This is a post about weight and body image in cosplay.
In the above photo, that’s me as Valkyrie, with my amazing friend Jay as Misty Knight. This photo was submitted to and used in #5 of Fearless Defenders, and I’ve been informed that it also made it into the collected first trade of FD.
In that photo, I’d estimate my weight to be a little bit more than it is now, which is around 221 pounds. That didn’t stop me from cosplay Valkyrie, who is generally drawn to be a leaner character. It also didn’t stop me from submitting that photo to the editor of Fearless Defenders, as I was proud of my work on this version of Valkyrie’s costume.
There are a number of hurtful comments in regards to my shape and my weight that I’ve heard the few times my cosplay photos have been circulated out on the internet. Yes, they sting, but they don’t take away from my love of cosplay.
Cosplay and body image is a hard issue to tackle, because for every person it’s different. Your comfort level is determined by you alone, along with what you deem to be hurtful comments made about your person.
This is what I want to pass along, as a woman who is larger, and who cosplays.
- You are not restricted to characters by an artists take on a character, nor by the shape of an actor or actress when it comes to weight and shape.
- You do not have to tolerate comments that you find hurtful about yourself, or remain silent. Voice yourself, it’ll give you strength.
- If you ever feel disheartened about cosplaying a character, remind yourself of why you like them. Is it their character? Is it the costume? Is it a certain movie or story that really drives home your love of them? And then ask yourself another question: Do any of the reasons you love them so much have to do with the way they look?
- Know that there are people in the cosplay community who love cosplayers of all shapes and sizes. They don’t discriminate, and they’ll welcome you into communities and photoshoots. Yes, sometimes the jerks that aren’t these lovely people seem louder, but they’re actually a minority. Find friends, find support, and give support back.
- You’re beautiful/handsome/dapper/darling/gorgeous, and you can represent a character no matter what your size or shape is.
That’s about it. I’m technically overweight, and I made it into a damned Marvel comic in a costume that I made and cosplaying a character that I love. I hope that inspires you to cosplay too, or keep cosplaying, or maybe even just tell someone who is cosplaying how awesome they look.