After turning in somewhat early on Friday night, we were up bright and early for two reasons: 1) we were having friends come to our room so they could get in costume for the day and 2) we wanted to head out to a 9 AM panel. This also allowed for some early
morning noshing… which was nice.
Once I was in costume and ready to go (dressed as a random Air Gear character), we made our way to the Handling Harassment in Cosplay panel which was ran by Sushi Killer and her boyfriend (who’s name I unfortunately didn’t catch). She and her boyfriend started “Cosplay=/=Consent”.
It was interesting to hear some of the stories of harassment that some of the people had actually heard. It was both enlightening and kind of sad. A lot of the harassment stories
were actually by girls who were dealing with derogatory comments regarding their weight or body type or whatever there is about them that wasn’t what people thought the person should be. I’ll go into more detail about that kind of harassment when I talk about Body Image in Cosplay panel. They also talked about something that not everyone would think was an issue, sexual harassment. The most important part of the panel was how best to deal with that kind of situation.
Of course, the best approach was non-
confrontationally. Don’t be afraid to make a scene. Of course, this makes a certain amount of sense. Conventions are filled with fellow geeks and nerds and none of them want to be embarrassed in public. Of course, a lot of this does rely on the cosplayer maintaining and being vigilant about their personal boundaries. They also suggested to stay away from sarcasm as it’s possible that one might 1) regard it as a form of hostility and 2) there are some people who just don’t understand sarcasm. They also said don’t use violence unless it’s a last resort. Sushi Killer explained why violence was not the greatest of responses by sharing a story of where she used it and they security started questioning her like she was to blame… largely because she actually injured the guy who had groped her.
While the idea of not hitting someone when they grope me is both foreign (as that’s my
first instinct due to abuse and specifically sexual abuse). She did, however, talk about a case she knew of where the person had dealt with sexual assault. They learned how to say don’t touch me and intentionally position themselves in a way where they wouldn’t be touched. It was neat to hear that because it genuinely is my first instinct to hit someone if they physically touch me without my consent.
They also talked about online harassment. Of course, there is plenty of recourse that one can take when it comes to online harassment. If someone is harassing you on your own personal site you can do whatever you feel in necessary. Block them, delete their comments, etc. Of course, if it’s a picture posted somewhere else, and you have a fan-base of your own, there is always reverse trolling.
It was nice to see that there were some panels at Fanime that were about empowering the cosplayers. It’s actually pretty awesome to see that happening more and more.
After the Harassment in Cosplay panel, I headed over to the Viz Media panel. Sometimes you can hear some interesting information at industry panels… largely having to deal with new stuff coming out in the next year. And there is some interesting stuff coming out in the next 6 months. As far as manga goes, Magi (based off of 1001 Arabian Knights), Voice Over (Shoujo), Sweet Rein (Shoujo), Midnight Secretary and Happy Marriage (josei romance) will all be released within the next 6 months.
They also covered stuff coming to the Viz Manga app as well as Shonen Jump Weekly Digital. The Viz Manga app will be the only way to read some of their older titles (like Please Save My Earth, Maer and Case Closed or Inspector Conan).