So I’m a little late to the scantily clad lady debate. There have been bans on booth babes at cons for years now, most notably PAX and E3 . Recently there have been more articles circulating the internet warning cosplayers that they will be the next to be banned if they dress too sexy. This seems like an incredible leap to me, one that would ultimately be bad for conventions financially.
The ban on booth babes makes a whole lot of sense to me. Booth babes are classified as attractive women, often wearing sexy outfits, that are hired by companies to help sell their products. For all we know, they have limited or no product knowledge and the only purpose of their existence in or near a booth is to be a distraction, to get people to stop and hopefully end up buying product. I personally feel that the women are being used as products themselves and that this tactic should not be necessary to get people interested in your product. If you need this to sell your stuff, then your stuff is probably not any good! Sex sells, but is this something that should be allowed at family friendly cons? I think not, and so do many others.
As more cons are beginning to ban booth babes, there has been a lot of chatter on the the internet that warns cosplayers they could be next. There is a big difference between booth babes and cosplayers, and I believe that this talk is very conspiracy theory. Cosplayers are people who attend cons or are payed to work at cons, dressed up as characters from anime, comics, and movies. They are imitating the very images that you will be seeing at many booths while visiting a con. Most are not trying to sell a product, but are living out a dream of being their favorite character. Some do it for fun, some do it for attention, but either way you shake it, they are harming no one and are a big draw for other guests of these cons. I personally LOVE seeing people dressed up as some of my favorite imaginary people. They add to the conventions, they do not distract from them.
There are a lot of cosplayers that wear outfits that are revealing and sexy, but these costumes are usually the exact replica of the character they are dressing up as. They are not random hot people that are there to hypnotize you with their hooters, but people who have spent time and effort to recreate a character that can be seen in comics, anime, or movies. It doesn’t seem right to me that parents will expose their kids to video game images and comic images that are the exact replica of what a cosplayer wears, and then complain about the cosplayer. So my question is this: If, at a family friendly con, someone complains about a cosplayer being too sexy, should the person complaining be shut down or should the paying guest with the costume be told to leave? I say, let the offended person deal with their own issues and get on with your life. And this is how things will probably stay.
Aeon Flux cosplay Rikku FF10 cosplay Tiffa FF7 cosplay
Cosplayers bring a lot of attention to conventions. When I look at photos of cons I have attended, there are pictures of me with a slew of different cosplayers, and they are part of the reason I shell out my hard earned money to attend. Let’s face it: you can buy comics and toys anytime from your local shops. The biggest draw to go to a con is to meet media and artist guests, and to look at all the cool costumes. It’s like Halloween all over again, without the cold weather. If cons decide to have rules in place to limit what cosplayers can wear not ONLY would less people attend, but there would be a big backlash in the cosplay community which could result in a loss of money. Less cosplayers, less attendees. Less attendees, less sales for the vendors. If they don’t make enough sales to warrant the booth rental fee, they will not come back to your con. If you don’t have a good mix of vendors, even less people will come. Do the math, people.
So let’s let the rumors go, can we? Booth babes are going the way of the dodo, but cosplayers are part of the lifeblood of comicons. Any intelligent con organizer will see this. What we really need to do is understand that there is a difference between throwing boobs at people to sell a product and dressing up as a character and being part of the con community. One is a commercial venture with an agenda, the other is an attempt to play the part of a beloved character. No matter how little that character may wear, no one should be able to tell a cosplayer that they CAN’T dress as a certain character because of it.
If Wonder Woman could rock this on TV in the 70’s, cosplayers can rock whatever they want!