Trouble at SDCC: Cosplay is Not Consent!

Heyo! Mads here, and before I begin I’d just like to say I’m incredibly glad to be apart of the Docking Bay team, and I cannot wait to hop on and share my views on the good, the bad, and the nerdy! So, on with the article!

As most of you know, last thursday marked the first day of San Diego Comic Con! This has to be by far one of the largest geek culture conventions in America, spanning 4 hectic days (Thursday-Sunday) and though we don’t have a released attendee count for this year yet, in recent years the con has hit over 130,000 attendees, yikes! Among these attendees are cosplayers, gamers, artists, the whole bunch! What do all of these people have in common? Their love for just about anything nerdy! Now I’ve noticed that lately, we’ve been having a growing problem in the convention scene. Many cosplayers are facing sexual harassment, mostly because this weird trend going around that because you might be wearing a cosplay, (skimpy or not) you are consenting to being sexually harassed. So my question is, what is it about conventions that compels people to grow 500% more touchy than in regular public areas?  Is it the fact that there are so many people of similar interests in one place? Perhaps it’s the amount of euphoria elevating in such an event, that some people feel like they’re able to get away with things they normally wouldn’t? Regardless, It needs to stop.


Backtracking on the subject, Comic Con is a prime example of a term I’m going to be focusing on, which is “Cosplay Is Not Consent.” Amidst the insane geekery and shenanigans, stands a group of cosplayers apart from the others. They call themselves the “GeeksforCONsent,” which is composed of three girls from Philadelphia who want to work towards eliminating harassment at conventions. This year, they amassed over 2,500 signatures at comic con on their petition to get popular geek culture conventions to include a Zero Tolerance policy for harassment. Not only would this policy include sexual harassment, but also harassment towards other individuals because of race, gender, sexuality, etc. Despite the fact that Comic con does have security and will occasionally intervene, it’s simply not enough. This year, I’ve noticed a spike in harassment, not to mention the plethora of cases at comic con last week. One in particular was about a female cosplayer (I’m not quite sure who the character was that she was cosplaying) who was found bloody and unconscious on the side of the road, and to my knowledge, the police have yet to have found a culprit. I find it very disheartening to think that cosplaying may be becoming dangerous now, because it shouldn’t be! Cosplaying and costuming is about having fun, going to cons with friends attending local charity events, etc. nobody should feel frightened of getting attacked or molested in cosplay, especially at the one place they may feel the safest.


Although we may not be able to abolish sexual harassment in cosplay, I am 100% certain we can find ways to reduce it. Now, before I finish this up, here’s a few cosplay safety tips to help you make the most of your convention experience.


  1. When leaving the main spaces of the convention, try to stay in groups.

Some people will try to approach you when you’re on your own, as it’s a lot easier to get away with groping/harassment.

  1. When asked for a photo, keep a friend close, and establish your boundary.

Make it known where your personal bubble is, don’t let anyone pop it.

  1. If someone gropes you or verbally harasses you, call them out on it immediately.

Don’t let them get away with it! Calling them out causes a confrontation, and attracts attention to the culprit.

  1. Don’t accept food, drinks, candy, etc. from people you don’t know or trust.

Basically something we’ve been taught in grade school: Don’t take free candy from strangers, just don’t.


And that about does it for my Con Safety Tips! If you think I’ve missed anything, please feel free to comment below and share your opinion!


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