>Cosplay galleries on major gaming sites

>There is a horde of gaming news/columns sites out there, some more notable than others, and pretty much all of them operate under the assumption that their readership is young, male, and horny. One of the things that makes this abundantly clear is the fact that on most of these sites, you can find cosplay galleries quite easily that are full of female cosplayers dressed as various “sexy” video game characters that are pretty much collections of wank material.

Now I’ll take a moment to say that I have mixed feelings about cosplay. I get why people do it – I’ve even done a little myself (though, amusingly, as male characters). So lets be clear that I’m not out to demonize cosplayers. They make some seriously amazing costumes that I always enjoy seeing every year at GenCon. It’s the creepy fetishizing of female cosplayers that I have a lot of problems with. It’s bad enough when you see hordes of male nerds photographing female cosplayers at GenCon, and on the internet it gets even creepier.

For the most part I’m not going to post pictures because even just scratching the surface of what’s out there, I found hundreds of photos. Instead, you’ll mostly get links that are, of course, mostly nsfw. Youtube rules apply for comments (ie: don’t read them) as well.

On to the awful!

Kotaku actually doesn’t post regular cosplay pics, but they can’t be left out of the fun, as evidenced by “The Top 50 Cosplay Cleavage Shots“. The indicator that this is less than classy? (Okay, other than the title.) The first sentence of the feature is:

Well it’s noon, and that means we can break out the porn.

Right, because there’s nothing gamer men like better than whipping it out and wanking to cosplay cleavage shots over their lunch break. *eyeroll*

Destructoid, however, has tons of cosplay features – so many that it even has its own feature category. Now, granted, some of the posts under this category are really awesome and not creepy cosplay, like the most amazing Samus I’ve ever seen. But then you see some of the other featured galleries that just have so… much… cleavage. *sigh*

GamesRadar has, in addition to regular cosplay features, a “Sexy Cosplay Gallery” full of fanservice-y shots of female cosplayers.

RipTen, too, has its own cosplay feature category. Scrolling down the page you see boobs… boobs… and more boobs. What’s really great, though, is this one: “Jennifer Nigri loses Xbox and game collection in fire – booty goes unharmed”. There’s some cleavagey shots of Jennifer in a few costumes before the article mentions that she has been selling stickers to raise money to replace her game collection. The feature goes on to quote these as actual responses (emphasis mine, bracketed comments mine as well):

I wanna put my stickers on your naked body. Whoa my feet smell … [WTF???]

I would love to help out but I don’t think my fiancee would approve😦 [That bitch!]

I’ll buy you both a PS3 AND a new XBox ($500) but I’m going to want more than the stickers… >;D [Right. Because really what’s the difference between cosplay and prostitution, really? /sarcasm]

Srsly. Yuck.

GossipGamers has its own cosplay category, which is of course full of wank-worthy cosplay pics. However, there are some pretty wtf-worthy features like: Hot R2D2 Girl with Taco Bell Dog and Samus Zero Bunny Suit (curse you, Nintendo! Curse yooooouuuuuuu!!!) – which interestingly is another feature of Jennifer Nigri.

1up.com actually doesn’t have a cosplay category, but it still has plenty of cosplay articles like this one: “BlizzCon 2010 Cosplay Gallery: elves, swords, and a lot of body paint.

GameWad
doesn’t seem like a terribly active site (their last post was in September), but there are three cosplay galleries just on the front page. I just can’t believe that they named their site “GameWad”. However you think about it, it just sounds… unappealing.

GoFanBoy.com (another entry in the “why did they pick that name?” category) takes the cake for sheer volume of pornular cosplay pics with a staggering 42 feature cosplay galleries in 2010 alone. But perhaps the creepiest thing is this gem in the navigation sidebar:

That button there sends you directly to the list of cosplay galleries. And, since you wouldn’t want to get tired of the same pair of breasts, the image that comes up is random each time. Right above that we also have a super-creepy cosplay poll. “Make my girlfriend dress like Tifa” gives me the heebie jeebies for reasons I can’t quite put into words.

Last, but certainly not least, we have SlobsOfGaming.com, which I think deserves some kind of “Smoking Crack While Picking a Domain” prize. SlobsOfGaming has the most porn I have ever seen on any gaming site on its front page, including: “11 Hot and Awesome TGS Cosplays“. In this feature, SlobsOfGaming really goes for the gold in creeptasticness with gems like:

These ladies give me a big Level Up. In my pants. Sexually.

With a little imagination, the picture on the right almost looks like a lesbian ninja make-out battle just WAITING to happen. Hmm. Lesbian ninjas.

