Men’s Fitness And The Obnoxious Side To Mainstream Cosplay Coverage
With the rise of cosplay as a more popular fan art form in recent years, there’s been a lot of mainstream coverage for cosplayers at major events like New York Comic Con. I personally saw CNN talking to cosplayers at a comic book release earlier this year, and all in the name of trying to get their finger on why fans do these things. They want to put it out there for the mainstream to get a better understanding of cosplay and to share the gorgeous work that a lot of fans are doing in their fan fashion.
And then, there’s articles like these.
In case you want to save your brain cells, I’ll give you the highlights. One Jordon Burchette of Men’s Fitness decided to go to New York Comic Con and write an article about cosplayers who are dressing up as their favorite super heroes. Only the spin on this article is how these are folk who don’t have the best body tone. In other words, folks, it’s an article making fun of larger people who decide to cosplay, entitled “New York Comic Con: Flabby Versions of Your Favorite Super Heroes!” And, there are photos!
This classy piece of garbage article decides that its okay to not only poke fun at how people are cosplaying their particular costume, but to then poke fun at their bodies too. One of my favorites (hence the dripping sarcasm) is when the article refers to someone as Blob O’Fett. Or wait, when they called a woman dressed as Dagger ‘Dumpy’. My favorite.
Listen, Men’s Fitness, I get that you want to be all funny. Really. I mean, your magazine’s taken seriously by guys who want to get into shape and people who want to stare at the beefcake on your covers. But aren’t you supposed to be about… y’know, health? Tell guys how to get six pack abs and what to eat so you can get a permanent erection or something? I don’t know, I’m not a guy. What I am is thoroughly disgusted with your Perez Hilton-style knocking of folks just going out to have a good time. Why didn’t you just make stupid little drawings on the photos indicating to their fat pockets too? Go ahead, that’s classy as hell as well.
As someone who is a plus-sized geek, I’ll say that this was probably one of the most personally infuriating articles I’ve ever read. As a blogger, I find it repulsive that it was put on a reputable website. Moreover, I feel badly for those folk who were just out to have a good time and instead got their photos taken to basically just be called fat on the internet. Is that really what Men’s Fitness applied to Comic Con to go do? Did they run out of spin for their articles that this Buchette just decided “I know what would be great? Let’s take photos of people and then insult them about their weight because, y’know, that didn’t go out of style in grade school.” Then again, the internet is full of infuriating, hurtful things. Yet I’m actually surprised at Men’s Fitness for considering this an okay direction to go in and I wonder what exactly the editors were thinking.
Moreover, it just proves that the writer just doesn’t get it. Cosplay, from my experience so far photographing the fandom, is about people getting together and having fun doing something they love. It’s inclusive. It’s interesting. And people might look at one another and give comment about costumes every once in a while, but in my experience I haven’t seen much of it. People have been, for the most part, encouraging and supportive and kind. And accepting of everyone. It’s why I’ve actually even considered cosplaying, even though I’m of a larger size myself — because of the encouragement I’ve gotten from people within the cosplay community. To see then people on the outside taking pot-shots shows that they don’t get that some places, unlike their little corner of the six-pack abs universe, accepts folks for who they are and doesn’t deride them with fourth grade punchlines. And that’s the saddest part of this whole thing.
So, in short, Men’s Fitness and especially Jordon Burchette? The whole article and incident is disappointing and pretty horrified. Stick with your shirtless front cover pictures and fat burning articles and stay away from events you don’t get. All you’ve done is prove that you’re that guy right now, the one who pokes fun at others to look superior and only comes out looking like the jerk who never grew up. I encourage folk to voice their displeasure with this nonsense and I hope that in the future, some editors will vet the hell out of their content a little better.