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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:14 PM   #1
Flora88
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"Self-Objectification" and Geek Girls?

Okay, so I recently read this article about how there's so much sexy cosplay going on and whether or not it's self-objectification (ie - making oneself simply an image or an object that panders to the male gaze. Think of the bikini-ed women on the covers of car magazines, for example, or women who somehow have to be naked to sell perfume...to women.)
This, many feel, has bled over into the geek/cosplayer/nerd/gamer/anime fan community.

For example, lots of geek girls love Princess Leia, and why wouldn't you? She's pretty badass.
...But why are there more Slave Leia cosplayers out there than White-Dress-Head-Buns Leia cosplayers? When she wears that costume in the films, she's not being badass--she's being held captive and sexualized. Why do so many choose THAT costume in particular?

The article asks the following question to try to examine why.
Quote:
Does displaying the sexiness of fangirls benefit or demean them?
When geek girls show off, are they liberating themselves or pandering to men?
Do some “fake fangirls” blend sex appeal with nerdiness just to appeal to the growing geek/nerd market, or is that question itself unfair?
And what’s up with all the Slave Leias?
It makes the argument:
Quote:
Women aren’t the problem... The problem is that women who dress sexy, who frame themselves as sex objects, are rewarded by geek culture for doing so.
(In short, the article argues that the problem isn't women. It's society, and geek culture, as part of society, if a sort of counter-culture.)

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this.

IS there a problem?
Do you find some behavior pandering and other behaviors not? Why or why not?
Where does this come from?

And NOBODY go the "you people criticizing sexy cosplayers are just jealous!" route, please. It's been done.

Thanks!
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Last edited by Flora88 : 09-14-2011 at 05:54 PM. Reason: Edited for clarification. :)
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:29 PM   #2
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Forgive me in advance, this won't be the most coherent cohesive post, but this really is an interesting topic.

A lot of times I don't see it as pandering to the male psyche or anything like that. Sure, it can be, and some girls do it just for the attention. But most of the time I see it as a way of boosting self-esteem and making yourself feel good about your body and your appearance. I'm envious of a lot of cosplayers for being able to pull off sexy costumes and have the confidence to wear them in public. Women can be the most picky people when it comes to sexified outfits and characters, much more so than men. So, I can see it as going both ways: guys will pay attention to most anything scantily clad, but women will see it as something to be admired and maybe envious of (if that made any kind of sense).
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:32 PM   #3
kiratsukai
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I don't see any more or less geeks dressing to attract the male gaze in costume than out of it.

Yes, some of us dress sexy for attention, positive feedback and to open doors in the community.

...but a lot of women do that everywhere, all the time.

Is it any worse in geekdom?
Personally, I don't see it.

If anything, fewer regular lasses into geeketry bother with boys at all, much less care what they think (and visa versa). That goes for cosplayers, too. For every girl out there dressed as Wonderwoman, there's another dressed as Wiccan from the Young Avengers. For every Cammie, there are 50 girls getting their Hetalia gayness on.

Dear society: want us to stop dressing up skanky? Stop putting only the skanky chicks on G4 and start giving your comic women pants.

How much of our mode of dress is a symptom of sexism in the media we love and how much of it is sexism from within?
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:39 PM   #4
bunchabugs
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I know some young women do it for attention because of their insecurities. I see alot of young nerdy girls experiment this way and lets face it men reward women for doing it,(this is true for any walks of life) and if your a young lady who has had insecurities and you get positive attention it kind of feeds into a cycle. Plus in cosplay you kind of use your character as a mask and could use cosplay as a way to experiment with boys. NOT EVERYONE but Ive seen it done for sure.

However, there are women who are actually comfortable with themselves. I honestly think its far and few but people can wear whatever they want reguardless.

Last edited by bunchabugs : 09-14-2011 at 05:47 PM.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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I think this is interesting because of the huge number of times a guy friend has complained abut seeing an overweight or unnatractive Slave leia. Yes Dressing like that has the implication f making you a sexual object but 90% of the time I see guys being turned off. This creates sort of a weird rift in my opinion. You could really argue either way, If somones goes out as a sexy character and the general public sees them as sexy, this can be empowering. If A girl goes out as a sexy character and is seen as being unsexy it can often go in a number of ways. She can either feel empowered anyway because she is comfortable in her own skin or she can feel demeaned.

