into the “Star Wars” franchise in the franchise’s seventh film, “The Force Awakens”. In this movie, he is usually seen wearing his now well-known black helmet as depicted below.

Masked Kylo Ren

Masked Kylo Ren

Now, here’s where the spoilers start. If you started to read this article, but haven’t yet seen “The Last Jedi”, you should stop here.

While Kylo Ren did show his face a few times in “The Force Awakens”, in “The Last Jedi”, Kylo is verbally punished & ridiculed by Supreme Leader Snoke in his throne room aboard Snoke’s massive ship. When Kylo leaves the throne room, he enters an elevator where he has a temper tantrum (he had several temper tantrums in “The Force Awakens”). During the temper tantrum, he smashes his beloved helmet (which Snoke had criticized) into tiny pieces by slamming it against the elevator’s walls several times.

(While one of the trailers showed Kylo Ren destroying his helmet, the reasons weren’t shown. This was the spoiler that we wanted to warn people about.)

Kylo Ren Holding His Helmet

Kylo Ren holding his helmet in the elevator in the movie “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi” before he destroys it.

Since this scene occurs early in the movie, Kylo Ren is never seen with the helmet on again; he’s only seen with his face.

This appears to be an odd decision by Disney & LucasFilm, which had poured tons of money into marketing Kylo Ren-based products, including costumes and helmet replicas. Most #cosplayers & #costumers who donned a Kylo Ren #costume included what had become his iconic helmet. By destroying the iconic helmet, it’s not clear whether Kylo Ren costumes will remain as popular, especially since the film has had a mixed reaction from fans. Only time will tell.

It will be interesting to see where Disney & LucasFilm go next with Kylo Ren in Episode IX.

Trailer from “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi”:

Wil Wheaton Wore a “Star Trek” Costume to See “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Life imitated art Thursday (Dec. 14, 2017) when actor Wil Wheaton wore a #StarTrek #costume to a screening of “#StarWarsVIII: #TheLastJedi”! He also tweeted about it:

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Wil Wheaton dressed in a “Star Trek” costume at a “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” screening.

Wil Wheaton & friends at the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” screening.

Wil Wheaton, who starred as Wesley Crusher in “Star Trek: #TheNextGeneration”, appears as himself regularly in the long-running sitcom #BigBangTheory, in which he did wear a “Star Trek” costume to a screening of “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens”.

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