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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Inappropriate & Unacceptable Cosplays

At the end of 2017, we posted a topic regarding the rules of #costuming & #cosplay. Beyond those rules (that are based on actual laws, venue rules, etc.), some #cosplays are inappropriate and unacceptable because of cultural standards. While some jurisdictions and venues prohibit these types of cosplays & practices listed below, not all do; but that doesn’t mean that they are any less inappropriate & unacceptable.

The reasons why certain types of cosplays & practices are inappropriate & unacceptable will become clear as you read the examples below.

Blackface

For anyone unfamiliar with this term, blackface refers to the practice of non-black individuals (usually performers) putting on dark makeup in order to appear black. Dating back to the 18th century, blackface was used by white performers to create demeaning, stereotypical caricatures of blacks for minstrel shows. The practice continued until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s in the United States, but continued elsewhere for several years or decades longer, such as the U.K., where it continued until 1978. Some occurrences continue to this day in some counties.

Blackface is widely regarded as being completely inappropriate & unacceptable due to its demeaning & racist portrayal of African Americans. Movies and cartoons that were filmed with blackface scenes are no longer broadcasted in the United States, even by cable-only TV channels.

Any cosplayer that decides to apply dark makeup in order to appear to have darker skin than they actually do may be accused of being racist even if there was no racism intended by the cosplayer. We therefore highly recommend that no cosplayer use any form of blackface.

An example that was posted to Twitter in 2016:

From Twitter.

Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation can be defined as the appropriation of elements of an oppressed culture by a people who have historically oppressed those they are taking the elements from and who lack the cultural context to properly understand, respect, or utilize those elements. Thus, it is not a a mutual cultural exchange that has occurred in an equal manner, nor was any permission granted by the oppressed culture.

Within the context of costumes, the wearing of anything that represents a cultural or racial stereotype should be avoided. Anyone wearing a costume that is deemed blatantly racist & stereotypical may be called out as being worn in poor taste or the wearer may be accused of being racist. Examples would include the following:

  • Traditional Native American dress.
  • Mexican sombreros and ponchos.
  • Jamaican dreadlocks.
  • Japanese geisha or samurai.
  • Dressing as a homeless person.

An example that was posted to Twitter in 2015:

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From Twitter.

Nazi Symbols & Uniforms

Nazism began as a 20th century political party in Germany before the outbreak of World War II. It’s leader, Adolf Hitler, adopted a symbol (called the swastica) originally used for peace in Buddhism and reversed its direction to represent the Nazi Party and its extreme racism and antisemitism. Under Hitler and the Nazi Party, Germany started World War II in 1939 by invading neighboring Poland, which then escalated to consume nearly all of Europe and parts of North Africa in war. But, even before the war started, German Jews and others that the Nazis didn’t like (including homosexuals, communists, people with disabilities, etc.) were systematically rounded up and sent to concentration camps where Nazis began to murder them in large gas chambers that were disguised as showers. By the time Nazis were defeated in World War II, they had murdered at least 12,000,000 people in the concentration camps. Of those 12,000,000, half were Jews.

Long after the end of World War II and the Nazi Party in Germany in 1945, white nationalists in the United States and elsewhere have adopted Nazi symbols and continue to spread similar racist, homophobic and antisemitic hatred. Thus, anything associated with the Nazis, including its symbols and uniforms, is highly inappropriate and unacceptable. In fact, some conventions have banned the wearing of any Nazi symbols on cosplays.

Unfortunately, there are some who do actually wear Nazi symbols and uniforms to comic, anime & even furry conventions. In fact, one such incident just occurred this weekend in Houston at Anime Matsuri, an anime convention.

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Cosplayer dressed in a Nazi uniform at Anime Matsuri 2018.

References

Police Officer Brings Superheroes to Life for Sick Children

The #PersonOfTheWeek on tonight’s #NBCNews is Damon Cole: a Fort Worth, TX police officer who spends time visiting sick children while wearing a variety of different #superhero #cosplay #costumes, including #Batman, #Superman, #SpiderMan, #CaptainAmerica, #IronMan & more! He even wears a Superman sigil on his vest under his uniform when his duties as a police officer have him interacting with kids!

Damon Cole is a true inspiration and demonstrates to all #costumers & #cosplayers what the hobby is truly all about: giving back to the community, and we thank him for his service as a police officer and a costumed superhero for kids!

https://www.nbcnews.com/widget/video-embed/1134203459601

We also found this video from 2016 also featuring Damon Cole from the Dallas-Fort Worth CBS TV outlet:

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