At Dames Of Chance, I was reminded of the sexism in gaming. Some say it’s just that marketers just fear the female geek. And, yes, there sadly are numerous sexist incidents in geek communities, including at Comic Con panel discussions. These things limit female involvement — or at least limit the number of women who call themselves “gamers”.
At the majority of the stands in the expo were women with fake boobs wearing skimpy clothes. These types of models can make women feel intimidated and put them off gaming as it gives off a message that the product is only for men.
This affects things like cosplay too. Some say that the mainstreaming of cosplay has created a sexist and hypersexualized aura surrounding the hobby. They say that “surge of ‘fake geek girls’” who are “pretty and wearing something revealing” are quickly “labeled cosplay ‘celebrities’ and are featured on dozens of websites” as authorities to the detriment of other costumers and hobbiests. In other words, the media packaging of traditional beauty standards have gotten in the way of the fun for everyone in cosplay.
But I don’t think it is the simple presence of sexualized women, clueless about the hobby or not, that’s the problem. I think it’s the lack of sexualized male counterparts.
It’s not that I think by reducing both genders to sex objects that I we reach some sort of equality. It’s not the lowering of one to the status of the other I am after; it’s the sex positivity.
The use of scantily-clad women only in the “marketing” does objectify women. It leaves women alone — with no costumed erotic playmates to cavort with. By offering more men, including scantily-clad men, the idea of play is fully conceived, right?
As a general rule, males are nearly left-out of cosplay. Not just at geek, comic, and fan sites, but at the erotic sites as well. I mean, just try to find a website full of erotic or pornographic male cosplayers — one that’s not for gay guys, that is. Even when there are hardcore cosplay scenes, the man is little more than a prop or dildo for the woman. Why can’t he be cosplay eye candy for our female fantasies too? Where are the sexy tour photos of the men along with their bios?
Just as Shawnee pointed out with the gambling industry, cosplay erotica is missing the market of women. When cosplay sites focus more on the women’s bodies and the interest of the male gaze than the very real fantasies of females, these sites are missing money from women’s wallets. Which seems to be downright insane, given that women like erotica and porn, women buy erotica and porn, and women enjoy cosplay. Cosplay porn sites would be an easy draw for heterosexual couples too, if they showcased the male cosplay stars as well as the female ones, and therefore be real money makers. But so far, no real luck.