The prblem i Find in cosplay lies in the fact that you and trying to emulate a fictional character or in the case of leia somone who is in an industry based on looks. The average girl cannot seek to look like these fictional beauties and sadly for female cosplayers we are often judged more on how attractive we are rather than the quality of our costumes.

This whole idea of women being glorified by geek culture is something i dissagree with. The women who are glorifired in geek cultures are not as much a sexy cosplayer as they are a sexy female. it isnt about the costume it is about the amount of skin and the girl its on. This is only being linked to geek culture because it is cosplay rather than street fashion.

I have had a past hurtfull experience where I cosplayed a sexy character and later discovered myself in a photostream from the convention and a string of posts by men all commenting that i made an ugly Yuna (this was the gunner costume a rather revealing costume) I had not been glorified for dressing in this sexy way because i am not an attractive nerd girl.

I feel like i have just talked in circles now and have not made a point but i think whatr i want to say is women who cosplay sexy arent rewarded by geek culture. The steryotypical beauty is rewarded just as she is in hollywood fashion and the media. These same women are going to be attractive out of cosplay as well and will likeley be rewarded by regular culture if they are at the beach in a bikini or at a convention. A conventionally unnatractive girl will therefore likeley not be rewarded by geek culture if she dresses sexy, even if she frames herself as a sex object.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:43 PM   #6
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Honestly, I've never thought that what character I cosplayed had such a political statement. I'd rather stay in the dark about it all...because it is supposed to be something I do for fun. Something I do for myself...and can enjoy myself...feel good about myself. Placing an argument on whether I'm objectifying myself or not completely ruins why I cosplay in the first place.

That being said, if we are going to blame women for objectifying themselves, shouldn't we be looking at the creators of these particular animes or comics to blame for more than suggesting women in this fandom should be dressed as such? Since I can remember, women in comics have very skimpy outfits. Reading them as a child, I paid no attention to their clothing, but as I grew up, society basically told me that I should look a certain way. Video games, anime, and comics have been no exception.

I enjoy reading these responses, but I'm especially interested to read some guy perspectives. I'm quite impressed to read that many women are seeing what I see -- that this sex symbol of women is not as bad as this article seems to make it. I find much more revealing outfits outside of conventions than in. I hardly saw any at my last con. Also, I think a lot of people find it fun to cosplay so they can be someone they aren't. If you're shy and modest in life, why wouldn't you want to cosplay something out of the ordinary for you? For me, it's like acting. As an actor, I enjoy more challenging, outside the box roles than my typical "sweet girl" personality.

While the question made me cringe, I'm quite enjoying the responses it has created.

Last edited by angelbabycakes : 09-14-2011 at 05:46 PM.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:44 PM   #7
Flora88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunchabugs View Post
I know some young women do it for attention because of their insecurities. I see alot of young nerdy girls experiment this way and lets face it men reward women for doing it, and if your a young lady who has had insecurities and you get positive attention it kind of feeds into a cycle. Plus in cosplay you kind of use your character as a mask and use cosplay as a way to experiement with boys.

However, there are women who are actually comfortable with themselves. I honestly think its far and few but people can wear whatever they want reguardless.
No one's saying they can't.
We're just examining why people may choose something like Slave Leia over Covered-Up-White-Thing Leia.

This is purely discussion for discussion's sake.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:47 PM   #8
Flora88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelbabycakes View Post
Honestly, I've never thought that what character I cosplayed had such a political statement. I'd rather stay in the dark about it all...because it is supposed to be something I do for fun. Something I do for myself...and can enjoy myself...feel good about myself. Placing an argument on whether I'm objectifying myself or not completely ruins why I cosplay in the first place.

That being said, if we are going to blame women for objectifying themselves, shouldn't we be looking at the creators of these particular animes or comics to blame for more than suggesting women in this fandom should be dressed as such? Since I can remember, women in comics have very skimpy outfits. Reading them as a child, I paid no attention to their clothing, but as I grew up, society basically told me that I should look a certain way. Video games, anime, and comics have been no exception.

