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The Voice of Dissent Part I

Only 2 parts to this, but I couldn't get all the art done in time. See if you can guess where this is going.

76 thoughts on “The Voice of Dissent Part I

  1. Excuuusseeee me, who told you, you could butt into our convo!

    But really, I got a good chuckle at the line about Thanos and abdomen kicking, healthy laughter was had.

  2. DANG IT BANENA! I had a chance today. . . One a comic related note, however; I can’t tell where this is going at all. Feminism? Men ogling women? Super Sexy Ellie something or other?

      1. Y’know, I’d be more excited about that if I didn’t have “other” as one of my options hahahaha

        1. Oh god, Sandra and Woo are doing a set of strips on feminism right now, PLEASE let it be the Super Sexy Ellie something or other.

        2. Because it’s another webcomic that is in the process of doing a set strips on feminism. Did you even read ANY of the previous posts?

        3. That strip is about feminism running rampant. This strip, seems to be about blatant, pornographic showing of flesh in order to either make a buck, get attention, or win a cosplay contest.

          However, Iron Maiden up there seems to be playing the ditzy female multiplied by the sexy Monroe-isms raised to the “Do my own thing” added to Nancy Sinatra.

      1. I’ve never been to a convention or watched a cosplay contest, but I feel like their should be different categories with a better definition of how the judging is going to be determined.

        Rather than just giving out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall, you could have a “most accurate”, “best alternate interpretation”, and even a “sexiest version” award.

        1. *edit* aagch, I did not mean to post this as s reply to Rusche’s post; I misclicked. If you want, delete it and I’ll repost elsewhere so it doesn’t seem to off-topic.

        2. Usually there are. Like best group costume, most technical, and then still an overall 1st, 2nd, 3rd. Believe t or not usually it is won by the most accurate, or simply involved cosplay, involved being if you attempted a super detail/technical cosplay and got all the major features. Though most often women win, but that’s not cause tits, it’s usually because they put the most effort into their actual cosplay, though quite a few men place/win too. But this is all from my experience with anime only conventions. Not sure how it is at mixed bag/ vidya game ones like the one the comic is depicting.


    Aria T’loak for the win!!!!

    I was the one who started the movement that got her added as a guest party member for Mass Effect 3 mate, you have no idea how happy I am to see her here, especially after reading todays Bleach update leaving me in the dumps ^ ^

    And jeffepp, as for seeing sexier and more naked, look up Aria T’loak on google to see what her outfit looks like from the front ;)

    1. Actually I’m pretty sure that is Liara. Her jacket seems to be open like Aria’s, but the style (blue lines etc) and the face freckles beg to differ.

  4. I, for one, don’t understand some of the cosplay harrasment stuff that was coming out of SDCC. I get that cosplayers should not be physically assaulted. I empathise, understand and agree. But they were saying stuff about not taking photos without permission… photos of cosplayers…. who are doing it to be seen …. what? huh? yah lost me here. When I went to this year’s Denver CC, there was a Wonder Woman, her skin suit was especially designed to look like it was painted on. From anything beyond 10 ft, she looked like her out fit was paint and she was naked. I got close enough while she was being interviewed and I saw here pull at her skin suit (the camera lights were hot even from the distance, it had to be miserable in front of them…) and you could see the ‘paint’ stretch and warp.
    Now, why does a lady wear a suit like that, if NOT to have her picture taken.

    1. Don’t you know? They do that so a man/employer/modeling company will see her and like her for her diverse portfolio, her ability to work well in a group, and her personality.

    2. Its about personal comfort zones. Sure someone might be okay with walking around like sex in a bodysuit, but (reasonably to my thinking) be uncomfortable with the notion of unlimited pictures being taken and/or distributed of said sex/bodysuit outfit. Besides, regardless of how they dress, shouldn’t they have the right to grant or deny permission to have their picture taken? I know that if someone just took pictures of me all day I would get a little upset about it, and I’m a boring looking nerdy guy. Even if they do it for attention, few people truly want all kinds attention, and its their right to say “no” to things that make them even only the least bit uncomfortable.

      1. Well, when you’re in a public place, your expectation of privacy really falls through the floor. And how far need this “permission” go? Is verbal acceptable? Do we need forms? If we don’t, how do we ever prove permission was given? It’s a can of worms that doesn’t need opening.

        1. I ask you, and intend no rancor when I ask, how is it unreasonable to expect people to ask permission to take your picture, regardless of how you are dressed and where you are?

          This isn’t a “can of worms”, and its not about privacy, its about basic politeness, and in some cases a person’s legal rights to their likeness. This is (except with actual or aspiring models) not typically a question of forms, but simply asking “can I take your picture?” If they are professionals and need to provide legal permission for the sake of business, then they can tell you. If you ask and they say “sure” then thats all you need. It is incumbent upon the cosplayer to know and express any special approval they require. But you still need to *ask*, regardless of how much work you think you *might* have to do in order to get her permission.

