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Breaking the Narrative Episode 15: Cosplay is not Consent? Then Why Did You Jump On Me?

So since the past few years have seen a lot of signs talking about cosplay, slut shaming, and groping at various geek culture conventions. I couldn’t help but poke my head into this because of my own experience. Full disclosure here, I have been going to anime conventions since 2003 when I was 17 at the first Ikasucon in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was also volunteer staff for the first four to five years of OMG!Con that was formerly based in Paducah, Kentucky and is now based in Owensboro, Kentucky. I also sponsored the first year of OMG!Con. At OMG!Con I’ve been security staff and have run panels in model making and the very entertaining Otaku Dating Game, a panel that has in my opinion been poorly run by my replacement since my marriage to my wife. I’m not advertising for anyone to go to either of these conventions and any mention of them in this article will be purely to be a verification upon other practices typical of such fan-run conventions.  Finally, I’m in no way affiliated with either of these conventions now or most of their current staff, even if I still have one or two friends among their number.

So how am I going to approach debunking the consent argument for cosplay and fan conventions? By detailing a long running cultural norm in the anime community which bled out across the board. A practice that favors women and is in essence a female privilege: Glomping. So what is glomping and why is it favorable towards women? Well let me use a visual aid for this provided by @bar1scorpio on twitter, something he in fact designed.

howtoglomp

If its not obvious by now its also referred to as a ‘tacklehug’. Notice the word ‘bishi’ in the first panel before the obvious female figure pounces upon the ‘victim’. This is short for ‘bishonen’ (美少年) or ‘pretty boy’. So in the first bit it shows how women are allowed to sexualize young men and view them as subject to their lusts and the fulfillment of their sexual desires in this way through jumping onto them and tackling them to the ground. If this practice were reversed I could imagine quite easily how quickly ‘rape’ would be screamed and believed. That is, unless the guy performing it was considered sufficiently ‘cute’ by the person. How do I know this? Well when I was a much younger and skinnier man I myself was glomped if you can believe it, particularly while I was dressed like this.
2009omgkefka

In reflection I don’t think my costume was any good. I particularly feel ashamed for having ever wore crocs. But I was a young idiot then. This was back in 2008 and I wasn’t exactly the most intelligent then. In fact the most accurate things were the cape and makeup on me. Point is someone found me cute enough to jump and it was a small busty girl. I’m not going to name her because that’s not the point of this article. The point is obviously the double standard. If I were to jump her she could have even then very easily gotten away with having me put away. I didn’t complain though because it would not only be pointless but ultimately would have been fruitless.

Why? Because without going into details the first year I went with my wife and stepped back a bit from volunteer obligations an ex of mine attempted to push her down the stairs. My wife was wheelchair bound at the time. Not only was said ex not banned outright despite having attacked a peaceful attendee, she was merely given a warning to step back so they wouldn’t have to ‘pick sides’ between ‘mutual friends’.

This is a digression, however a relevant one to reinforce the point that double standards do exist in our society. I would have been cut off on the spot if I had done something similar. Now that we know this much about glomping and by extension how women have a privilege at such conventions where does the etymology fit in? Where did this word come from? As far as I’ve been able to research, this includes consulting industry sources, other conventioneers and reading various documents on the subject I keep getting back to one source: Rumiko Takahashi’s Ranma 1/2. Specifically the Viz Media translation Chapter 12, oddly enough as a sound effect in relation to combat maneuvers that evolved into the sound effect of a tacklehug which was a common occurrence in the series. (Source: http://didyouknowanime.net/post/148839640883/dyka-official-dyka-ranma-%C2%BD-01-the-first ; https://allthetropes.org/wiki/The_Glomp)

This term then spread out to other works by Takahashi such as Urusei Yatsura and Inu Yasha. Then as they became popularized in conventions in the mid 1990’s the term was being used by enthusiastic young fans who wanted to mimic their beloved anime idols, and the practice had solidified by 2000 around when I was starting to get curious about going to a convention myself. All of this was solidifying during the same time I was being influenced by Phantom F. Harlock, Roy Focker, and Domon Kasshu during my preteen years. Most millennials would not have seen this culture develop at this point and realize the origins of the practice. Add helicopter parents and easily frightened children into the Wild West that was anime conventions and we have what will eventually become the Cosplay is not Consent movement.

