I came across this picture on my 16 year old nieces Instagram account recently, with accompanying text chastising those who had made been making remarks on her social media accounts, saying she was too “fat to cosplay”. I asked her if I could share her story; to which she agreed.
Cosplay is defined as “the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game”. Comic/Fan/Video game conventions are where many get involved and other events occur depending on location.
Besides my instantaneous outrage from seeing this post, I was saddened by the reality that some people feel the need to spew their foulness under the guise of anonymity.
Cyber-bullying is a reality many of us face. The adage “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you”, isn’t entirely true. They can and do hurt – and unfortunately, there are also those who feel the need to hide behind a screen and try to make themselves feel better by trying to make others feel bad (AKA trolls). I have wondered who these people really are – are they people who have been hurt themselves and feel the need to hurt others? Are they bullies in real life or is it restricted to the indirect Internet?
So, for those who felt the need to tell Marina that she is too “fat” to cosplay, I would like to tell you a few things about her –
Marina lost 60 pounds over the course of a year because SHE wanted to. It was initiated by her own motivation to achieve a goal of wearing certain types of clothing while doing cosplay. She lost the weight by changing her eating habits and engaging in a more active lifestyle. She is proud of her success, as are those close to her.
As her confidence grew, she began to get more involved in the cosplay community and engaged in photo shoots based on scenes from her favorite shows.
Maybe I’m biased because she is my niece, but I think she looks fantastic. I understand that the whole idea of cosplay may not make sense to some people, and they may question its significance. That is ok, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. What is not ok is for anyone to “fat-shame” (this is a word Marina has used to describe what these people were doing to her). On the outside, the victim may claim that they don’t care, but deep down – it hurts. It chips away at your confidence. One solution would be to not allow people to see your images, which would likely decrease the chances of body image attacks. In Marina’s case, she has developed a following and regularly mentors others facing the same challenges.
To those who engage in cyberbullying, I’m sorry that you have that void within yourself that causes you to try and inflict hurt on others, so that you can feel better. It’s pathetic actually.
I would like to end this with a quote from Marina:
“cosplay is for everyone. You can cosplay at any weight, age or gender. Cosplay is about having fun and showing your love for said character creatively. We’re all just nerds dressing up for fun and that’s all it should be about.”