#MadCostumeLab, A Survey
I have a conundrum. I am primarily here to talk about costuming and DIY geek culture. But where do I start? Do I start by talking about how to make Iron-Man armor out of some spandex, heat-activated plastic, a hair dryer and nail polish? (my current project)
Do I start by explaining why I, a grown woman, dress up like a superhero and allow it to be documented for the whole world to see?
Do I start by talking about my background as an anthropologist and a feminist and navel gaze about whether I am participating in my own oppression by wearing skintight spandex or a stomach-baring, mini-skirted outfit. Or whether I am participating in my oppression more when I dress up like Draco Malfoy and repress my more female characteristics?
All of these things have been running through my mind for the past couple weeks. I’ve started at least twenty posts talking about costumes and then trashed them just as quickly.
It’s a complicated story that makes a girl who dresses like this:
decide to dress like this:
However, it’s not a particularly unique story. I know many, many people who costume at different levels, and we all have some shared themes in our stories and we all have some differences.
So instead of focusing on me, I’m going ask questions of you. Yes, you. All of you. Costumer or not. Humor me. It will be worth it.
You can reply here, you can hashtag it on twitter or Google+ as #madcostumelab, you can write your own navel-gazing post and link to it in the comments. If you are interested in saying something, but you would prefer to not do so in public, it can be emailed to me at [email protected] Any method you choose, I want to hear what you think. Send me your thoughts, your photos, your essays, your photo essays, so I can more fully represent the costuming world, and what the rest of the world thinks of it.
- Are you a costumer? A cosplayer? A reenactor? I(f you aren’t, I still want you to answer the questions below! I’m as interested in the outside view of costuming as I am the inside view.)
- If you are, how do you define that? How serious are you?
- What was the last costume you wore? Do you have a picture of it?
- How did it make you feel?
- If you could dress up like any person, fictional or historical, who would it be?
- Do you feel like you should/shouldn’t answer that question in a certain way because of society’s gender issues? (It sounds like a silly question, but it’s probably the biggest debate in all of the costuming world. Just put “Slave Leia debate” into Google and see what you find.)
- If you could see me write about anything related to costuming and cosplay, what would it be? Would you like to see more diversity of awesome cosplayers than are featured on other sites? Would you like to see how-tos for how to make everything? Would you like to see anthropological discussions of clothing, transgression and gender representation? What interests you about the world of people who dress up like superheroes?
The featured image in this post is the Birds of Prey group from Dragon*Con 2012, led by the indomitable Wiccy, and photographed by Paul Cory. My Black Canary is one of my favorites because of the nature of the directions Gail Simone has taken character and the whole Birds of Prey series. Strangely, it gets less derisive snark than most of my ‘typical geek girl costumes’, given that it’s a leotard, boots and a pair of fishnets.