I enjoy reading these responses, but I'm especially interested to read some guy perspectives. I'm quite impressed to read that many women are seeing what I see -- that this sex symbol of women is not as bad as this article seems to make it. I find much more revealing outfits outside on conventions than in. I hardly saw any at my last con. Also, I think a lot of people find it fun to cosplay so they can be someone they aren't. If you're shy and modest in life, why wouldn't you want to cosplay something out of the ordinary for you? For me, it's like acting. As an actor, I enjoy more challenging, outside the box roles than my typical "sweet girl" personality.

While the question made me cringe, I'm quite enjoying the responses it has created.
I think you may have missed the "women are not the problem, society is the problem" part of the first post. This is the entire point of the article.

We're wondering, IS it a societal problem with geek culture? Is geek culture more sexist or less sexist than other scenes out there? That sort of thing.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:49 PM   #9
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How the male gender sexualizes their appearance is out of our control. Society implants the "norm" of what is sexy or provocative, they set the standard, I suppose you could say...Labels like skank or attention whore might get throw around..but Having the confidence to wear a provocative outfit does seem pretty empowering to me. Depends a bit on the age group of the con a bit but I don't see it as a bad thing.

I get a feeling though when I see sexier cosplayers that they aren't afraid to show some skin. They're proud of their bodies. I don't see many timid ones...Whatever their reasons the consequences will be their own so I don't have much to say passed that.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flora88 View Post
No one's saying they can't.
We're just examining why people may choose something like Slave Leia over Covered-Up-White-Thing Leia.

This is purely discussion for discussion's sake.
I just made that point incase someone jumped down my throat.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shifty Llama View Post
I feel like i have just talked in circles now and have not made a point but i think whatr i want to say is women who cosplay sexy arent rewarded by geek culture. The steryotypical beauty is rewarded just as she is in hollywood fashion and the media. These same women are going to be attractive out of cosplay as well and will likeley be rewarded by regular culture if they are at the beach in a bikini or at a convention. A conventionally unnatractive girl will therefore likeley not be rewarded by geek culture if she dresses sexy, even if she frames herself as a sex object.
THIS. This right here! I don't think I could have thought or said this better. If you are accepted by society as sexy, pretty, what have you -- you are going to be seen as such anywhere you go.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:50 PM   #12
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haha see i Went on this huge rampage arguing witht he article....my bad, i think i just wanted to adress that i perhaps dissagreed with the article.....


The costume choice thing is a whole different thing. each girl is different, I know there are some girls who yes want the attention, most women and men like to feel attracted to at some point. Some other girls like the character or costume, When i chose to cosplay Seung mina a rather revealing costume it wasnt because i wanted the attention it was because i like the character and it was an easy last minute costume to make.

Some girls may choose leai's slave costume because it requires more technical skill than the white robe.

Some may want the attention and to look sexy

Some may just think its a damb cool outfit


as for my 2 cents...if i ever cosplay leia i want the poofy white coat vest thing she wears on hoth...it is technically complex, I like to have my midriff covered and i could probably get wear out of it int he winter,
Thats my reasning but i can honestly say that everyone is going to be different
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunchabugs View Post
I just made that point incase someone jumped down my throat.
Awesome! Just making sure! b
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:53 PM   #14
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...well, to be fair the white outfit would just be grossly hot to wear in the summer. ^_^

Joking aside, maybe some girls just want to feel sexy/pretty? Leia is indeed a badass *and* she's attractive/sexy. She's got the whole package going on and maybe by dressing as her they feel they can channel their inner sexy badass. And sexy is usually associated with skimpy clothes.
Sure, Leia was a prisoner and put in a skimpy outfit in that scene but emember that Jabba totally misjudged her and she choked the crap out of him. ^_^
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Unread 09-14-2011, 05:53 PM   #15
Shifty Llama
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i would say Geek culture is no worse than any other out there, if two girls are at a beach and one is in a bikini and another is in a sweatsuit i think we know who is drawing the attention.

I think i just wanted to bring up the issue that in some cases it isnt the sexyness of the costume but the wearer itsself
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Last edited by Shifty Llama : 09-14-2011 at 05:58 PM.
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