Cos-positivity is two parts: one part body positivity and the other cosplay positivity. Based upon Urban Dictionary’s definition, body positivity is, “Accepting your body as it is and attempting to make everyone else feel comfortable in their own skin as well.” Which is what all cosplayers should do, right? For the most part cosplayers are accepting to all, but there are times when the cosplay community shows its ugly side. In these moments it’s sad to see the worsts parts show up, but it shouldn’t stop anyone from practicing cos-positivity.
The best way to practice is to first accept your own body. It’s difficult to do. Mass media constantly shows us what’s “beautiful” and both women and men have ridiculous standards to live up to. Just about every anime character has surprisingly voluptuous breasts and the men all have at least 8-12 pack abs.
It’s easy to forget that these characters were DRAWN and MADE to look this way and weren’t based upon the actual dimensions of a human body. So if you’re at a convention and someone says, “Your boobs aren’t big enough for that cosplay,” or “You’re too big for that cosplay,” remember these people have forgotten that anime characters are in fact not real and that cosplayers can cosplay WHOEVER THEY WANT regardless of their body.
The second step to practicing cos-positivity is to not be afraid to cosplay anyone and anything. I felt inadequate when I first started cosplaying. Everyone knew how to sew and embroider and make just about anything (prop-makers…) and I felt like all of my cosplays looked like crap. It wasn’t until I cosplayed Esmeralda that I realized two things – dresses take time to sew and sewing isn’t for me. I had to find my niche and not compare myself to other cosplayers who could sew literally ANYTHING together. And that was okay. Everyone started somewhere and got better, but the most important thing is that they didn’t give up and someone along the line said, “OMG, YOU LOOK AMAZING!” and that helped them get better.
Practicing and staying cos-positive isn’t that hard. We all just need to remember that our bodies are our bodies and we shouldn’t judge each other over them. Anime characters aren’t real and were never meant to be. We all started somewhere and got better. And most importantly, be respectful to each other and have fun!