**Warning: May contain some inappropriately appropriate language!!
by Fenny Lin
Can we have “Magneto: Nazi Hunter” as the next Xmen movie??? Because I would watch the fuck out of that.
See, when you read the title, you’re going to go “well, if it’s so ‘obvious’, then why does it even need to be said?”…and before a few weeks ago, I would have completely agreed with you. But during All-Con Dallas weekend this year, I found out that dressing up as a Nazi is now a “thing”. As in, there are groups dressed up as Nazis…all weekend. Different Nazi costume each day. So that was at least 3 different Nazi costumes that they packed in their luggage. So evidently, it’s not as evident as I thought…which is why we present: Top 10 Obvious Reasons Why Cosplaying as a Nazi is NOT a Good Idea (and seriously, my brain bleeds a little for having to write this…because, again, it’s just so obvious to the rest of us):
2) Having your photo all over the internet…DRESSED AS A NAZI. Good luck with that job interview next week.
I hope this isn’t his LinkedIn profile photo
3) Dressing up as a member that propagated one of the most atrocious genocides in modern history is not appropriate. Not sure why this is a bad thing? Here are some facts that I would like to shove up your arse (there are a shit ton more reasons why Nazis suck, but I can only handle so much before I need to take a power sander to my brain…which is probably something that the Nazis would do; refer to item B below. Ugh.):
- Nazis were the cause of over 6 million Jews being killed, and an additional 5 million non-Jewish victims that included: Romani (aka gypsies), mentally and physically handicapped, POWs, and Poles. That’s 11 million people that were persecuted and murdered.
- Nazis performed sadistic human experiments on their victims. These experiments varied in levels of horror that ranged from sewing twin children together to create conjoined twins, injecting dyes into eyes to change the eye color, transplanting bone, muscles and limbs without the use of anesthesia, infecting victims with various diseases and illnesses…ugh, I’m going to stop because this is making me ill.
- The Nazis established over 15,000 concentration camps and subcamps. That’s 15,000 interment centers to keep people whose only “ Those fit for work would perform back-breaking labor for 12 – 14 hours, with very little food. The mortality rate for these camps were over 50%…and that’s even before we get into the “Final Solution”.
- The “Final Solution” was the Nazi code name for the systematic murder of *all* the Jews in Europe. Auschwitz was just *one* of these extermination camps.
4) If you decide to dress up as a Nazi as a part of a cosplay group (i.e. Hellboy, Indiana Jones), then you should either make sure that your costume clearly shows that it’s not really a Nazi uniform (i.e. Hydra patches), or stick REALLY REALLY REALLY close to the rest of your group with the counter costumes. As in, if your Captain America goes to the bathroom, you go to the bathroom too. If your Indiana Jones decides that he needs to run up to the room to grab something, you go with him. Do not stand around, alone, WITHOUT CONTEXT as a Nazi. Because, someone is going to snap that photo of you dressed as a Nazi by the bar…and well, refer back to #2.
Oh just a random Nazi roaming the halls. NBD…or IS IT?
5) Unlike horrible genocides in the far far far past, the Holocaust and the effects of World War II is still recent. I know friends who have very few family members because their grandparent was the only surviving member of their entire family. We all joke about “too soon”, but this one really is just TOO SOON.
6) Claiming that your Nazi uniform is a part of a “reenactment” (without the context of having any Allied uniforms nearby – see #4) is the worst cop out. Please just picture a group who decided to don pointy white hats and white sheets and walk around a convention under the pretense that it’s a “civil rights reenactment”. Or a bunch of people deciding to put on ISIS uniforms carrying around severed heads and claim that they are being “topical”. Is that image disturbing and not OK? Good. That same outrage you feel about having the KKK or ISIS “cosplay” should be the same outrage you feel for Nazi “cosplay”.
If you wouldn’t wear the outfit on the left to a con, then you shouldn’t wear the one on the right either.
7) Symbolism. Nazis are a symbol of hate. Hate groups *today* use and wear the swatzika and Nazi uniforms. Even 60+ years after WWII, these symbols and uniforms are used today as a tool to intimidate. So when you don on an SS uniform you’re not just “cosplaying”, you’re representing everything that the Nazis stood for…and if you’re not sure what that means, please refer back to #3 (above). Still not sure why historical context should factor in your decision to dress up as a Nazi? Please read Aitch’s article “Breaking Down the Michonne Cosplay Blackface and Some of the Fallacies Within”, and insert the word “fucking Nazis” where appropriate.
8) You know those Direct TV commercials with Rob Lowe? Yeah, don’t be *that guy* who decided to pose for his photo op with his “Nazi Gold”. Not sure why this is so horrific (to the point where I had to go “nooooooooo…this has to be ‘shopped…oh god what do you mean it’s not photoshopped?!?!?”)? Because Nazi Gold wasn’t just gold and money that the Nazis took from their victims (which is pretty terrible to begin with), the NAZIS RIPPED THE GOLD FILLINGS OUT OF THE TEETH OF THEIR VICTIMS. Let’s take a moment to think about that shall we? If you’re not properly horrified by this, please get yourself to a therapist. No seriously, go see a therapist, because you might be a sociopath, and not the cool kind like Dexter. Which leads me to #9…
WTF dude. “Nazi Gold”? You, sir, are a fucking douche-canoe. Fuck you.
9) Looking to dress up as a villain? I get it. Villains make up some of my favorite characters. Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are two of the most beloved villains in the Batman universe. And if the number of Loki cosplayers at a convention is any indication, the Trickster God would have NO problems getting a following here on Earth. And I won’t even get into how much better Dark Phoenix was than Jean Grey (or even how much more awesome the Goblin Queen was than plain old Madeline Pryor). So I get it. Villains are interesting. But here’s the thing: these characters are FICTION. The horrible things that Joker, Sabertooth, and Joffery do? All fake. But you know what’s NOT fake? The Holocaust. You know what’s NOT fiction? Concentration camps. There is a difference between dressing up as a fictional villainous character, and dressing up as someone who has ACTUALLY killed millions of people.
10) Just don’t do it. No really. We, as nerds, have a WHOLE IMAGINARY WORLD to select from. Not just from the hundreds of characters by the Big Two comic book publishers, but we can pick from fantasy, anime, cartoons, TV shows, movies, sci-fi, books, webcomics…the list is endless. Every time I think I’ve seen every cosplay there can possibly be, someone will surprise me with something completely clever and totally awesome. So with all of our imagination, with all the worlds that we can pick from, there is never a need to dress up as people from our historical present. Especially from a group that is still so fraught with emotion and hate. One of the most beautiful things about being a nerd, is that we love weird and bizarre things that used to get us picked on, bullied, and tormented. So why would any of us wish to don on the uniform of a group of people who will forever be remembered in history as the most horrific and worst bullies, murderers, and tormentors?
TL:DR version: The SS uniform was a uniform of terror, horror and GENOCIDE. Millions died. This is not something to dress up as and make funnies and photo ops. So don’t do it. Just…don’t.
P.S. I know I didn’t directly address the whole “freedom of speech” issue, so before anyone messages me about it, I would like to point out that conventions have been known to ask skimpily clad female cosplayers to leave/change their costume. So I would think that a uniform that is synonymous with genocide and horrific atrocities would be a worse thing to wear than something that shows off boobies.
Seriously. Don’t ever do this. EVER. Just…don’t.