Are NY Comic Con Cosplayers Victims of Cyber Bullying?

The jerks jocks of the world haven’t changed much. Apparently, they haven’t grown much in the ways of maturation since the days of dishing out wedgies and swirlies in the high school gym locker room. So maybe the basketball court or the football field wasn’t the nerd’s prime place to shine. But to diss a nerd on their own turf? That’s about as low as it gets.

A buddy of mine (and fellow Star Wars cosplayer, known in such circles as Thaxos), Sean Thomson, brought “NY Comic Con: Flabby Versions of Your Favorite Superheroes!” to my attention earlier this evening via Facebook. Needless to say, it’s caused quite a stir on the good ol’ news feed of mine, many of our friends expressing outrage and concern. As someone with many friends within the cosplay community, its easy for me to see why: author Jordan Burchette posted several photos of superhero cosplayers superimposed with insulting and bigoted captions. What’s especially cruel is that the individuals posing for these photos had possibly no idea that they would end up as a mockery on mensfitness.com. Sure, when you upload a photo of yourself on the internet you’re basically offering it to the public domain. Essentially anyone may have access to it to save, re-upload, edit, or caption. Its a risk we all take. But the fact that all of these photos carry a Men’s Fitness watermark indicate that these cosplayers were individually targeted for the purpose of this article.

HATERS GONNA HATE. Love who you are. (fanboy.com)

So what do you think? Did the author have perfectly innocuous intentions when penning this piece of “entertainment” or was he just being a shameless dick going after page views? After all, it’s not the first time I’ve seen a “worst cosplay list” online and I’m certainly not ignorant to the likes of peopleofwalmart.com and “PoorlyDressed.” Even I will admit I have laughed or shaken my head at some of the people who have been unfortunate enough to grace those sites.

Yet the entire concept of this articles harks back to high school in every sense, with the jocks clashing against the nerds. How exactly is it the place of Men’s Fitness to deride convention-goers who want nothing more than to have a good time? And It actually makes very little common sense on their part, if you think about it. Perhaps some of the individuals featured in the article actually want to get into better shape, or have been trying to do so for some time. How exactly does Men’s Fitness expect to inspire and encourage men of all shapes and sizes to get active and lead healthy lifestyles when they are outright attacking people who don’t live up to their chiseled-abs ideal? Humiliation is more likely to cause distance and anger, not motivation to make lifestyle changes.

If you’d like to have your voice heard on this matter, comment below, or follow Sean’s advice and send an email to the editor, via the Men’s Fitness contact form.

In the mean time, I sincerely hope that any and all representation for Men’s Fitness at future conventions is declined. If you’d like to read more about the positive aspects of being a costumer, check out my previous article “Defense of the Nerd: Being a Member of a Costume Club.”

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Jess Tompkins
Jess Tompkins 10 posts

Jess is gamer, cosplayer, convention-lover, and all-round nerd. Her numerous interests include Star Wars (don't mess with the Fett), sci-fi/action-adventure/survival-horror games, and writing. Her console of choice is the PS3.