A current controversy in the cosplay community is regarding women and the increasing number of ‘sexy cosplays’ both online and at conventions. There are very strong opinions either way about whether it is acceptable to adapt and make a cosplay sexier than the original portrayal of the character.
People that are against sexy cosplays often argue that it encourages the objectification of women, is not an accurate portrayal of the character and is just a way of attention seeking.
Those for, will often dispute the above stating that sexy cosplays are empowering and a confidence booster. Highlighting that cosplay is a form of art and expression therefore people can adapt a cosplay however they like.
It is important to highlight that many women in comics, gaming and anime, are portrayed as sexy, by cosplaying these characters you are being both sexy and accurate…
So I interviewed self proclaimed sexy cosplayer Alice Malice from Florida to share her opinions and experiences on sexy cosplays.
How did you get involved in cosplay?
Nearly a decade ago I attended my first Megacon and once I discovered what cosplay actually was, I knew I had to be a part of it. Now over the years I’ve had my fair share of truly AWFUL cosplays. But one thing was always for sure, it was a lot of fun. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Do you have a favourite cosplay?
So hard to say. Right now I’m currently really enjoying Rogue and am trying to make a new costume from her history every year. Next year I’m sure I’ll have a new favourite, but I’ll always love the southern lass.
What inspires your next cosplay?
Time, budget, fandom. Sometimes I get into something and about 6 months later it fades, so I try not to rush into making new cosplays, I prefer to make things that I’ll always enjoy. But really overall it’s budget, what I can make myself and what I’d have to outsource. Admittedly, I’m awful at props and wigs!
Do you find cosplaying gives you confidence?
Loads! Why when I was first getting started I was still quite introvert but over the years as I matured and kept cosplaying, I’m now quite the extrovert. I’m not particularly shy and I love meeting new people – cosplay helps with that in spades!
What are your feelings towards ‘sexy cosplays’?
LOVE em! Some of my own costumes are quite revealing. But I think I understand what you are getting at, cosplaying just for the sake of being sexy? Sometimes it can get frustrating, like a zillion other Emma Frost or Poison Ivy cosplays that know diddly squat about the characters and just want attention. But really, that’s fine. It isn’t my business!
Have you ever been judged for the cosplays you wear?
Not so much the costumes I wear, just perhaps what I do after I wear them. Some people aren’t into the self-expression that comes with nude cosplay and that’s perfectly fine.
How do you deal with this?
Ignore them. I’ve gotten a few rude emails in the past. And I tend to ignore the anonymous comments online. Some people are harsh, but I try my best not to let it bother me. Haters gonna hate!
What advice would you give to those looking to adapt their cosplay and make it sexier?
Everyone should have at least something they are confident about themselves. Be it legs, stomach, arms, hair. Just find an aspect of yourself that you have confidence in and show it off! Like myself, I’m very happy with my legs so many of my costumes display them! I also take into account how makeup will accentuate my features, along with any undergarments that might help along the way.
You are a member of Geek Goddess; please tell me about this and how you got involved?
Yes, I was even one of the launch models for Geek Goddess (NSFW – not safe for work). I’ve been involved in the nude pin-cosplay scene for some time, through my own website thealicemalice.com (you guessed it, NSFW!) and others. I’m also friends with one of the co-owners of Geek Goddess, Jessica Nova. Before the site got started I was approached to become a model. A website run by two fellow geek ladies? Sign me up! It’s been a blast.
The website itself is a monthly subscription website, $9.95 a month that updates every Saturday with new sets. We also are coming to more conventions around the US. And we are always looking for more!
From my panels, a common comment from the audience is that those who make a cosplay intentionally sexy are ‘attention seeking’. Do you agree with this statement?
Cosplay is all about attention. It’s about self-expression, and really just exposing your fandom for a certain character or series. So what if it’s just to look sexy? As stated before it’s a confidence booster and just plain fun. If someone doesn’t like a “sexy cosplay” they are nowhere near required to take a picture, comment on it online, etc.
Do you ever think that by making a cosplay sexy it can take away the essence of the character?
Yes, you can loose the essence of the character.
Do you think by making a cosplay sexy it encourages the objectification of women?
Absolutely not. If someone walks down the street dressed “sexy” it’s the same as a cosplay. They choose to do so and it isn’t reinforcing any objectification. Overall I’d like to add, men and women being sexy is not a bad thing and so common. No wonder why there are so many “sexy cosplays” out there. People want to feel sexy. We like looking at sexy people. Feeling sexy can actually be very empowering. Nothing wrong with that.
A growing concern in the cosplay community at the moment is cosplay consent. What are your feelings towards this?
I have very strong opinions on this. Personally I’ve had people get too handsy, but I tell them to stop and I walk away.
Any advice for those who may experience this?
More and more recently I’m reading stories about this happening to fellow cosplayers and I have the same advice to give to all of them. If someone at a convention (or hell, even a skype interview!) you need to tell them to stop, and always remember that there are staff somewhere nearby. If someone touches you please get safe and contact security, no one should have to deal with that and all conventions will have a 0 tolerance on these matters. Don’t be shy or ashamed, you did nothing wrong. You could be wearing a string bikini with barely anything covered, that gives NO ONE the right to touch or harass you unless you gave them permission to do so.
What do your friends and family think of your cosplaying and alternative modelling?
My mom wishes she knew these characters I’m so obsessed about, but my family is always supportive. It’s a creative endeavor and it makes me happy, thus it makes them happy. Most of my friends are also models as well, so I’ve got a great support group. And even if they are not, everyone who I call a friend is cool with it and are encouraging.
Do you see cosplaying as a hobby or a profession?
For me, cosplay isn’t a profession. I’ve been able to make money off of costumes which continues to feed the hobby. It’ll always be a cycle. Anyone who CAN make a living off of crafting costumes and what not for a living my hat goes off to them, well done!
Any tips for those wishing to pursue a career?
Well, there are varying ways they could make it their “career”. But really just be smart about your subject, if you ever get to a point where you are ridiculously popular, keep yourself modest. Everyone has their 15 minutes, just keep your cool and always be courteous to fans and admirers whenever you spot them in person. With me? I’m always giving hugs.
What do you think, are you pro, against or indifferent about making a cosplay sexy?