Serious question time. You’re at a convention and you see your favorite character. What do you do? No really. What do you do?
1. I was very short on time, so I needed something simple to build.
2. I do not like being uncomfortable.
3. I’m still not over Captain America.
These factors all led to what I have been told by every other member of the Sub-Cultured team is one of the cutest cosplays of the weekend (barring, of course, the tinies that were dressed as….well let’s be honest all the small children at NYCC were adorable.): I spent my Saturday dressed as Baby Captain America, complete with a Bucky Bear that kept getting stolen by my comrades.
As the day began it was quickly apparent more folks would recognize my bear than me–and I was okay with that. As stated in factor two above, I don’t like being uncomfortable, and the added bonus of an esoteric costume is that most people take one look at you and assume you’re just crazy. (I can only assume). Only one person asked to take my photo and I’m pretty sure it’s just because I was wandering around artist’s alley with another team member in costume. If people did talk to me, it was usually to ask how comfy I was in pjs, or whether I was overheating with my hood up. Other than that, I made my way as peacefully as one can through a sea of ten thousand bodies.
Then it happened. I was cornered, in a line waiting to leave the Javits at the end of the day. Someone was shouting STEVE! STEVE! over the (still rather sizable but) dwindling crowd, and I groggily responded with a nod and a wave. But then there she was. A woman stood before me dressed as Tony Stark, and she was suddenly in line with us. “hey yeah hi. Nice shirt” it had a glowing arc reactor in it.
I genuinely don’t remember the conversation that followed in much detail; I was exhausted and dehydrated and had been running non-stop for three days. All I know is it went on for way too long. I know I wasn’t playing along well. I know we jumped across about four different continuities and that there were weirdly confrontational comments made. But that didn’t seem to deter Tony.
I stopped playing along when she shouted “At least my parents didn’t DIE FROM PNEUMONIA” which A) is not canonically correct and B) is incredibly rude. At that point, I was completely done. Everything was over. But that still, somehow, didn’t stop her. She continued to stand in line with us for what felt like forever. There is no happy ending to this story. Sure, Tony left and all but frankly, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the whole thing.
So what’s the deal, guys? If someone’s cosplaying, do they HAVE to play along when we address them in character? And for how long? Does this relate to the Cosplay is Not Consent Campaign? Am I being whiney? And if Tony had been an adorable kid, would it have bothered me as much or at all or….
Tell me your thoughts.