Man, I wish I could show this picture to every fat, ugly cosplayer out there who’s tried to ruin my Tifa fetishes and shame them into wearing burlap sacks for the rest of their lives.

Okay, please crawl into a hole and don’t come out, like, ever. kthxbai

14 thoughts on “>Cosplay galleries on major gaming sites

  1. >Re: Sexy R2D2 girl:Okay, look at her left thigh, at the tattoo right above the tattoo of Jesus' mom – WTF is that? Because I swear, to me it looks like a giant tooth flying over the ocean.

  2. >See, here's where I get all awkward. I like seeing cosplay, and I like seeing the efforts people go to in order to get the "look" right. I can remember sitting with a cup of hot chocolate and a stack of manga at Supernova (pop culture expo here in Australia) a couple of years ago, and watching the various cosplayers go past, and enjoying myself figuring out which characters they were[1]. But none of these folks were playing it for the cleavage or the sexxay, as far as I could see. They were doing it for the joy of dressing up in a costume and having fun with friends. I admired it for the work they'd put in, and the effort they'd gone to in order to get the look of things right (which to me, is admiring it in the spirit it's offered).So to me, the idea that this sort of non-sexual joy can be taken and perverted into "ooh, look, hot chicks in skimpy costumes all for my benefit" by fanboy sites comes across as as analogous to paedophiles regarding catalogue shots of kids as their version of lingerie models. [1] For the record, there were at least two Clouds; a couple of Tifas (in each case, one OG, one AC); a Reno; approximately 15 members of Organisation XIII; a Naruto; a couple of Ichigos (Bleach); and I'm reasonably sure there was a Sephiroth in there somewhere.

  3. >I am an unabashed fan of cosplay, the sheer fun and nerdiness of it, and the effort that goes into it. I also appreciate that some cosplayers have the confidence to go out in revealing outfits and trust others to not make a big deal of it or get creepy–men and women alike.So it's extremely disheartening we have this fetishizing treatment from supposed journalists, and all those creepy comments about female cosplayers. It's disgustingly misogynistic and reinforces the stereotype that nerds are a bunch of sexually repressed man-children.

  4. >Anna,I'm failing to see the point of this post or quite what the problem is with these galleries other than a complete lack of taste.Most of the art you post on this blog is fantasy women drawn by men. The inherent wrongness of depicting women with unfeasible anatomy and skimpy armour is plain to see. But this is different and I'm struggling to grasp your point.Firstly, everyone in these galleries are real women. Admittedly wearing costumes based on unfeasible designs by men, but they are real women whose anatomy and costume has to obey the laws of physics.Secondly, the women choose to spend their free time making and wearing costumes that often emphasises their sexuality.Thirdly, most of, if not all, the photos on those sites shows the women consenting and posing for the photographs. Consequently there are a lot of photos of attractive women in revealing costumes online. Photos which are consensual and often encouraged by the women in them.Picking the 50 best cleavage shots is certainly tasteless. As marketing, it certainly points the game site at the male market and ignores the large and important female market. But where is the problem in all of this?Everyone, from cos-player through web site owner to reader is consensual. Unlike porn, where financial payments and limited life-opportunities can be said to exploit the performers, cos-play is a purely by choice. Given the time and effort it takes to make a costume it is not a spur of the moment choice either. The web sites you link to deserve criticism for pandering to the lowest common denominator. Their readers can be criticised for consuming this "wank material". But are not the cos-players themselves equally deserving of criticism?By choosing to wear these costumes, by posing for the photographs, are they not just as much as part of the problem as the web sites and readers?Chris Tregenza6d6Fireball.com

  5. >Honestly, Meg and Chaltab do a good job of explaining the problem. Again, like I said in my post – I'm not demonizing cosplay or cosplayers. (Cosplay is pretty rad in my books.) What I have a problem with is the fetishizing of female cosplayers. Re-read some of those comments about Jennifer Nigri; these guys have trouble making a distinction between cosplayers and prostitutes, which is pretty frightening.

  6. >I think if you want to discourage these sites you shouldn't post links to them. If necessary, you could post links to Google caches of those sites, as that won't give the actual site any money.

  7. >I admit to, like Chris, wondering exactly what your message is here. In particular, what message are you trying to deliver to the people actually posing for these pictures?Your post seems to be mostly about stating the existence of what you perceive as a problem, yet offers no solutions or suggestions for a solution to that problem. And that's fine, but realize that it leaves me wondering how, exactly, you expect me as a reader to react to it.At it's heart, this post (and, generally speaking, most of the posts I remember you making here and on forums) boil down to something like "See? Those people over there are doing something I don't like", but with no suggested solution other than an unstated implication that "those people should not do this thing that I don't like". It's great that you have a venue to do that, but it doesn't really offer me much as a reader.For example, suppose I start a blog and all my posts are some variation of "See? Those people over there claim that an imaginary invisible man in the sky will reward them as long as they apologize for all their vile actions before they die. I don't like that they take these vile actions with no moral remorse." If my only conclusion is "they should not take those vile actions with no moral remorse", how does that help you as my reader? Even if you agree with me, it's just not that compelling of an approach.

