I am not a cosplayer nor do I play one on TV, but I do admire all of the people who participate in cosplay. The attention to detail and creativity is remarkable. Two years ago I told my husband that I felt as superhero movies and TV shows became more popular and attracted mainstream audiences conventions would attract harassment and child predators. Low and behold harassment is on the rise. I have seen people blame cosplayers as well as event coordinators, but I think we are all a little to blame by not being more proactive in the situation. I also think if we work together we can fix it. Our unwritten rules and etiquette need to be clear to everyone who sets foot in a convention. Most adults who attend conventions for the first time (and are not assholes) use careful observation to understand what goes on and how to treat others. At least this was true for me. However, when I started to bring my children to conventions I had to teach them the rules. Rules like:
1. Do not touch people or their costumes.
2. Do not correct people on their comic book knowledge in a condescending way.
3. Do not request impossible commissions.
I had to do this because kids can be assholes. This is true for teens and adults too.
• I feel that rules about everything from cosplay to special guests need to be handed out at the door. Similar to what major league sports teams do to handle fan etiquette. It needs to be clear what behavior is expected at the event.
• We need to empower cosplayers with their rights and how to handle people who do not follow the rules.
• We need vendors to be a safe haven if someone is dealt with inappropriately and to be proactive in getting security.
• Security and volunteers need to make sure they are being fair and consistent with rules with everyone.
• We as fans need to be more observant and mindful of our surroundings.
We all need to be diligent now so we do not end up losing our community to attacks or unjust retaliations.