Cosplayers Are Overrated Slut-Sirens

Here’s one for the confusion files. Some of you may remember Tony Harris, who did some wonderful comic illustrations for Starman back in the 90s and has done some mediocre work since then. Apparently, he doesn’t really like cosplayers.

Tony Harris ranting about how much cosplayers are evil sirens who befuddle geek men that know that they're not all that anyway. Yea, I'm just as confused.

Let’s examine this for a moment.

First of all, I can see why Harris is the illustrator, not the writer or letter. He uses extraneous capitalization like a Christianist lovingly reminding me how evil and hellbound I am. Is it just that capital words are clearly Very Important when Inserted into sentences and make The point much More Obvious? Are they Referring to Anthropomorphic Manifestations of their favorite Words? I UNDERSTAND ALL CAPS IS YELLING, but Why just random Words capitalized Throughout the piece?

Ok, enough of that joke. Let’s look at some of Harris’s specific objections to women cosplaying. Commentary will be both inserted into the quotes and after.

I appreciate a pretty Gal as much as the next Hetero Male. Sometimes I even go in for some racy type stuff ( keeping the comments PG for my Ladies sake)…

This is what we in the LGBT-sphere call The Obligatory “I’m Not Gay” (yay! More capitalization!). He feels the need to first assure us that he likes staring at scantily dressed women, but on his schedule, if you please. You can’t just be walking around wearing “racy type stuff” when Tony Harris isn’t in the mood to look at you! Also, how very kind to keep your words PG for those sensitive lady eyes that might see a post from a guy called “Tony Effing Harris.”

but dammit, dammit, dammit I am so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks. I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule. Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: “Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC.”

This just seems like he’s Eastwooding. Or yelling at the cardboard cutouts of atheists that Chris Steadman attended a party with once (nobody has ever said, “Wasn’t it wonderful how intelligent the panelists were and how wickedly they’d exposed the frauds of religion? Weren’t they right that we must all focus our energy on bringing about the demise of religious myths?” in an actual conversation, ever). Basically, Harris has created a geek nightmare and, like the Great and Powerful Oz, is making quite a show of presenting it as real.

But he carves out some space for his friends who do the same thing. Because he knows they’re cool. No, it’s that really nebulous Other Girl out there who is secretly trying to manipulate him…er, con goers who totes aren’t Tony Harris, into liking them so they can giggle at how pathetic those not-Tony-Harrises are.

You are willing to become almost completely Naked in public, and yer either skinny( Well, some or most of you, THINK you are ) [KN: slut shaming isn’t half as fun without some fat shaming chaser or you have Big Boobies [KN: Adults call them “breasts” or, more accurately, “none of your damn business”]. Notice I didnt say GREAT Boobies? [KN: Yes, I noticed that. Because I assume guys like you draw a distinction between “big” and “great” when it comes to breastsYou are what I refer to as “CON-HOT”. Well not by my estimation, but according to a LOT of average Comic Book Fans who either RARELY speak to, or NEVER speak to girls. [KN: So you refer to them as “con-hot”, but don’t really think they are. So why do you refer to them as that?Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls, and the ONE thing they all have in common? The are being preyed on by YOU. [KN: “Preyed on”? Does that mean groped against their will and sexually harassed?] You have this really awful need for attention, for people to tell you your pretty, or Hot, and the thought of guys pleasuring themselves to the memory of you hanging on them with your glossy open lips, promising them the Moon and the Stars of pleasure, just makes your head vibrate [KN: Oh, you meant they were magically forcing helpless geeks to have pantsfeelings and then masturbate later. Yea, I see how that’s much worse than what I thought].

This bit is all over the place. Harris thinks they’re “con-hot”! No, he doesn’t think that, but some other guys think that! And they might want to have sex with people! And won’t necessarily be able to because they’re awkward! Hanging! Open lips! The Moon and Stars (of pleasure)! And this just makes the homunculus that Harris is yelling at so very happy that later that evening, while wearing the robes of an evil empress, she’ll laugh her evil cackle and purposefully not touch herself while getting off on the idea of geek boys…

You know what, I can’t even keep that particular joke going, it’s so absurd. What Tony Harris doesn’t seem to realize is that girls, even one that are hot enough to tantalize the geek men he seems to be ineptly defending, are actual, real people who have complex desires and may not necessarily dress in revealing clothing just to lure in vulnerable men for the dastardly goal of not doing anything to them.

[…]YOU DONT KNOW SHIT ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER. [KN: Wow, this is almost getting into Hipster Sexism territory. It’s bad enough that they’re sluts, but they’re mainstream sluts as well] And also, if ANY of these guys that you hang on tried to talk to you out of that Con? You wouldnt give them the fucking time of day. [KN: He says, based on those John Hughes movies he watched once] Shut up you damned liar, no you would not. Lying, Liar Face. [KN: Going to take this personally in a minute, buddy] Yer not Comics. [KN: No, they’re people. The comics aren’t real, Tony.] Your just the thing that all the Comic Book, AND mainstream press flock to at Cons. And the real reason for the Con, and the damned costumes yer parading around in? That would be Comic Book Artists, and Comic Book Writers who make all that shit up.

My friend, who I will call Social Justice Heroine unless she gives me a better moniker, that pointed me to this article made an excellent observation. Isn’t Tony Harris, the person that the con is there for (instead of, you know, the fans who pay him to draw stuff), in a pretty unique position to solve this problem? I mean, he’s a comic book illustrator. Why doesn’t he draw comic book women wearing more clothing, or with less obvious breasts, or in positions that a human body is capable of achieving? I mean, I’m sure he’s never…oh. Oh, my. Oh, my, indeed.

