Harrasment at Comic Con

photo credit to Kbarid on Flickr

Comic Con is full of cos-players. People of all genders come dressed up as some of their favorite characters from comics, television, video games and movies. And, because many of the women featured in these different mediums wear sexy or revealing outfits, many of the women (and men) at Comic Con dress the same way. Like “Slave Leia” pictured above, or many super heroines, these costumes are tight, revealing and show off the body of the person wearing it.

Today, Jezebel had an article about a 23 year old woman, Mandy, who was harassed at NYC Comic Con this year. Mandy was dressed as Black Cat, a Marvel character, whose outfit, often made of black leather, is very tight and revealing. After her experience at Comic Con, where a group of men interviewing her for a YouTube Channel felt it necessary to ask her her cup size, Mandy took to Tumblr and posted about the incident. Her post got over 200,000 reblogs.

While this is a great story, and example of a woman using social media to raise awareness about an important social issue, Mandy is definitely not the first woman to experience harassment at Con. In fact, it is so much of a problem there is even an entire project called CAHP, or the “Con Anti-Harassment Project.”

And then the question arises: why is there harassment at Con? These men and women are simply dressing like the characters they are emulating, and it’s a simple fact that many of them wear skimpy clothing. And to some Comic Con goers, this reads as an open invite to harass.

For example, “Slave Leia,” is one of the most popular, and revealing, costumes at Con. As implied by the very name of my blog, I do not find “Slave Leia” to be an image of female empowerment. But it is still a great costume, and a fun character to dress up as. And just because you are dressed as a woman in a bikini with a chain around your next, does NOT mean anyone has the right to harass you. It’s like the “she was asking for it by wearing skimpy clothes” argument all over again. Just because a person (female or male) decides to highlight or show off a physical characteristic of themselves is not an invitation to touch, jeer or make lewd comments.

When I dress as Poison Ivy it’s the same to me as when I dress as Snake Plissken. Revealing or not, I am just dressing like the character I’m portraying, not asking for attention or inviting harassment.

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