Now where, more specifically, is the double standard? Its in the idea of attractiveness being equal to consent. It’s not ok to touch a woman despite what costume she might be wearing at the time. However, with a man its to be expected. For this example we can go back to my previously shown outfit. Like I said before it wasn’t well made but is recognizable enough that a girl decided to jump me specifically because I was playing Kefka Pallazo from Final Fantasy VI, a character who, for those who didn’t know, is what you would get if you give Heath Ledger’s Joker god-like powers. The woman in question was dressed hilariously enough as Aeris Gainsborough at the time but also dressed up as Harley Quinn on a regular basis. I won’t go into more on this because it would be pointless conjecture and rumor mongering which has nothing to do with the subject. This is merely for demonstrative purposes.

I could also delve into how often it occurred in the years I dealt in the “Otaku Dating Game” as  a host. But I don’t have recordings of those events to work from and my memory of those are a little fuzzier because I was more concentrating on hosting the event due to how the game worked. If you don’t know how the Dating Game concept works you have one suitor/suitorette asking three choices out of their line of sight various questions to decide who to date. The modification I made was the questions were produced before the event, some being entries from various convention attendees with an anime theme. These were played up often for comedic event and there would be prize cards given at the end of the event to the entries who were randomly chosen for their roles from the audience. OMG!Con was one of few conventions that give out prizes throughout the event randomly to panel participants, one of the convention’s many selling points. However, glomping did occur as part of the game’s conclusion multiple times depending on the results.

So from everything looked upon so far what can we determine? First we know what glomping is and how it came into practice. How does this affect Cosplay is not Consent?  If they wish to hold this up it should be displayed across the board, but every picture I’ve seen has been with a conventionally attractive and scantily clad woman. Feminists are objectifying women to spread excessive levels of consent nonsense that has been promoted for the past few years, all while still suggesting that pretty boys can be and should be jumped as women deem fit, for the sake of their own selfish desires. This is clearly an issue that we need to address and need to hold feminists to task for because it seems to me like they want to have their beefcakes and eat them too. If you have any experience or knowledge you wish to add as always do so in the comments and I will discuss it at a later date. For next time I intend to go head to head with Anita Sarkeesian’s latest bullshit, ‘body diversity.’ This should be interesting coming from a chubby chaser. So until next time remember to Game Freely!

Alex Tinsley
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Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.
Alex Tinsley
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Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.

  • https://twitter.com/mochidere mochi

    i have to say i’m surprised that glompling is even an actual thing, i never saw something like that happening in a convention, even back when it was the ‘free hugs’ fever it was some short of unspoken rule that you should ask or at least point to paper first and be in front of the person, surprise hugging the person from behind or even charging into someone was a ‘no no’ even young boys and girls seem to knew that
    the only negative thing i remember happening during an anime event was that a boy tried to touch a Lenalee Lee cosplayer legs (my guess it was because the girl had made the super detailed boots the character wears but i can’t never be sure if that was the boys reason) and the girl punched him, i always felt like she could had just stopped his hand and spoken to him in a civilized way without actually hurting him
    on other note i can’t wait to see how you plan to approach Anita’s ‘totally not insecurity + projection’ video

    • Anime-Mun

      I’m gonna be rewatching the Honey Badger Radio episode on it to touch upon what was missed. Also adding in five strong samples that are I do in the rest of my series. In other words keeping with my theme of breaking her narrative into shards. I’ll also touch upon a series with a fun character creation concept.

    • gush

      Well, this actually happened to me. Didn’t knew the name, I did knew the girls though, didn’t minded either though.
      Didn’t knew the name, knew it came from anime.