Ultimately, Harris’s rant is as incomprehensible as it is stupid. He both tries to excoriate women who dress in ways he finds inappropriate (sometimes, because he’s not gay) as man eating predators out to do absolutely nothing with some poor, socially awkward geek, and as ugly sluts who noble comic fans can see right through. He’s using scattershot stereotypes and ending up with a confusing mess of entitlement that just makes it seem like he spent his formative years wondering why no scantily dressed women with super powers ever needed to be rescued by him. And in the process, he completely dehumanizes women who cosplay (notice how he calls them “the thing”, not even recognizing that they’re individuals), reducing complex human emotions and motivations down to “you just want to make men feel bad about not having sex with you!” Basically, Tony Harris is the anti-Scalzi, Scalzi being the avatar for all that is right and good in geekdom. EDIT:  I wrote this last night and scheduled it, and in the interim Scalzi responded to Harris. All that is right and good in geekdom.

Tony Harris needs to get over himself. What women wear in any context is none of your damn business. Geek men don’t need you “sticking up” for them, either. They’re remarkably intelligent and will take care of themselves. But most importantly, unless you’re the Mind Reading Comic Illustrator, you have no fucking clue why people wear what they wear, whether they know enough about what they’re wearing to pass muster with you, or anything else about them. So knock it the fuck off.

7 thoughts on “Cosplayers Are Overrated Slut-Sirens

  1. Pingback: Geek-Flavored Misogyny « Congratulations, it's a grain of rice!

  2. AAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

    *breathes*

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

    …Ok. Ok. I’m over it, I’m better, I’m…

    …RAAAAAAGE!!!!

    Ok, NOW I’m calm.

    Ah, this brings up my VERY FAVORITE rant whenever I run into the slut-shaming crowd: IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU, ASSHOLE!!!

    Pretty girls: stop bein’ all hot in public, don’t you know it’s mean to the poor menz?

    The rest of us: where’s your sackcloth, fatty, stop tryin’ to look hot

    *eyeroll*

    Heavens forfend we may just want to cosplay because, y’know, it’s fun. Regardless of whether you and your pants approve.

    (Also, given that about 85% of my social life consists of hanging out with geeky men, the “Lying Liar-Face” [srsly, what are you, twelve?] activated my punching instinct. Just sayin’.)

    Expanded rant can be found here: http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/cosplayers-are-overrated-slut-sirens/#comments

  3. Men like him are the reason why I’m too insecure now to wear many of the costumes that I once loved. Not only does this sort of condescension demean the time and effort that goes into most true cosplay designs (to mean: not Halloween surplus “sexy whatever” togs), but he manages to put into words every bad or hateful thing that our internal voice screams at us. So, I can dress as Disney’s Ursula and have people compliment me on how nice it was, how refreshing, that I chose a persona that fits my body type, or I can do something that’s a little sexy, a little racy, and know that I’ll be judged and scorned and ridiculed because my body isn’t “perfect” even though my dedication to my fandom of choice is. Yeah, he gave the disclaimer about surface knowledge and his cos-girl friends are real fans and he’s not talking about “real fans”. But he is, because we are, and it’s distressing that I’m not allowed to show my enthusiasm without being harangued for it.

    Thank you for posting your thoughts; you and Kristy both. It doesn’t make the shame and fear of costuming in public again go away, but it helps to read the words of other people who are just as sickened by this sort of malicious and destructive aggression.

    • (Eep, i’m a dork – meant to link to my OWN blog, not this one! http://tinygrainofrice.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/geek-flavored-misogyny/ )

      Yeah, to me the whole “oh but not THESE girls, they’re ok” was just the final condescension sprinkles on the whole damn sexist sundae. And i really, really hate that what you’re describing is happening – that women who love cosplay are getting shamed and bullied away from it because of men like him and attitudes like his :(

      • There’s part of it that I’m a bit torn on, though, as it seems that he’s lashing out at more than one group for different reasons. He’s shaming girls who don’t have perfect figures who do public costuming, and he’s shaming girls who aren’t “true fans” and are there solely to be seen. I have to admit being guilty – even just internally, or very quietly among the friends with me at the time. You can tell the (admittedly sexy) costumers who are really into the fandom and the design process from the (also admittedly sexy) girls and guys who really are just attention whoring. It irritates me that they’re getting attention for showing cleavage whilst being a size 4 while friends who have worked for months to put together accurate representations get ignored or verbally slammed by those same bloggers and camera jockeys.

        If I am to be truly open-minded and accepting of others, don’t those girls have their place within our ranks, too? They’re at the con to have a good time, and they made an effort (even if just a shallow effort) to visually fit in, so I feel conflicted when my first reaction is wishing that they’d just go back to their trendy malls and coffee shops. We make a big deal about acceptance and tolerance, so there’s guilt for wanting to shut a door in someone’s face.

  4. Especially when that face is a girl’s face, when we’ve worked so hard to gain even basic acceptance into the “nerdist” ranks.

  5. Damn, you wrote this far more eloquently than my fury-rant about the same thing ha. It’s infuriating that people think this way. Everything, every. damn. thing., is related back to men somehow being put out in their eyes.

    NOPE, I just like comics and I like escapism. So fuckin’ sue me.

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