You Can Look But Don't Touch Article

You Can Look But Don't Touch Article


Article by: Geek Girl Shelle-chii

Shelle-chii wrote this opinion article about the sexually inappropriate comments she and other cosplayers/models receive online...

In the Learning Stages:

“You can look, but don’t touch” mothers always tell their children when out in a store. Their wide eyes gazing over the goods that they long to just go over and pick up. Many will not listen, and explore the goods, later facing the wrath of the momentarily distracted mother when she sees her child has disobeyed. Growing up we even encounter places like museums and fancy stores, and just in general we know what is acceptable to touch and what to keep our hands off of. Social norms have dictated that touching someone/something else without prior consent is wrong, so why is it okay online? 

You Can Look But Don
(Photo: Everage)

And the comments begin:

Cosplayers, models and many other genres of hobbyists experience the creepy comments online from the masses. The inappropriate ones that just make us cringe and want to delete the photo that we worked so hard on. Many people have quit certain sites because of these inappropriate comments and with the internet being so anonymous, there is little to no way to stop it. I have found in my 6 years cosplay/modeling experience that most inappropriate comments have one thing in common: They indicate an action that the writer would like to perform to the subject. Now obviously there are some that don’t fall into this category, but I find that the most creepy comments are the ones indicating what they would like to do to me.

Well it’s really -your- fault….

“Don’t dress sexy if you don’t want the creepy comments, then”... “You should be flattered”

I hear this used as an argument when I try to speak up and voice my discomfort when people post inappropriate comments on my pictures. The fact that I am dressed sexy should not be a factor in whether or not I ‘deserve’ these kinds of comments. Anyone should be able to dress how they like without assumptions being made about them, especially assumptions of wanting to hear the kinds of things that you would do to us. Compliments are fine, saying how the outfit looks or even how my body looks, just remember moderation. Men don’t realize that they’re driving out so many amazing models just because they’re trying to play out their fantasies. I’ve encountered some people who do it innocently and do not realize that they are driving models away rather than flattering them. 

You Can Look But Don
(Photo: Geek Girl Evie E)

Would you say those types of things in public?

When a cosplayer posts their pictures, they are sharing their art with you, much like artists do with museums. They’re not sharing it to be exploited, they’re doing so in hopes that others will enjoy it as much as they do. So would you say that comment in front of a crowd of people about a painting with ample cleavage in it? No, probably not, so why say it online? Just because you have the safety of your computer screen to hide behind doesn’t mean that there's not a real person at the other end receiving those comments. Just because you can’t see how much they hurt doesn’t mean they don’t.

What can I do as a cosplayer/model?

Most people just ignore the creepy comments, but I usually do a one strike policy, or if the comment is bad enough I will ban on site. Also letting the commenter know that the comment is inappropriate can help to teach your fans your comfort level in the types of comments that you’ll allow, because everyone is different. It’s also nice to stick up for your pals and help by monitoring their pictures casually, and letting people know when you feel they cross the line. This is a community and we can help to make it at least a little bit more tolerable out there! <3 

You Can Look But Don

Article/Model: Geek Girl Shelle-chii

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September 09 2015

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