Cosplay As a Nazi – Get Banned
We all know about the ongoing changes to cosplay policies at various conventions around the country., many of which center on cosplay weaponry. In light of the issue that occurred at Phoenix Comic Con with a (clearly disturbed) cosplayer who believed himself to be The Punisher, and who had made threats toward actor Jason David Frank, con staff around the country have made the decision to re-vamp several of their costuming policies in order to ensure the safety of not only the celebrity guests, but convention attendees as well.
Well, now it seems that other conventions have had to take things a step further.
On September 14, 2017, the website for Rose City Comic Con was updated with a change to their cosplay policy. According to the new addition to the convention’s policy, “…reminders of unspeakable atrocities are not appropriate. This goes for Old School Hydra and Red Skull or any other Nazis from entertainment properties.” The updated policy goes on to mention that this includes any satirical or ironic cosplays which appropriate Nazi paraphernalia or gear, and that anyone seen found wearing these cosplays or accessories would not only be ejected from the con, but would also be banned from Rose City Comic Con for life.
While one would think that this would be a decision that basically amounted to “duh, this is a good idea”, the impetus for this action by the convention management seems to be the appearance of a duo of cosplayers who’ve appeared at various conventions around the country dressed in Hello Kitty-themed Nazi SS uniforms (no, really). The appearance of these cosplayers was reported on in Women Write about Comics, and it was noted that they had also been asked to leave by the folks over at Emerald City Comic Con, after showing up there as well. One would think that they would learn from their first ejection, but apparently not.
This is not a new topic for us here at PCU. A little while ago, we talked about some reasons why dressing as a Nazi for a convention is really not the best of life choices. It seems, however, that our advice went unheeded, as there are still cosplayers out there who feel like this is the best thing to do. However, it looks like conventions across the country are not taking this lying down, as instances like these have also prompted other conventions to enact similar cosplay bans.
Granted, the recent “rallies” in places like Charlottesville, VA and other places around the United States have emboldened those who harbor the hateful beliefs espoused by the Nazi party. In fact, following the announcement from Rose City Comic Con, convention founder Ron Brister spoke with Gizmodo, and expressed concern that Nazi-themed cosplay seems to be a growing trend. In his conversation with the website, Brister stated, “I would say that I’ve seen more people dressed up as some form of Nazi this year at conventions around the country than I’ve ever seen before.” In this writer’s opinion, that’s pretty disturbing. I don’t want to go to a convention to speak on topics like diversity, only to have to see some neo-fascist cosplayer who thinks he’s funny, dressed up as the love child of Adolf Hitler and some My Little Pony character. For me, having to see that detracts from the fun that I would normally have at the event, as I would feel almost obligated to take photographs of them, and then vomit my disdain for their decisions all over my social media pages.
Not only are cosplays like this an eyesore for convention staff and attendees, but they’re also insulting to those individuals who created these beloved characters. Those of us who have been true fans of comic books, movies, etc. over the years know and understand that the creators of these characters and their iconic stories wrote them as allegory for fighting against those horrible ideologies:
Superman was created by two Jewish men, and uses his power to defend people against not only everyday crime, but also against oppression and bigotry in all forms. Captain America punched Adolf Hitler in the face. Charles Xavier and his X-Men fought against anti-mutant bigotry and those who would commit violence in the name of “purity”. Shazam battled with Captain Nazi and kicked the crap out of him on several occasions. Even the Joker – one of the most evil and sadistic villains in all of comicdom – freaked out and refused to work with Red Skull once he found out that the crimson-domed character was an actual Nazi.
“When even the Clown Prince of Crime thinks you’re an ass…”
Another aspect to this, is that those who cosplay as certain characters normally do so because they believe in the values or ideas for which those characters stand. We’ve talked before about Superman/Supergirl cosplayers who chose their character because they want to embody the characters’ values in their real lives, and what happens when a cosplayer who leads a very public life goes against those values.
Let’s recap. Showing up to a convention or geek/nerd culture event in something like Nazi cosplay is a pretty poor life decision. Not only is it insulting and hateful to an entire portion of the population, but it could potentially give people the idea that you believe in the ideologies espoused by your character (regardless of whether or not you actually do).
There are also consequences for making this dubious decision. Putting on a cosplay of this nature could get you:
- Photographed, and your visage posted online (good luck getting rid of that image)
- A lot of dirty looks from fellow cosplayers & con-goers
- Refused service by vendors at the convention(s)
- Asked to leave
- Banned from conventions
There’s a flip side to all of this, however. Regardless of what the thought process of these individuals may or may not have been, we as a society of geeks/nerds/cosplayers also need to be aware of certain consequences of our own actions. We all know that there are trolls out there who do things specifically for shock value & notoriety. If we as con goers and members of the press are not careful, this notoriety could result in more publicity for these cosplayers, potentially granting them the attention and 15 minutes of fame that they so sorely crave. Should we put them on blast? In my opinion the answer to this would be yes. However, we should also be careful to not glorify things like this, as it would only serve to make those who truly believe in these views more sure of themselves and their causes.