        2. Well, if it’s really just an issue of basic politeness, why are we having this conversation? We don’t have it about holding doors open for people or removing one’s hat in public. What elevates this issue of basic politeness over all the others?

        3. More specifically, it seems like an odd dichotomy. You’re free to look, but if you try and record the image you’ve just seen to see it again later–which you’ve already been doing without incident–suddenly that’s a point that requires permission? It’s a line that seems a mite arbitrary.

        4. Except you can’t upload your memory to a bank of memory holders that an unknowable number of anonymous (to the cosplayer) viewers can then access and experience with you. Its a different level of exposure, and a different level of anonymity. If I see a hot chick walking down the street, I can tell my friends about it, and even point her out to them if I see her later with them. But if her pic is on the internet I don’t have to chance by her. I can email the link to anyone I know. It doesn’t matter that most people wouldn’t do that, the chance alone is reason enough to be nervous about it. Its true that lots of girls wear outfits that are provocative, attention grabbing, sexy. But that is all the more reason to respect their wishes. They may find a measure of anonymity to the con. They could be from out of town, and be happy to get out of their shell a little or something with that Black Widow costume, or maybe she just wants to show off. That doesn’t mean she immediately wants an unlimited number of pics of that out in the wild. That hardly seems arbitrary to me. That seems perfectly reasonable.

          And again, I ask, what does it cost you to simply *ask*? Why the resistance?

          I will digress, though, and state that there is responsibility on the cosplayer as well, to express their wishes, and temper their expectations. If they wear a sexy outfit, it WILL attract attention, and not necessarily the attention they want. They still should have the right to say “don’t do that” for anything, but they need to know they will have to deal with unreasonable people. If they don’t want pictures taken, they need to say so. We should respect that, but if she just smiles and poses every time someone lifts a camera, thats on her. And there is a lot of that. If it doesn’t bother her, fine. I just think that its still better for us as viewers to do our best to be kind and polite, just as she needs to know that some people won’t be.

          One last, pedantic point: even as an issue of basic politeness, this is different than the things you have mentioned. Politeness is essentially ritual relating to the expression of respect and sometimes station, and ritual is defined by a culture or society, often born part from practicality and part from tradition. As cultures change, so do their traditions and rituals, and so it makes sense that what is considered polite or respectful would change. Our culture has changed and opening doors specifically for women isn’t expected anymore, nor is taking off one’s hat (in most places), to express respect. That is why its not discussed. But similarly, our culture (nerd culture, if you will) has changed, and this is now a major question of respect.

        5. Doesn’t the public have the right to record what happens in full view of the public?

        6. I don’t think you have answered the question that has been asked twice now: what does it cost you to ask permission, be polite and use the manners you were (hopefully) raised with?

          Most cosplayers will probably say yes. Most don’t mind. But they also deserve the option to say no. For one thing, too many cosplayers have ended up as full body pillow cases without their consent. Some have ended up being used, without their consent, as a safe gateway into a hardcore porn site. And then there are all those stupid demotivational posters that dehumanize and objectify women.

          Any cosplayer, male or female, deserves the right to say “No. You skeeve me out by the way you spend more time looking at my chest or groin. I do not want you to have you own personal fap picture of me.”

          Seriously, it has been the custom of politeness since day one of cosplaying. You ask for permission.

        7. The problem here is that you’re talking about customs of politeness. There are no penalties for violating said customs. What does asking permission actually accomplish? Or do you really think that the people willing to do the things you just mentioned will actually be put off by a refusal to provide consent? Honestly, it’s called a telephoto lens. You can shoot from across the room just as easily as if you were ten feet away. In this case, asking permission would do nothing to stop the problems you describe and would only turn away those genuinely interested in the costuming.

        8. From my own personal experience, I’d advise asking, always. Otherwise, you can enjoy dirty looks like I got from this Selphie:


        9. I think you have all made some good points, and before I make mine, I would like to say that I think politeness and respect should be the way to go (even though we all know that there is a substantial proportion of people who will not feel the same). I do not enjoy having my picture taken, and in nearly every situation I can think of, I would prefer to ask someone’s permission before taking their photo, if it is feasible.

          That said, I think trying to “legislate” (in whatever way a group tries to do so) this sort of behavior is a tricky, slippery slope. It may not seem like the lines are being arbitrarily drawn, but to an extent I think they are – let me give an example to illustrate what I mean.

