Some “Cosplay is Not Consent” PSA posters I designed for Anime Boston. The top one will be on the convention center video screens with all of the other looped announcements. The other two are extras.
(I volunteer for Anime Boston as the Publications Manager, which basically means I do all of the graphic design for the convention. OMG IT’S NEXT WEEKEND YOU GUYS)
I love the message of all of these posters.
“If you SEE or experience harassment, find an Anime Boston Staff Member.”
Please watch out for your fellow attendees, your fellow women, your fellow teenagers. Be observant. Be aware. Be smart.
Have you ever been in a horribly uncomfortable situation? Have you ever felt trapped or scared or just really uncomfortable, and thought, ‘Please, someone help me’?
You can be that person. You can help someone. If a situation seems wrong, if it makes you uncomfortable, if you think someone’s in danger, or being harassed, or being bothered, report it. Immediately.
If you don’t see a staffer or you don’t think you can get one, then there are a thousand excuses you can use to speak up. You don’t have to be like, “Hey, is this guy/girl bothering you?” Some common ‘interjections’ if you think someone is uncomfortable:
-if it is a cosplayer and you recognize the cosplay, ask them if they know when the photo shoot for their game/show/movie is going to be. Even if there isn’t one. Invite them to one!
-If they are in costume, feel free to just say, “Oh, I love your costume! Did you make it yourself? Can I possibly have a picture?”
-If they aren’t in costume, or you don’t know anything about their costume, ask if he/she knows when a panel is, where the artist alley is, what time it is, any normal question you might ask a person you pass on the street.
If the person is okay with the situation, you will ask your question, and you can leave. If the person is scared, if the person is feeling trapped or scared or harassed, they will latch onto your presence like a lifeline. The person might engage you in conversation, or try to move away with you, or even pretend to know you. Once you are away from the situation and in a safe place, try to encourage them to report the harassment, or report it yourself.
Most harassers chose easy prey, young people, shy people, people that are alone. And the vast majority of them will vanish when it is clear that they are being observed. Don’t put yourself in danger. Don’t get into a physical altercation. Don’t leave the safe space or go anywhere you are unfamiliar with. Get help.
But call attention to yourself. Call attention to the situation. And it is always, it is ALWAYS okay to say no, to walk away from anything that feels wrong. And it is always, always okay to check and make sure that someone is okay.