Finally, I’ll say this: If you get the idea in your head to take an innocuous & fun-loving character like Sanrio’s Hello Kitty – whose very existence is meant to make children & young adults feel happy and bring joy to her fans – and use its iconography in a cosplay of a fascist and hateful bigot, you’re a moron. Congratulations, you’ve completely twisted the spirit of the character, and you have no understanding of satire or irony. Get out of my convention circuit. If, on the other hand, you choose to cosplay as a character who has done good things for the world in which they exist, please learn to embody and emulate the tenets of said character(s), and continue displaying your talent for the world to see.
Wow. And here we have yet another example. Of the intolerance of the pearl clutching left. So only superheroes are now allowed as cosplay? Unless of course you mean you are okay with genocidal maniacs bent on world destruction EXCEPT Nazis.
It actually sickens me that people like you feel that you somehow have the right to play morality police and tell others what they can and cannot wear. And don’t try to whine about how you aren’t telling them that. It’s sick demented crybullies like you that are the exact reason why these conventions now have these rules in place.
And maybe you didn’t notice, I’m sure you were too busy winding your faux outrage engine, but one of the Hello Kitty “Nazis” is wearing a frigging RAINBOW PIN. So he’s a GAY HELLO KITTY NAZI.
They are making FUN of Nazis. They are ridiculing them. They are shining a light under the bed and showing that they boogeyman is nothing at all. That they are to be laughed at and poked fun at.
So congratulations. You just gave them all their scary powers back. I hope you’re frigging happy.
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Feel better now that you’ve got that out of your system, do you?
Nice dodge. You should play for Average Joe’s. Is that all you have? A passive aggressive Ad Hominem attack? Damn. Talk about intellectual laziness. But what else can one expect from a blogger. Lol
Done being a condescending idiot that can’t address arguments.
I don’t debate with people who rely on logical fallacies.
Lol. You mean you don’t debate people who you know would destroy you because you have no intellectual nor moral leg to stand on. But sure. By all means claim I make logical fallacies, while providing nothing to back up your claim. I pointed out all your bullshit, while you just retreated behind buzzwords and declined to refute my claims. Good going there. Way to back up your writing. You sure showed me.
Lol. And everybody who reads this is going to see what a coward you are. Unless of course you actually back up your writing. Or are you saying that it is indefensible to even the slightest scrutiny? Because you haven’t said ANYTHING to dispute my assertions.
So to all that are reading this, please witness that the OP can’t even muster a defense when everything he has written on this subject has been called into question.
So to all those sitting on the fence please let this be your guide.
I’d be happy to address your comments if it seemed as though you were open to discussion & intelligent debate. However, it appears that you’ve taken the stance of the idiomatic “chess-playing pigeon”.
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So now you’re the arbiter of who is, and who is not open to debate? Pretty convenient for you don’t you think? I’m calling for you to refute my assertions, if you can. Yet you are the one ducking, diving and dodging.
You make broad reaching claims about the people who cosplay Nazi, or even “nazi-esque” characters. You malign their character as if you know them. You make yourself out to be this arbiter of moral certainty and righteousness. You bully and threaten and get offended on behalf of other people as if they needed you to save their feelings.
I say you are wrong and yet you refuse you refute anything I say. All you do is make excuses.
Which I actually thank you for. It just will show all those reading this exactly the type of intellectually dishonest person you are. Which hopefully will lead them to question what else you wrote as well.
Please show where I maligned someone’s character, bullied, or threatened anyone.
So, here is a question, are you ok with people who dress up as a character that represented a genocidal group? A group of people who, not too long ago were responsible for trying to wipe out another group of people. A group that, considering today’s climate are reminding people of a lot of old fears being that there are people who in the real world are trying to represent them again. Because a lot of people go to comic conventions to get away from things happening in the world such as what took place in Charlottesville and for someone who decided that to dress up as these characters which could quite possibly traumatize a few con goers and escalate into a negative situation, well yeah, they are pretty sick if they are ok doing that.
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“but it could potentially give people the idea that you believe in the ideologies espoused by your character”
“Photographed, and your visage posted online (good luck getting rid of that image)”
” as I would feel almost obligated to take photographs of them, and then vomit my disdain for their decisions all over my social media pages”
So right here. You imply that people will think they’re actually Nazis.
You threaten to take their pictures and post them all over your social media pages. (with the implication that you’ll brand them Nazis)
And you again threaten them with other people doing the same.
You call them morons etc. You tell them “get out of MY convention circuit” as if this is your own little petty feifdom.
So yes. You bully, you threaten and you malign peoples characters that you don’t know. Simply to virtue signal and show everyone how “outraged” you can be on behalf of others who probably aren’t even offended. Congratulations. You’re a dick.
1. The statement that cosplaying a Nazi could potentially give people the idea that one believes in those ideologies is not maligning the character of those cosplayers. It speaks to the psychology of the observer.
2. The statement I made about sharing images on my social media speaks to my right to do so in the internet age. Most of my social media is locked down to those I associate with in my everyday life, so that’s more of a way for me to vent my own frustrations.
And again, you end your statement with an ad hominem…
You infer that I would brand these people as Nazis. That’s not how I work.