          Some years ago I was fortunate to be able to go to Egypt. While I was there, I saw the Pyramids and the Sphinx, amongst other things. I took photos, of course, and as the place is a tourist magnet, there were plenty of other people in many of the photos. Should I have asked the permission of every one in each of the photos, before taking the picture? That would be completely unfeasible, as people were coming and going all the time, and even if I ran from one person to another, I’d never catch them all, even after the fact – and new people were coming in all the time.

          Now, I know this example is hyperbolic, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to conceive of a spectrum of situations between this and taking a photo of a single person. So, where does one – and HOW does one – draw the line?

          The law in this country has tried to take the perspective of private space vs. public space, and has (so far as I know) ignored politeness, as politeness is much harder to enforce or prove.

          Respectfully, while I would greatly prefer to be as polite and respectful as possible, while I would greatly prefer to ask permission before taking the photo of an individual or even a small group, there are people out there who will not respect others, and I think if a person is going out in public they have to accept that they may be photographed, and the more attention-grabbing their appearance, the more likely it is to occur. I may not always like it (and what can be later done with that photograph), but I don’t see how it can reasonably be changed.

        10. @Steve

          I’m not entirely sure what you’re suggesting here: that if creepy perverts don’t ask permission then nobody should?

        11. No, the public does not have the right to record what happens in public. Photography depends upon the consent of the individual taking the picture, and the person who the picture is being taken of.

          The convention is a private event, with admission to the event being paid for, so the public at large is not allowed in. This in turn makes the convention in charge of the rules for recording devices, and not the above. But if the convention were to allow for the photography and video, there is still the modicum of civility to ensure that the crowd attending the event does not turn into a mob because someone wants to go all pervo.

          Now, with that said, some people can abuse that.

          But on the other hand, if a person is looking for the limelight, like the mid riff iron girl is here, and hamming it up for the photo session, then there is permissible effects in that she is becoming a public entity in terms of being a news worthy starlet. The news worthy event and/or personality allows for the first amendment to be invoked over model releases and gives coverage to the paparazzi.

        12. Well, I’ll grant you all that it’s certainly the polite thing to do, and indeed, the ethically proper thing as well. I’ll not go so far as to say it’s some kind of assault to not do it, though.

        13. Steve, not sure where the assault comes into play, but. let me re-read.

          I suppose that if someone wanted to just take pictures of mid riff Iron Girl, and just keeps stepping all over other people in order to do so, that could in turn cause a riot, and the Iron Girl might be liable for some of it, because she was leading the photog around by the nose.

          However, the convention does have the responsibility to ensure that both the cosplayers and the photographers know their proper places in terms of giving consent. And the convention might need to go so far as to state that admission to the convention floor does not allow for publishing of pictures, recorded events for personal or private gain without the express written consent of both the convention and the subject as well.

        14. Respectfully, Mr. Blue, I believe you are mistaken; the public does indeed have the right to record what happens in public. (I am assuming for the purposes of this discussion that you are living in the US; apologies if I am mistaken. Other countries can and do have different laws.) A good friend of mine investigates insurance fraud, and he never goes into or films anything in private. He does, however, film people in public, and that video footage is used as evidence in court – if it was illegal, it would be inadmissible. Also, I have worked with the neighborhood watch in my area, and the police specifically told the people to video or photograph any activity that even *might* be suspicious, just in case.

          Yes, these are photos and video of criminal (or potentially criminal) activities, but the right of the public to record what is in public does not end there. Think about the media. When a tv crew records a crowd at a public event, they don’t go around and make people sign waivers, allowing them to do so. The paparazzi, awful though they so often are, photograph individual celebrities in public all the time, and most of the time it goes legally unchallenged (sometimes these parasites do violate privacy, however, and that is different).

          People accidentally or intentionally photo or video people in public all the time, especially around famous landmarks, and it isn’t illegal, and no permission is required. Youtube, Flickr and other similar sites might not even exist if such things were illegal.

          Now, what someone *does* with that photo or video may become questionably legal or even illegal, but recording things in public is not.

        15. Octo,

          What your friend is doing is recording criminal activities, if there is anything criminal to be recorded.

          Is he going out and recording Tom, Dick and Harry, or just the people who might be committing insurance fraud?

          I think that he’s going after a specific individual in mind. Not the public at large. And there is a great big difference between someone showing up in cosplay, someone attempting to get into a hollywood movie and up their public image and such, the politician who’s out kissing babies and someone committing insurance fraud.

          Unless that cosplayer is promoting themselves to the nth degree, I’m going to say that you DO NOT have the right to just up and blatantly record their activities without their knowledge if they are walking around on the convention floor, or outside in the public at large.

          Now, someone being recorded by someone else while they are committing insurance fraud or some other criminal action? Those people have no rights, because they have removed themselves from the mainstream of society by committing acts of aggression against another member of society. Be it an individual or a company.

