Many of the people I socialize with on Facebook stem from the local anime convention scene. While I’m starting to get burnt out on conventions on a whole, I do still go to them and pay some attention to the scene; at least, when I feel like it.
Making the rounds on my feed though is quite a bit of, well, downright hate for a collectors convention known as “EliteCon” and their policy of no cosplay allowed. period.
It stirred up quite a bit of drama, including the use of someone’s photo without permission (twice) but also just on the general principle of it – No cosplay at a convention? What blasphemy!
This is where I have to put my two cents into the matter. Now, try to read this carefully, as I am being as careful in my word choice as I can be here. People are known to read only what they want out of something and not what is actually said, and as I have said countless times, I’m not one to have my point strawmanned into an argument. Just don’t do it. I mean what I say, and I will say what I mean. Got it? Good. Let’s begin.
I’m not the biggest fan of cosplay. While I don’t hate it, I also wouldn’t mind it downplayed at any event I’m at. It’s quite dominating in the convention scene, up to the point where people claim a con isn’t a con without cosplay. This simply isn’t the case – cosplay grew out of the convention scene, and was spawned by it, not as an integral part of it. At conventions people had a chance to “become” the characters they loved, and it just took off! Go ahead, be Darth Vader. Be Vash the Stampede. Be Batman! Have fun! Conventions became a chance to be the characters!
The idea of a convention, at its core, is simply people who like similar things meeting together to discuss such, socialize in general, and attend presentations dedicated to various subsets of the convention theme. In the case of Elite Con, this is a collectors convention. Some criticize it of being an overblown dealers room, and you could think of it like that, but in the art of collectable figures, comics, and the like, well, isn’t that all there is to the hobby? Buying, selling, and trading of specific items is a key element of collecting, and as such naturally would be the focus of a collectors con. Cosplay, sure, it could fit in, but the convention has every right to deny such, deeming it not in line with the goals of the convention, and I’m quite happy with that. If I was into collecting such items, that would actually make me want to go more.
Seriously, I don’t understand why the criticism is “this is just a dealers room.” And? As I said above, it’s a collectables con. That’s the nature of such. Who are you to say what a con is or isn’t? I know you’re going to accuse me of the same as you read this.
As I said above, I don’t hate cosplay, but I’m also not much of a fan. Sure, the re-creation of characters in real life is great, and I’ve even done a few simple cosplays myself – it is fun to do – but it’s also quite a bit of work, and seems to take over the con, wherever it is.
I go to conventions to socialize, to discuss things, and to learn more about the subjects I’m interested in, as would be the core idea behind any given con. When a quarter of the conventions panels might be devoted to cosplay, and it’s nearly impossible to navigate the stuffed hallways due to people wanting to take photos (something I’m guilty of contributing too, in all honesty), well, it becomes a little bit difficult to have fun.
It’s hard to phrase this – it isn’t the fault of cosplay itself but a side effect of its popularity. It tends to take over any and every convention, and clearly, EliteCon wants the focus to be on the items vendors and attendees are bringing, not on cosplay. It takes over – hell, I think, keyword: think – there are conventions now dedicated to just cosplay itself! Okay, that’s cool, good for you who like that kind of stuff, but such a con would do nothing for me at all.
Some people go to conventions specifically for the cosplay, and while that’s fine, do what you want to do, I feel like you’re missing out on what the convention experience really is based on – discussion, direct socialization based on who you are and what you like, not your costume skills, and all in all immersion among peers. People in cosplay tend to stand out and become sort of mini-celebrities at cons, and that side effect of human behaviour I feel detracts from the root ideas of the convention scene: if you look back at the classic cons of the 70’s and 80’s, the ones that really got it all going, you might see what I mean about the original idea.
Cosplay is fine, but it takes over. It distracts, and can detract from other elements. This convention isn’t designed to be like the others you are familiar with – you shouldn’t be trying to treat it like such, or thinking it should be like such.
I would continue further into my thoughts on cosplay on a whole, but I will end this here: I think I’ve made my point clear in a way people shouldn’t get mad about: It’s simple opinion. You have one, I have one, you have probably expressed yours on the subject at hand, and I’m expressing mine. Sure, you probably love cosplay, but as the convention staff have said, no one who is actually going to the con has complained about the no-cosplay rule. They seem to be in favor of it, as this con simply isn’t designed to be that type of convention.
Cosplay isn’t required for a con. It can, in fact, detract from the purpose of a given con, and I feel EliteCon is doing the right thing by banning it from their convention. If you like to cosplay, that’s fine, but don’t treat those who don’t care as much about it as you do badly. Don’t act like a con that isn’t trying to be “that kind of ” event as somehow inferior or destined to fail because it doesn’t want to be something it’s not.
There is an irony in that their desire to keep cosplay out is to keep the con successful, when those who don’t seem to know what the con is about think it will fail because it doesn’t allow cosplay. That’s completely missing the point. Cosplay does have some issues that come with it, namely the distraction and this convention simply wants to negate those to begin with.
This is an event for the buying, selling, and trading, of collectables and nothing more. It is being what it wants to be, and that’s it, by avoiding the overbearing, take-over nature that cosplay has at cons. They don’t want the focus to be on anything other than the buy/sell/trade nature of their convention. They aren’t interested in being a con full of people for the sake of it; they clearly want to provide the best experience possible for their target demographic.
Thank you, and goodnight. If you can’t read between the lines on this post, then I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve made things as clear as they can be.