An article went up earlier today on xojane.com called I’m a Black Female Cosplayer and Some People Hate it. It’s a great article from a first person perspective on being a cosplayer who is,<sarcasm> shockingly </sarcasm>, black. I know a bunch of cosplayers and they put a lot of work into their craft trying to get the details right– but the one thing they usually don’t do is undergo cosmetic surgery to change their bodies for each costume. That’s just silly.
Cosplaying is about interpreting a character, not duplicating it. No matter how many Slave Princess Leia’s you see, none of them look exactly like Carrie Fisher did in Return of the Jedi. And how many people were offended that Olivia Munn dressed up in the famous bikini even though she’s half-Chinese?
Yeah, pretty much.
So let’s go over the issue of accuracy then and let’s use Chaka’s infamous Sailor Venus costume as an example here. Chaka is black and that brought up a debate on whether black people should cosplay only black characters. So tell me why the hell it’s ok for white people to play a Japanese teenager? Sailor Venus is. not. caucasian. She’s Japanese.
That’s not even to bring up crossplay where they gender swap the characters they’re cosplaying. Joker with boobs is a bit inaccurate.
If you’re going to draw a line for accuracy based on race, you’re a bit of an asshole. Sorry, you just are. Especially if it’s ok for a white person to cosplay an asian character. Or think an asian cosplayer dressing up as, say, Elektra is wrong because she’s supposed to be Greek– or a white girl dressing as Storm.
So if you have a problem with Ms. Cumberbatch cosplaying other ethnicities take a second to examine yourself. The issue isn’t should a black woman cosplay a white character, it’s why do some people have a problem with it in the first place?
And let’s be honest, it’s a great Sailor Venus costume. What more could you ask for in a cosplay?
If you haven’t already, check out Chaka’s brilliant article here and lets hope that this will cease to be an issue at all in the future.