Saturday, May 31, 2014

An Open Letter to Hartford Comic Con and 106.9

From the 106.9 Facebook page, posted May 31st, 2014
Do you think female cosplayers are nothing more than
breasts for men's amusement?
An open letter to 106.9 and Hartford Comic Con regarding a recent offensive promtion they posted to Facebook.

To Whom It May Concern,

Recently, on the WCCC 106.9 - Hartford’s Classic Rock Facebook page, an image was posted to promote Hartford Comic Con. The image was of 6 well endowed female cosplayers with the caption of "12 Reasons to Go to Comic Con".

Haha. Funny. No wait, not funny. I'm the last guy to object to using sex to sell. If the caption said "6 Reasons" then it would have been saying that seeing attractive women in costume was a good reason to attend. That's fair. Crass and low, but perhaps effective. But by saying "12" you are suggesting that their breasts are the only draw.

I have been attending fan run conventions since 1988. Fandom is about a place for people to be with others who share their interests. It is a place to feel safe and comfortable. It is a place where geeks get to be the cool kids.

It is also a place where the creative and talented can show off their costuming skills. Many cosplayers spend months designing and creating their costumes. They do so for attention and appreciation, most certainly, but appreciation of their skill and hard work, not appreciation of their boobs.

Let's consider what this light humor implies.

It implies that the craftsmanship that all cosplayers put into their costumes is meaningless next to the sexiness the cosplayer presents.

It implies that female cosplayers especially are nothing more than objects for male attendees to look at.

It implies that women in costume (or in street clothes) are nothing more than breasts with legs.

It perpetuates an entitlement culture which has been much discussed of late in light of the California shootings.

Most of all, it tells me that the publicity team for, and possibly, the management of Hartford Comic Con does not understand what it means to create a safe and comfortable place where people can be themselves. When you have to use crass sexuality to sell an event it can be a sign the event lacks depth and quality.

As an event planner myself, I respect anyone who takes the initiative to start and run a convention, but it might be wise to consider the message that certain forms of advertising send before unleashing them on the public.

Michael Whitehouse 

Elder SMOF


  1. On behalf of geek girls: thank you, Michael! I feel that all of me should be considered a benefit to the community, not just what lies between neck and navel. Who knows, one of those women may be the next great comic book artist! The point is, that judging ANYONE on whats on the outside is not what cons were ever about. Thank you again.
    Kendra 'Ka-Chan' Steele

  2. Hello Michael, Bob, and Kendra. My name is Will and I am the web developer for Hartford Comic Con. The image indicated was reported to have been posted up on the Rock 106.9 WCCC Facebook page and seems to have been pulled down, so I was unable to verify. However, Hartford Comic Con takes a strong stance on the issue in favor of respecting all convention attendees, whether in costume or not, and we have specific guidelines regarding costumes worn. We promote a family friendly environment while encouraging anyone who chooses to dress up to come as whatever character they wish to. We support gender-bending, gender-swapped characters, original, comic inspired, tv/film inspired, and pretty much anything else. The guidelines we put forth our merely to help alleviate congestion in the aisles, or danger in the form of real or projectile weapons. We apologize on behalf of 106.9 for using an image that was in poor taste, it was posted on the first day of the convention and we were in full swing so we missed catching it and did not have adequate time to communicate to 106.9 the negative connotation associated to the image. We will be presenting all of our sponsors, guests, and vendors with approved promotional materials for next years event so as to help prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.