Today I want to talk a little bit about a subject that many of my close friends and I have strong feelings about: body shaming.
Many of my close friends are cosplayers. Cosplaying is the act of dressing up as one of your favorite characters from a comic, game, movie, tv show, or anime/cartoon. I’ve done it a couple of times myself (stories for another time). I admire the craftsmanship, ingenuity, time, and effort that goes into making an outfit not to mention the bravery it takes to wear one. That bravery part brings me to the body shaming point. We all have insecurities about our bodies and have things we would like to change or wish were different about ourselves physically. Knowing that about myself and other people I always try my hardest to respect anyone and everyone who cosplays, regardless of their size, shape, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. None of that should even matter, ever. We are all just trying to have fun. The world at large is shitty and terrible enough that we don’t need to bring negative shit and heap it onto something that should be fun, whimsical, and light-hearted.
Unfortunately, not everyone is tolerant and understanding. Too many in the geek community and the populace in general will look at someone having fun in costume and take that opportunity to ridicule or make fun of them. What’s the point of that? You can’t make yourself feel good some other way? Do you feel threatened? You see something you don’t understand so you have to be afraid of it and throw shade upon the person? Or maybe you are ashamed knowing that you don’t have the fucking balls to cosplay yourself due to your own insecurities? How dare they dress up and have fun! That makes me mad because I’m too chicken myself and too afraid of what people will think of me! Oooooh, let me take it out on them.
I hate intolerance of any kind. We are a geek community and we have to support and accept one another. We are all different, we all have different likes and dislikes, but we are all still in this together. I had a friend of mine, Jonathan Vela, Aquaman of San Antonio, who would dress up as Aquaman all the time. That was his favorite character. He was the sweetest, nicest, most heartwarming fellow ever. He would help anyone he could personally and through many charities by making appearances in costume at children’s hospitals and birthday parties. The kids always thought it was amazing and a blast. His message was always that anyone can cosplay any character they wish, no matter what. It’s the love of the character that mattered. He wasn’t a small man, but it didn’t matter. He was having fun and nothing you could say could ever change that.
Sadly, he passed away a few years ago. I bring this up because just the other day, I saw a post on Facebook by a friend detailing a post he saw on Instagram. It was a body shaming meme that featured Jonathan. Did this guy know Jonathan? I don’t know, but that doesn’t matter. It was in poor taste. The man is dead and unable to defend himself. He was a huge personality in South Texas and even beyond. I am proud to know that many came to his defense and voiced their anger at that post and reported it to be taken down. I hope those efforts were successful.