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trying to see when Doug personally threatened anyone…still also waiting (not holding my breath tho) for Dennis to answer my question.
Meanwhile there are actual genocidal maniacs still around in this world while liberals completely ignore them, because it’s not PC to point out that Islamist countries like Saudi Arabia kill Atheists, Women, LGTB people. But hey lets focus on a regime that has been long dead for 70+ years.
That’s also happening here in the USA. Women, trans people, PoC, and the disabled are all killed at an alarming rate. However, that’s not what this article focuses on. Thanks for your strawman argument.
Not directly relevant, but this reminds me of the semi-controversial appearance of the “no bare steel” policy that appeared several years ago, banning the cosplay-wearing of swords, axes, knives, or actually anything that could be perceived as a weapon by gun-carrying mundane cops. That was actually a good idea, even moreso in today’s climate; people have been shot for far less lately.
That’s touched on in the article as well. There’s a link to the incident at Phoenix Comic Con.
I’m not a cosplayer, but I find it uncomfortable to see players in military uniforms that they have no right to wear.
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Thanks for the info. I’m going to share this. However I don’t mind the fictional characters like RED SKULL but when you idolize the real people like HITLER that’s going to far.
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Sorry. I meant “too”
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I am actually finding myself agreeing with the point that Dennis is attempting to discuss. I do not agree with his name calling. Yet, I can also feel his frustration with the unwillingness of the writer of the article to address his concerns.
I myself am a former US Marine. Our dress uniforms we wear are some of the coolest uniforms ever created. So are, you have to admit, many Nazi uniforms, particularly the SS. I would Cosplay a hydra character to wear one. I think it is perfectly reasonable to discuss the censorship of certain characters from the convention environment, while they exist in the comic world. With regards to the current cultural and sociology-political environment. Yet I also I think that it is a little out of bounds to equate someone who is dons a Natziesque costume with being a sympathizer of Nazi ideology and not place that same burden on the person who dons a Joker costume. To say nothing of the right, dare I say the need, of people to commandeer any imaginary or words and repurpose then as their creative individuality sees fit. How will we ever restore the swastika to its’ former Sandskrit meaning of “wellbeing” otherwise?
Look, we all can see how Dennis coming out the gate with, “the intolerance of the pearl clutching left” and ending by calling Doug,”a dick” is unnecessarily confrontational to say the least. I do though think that there was a bit of a missed opportunity by not engaging with his argument as a way of clarifying and distilling. I for one do not see the connection between what happened in Arizona with the Punisher and the Hello Kitty Naziesque guys getting kicked out of a Comic-con. Which imagery is more powerful? The Hello Kitty imagery or the Nazi imagery? In mashing up the two, which corrupts the other? Is there something new being stated by bringing those elements together ? These I believe are worthwhile topics of discussion. Which can only be had by engagement.
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Thank you, Joe, for your well-written and insightful comment.
Let me start by re-iterating the statement I made to Dennis re: equating those who cosplay as Nazis with the aforementioned ideology. The point I was making speaks to the psychology of the individual observer. While (hopefully) the majority of con attendees would simply find the cosplay in poor taste – given today’s sociopolitical climate – there are unfortunately those who could potentially have a poorer reaction. This ban is not only for the benefit of those who are offended by the imagery, but the safety of those cosplayers who may take it upon themselves to cosplay as Nazis. No one wants to have to deal with any potential violent fallout from something like that, which is a concern for many.
Were I one who opposed the ban, I would begin by writing letters/emails to the convention organizers & voicing my opposition in the manner which you have here.
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Yeah Doug I hear ya. Look Cosplay as a straight up Nazi is a whole world I don’t think we want to get into no matter what the current social or political environment is. I don’t think that should be an issue. For me the grey area if you will, is with the deprecation of specific characters (Hydra comes to mind) or the use of Nazi imagery or symbols in some sort of mash up like the Hello Kitty guys in the photo. I also have a bit of a concern with the logic that has us speculating about the psychological space that someone else might be in, which may cause him/her to feel a certain way, which might cause him/her to act a certain way that is counter to the spirit of Comi-con and use that a a pretext for censorship.
I absolutely agree that the current temperature in our culture today with regards to ideologies that are intolerant is pretty hot. I also agree that the promoters of the various Comi-cons across the country would be derelict in their duties if they were to ignore this fact and and not consider it’s ramifications. Particularly in the aftermath of the events that happened in Charlottesville. Yet in this post 9/11 reality that we live in where we have allowed for the increase of surveillance, the rush towards a greater presence and militarization of the police, the of government policies aimed at marginalizing, criminalizing and destroying any and all decent. All in the name of greater security; because something might possibly happen, somewhere, sometime. I hate to see this kind of fear infecting the creative spirit of our Comi-cons.
All that being said. Banning or not, Nazi or Naziesque Cosplay from Comi-cons is not something I’m going to loose sleep over. If the promoters are at ease with their decision and believe that the overall atmosphere of the events benefit from the decision we’ll, I’ll happily defer to their wisdom. I simply think that there are elements of the decision worthy of discussion.
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