In the past few years, the number of cosplayers selling posters and prints of their cosplay efforts has ballooned from a very few to very many. This has been met on social media mostly by reactions that range from mildly bemused surprise to outright disgust.
I am here to say that this is one of the best, healthiest trends in society in general we have seen in some time.
Now before anyone thinks that I am championing this trend because I take pictures of cosplayers, let me assure you that no photographer ever makes any money to speak of off cosplayers’ prints or posters. Some photographers get paid a flat fee for a shoot that might get used for such merchandise, but most are friends of the cosplayers who do the shoots out of friendship and for mutual promotion.
No, the reason this is a good thing is that it gives women a path to express their beauty and creativity, in a way that was, until even just a few years ago, solely open in pornography. Before the girl next door started selling pictures of herself in cosplay, the only two ways to make money by being pretty was traditional modeling and porn. Each has a whole slew of problems, and anyone familiar with the modeling industry will tell you it isn’t really any better than the porn industry — at least, for the models.
So, if a woman isn’t twig thin and tree tall, there was the amateur adult industry path available. And yes, I understand that even there, one has a range of what constitutes “adult” modeling. I also understand that the line between artistic nude and adult nude is a very poorly defined one. But frankly, even in the traditional modeling world, most models aren’t interested in taking their clothes off. So, nude, of any stripe, is rare among models in general.
Now nerdy girls can both get recognition for their creativity and their beauty (something that is even more in the eye of the beholder in cosplay than in either modeling or porn) in a way that is very empowering, and make some extra money while doing so.
Try to tell me that this is not a very healthy sign — in a world absolutely flooded with pornography, the fact that nerds and geeks and fans of all kinds are gladly willing to pay for content that is no racier than the Betty Grable posters their granddads had is wonderful. We should do everything we can to support this trend.
Will it result in some drama as some cosplayers with a more traditionally “beautiful” look outpace some of their friends? Sure, but if you can’t be happy for a friend’s success, you need to look up the word “friend” in the dictionary again — and stop at the word “bitch” while you are at it.
And before anyone throws out the completely unfounded, misogynistic horseshit concept of “fake geek girls,’ please refrain from doing so, as it will keep me from having to track down your home address and beat you with a moron stick. That particular piece of bigoted, elitist swill has died as far as I am concerned.
No, let’s forget all that and celebrate the fact that we, the geeks and nerds of the world, are actually making it safer and more accepting for women.
I have to say that the person above makes some really amazing points. And makes me consider this trend in a way that I had not thought of it before. So that’s something to consider. But I have a side.. rant to make. As a cosplay photographer I find this trend ever so slightly… troublesome. Whenever I see a cosplayer selling prints, I wonder if the photographer knows and had given his/her permission. Recently a photograph of mine appeared in a magazine and I wasn’t even asked if I was ok with it. The cosplay/photographer relationship has always been kinda weird and has become even more unbalanced now that there are sooo many new cosplayers and soooo many new photographers. It’s hard because most of the time we are your friends and you’d hope friendship would breed respect… but sometimes it doesn’t. Just because the photograph is of you doesn’t mean you have sole rights to the picture. In the past few months I’ve seen my photography published in places I wasn’t aware of, some photo manipulations, my watermark removed, credits removed and photographs entered in contests that essentially take rights for the photo (the cosplayer gave up the rights for the photo because they didn’t read small print and by doing that they gave up my rights to the photo… I’ve also seen cosplayers give up rights to photographers photos by posting them on a personal website that was hosted through another company and I read the fine print while the cosplayer did not). I love that the cosplay community is booming! I love seeing so many new amazing faces around. But… what with the boom and everyone’s want share and publicize their cosplays it really has me considering possibility of consent forms to protect myself legally and keep cosplayers from coming to me after the fact and denying my rights to a photo I’ve taken. It’s something I’ve thought of for years and when I took my photography class this summer my teacher was insistent I start using them. They’ve always seemed like such a hassle and I do consider most of the people I shoot my friends… But maybe it’s time to start. With the cosplay community becoming so much more professional maybe it’s time for the photographers to become more professional as well. So yeah. Photography rant. What do y’all think? Would you sign consent forms to work with a photographer?