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