Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hashtag Cospositivity

#Cospositivity it's a hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, pretty much all over the web. It first came to my attention three years ago when I came across this blog post on EPBOT's Facebook page. I had been cosplaying for three or four years by that time but since I usually was cosplaying an original character I had not yet run into the phenomenon that Paige Hall describes so eloquently through her art. I had, however, spent my entire life as a fat person and had been fat shamed and bullied about it since early childhood. Boy did I ever relate to Paige's story and her pain.

Fast forward a few months. I'm working as a photographer at a local drag show. It's superhero night. I happen to stumble upon a Wonder Woman costume in my size at Goodwill while looking for something to wear to the show. Weirdly, the belt doesn't fit. Perhaps that is why it ended up at Goodwill.

I started to put it back but then I remembered Paige. Squaring my shoulders and determining that EVERYONE deserves to be Wonder Woman I bought it. I wore it that night, without the belt, but with a pair of bracers that I created from craft foam and gold foil fabric and a length of gold cord awkwardly safety pinned at my hip. Why? Because Wonder Woman must always have her Bracelets of Submission and her Lasso of Truth handy! Those two items were the things I desired most as a child growing up watching Lynda Carter portray Princess Diana of Themyscira. Some girls wanted the invisible jet. I wanted to be able to deflect bullets and to be able to force everyone to tell me the truth.

There is one photo of me in that version of the outfit:

Photo By Jeff Lappin - JLappin Photography

While I felt powerful, I was still hung up on a handful of details that frustrated me (The too small belt is an obvious one but also the boots, created by hot gluing the included boot covers onto an existing pair of boots, were AWFUL) and kept me from adding to the cosplay or ever taking it into the convention context. Until yesterday.

Last year MidSouthCon made some changes to its costuming track. It added a panel titled #cospositivity and they asked my wonderful Bella DuBalle to be on it. The conversation that was started was so powerful that they brought that panel back for this year...and they asked me to be on the panel this time. There was no question that for this panel, I was bringing out Wonder Woman.

The costume has evolved. Sadly I have lost the bracers and didn't have time to remake them and I refuse to safety pin the lasso again so I will eventually have to make a belt. The head band was too big and got stuck somewhere to be altered and was MIA. But the Goodwill gods smiled upon me and the first of the week a perfect pair of red boots arrived in my size. I had also acquired a red crinoline petticoat at a costume sale last winter and from those three main elements Pinup Wonder Woman was born.
Photo by Kisha Windless
I wore this costume despite the fact that I made not ONE single piece of it myself for one reason and one reason only. Wonder Woman has become one of the emblems of #Cospositivity.

I swished around the con in my red boots and fluffy petticoat and not only did I feel POWERFUL I felt BEAUTIFUL! I got stopped several times for photos, including the lovely one above, and I am hoping as more are posted online someone will have gotten the full outfit. If not, I will certainly be posting more as the costume continues its evolution.

 At various times my facebook cover photo is this wonderful Sarah and Catherine Satrun illustration:

 or occasionally this one that appeared around the Women's March. I wish I knew the artist on this one:
To me these two illustrations embody the idea of #cospositivity There is NO ONE RIGHT WAY to be Wonder Woman. Or any other cosplay for that matter. I still tend to prefer my original characters. Largely because as a costumer those have the most of "me" invested in them. Nowadays though, if I want to be

Agatha Hetreodyne from Girl Genius

 Or the "DoctorDonna" on her "Final Journey" aboard the TARDIS

Ain't NOBODY gonna tell me I can't! 

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