  8. >Wordman: The point is calling attention to the misogyny underlying the behaviors here. Some people do these not because they're hopelessly sexist, but because they don't realize how the actions and words are rooted in sexism. When confronted with this, decent people adjust their behavior. What can you do? Don't be creepy about cosplayers just because they're wearing a sexy costume. Don't make demeaning comments. And if a website offers a gallery of the 'Best Cosplay Cleavage' don't click on it and give them hits.

  9. >Wordman: Chaltab beat me to what I was going to say, so I'll just add that if that doesn't seem productive to you, well then you're not the target audience of this blog. There are plenty of other feminist gaming blogs in the world – perhaps one of those will appeal to you more.mastertmg: It's a bit of a double-bind. How can I critique sexist material effectively without providing context? Otherwise I just become some crazy person ranting on the interwebs. I consider it the lesser of two evils.

  10. >Chaltab: So, out of curiosity, do you really think anyone reading this is unaware of "the misogyny underlying the behaviors here"? Do you think that anyone unaware of "the misogyny underlying the behaviors here" is reading this? If so, what percentage of them do you expect will "adjust their behavior"? Do you have any metrics or anecdotes or other indication of what this percentage might be? Are there any readers out there who were led into the light by this approach? Or were you already converts?

  11. >Just thought I'd let ya know – we agree with you and the purpose of this blog; that's why you'll never see women objectified in our game. We only build women up – and more so, we strive to make sure that females are equally represented in all our art. :)Brannon HollingsworthCo-Creator, Untoldhttp://www.untoldthegame.com

  12. >Wordman: I have no idea who makes up the general readership of this blog and I fail to see how that's remotely relevant. I was recently strongly considering checking out Pathfinder, but after reading the thoughts of people who had experience with it on this blog and other sites, I've decided against it. It may not make a huge or immediate difference, but pointing out these things is important because otherwise it goes unsaid and sexist attitudes are reinforced rather than challenged. If you have a better solution on what to do about the objectification of women in nerd hobbies or in any other pursuit, I'd like to hear it.

  13. >Brandon: Thank you. That's always good to hear.Wordman: If you don't think what I'm doing here is useful, that's fine. I don't agree with you and I'm going to keep doing it. You're welcome to find a feminist blog you find more useful; I won't claim to have a monopoly on feminist gaming blogs.

  14. >@wundergeek – Sorry for the delay responding, life is busy.You said… "I'm not demonizing cosplay or cosplayers."I was not accusing you of demonizing cosplayers, I was asking if the cos-player's actions should be criticised as well the actions of the sites and the readers.The problem with cos-play, is that most of the costumes and characters being mimicked are exactly the sort of things this blog quite rightly criticises. By in large, the characters and costumes are products of male sexual fantasies that present a negative, or at least highly sexual, image of women.Which poses a real question?Are the people who spends hundreds of hours and dollars recreating these negative and sexual charactures of real women part of the problem?I don't know the answer to this but it is an important aspect to the original post that I felt you did not explore or explain. It would great if you did a follow up post exploring this aspect of the issue.— As you suggested, I went back and read a random selection of comments. I'd ignored them before because of your "Youtube rules apply for comments (ie: don't read them) " remark in the original post.Yep, they are pretty disgusting, and juvenile, and misogynistic and … well the list is endless. But I don't think that it really adds up to fetishizing women cos-players.Unfortunately it is just sort of behaviour that happens in anonymous comment boards with no moderation. This does not make it right but it places female cos-players in the same category as women in any other area of interest.As a quick bit of research, I went on you tube and searched for "women soap opera cleavage". Depressingly but unsurprisingly you find exactly the same sort of content and commentary as on the cos-play sites. A Google for "cleavage soap opera" produces the top link of "The 50 Hottest Daytime Soap Opera Babes Of All Time".The behaviour we are seeing on cos-play / gamer sites is just a microcosm of the larger internet and media in general.Is this right or good? … Certainly not.Are you right for calling out these gaming sites for their lack of taste and ignoring female gamers? … Absolutely.Is it fetishizing women cos-players? … No, it is just part of a much, much, much wider problem with our culture. Chris6d6fireball.com

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