View Full Version : Seeking advice about a possibly controversial costume.

01-30-2012, 09:53 AM
I am planning to dress up for a convention (PAX East) in a few months, and I am still in the process of getting my costume together.

In the past, I have done only one costume, and it was for Halloween three years ago. I crossdressed as a woman from the Middle East (complete with headscarf and black abaya). Granted, it wasn't a controversial costume, and while some people did poke fun at me for crossdressing, people weren't necessarily offended by it.

But, for an upcoming convention, I am thinking about doing something that might rub at people's sensitivities, especially if they have a good eye at identifying helmets and camouflage.

You see, I am thinking about dressing up as a panzergrenadier of the Waffen SS. You know, the same sort of guy you might have killed in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault or Call of Duty. A Waffen SS camouflage tunic looks like this:


For discretion's sake, I won't sew the eagle patch on my sleeve. I'm not putting SS decals on my Stahlhelm, nor will I be wearing any SS runes on my collar. Instead of an SS belt buckle, I'm substituting for a Reichswehr belt buckle, which you can see here:


However, I am concerned that some people might have a good enough eye, recognize the shape of the helmet I'm wearing, as well as the camouflage, and realize that I'm dressed as a Nazi, or specifically, Waffen SS.

I am just looking for advice concerning this. I am trying hard to be as discreet as possible, but I fear causing some offense.

If Waffen SS is too controversial, I'm just going to roll in a regular Wehrmacht uniform instead, since that will likely be less controversial, and if asked, I can always claim I am cosplaying as a soldier of the Weimar Republic's Reichswehr.

I do recall at Anime Boston a few years ago that there was this group that did a Sieg Heil salute in the street, complete with Nazi armbands and everything. I wonder what happened to them.

02-03-2012, 09:23 AM
I would be very cautious of cosplaying from any real Earth military, no matter which nation. It seems somewhat disrespectful to me. I'd probably be even more careful about an army that was so widely hated.

That being said, the Germans did have a spectacular eye for military fashion and the uniforms are incredible. If you make the substitutions you mention, it would probably be okay.

Ororo Monroe
02-05-2012, 07:58 PM
Having done living history, if you are going to do real world then do it right. Show respect. It ticks me off to no end when Hetalia cosplays act like they have a brain the size of a peanut. Be prepared for those who remember and will not appreciate the implication of an Waffen SS Panzergrenedier. There are men still alive who are familiar with what happened at places like Malmedy & Wyereth. You can't please everyone all the time, and some subjects have too many negative feelings attached.

You will also want to check with con guidelines. Some cons do not allow real world military costumes of any sort from any era.

02-05-2012, 10:20 PM
I would be careful if you have to wear the costume away from the con. If you are commuting to the con, have to walk from an offsite hotel, or are going out to eat, you might want to change or not wear the whole uniform. At the con itself you should be OK.

08-26-2012, 11:23 PM
If you think it's controversial, it's probably not a good idea. If I did that, with my luck the con venue would also be holding something for WW2 vets. Have a change of clothes on you just in case you have to go out or a bunch of people begin complaining. So be careful and try not to stir up too much trouble.
I have been thinking of doing a Soviet Russia cosplay since I have an actual Soviet officer's hat from Hungary. My grandpa lived under their regime there (and the Nazi occupation too, my great-grandfather was forced to be a Nazi soldier. Yeah, my family is anything but proud of that.) and thought it was hilarious when I started and making fun of the Soviets while I was wearing it, so I figure that if a guy who has a million tragic stories because of them and still curses them to this day was cool with it, it'd be fine for the most part.

08-26-2012, 11:29 PM
I don't really recommend it if you think it's controversial. Just hope that the con venue isn't hosting something for WW2 vets, bring a change of clothes just in case you have to go out or people begin complaining, and try not to stir up too much trouble. Hopefully you'll be fine.

I've been thinking of doing a Soviet Russia cosplay since I have an authentic Soviet officer's hat from Hungary. My grandfather grew up in the Soviet regime there and has a million tragic stories to tell due to them and still curses them to this day. I was wearing the hat and acting goofy and making fun of the Soviets and he thought it was hilarious. So I figured that if a guy who's gone through something as awful as he did was cool with it, I'll be fine and can just tell any naysayers that.

08-28-2012, 06:33 PM
I would check with con rules. However, changing it up a bit should be fine. I don't see the problem, but please keep in mind that it doesn't matter what cosplay you are doing, there will likely be at least one person who will judge and make comments. If you do a cosplay like this, there will be even more reason. That does not mean that what you are doing is wrong, it just means they think they will be right. You're going about this the right way, imo, and just because you are cosplaying one thing does not mean you support the roots of that cosplay. Just be prepared for naysayers, and act responsibly if confronted, and you should be fine.

And as for EvilLittleKiss, do be careful. As a hetalia cosplayer I would consider the fact that you might be under more scrutiny than others because of the fandom's history. It's not my place to judge but I'd reconsider using any authentic item due to the fact it is an antique.

08-29-2012, 03:08 AM
Personally, I keep my reenacting/living history/historical airsoft/whatever uniforms away from cosplay conventions. I wear them to gun shows, militaria shows, airsoft sales, and the like. The only time I would attempt any sort of crossover is cosplaying something real life that has been tweaked via artistic license: Battlefield Bad Company's 'future Russians', Call of Duty 4 enemies, anything from S.T.A.L.K.E.R., etc. For me, part of the fun of going to a con is seeing costumes that aren't from the real world.

Even if you wore your Heer uniform, the average con-goer is not going to know, or probably care, about the distinction between Heer and Waffen SS. Furthermore, I doubt they would find the small details (swastikas, belt buckles) particularly offensive compared to the overall uniform. The shape of the Stahlhelm and the 'feel' of the WW2 German uniform are well engrained in the public mind, and in the public mind, WW2 German = Nazi.

I agree that if you are going to wear the uniform of any real-life military, past or present, you should get it right.

09-08-2012, 02:56 AM
You are in a precarious position. What you are wanting to do is a re-enactment. I agree with a few posters above - if you're going to do it, do it right, but you better be ready to get some fire to your behind, because you are going to get no end of crap.

I tend to detest Hetalia cosplayers immensely, not because of their costumes, but because some of them tend to be some of the rudest, culturally insensitive and borderline racist people that I've seen at cons - and they tend to take their cosplay a bit too far. I would suggest not acting out a character like that. Be RESPECTFUL.

09-10-2012, 06:00 PM
Okay first off back ground I do WWI and WWII German Living History so with that said don't do anything that is SS related if your going to a Convention now if you want to join a Living History Group fine I could point you in the right directions.

Try doing something from WWI instead almost every Con has arule about the Swastikas and certain WWII German Uniforms IE what your planning on wearing and since you said you your going to PAX East I know a few of the Special Ops folks that are part of a few WWII Living History Groups and they would pick your Uniform out in a heart beat.

As for your question about the morons at Anime Boston well they were ID and banned for life from Anime Boston.