No Tits Allowed: On Sensual Cosplay in Indonesia

[HorribleSubs] DanMachi - 02 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.48_[2015.04.25_14.42.42]

What happens when you try to bring in a liberal culture into a society full of rigid conservatives? Shit happens.

As if the AFAID 2014 Racing Miku wasn’t enough, Hestia has now become the target of social drama online. The reason? Trying to look exactly like the seasonal hype character.

In an event at a specific mall in North Jakarta, a cosplayer has come under fire for her revealing Hestia costume. Judging from pics and some stories here and there, the costume was a tad too short on the legs, revealing her striped panties. And hours after the event, the shitstorm began. As usual, the conservatives and liberals were the two mainstream parties in the argument, both carrying their respective (yet overused) themes: that (a) a woman should stay away from revealing costumes and (b) that she can do whatever the fuck she wants with her body. Present were, of course, the ubiquitous trolls, ever so passionate with their pious rants and straw-mans.

Seriously, this shit’s getting old. Real old. Like Hayao Miyazaki old. I thought we’ve moved on from discussing how much skin a woman can show during her cosplays. But seeing how so damn little has changed over the years, it worries me that perhaps the Indonesian cosplay community might have trouble growing up. Let’s just hope I’m fucking wrong.

As a conservative country, Indonesians are governed by a strict set of social norms, mostly stemming from Islamic values. These norms have loosened following increased exposure to technology and globalization, but they arguably still influence society to a major extent.

Those who stand on the conservative side argue that she should show some modesty when cosplaying. There are boundaries that need to be observed, especially when uploading photos to the Internet. Cosplay is still considered a “deviant” sub-culture that can’t risk negative attention from the majority. Especially for women. In society, women are expected to act decently. As Muslim-majority country, women are expected to cover their bodies in public and refrain from sensuality. Women who defy these customs are labelled as sluts, to be blunt. And most cosplayers who do sexy cosplay at conventions are also viewed with cynicism or at least lecherous gazes.

Another pathetic expansion of the above argument is “if she dresses like that, she’s asking for it”. This is an argument that has been used over and over again to the point where it becomes the go-to argument for situations like this. I’m sick of this argument. It always positions the woman as an object, not a subject that has feelings, desires, or emotions. If we hold on to this all the time, it automatically abolishes men from blame. Why can’t we have men learn to control their dicks? I’ve tried it and though it feels really painful to have a boner ready to burst in my jeans, I’ve felt that dick control has made me a better person and helped me developed a more caring view for women around me. Seriously, try dick control.

To label the cosplayer as an attention whore is also too much. We need to consider the cosplayer’s intentions in doing that cosplay. We can’t pass out single-minded judgment. Perhaps the cosplayer did it because the cosplayer loved the character so much. Is that wrong? Not in the slightest. Maybe the cosplayer did it just because the cosplayer wanted insta-fame. Their intention is not wrong in the slightest and they have all the freedom to pursue such intentions, but perhaps the methods were rather unacceptable (based on biased social conventions). Maybe the cosplayer just did it on a whim? Who knows? The thing is, rather than passing out single-minded judgment, it pays in the long run to understand the other person’s intentions. But fuck that, it’s social media. Comment first, think years later. You can always come back and delete the comment, am I right? Fuck you.

Perhaps the root of the problem is that the cosplay community is full of hypocritical assholes. In one tab, they’re on Facebook, harshly criticizing the Hestia cosplayer for showing a lack of morals, inability to conform to (biased) social norms, and ultimately, their biased world-view of how a woman should act in public. They think the best way to make her comply is by coercing their own values on her. In another tab, they’re viewing Pururin.com, reading “Boku Dake no Kami-sama”. The doujin sucks, but has good art though. In a third tab, he’s opening a download screen for “Sex Friend” episode 08. In a fourth tab, he’s on a torrent site for eroges. See where I’m going here? They act all sanctimonious on screen, but behind the monitor, millions of sperm cells are being wasted.

