I’ve been wanting to post this picture for a while now. My name is Lauren, and I’m a US size 24. I’m a big, fat nerd who loves cosplay. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, cosplayers are the people at sci-fi/fantasy/anime conventions who dress in costume. Cosplay usually implies a professional air to the costuming. Lots of time, money, and care is spent making the costumes look as perfect as possible. Unfortunately, since fat acceptance isn’t common in mainstream media, most main characters in TV, movies, comics, and anime/manga are not fat. As a result, fat people can get a lot of shit for dressing as a character who isn’t fat. There are quite a few non-fat geeks who bash fat cosplayers and tell them that they should only cosplay characters who are also fat. While I cosplay fat characters often in an effort to keep the few fat characters in nerd-dom as visible as possible, there are a lot of characters I love who are not played by fat people/not drawn fat. That’s kind of where the story begins.
I recently became re-obsessed with an anime called “Sailor Moon,” which a large majority of you are familiar with. For those who are not, a lot of people in my generation watched it as children when the anime was dubbed in English. It came on around the same era as Pokemon. The western Sailor Moon fandom is experiencing something of a revival with the re-release of the manga in the US, as the manga hasn’t been on shelves in English in quite some time. In short, it’s a great time to hop back in to the Sailor Moon scene. So I decided, with a bit of trepidation, to do a Sailor Moon cosplay at Dragon*Con, a huge, 46,000 person convention, second in popularity in the US only to San Diego’s Comic Con.
If you aren’t familiar with the Sailor Moon getups, they’re probably some of the most intimidating outfits you can wear in terms of body exposure. We’re talking ass-level miniskirts, sky-high heels, big bows on both your boobs and above your butt, elbow-length white gloves, cleavage-revealing v-necks, and a little school uniform-style sailor collar, just to give it an added dose of some good, old-fashioned fetishism. So, needless to say, fat people in Sailor Moon costumes are among the most sought after by fat-bashing cosplay elitists.
Thankfully, being a lesbian has taught me a lot about saying a good, freeing “fuck-you” to close-mindedness and doing what you want regardless of what others have to say about it. I said a big “fuck you” to fat cosplay bashers and cosplayed as my favorite Sailor Moon character, Sailor Jupiter. Not because I thought I looked the most like her out of the characters, or because I liked the colors she wears, but because I identify with the character herself. Although she isn’t fat, she gets picked on for her physical appearance. She’s immensely tall, to the point that she has to wear a different school uniform than everyone else because they don’t have one that fits her. (That one is uncomfortably familiar as it has happened to me more than once at school AND work). People pick on her for her height, and for being “unusually muscular for a girl.” People are reluctant to make friends with her, thinking she looks “mean” because she’s big. She struggles with the masculinity/femininity binary just like I do, feeling she has to over-feminize herself to counteract her physical appearance and tomboyish tastes. She hates bullies, having been bullied a lot herself. She doesn’t take shit from them, often protecting other marginalized people from them. Like me, she tries her best to always be accepting since a lot of people don’t accept her. She’s unwaveringly loyal to her friends and fiercely protective of them, which I admire. Each character in the show is supposed to embody a value, and hers is courage. She does what needs to be done and what’s right regardless of what’s going to happen to her, what people say about it, or what they think of her. I figured I’d take a page out of her book and do the damn cosplay because it doesn’t matter what I look like, or what she’s drawn like, it matters what we’re all like (as someone else put it on this blog a few weeks ago) on the fucked-up inside.
So here’s a picture of my cosplay, taken by a professional photographer at a Sailor Moon photo shoot at the Con. I have a little bit of a double chin going on, a roll showing in the back, the fattest part of my arms showing, and I think it looks fierce as fuck. One of the best things was, I had fat girls coming up to me all weekend thanking me for doing the cosplay. People told me things like, “You always see skinny girls doing cosplays like this, I’m glad to see someone more my size doing it too!” and “I am so glad to see a well-made, tasteful, plus-sized Sailor Jupiter!”. I had an awesome time, I felt beautiful in the costume, and I hope that I encouraged more of us fat girls to get out there, love their bodies, and cosplay whatever the hell they want. I think I did the character justice, and fuck anyone who says I didn’t because I’m fat. And if the character could crawl out of the TV right now and talk to me, I think she’d approve.