Today's topic: Cosplay, race, and body type
(I'll try my best not to offend, but I think I'm too blunt for my own good sometimes.)
I'm going to start out by outright saying, I do not discriminate against anybody. I honestly believe that any race or body type can cosplay anything or anybody they want.
HOWEVER! I do not enjoy seeing extremely overweight people half-naked. I won't make rude comments or gestures at them or behind their back, but it's not enjoyable to see, and I definitely won't ask for a picture. On the other side of the spectrum, skinny people don't look good as overweight characters, and it even makes them hard for me to recognize sometimes.
I also greatly admire people who use cosplay to motivate themselves to work out and lose weight. I'm thin, but even I've worked out to make a cosplay more accurate (getting abs for crossplay).
I know that race can be a tender subject, but here goes. I'm less likely to ask for a picture of a cosplay if the person is not the "correct" race. There are exceptions though, if the cosplay is just spectacularly made or I get to know them and they're just an awesome person that I want to remember. Also, I once saw a really dark African-American Link (The Legend of Zelda) cosplayer with a blue tunic, instead of the main green one, that complimented his skin tone so well, I would have died to get his picture. In any case, I am no less likely to compliment their costume or talk to them. I also don't particularly like when people use makeup to change their skin tone. It has to be really well-done and really convincing.
That being said, as with cosplayers who aren't the "correct" weight, I still do not make rude gestures or comments.
As for body type and skin color affecting my cosplay choices, it honestly does. I' a people-pleaser and a perfectionist, a terrible combination for a cosplayer.
I could never bring myself to cosplay a heavier character because I'm so ridiculously tiny and I'd be afraid I'd offend someone. (The words "but there are so many skinny anime characters" come to mind...) I get grief about my weight as it is, whether I'm cosplaying a character just as skinny as myself, or even if I'm not cosplaying at all. People seems offended by my size, as if I'm purposely perpetuating the stereotype that only skinny girls are pretty, Yes, I'm skinny. Yes, people say I'm pretty. Yeah, there might be some correlation, but, really, I wish I weighed more. It affects my health and I'd really like to get people the F off of my back. But that's my problem, not the cosplay world's.
I'm less particular about race though, probably because I've never had real problems with race. I've been toying with the idea of cosplaying a darker-skinned girl with the same body type as myself, but my skin is so light, camera flash reflects off of it, and on top of that, it's a fairly revealing cosplay. I'd have to get a tan, which is near impossible, though I'm not entirely against fake tans, good ones, I mean, but that's money. Anyway, it is mostly the skin that's holding me back, not how revealing it is. I'm not against altering the costume to make it less revealing, even if that really did hold me back. It's easier remedied than skin color.
So, does skin color matter in cosplay? Yeah. Do weight and body type matter? Yeah. Should you let that stop you? No. Does that give people the right to be rude to people whose bodies or skin doesn't match? No.
After all, if a boy can be a girl, and a girl can be a boy (crossplaying), why can't a skinny person be an overweight person, or a white person be an Asian person?