Cosplay Sexual: What Gender Binary?
or why the question ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ is a stupid one to ask anyway
SO one of the questions I will get from time to time is ‘what gender are you?’ or ‘are you a boy or a girl?’ This question almost exclusively comes my way after I’ve made a new male character cosplay.
[FURTHER EDITS 12/6/2012: This is just me expressing my opinion based on personal experience and talking with friends. Please reserve your right to disagree.]
Let me answer that question with a question: why do you care?
I think this question is most frequently asked for two reasons, actually. One is simple curiosity. But I think the second reason is far more common. What you’re really asking is: I find you attractive when you’re dressed as this character, but you’re not going to upset my sexual orientation identity, are you?
cut that shit out.
- you don’t need to have a crisis if you find somebody in a cosplay hot even if the cosplayer is not your usual preferred gender. So you’re a straight female and you found that Dave cosplay hot, but the cosplayer turned out to be a girl? So what? You found them hot while dressed as a boy. Guess what? It was a successful crossplay, your brain was convinced enough to find them attractive. BAM, problem solved.
- why does the cosplayer need to fit your objectification? it’s your responsibility, or your hormones, or your aesthetic preferences, that have gone off the deep end here; it’s not the responsibility of the cosplayer to let you know if they fit your specifications.
- more insidiously, the question implied is ‘are you a CIS* boy or girl?’ If a trans* person answers with their gender and you find out they don’t have the cis* biological parts, that tends to result in some ugly ‘TRAP/REVERSE TRAP!’ shit that’s just gross.
My best friend calls finding somebody who crossplays attractive while they’re in costume ‘cosplay sexual’. It means you’re attracted to a person only while they’re dressed as your preferred gender. And it doesn’t mean you need to break out in hives or question your orientation! You know why?
The gender of the cosplayer doesn’t actually matter. They’re busy doing what cosplay is all about: being a successful chameleon, taking on the physical characteristics of a character so well you can’t guess anything about the person behind them, even their gender. Your brain doesn’t care either: it just likes what the cosplayer is presenting. In other words, success all around! The cosplayer has done their job and you get something pleasing to look at. Woo!
So next time you’re sitting there sweating about whether that cosplay you think is super hot is being worn by a person who fits your sexual identity, take a deep breath, calm down, and remember: it’s all in your head. And your head whispers, ’fuck yes’.
EDIT: HOLY NOTES BATMAN. I should probably clarify a couple of things for people who actually bother to go back to this original post?
1) I did mention briefly (too briefly) above that some people ask because they’re curious! But there’s a better way to ask about gender than ‘boy or girl?’ Try ‘what pronouns do you prefer?’ it’s just more polite.
2) If you’re not going to be interacting with the person and you’re not sure of gender there’s a couple of ways around it! you can use gender neutral pronouns like ‘hir’ and ‘xe’. Also, if you’re not going to interact with them, do you actually need to know? That’s kind of my point - if you’re just looking at them online, it doesn’t really matter and you don’t need to have an identity crisis. :)