I was not sure what to expect for my first convention. ConnectiCon was the perfect place to start with because it was smaller than the extravagant ones, it was local, and it was a good scenario to ease myself into the experience.
People are always afraid of Cosplay, and conventions, because of the passion people in attendance put into it. I had to explain to my stepfather that Cosplaying was essentially the same as dressing up for Halloween, so why should it be viewed as something worse? Just picture the throngs of football fans who show up with ridiculous outfits, or words painted on their chests. Green Bay Packers fans show up with CHEESE ON THEIR HEADS. Yet they’re dedicated fans, and cosplayers are the weirdos? No folks, have a little perspective.
I had a great time, and it felt really good to be surrounded by so many people who shared my interests. I learned a lot about what I liked, and didn’t. For example, I realized quickly that I am not a huge fan of anime but I loved video games. Therefore, when looking for conventions to attend in the future, I would be more interested in ones that weren’t so heavily anime based, or that at least put a good amount of emphasis on video games. I mostly observed during my first convention, because I did not know what to expect, and here are a few things I noticed:
There are two kinds of people: Costume wearers, and costume viewers
I attended ConnectiCon for two days. I did not have a costume for either day, but I went with a friend who did, and whose picture was taken several times. I noticed quickly that there was pros and cons to attending with a costume. If you arrived with an extravagant costume, it limited your ability to really observe the entire show. Between carrying around your many props, and stopping for pictures, it was more of a fashion show for people who love to dress up.
The second day that I attended I threw together a casual Harry Potter costume. I already owned all the attire; all I had to do was draw a scar on my forehead. ONE person asked to take a picture with me. And it was the most gratifying feeling ever. I felt like a celebrity and it made my entire day.
Whether or not a person decides to arrive in costume is completely dependent on the type of experience they hope to have. I believe that the more complicated a costume, the less time and ability a person has to enjoy the convention as a whole. Some people like their picture being taken; I know I extremely enjoyed the one I was asked to take. But I also saw people attempt to navigate through panels and workshops with their costumes and it was more difficult than me, dressed in regular attire. I came to the conclusion that if you’re going for a weekend, there’s no reason NOT to enjoy dressing up, but to designate a day for it. That way you can get your celebrity fix, and then save another day for really exploring the ins and outs of the show.
One of the mistakes I made was not going through the schedule book ahead of time. ConnectiCon had A LOT of things going on and because I had no idea what to do or what was happening, I found myself really just observing the entire event as a whole. I hung out in the game area a lot where I was able to learn how to play different board games (check out Elk Fest!), and I also managed to attend one workshop where the guest was showing the audience how to apply zombie makeup. I am obsessed with zombie culture, and I thought it would be an important skill to know how to apply burns, bruising, and blood with makeup to just gross everyone out. I wish I had gone through the schedule and really made a plan for myself so that I could utilize my time properly to take advantage of more of what ConnectiCon had to offer.
Sexism Exists at Conventions
I know this is a subject that people tend to roll their eyes about when they first hear it, which in my opinion just reinforces the sentiment… but let me explain why this is important to discuss. First off, there is a big difference between feminism and man hating. There is a difference between wanting females to be viewed equally or based upon their merits as a human being, rather than as an inferior being because of their gender. When I first arrived at the Con, I could not help myself from commenting on the exposure of some of the costumes. Girls would arrive with tops providing no more coverage than a bra. I would grimace and explain that all they wanted was attention. But you know what? WHO CARES!
There is also a difference between objectifying someone and admiring them. I know people assume that staring at a body is the equivalent of objectification, but hear me out. Objectifying someone is assuming that their worth is equivalent to their appearance. Admiring someone, on the other hand, is appreciating their assets, while still knowing that there is more to them as a person. So if a female wants attention for her body, but still knows that she is worth more, what is the harm? As a society we try to teach females that they should cover up because there are some men that are creepy, but we never tell men to keep their goddamn hands to themselves because a woman’s body is not their property. I know that I personally have admired a man’s body without assuming that was all he was worth. So why is it a crime to do it the other way around?
Also, there were plenty of men at the convention who were dressed as female characters wearing outfits that left little to the imagination. Why do we laugh at these costumes, but grumble at a woman’s same interpretation of a character? We were all born in the nude, and it was society who decided that clothes were the appropriate thing to wear. Breasts are fat bags that feed babies, who decided to sexualize that? Hey, I am all for equalization as well– I still think penises should be allowed to be shown on television and movies. I do not get why it is completely okay to show a woman’s vagina or breasts, but a flaccid penis is oh so scandalous. We can show Oberyn’s eyes being popped into his skull until his head explodes, but don’t show a penis, because that’s blasphemy. Basically where I am going with this was that I wanted to show that both sexes should be viewed equally in terms of their character as a person and not because of their genitalia.
You shouldn’t assume a woman is risqué or “asking for it” because she wears revealing outfits. I learned that even I had a lesson to learn when it came to other women, and by the end of the convention I was viewing each costume on the same level, and not because a woman was wearing it. And I learned all of this at a convention! Essentially ConnectiCon taught me a lot about myself as a person, as well.
As a whole experience, I enjoyed myself immensely at ConnectiCon. I am the type of person who can find fun in anything, so I was able to keep myself occupied and entertained without much of a plan. I am excited to attend future conventions because I can only imagine the type of fun I could have when I actually took advantage of everything they had to offer. I am attending New York Comic Con in October and I saw that Hodor AND the guy who created the music for Doug will be at the event… Do you know how many times a day I sing the Doug theme song? Enough where I know I need to meet this man.
One final note, did you know that Walter Jones, who played Zack Taylor, the black Power Ranger, looks EXACTLY THE SAME? He was at ConnectiCon and he seriously looks like he just came out of a frozen slumber that began in the 90s, because he looks that good. It’s crazy, the kinds of things you discover at conventions!