Related to hypocrisy. Indonesian cosplay enthusiasts (because “weeb” sounds too harsh) don’t fucking know what they want. They want their lovable waifus to exist in reality, yet when a realistic cosplay appears in front of them, they are quick to criticize and nitpick any aspect they can. Oh, she’s cosplaying Hestia but shows tits and panties? Insta-bully. For the love of Freyja, Hestia’s supposed to dress that way! And the aggravating part is whenever an Indonesian does sensual cosplay, it’s automatically fucking wrong and deserves a dose of drama; but when a foreign cosplayer does the same, weebs be like jacking off and praising the non-existent lord for bringing them an object for their carnal pleasure. Seriously, what the fuck do you guys want?

If anyone wants my opinion, I believe that the Hestia cosplayer has every right to express herself. But considering that she’s daring enough to challenge social norms, she herself would have to be ready to accept the consequences of her actions. So far, she’s been handling it pretty well. By not feeding the trolls, she’s not making the issue bigger than it already is.

However, my only concern for her was this: since the event was held in a mall, a public place, perhaps the costume was not appropriate. There be kids there, and not all grannies or aunties understand cosplay culture. Despite the event being a “cosplay event” (which was attended by Ying Tze as well), the event was held in a public place.

To end this rant, let me conclude that Indonesians are not ready for sensual cosplay. It never has and never will. Unless the weebs decide to grow up from the shackles of conservativeness and embrace the liberal nature of cosplay, there is no fucking place for sensual cosplay instead behind closed doors. Also, for the Hestia being bullied right now, your cosplay is great, keep it up, but be more careful next time.

Note: I’m not posting links to the FB feed nor the profile of the cosplayer in question. Also, no pics.

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17 thoughts on “No Tits Allowed: On Sensual Cosplay in Indonesia

  1. Agreed with your opinions. Also about the ‘cosplay enthusiasts’ part, you should’ve call them weebs, because most of them are weebs

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  2. Well, no truer words than “Indonesia Cosplay Community is full of fucking Hypocrites”.

    The problem is being the community itself is filled with a lot of underages who doesn’t know what respect is, and that they want to feel good only for themselves without recognizing other people’s right to express themselves.

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  3. I’m probably one of the people who silently judges and wank to the other tab. I just feel uncomfortable when immoral acts happen too close to my own environment. Also it’s kinda dumb when someone is sure that she would be making drama and go for it anyway to stir popularity.

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  4. you know what? I agree on most part but as a student crawling through business major I can’t stop looking this from the opportunistic side of view.. to be blunt it is a good move as a marketing tool. “Make Drama, Make People talk about ‘you’.” it’s one of the marketing basics to make people talk about you to stimulate the consumer’s knowledge about you..

    *backtoIYKWIMwebsites*

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    1. Of course, there is no such thing as “bad publicity” when it comes to marketing. However the cosplayer in question had no intention of creating a shitstorm; she just happened to do an honest mistake at the wrong time (or photographed at the right time? You tell me). It was the shitheads on socmed who created the shitstorm. I lean towards the humanity side over here, but I totally agree with the opportunistic mindset though.

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  5. i dont think so. It’s just not the culture of Indonesia. It’s okay to express yourself but it’s better to keep something that can make ur d*** stay hidden.

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  6. You know, this reminds me of a Singaporean Kill La Kill cosplayer that was hammered down by a morally-corrected auntie in Singapore. The costume worn in question was, of course, the Ryuuko Matoi’s Kamui Senketsu on “combat mode”.

    …Which leads me to think that shits like this could happen anywhere. It’s just that we happen to live in a society that doesn’t appreciate bare skins as much as a decent liberal country–thus the chance of dramas occurring just get kind of cranked up to eleven.

    Meanwhile, what I’m able to do is like sit here and give likes, constructive comment, and maybe shares for the love of it. I don’t know to what extent this matters, but I hope it helps in pushing the equilibrium, even if just by a fractional amount.

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    1. Ah, that legendary stuck-up auntie and the KLK cosplayer… I remember that! Singapore and Indonesia share similar conservative values, I would understand the resulting craziness.
      Yeah, that’s all we can do for now. It’s not like a revolution would suddenly change the way people think.

      Like

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