VODKA O’CLOCK 1519
KATE FOIL – COSPLAYER, GAMER, COMIC CON NERD
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KATE FOIL (@GamerNationGirl) is a southern woman transplanted to NJ for school and she spends her spare time, such as it is, immersed in DRAGON AGE and comic books. She’s also a talented cosplayer capable of starting costumes from scratch or remaking pieces found at thrift shops.
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Kate was invited on the show to discuss her love of cosplay and even how she tries to incorporate her faith into her cosplay life; why certain characters appeal to her; and her addiction to Dragon Age with all its inclusive sexy content.
SEXISM IN COSPLAY AND COMICS
Are you tired of hearing about sexism in comics and gaming? Too bad. We get really into here. Kate talked about her bad comic shop experiences, being groped at conventions, and other unfortunate experiences in the world of being a pop culture fan.
“When I would go in, in my early 20s, definitely they were trying to flirt with me, and they were patronizing to a certain extent,” Kate recalled about an early comic buying experience and the male employees there. From there it only gets worse.
“There’s something very visceral about the transition from Batgirl to Oracle and The Killing Joke. It never really slows her down.” ~ Kate’s feelings on Barbara Gordon
“I have found that the more of me that’s covered, the more I get harassed particularly if my face is covered. If there’s a mask going on, I’m being dehumanized and people think it’s okay to do whatever they want. The outfit I get sexually harassed in the most is the classic Batgirl.”
Kate hypothesized that the skimpier the costume, the less she gets harassed because people are more afraid to be so bold. In her modest outfits, so much of her real body is covered, it’s possible people don’t see her as a real woman under the costume. She shares a moment from Dragon*Con where a man felt the need to continuously discuss her breast reduction scars.
“But he comes up and he thinks they’re breast implant scars. I’m not offended by the idea that I might have implants because I’m still fairly busty even though I’ve had a reduction, but I explained to him, no these are not augmentation scars. And even if they are, why are you asking me? But he would not leave it alone.” Kate on just one of her unpleasant sexism moments at a convention.
Kate’s advice is that if you are feeling uncomfortable about a creeper, find a known photographer of one of the big photoshoots or working at a booth and explain to you need a safe place for a while.
As far as Kate’s Jewish faith, she chooses to cover her hair during holy days, especially because she has to work and really isn’t supposed to. For conventions, she tries to wear a character that requires a wig or headpiece like the Batgirl cowl for at least a while. She brings her shabbat supplies and challah for a private sabbath in her hotel rooms where her friends of any faith can come and observe. She gives a 101 on Purim so you can hear about her rabbi dressed as Thor in this episode.
“I love seeing characters that actually identify with their faith. I think it’s hard though because no one can perfectly embody a religion, not even a faith leader. Everyone has their pitfalls.” ~KF
Around 29:00 mark Kate gives me the 101 on DRAGON AGE from Origins to the latest edition. The sex scenes and romance possibilities were what got Kate interested in checking out the game. She filled me in on all the sexualities and gender options in the game. There’s one transgender character who unfortunately doesn’t have romance options. There are bisexual characters too. Kate finds the latest edition to have the healthiest romance options of the genre.
“I got a lot of confidence being able to meet other female geeks and realizing that there are actually a lot of other people that are like me.” ~KF
Kate also opened up about her sobriety and personal battles like stuttering and anxiety.
CON BEHAVIOR: DON’T BE CREEPY!
Kate’s story about being dressed as Black Widow at 2014’s Awesome Con is one of those sexist horror stories that exist in comics. An artist called her over and without asking or prefacing it, he showed her an illustration of Black Widow’s lower half and masturbating with her hands down her logo’d thong.
“Please don’t shove it in my face randomly. That’s all I’m asking.” ~KF
This is a perfect example of a male artist not understanding what’s an appropriate boundary, what’s sexy versus sexist. This close up of a masturbating woman’s crotch is an example of a heroine not having agency. Not even having her head in the picture removes humanity from it (headless sexy bodies on book covers is a long debate in the sf/f and romance genres). This was done without asking permission of the viewer whether or not she’d be interested in seeing it. And this is coming from Kate, a woman who is extremely open-minded and empowered and who does embrace all-gender sexuality.
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