21-JUNE-2011 As a trained massage therapist (formerly Nationally and State certified) and a cosplayer/model, I feel a particularly unique perspective to this trend that WIZARD WORLD has at its shows: COSPLAY MASSAGE. Sure, it’s supposed to be innocent, but is it really?
* Characters that are redesigned to be sexy.
* Characters that are already in skimpy/tight outfits already considered sexy.
* Characters that are supposed to divide their time between appropriate for children as well as adults.
Ask any male geek about his sexual fantasies and you’ll hear answers of Princess Leia in the gold bikini, Black Cat, Catwoman with her whip or some anime character I can’t name that’s nothing more than a pre-pubescent character drawn with oversized breasts.
There’s the path of what I call “slutifying” characters’ costumes: taking a non-sexy character and redesigning it for a revealing cheesecake style that should be reserved for places that target adult audiences. This slutifying of characters is a whole discussion unto itself. I’m not opposed in general, but there’s a time and place.
Then there is the problem of characters that aren’t sexual but forever pigeonholed as such like Wonder Woman and Rogue. You can lecture me about Wonder Woman’s back story all you want but the private life of her creator William Moulton Marston is not the same thing as discussing the character. Wonder Woman is forever the icon of bondage, whether it was Marston’s intention or not.
When it comes to massage therapy there are many modalities and only one of them is identified as allowing for sensual contact (That’s called Tantra if you’re really interested). No legitimate practice is going allow for sexual fantasies to be fulfilled during a massage session. It is a valid wellness care therapy and should be seen as such. It is extremely difficult to build a practice no matter how good you are. Massage is one of those expenses that is first to be eliminated when budgets are tightened. It doesn’t matter how beneficial it is for your musculoskeletal structure and circulatory system or that it’s been proven to boost mental processes in test score comparisons; it’s not usually seen as “medically necessary.”
There is a problem with the fringe of prostitution crossing into massage. The “massage parlor” is still a very real thing and they are raided by authorities and shut down on a regular basis. Debate the ethics of prostitution all you want in your own forums, please. The bottom line is it is illegal here in the U.S. So when you take the common sexual fantasies of roleplaying and add it to massage (mind you the “therapists” are only attractive thin young girls), what you have is a venue for getting male geeks stimulated into arousal; that could be mentally or full on erection. It’s not uncommon for a man to get an erection during an appropriate massage in a serene day spa or in a medical office; it just happens. Adding the cosplay element to massage is in bad taste.
These conventions are billed as “family friendly” with advertisements to “bring the kids” and “meet the stars.” Then you have sexy girls wearing skimpy outfits getting paid to provide a physical service. Huh? What is WIZARD ENTERTAINMENT thinking? I’ve heard many complaints about the skimpy costumes simply being worn around the con because of the presence of children; most of the complaints are by women.
At a past Big Apple Con (now run by WIZARD as well), there were stripper poles set up with girls in slutified cosplay on them. I love a great pole dance routine as much as anyone but it was in not the place for it.
Other conventions put a stop to scantily clad booth babes. If the con organizers feel the outfits of the spokesmodels are too skimpy, they are stopped.
I’ll be publishing an interview I did with sex educator Cunning Minx at a future date where we do discuss appropriate use of cosplay in an adult situation plus the sexuality of characters like Slave Leia and Wonder Woman.