        16. Uploading the content is akin to publishing said photograph, and therefore no longer for personal use. The individual in the photograph has now been injured by the actions of the photographer. And is able to seek monetary restitution for violation of the verbal contract of having a picture taken for personal use only. Which was what the thing would imply.

        17. That does not always apply, at least here in the US, and there is plenty of case law to back it up. There have been quite a few lawsuits to the effect of what you are getting at, as far as permissible use of photo/video taken in public resulting from people filming police.

          The police have tried fighting it using more or less the same argument that you have here, that even though it’s in public, the person involved has the right to deny permission to photograph of record, and that uploading such to the internet is a further violation of the subject being filmed/photographed.

          In most cases, this has failed. As others have said, once you enter into the general public, you no longer have any expectation of privacy. It is perfectly legal to film or photograph people or events in public, without seeking permission.

          However, your later point about the convention itself NOT being part of the general public may hold more water. Given that it is an event held in a ‘private’ hall (albeit with hundreds of other people), with semi-restricted access, it may be feasible for the convention staff to institute the sort of photo and film restrictions being discussed. It’s sort of a gray area though. It’s still ‘public’, since it is open to the public, as long as you purchase a pass, but it’s a lot more restrictive than, say, a street corner in New York.

        18. I feel that the police have no right to protection from being recorded. They are attempting to perform a service to the people at large by putting on their uniform. That does not mean that they are out of the scrutiny of the public eye. They should be held to a higher scrutiny and therefore should welcome individuals recording them. Especially if they are going to put it up on the internet. If the cop is decent and has to use force against a resisting offender, then the raw video should be decently used. The more the merrier I say.

          But for the average person, I do not believe that the photographer has the right to capture and use that image without their consent and/or recompense given by the subject.

          Before I get into the convention thing, the issue as I was informed, if the person can be legibly recognized in the photo, image capture, etc., then the photographer needs consent. I just thought of the painting “Sunday in the park with George.” and all of those people were unrecognizable. Just a thought right now. But then, that’s why a photographer knows all about depth of field, etc in order to capture just what they want the viewer to see.

          Now to where it’s hard to get around not capturing people in a photograph.

          But as for the convention hall being a semi public space, try and take photographs in a mall. Even something as inanimate as a fountain. I got dressed down and was told to obtain permission from the management.

          The organizers should take the means to protect their business (convention) and their attendees and presenters in order to provide the maximum yield for their dollar.

          Now, I know that a person, on a New York City sidewalk can be photographed against their wishes, because they are in public. But if either person were to walk off of the sidewalk, that goes away. I was educated to that point at an art show, depicting the faces of NYC. The artist had his ducks in a row, knew the law before hand, recorded and photographed several unsuspecting individuals, explained the law to them, got their permission after photographing them, had forms for the individuals to sign, and deleted/destroyed (as far as I know) the images of the people who did not give their consent to be used as artwork.

          But then again, your legal issues may vary with mileage between respective municipalities.

        19. Just in kind of a general sense, the nifty thing about all this is that this particular argument went on for like two days and nobody insulted anybody. On the Internet, that’s rare.

  5. You know, honestly, I’m not sure where to go.

    Aria’s got a point about costuming being open to interpretation–I mean, why not? War Machine was just a repainted Iron Man, really, with a few extra options–but then Spike’s got a point about authenticity being important.

    Why shouldn’t costuming be subject to the designer’s wishes? Re-interpretations of characters are done all the time now. Thor’s been a woman for a bit, Spider-man and Captain America have been black guys. So if the professionals are doing it, why not those who replicate the professional’s work?

    But then, is the standard objection to such redesigning–that it’s not authentic to the original character–valid? Say what you will, but that woman in panel two is not dressed as Iron Man. She’s dressed as an approximation of Iron Man, but that’s clearly not Iron Man. If you took someone who didn’t know comics, handed them an issue of Iron Man, then introduced that person to this woman in this suit, they would likely not say, oh, hey, nice Iron Man costume. They’d say “Who are you dressed up as?”.

    I don’t know. This is a problem where it’s easy to see both sides of the issue and they’ve both got a point. I suppose I lean more toward authenticity, or at least an attempt at it, but then, there should be room for originality and re-interpretation in here, if for no other reason than some costumes are really hard to make fully. Tony Stark had a lot more money and time to build that Iron Man suit than most of us do.

    1. While I do totally agree on a new or alternate take on a character for cosplay purposes Spike’s observation about the armor being integral to the Iron Man concept is an accurate one. A female Iron Man spiced up with bits of trasparent armor would probably get at least grudging appreciataion from him since it would be true to the concept instead of just blatantly sexy for the point of being sexy.

    2. I mis-posted this elsewhere, but I feel like there should be different categories with a better definition of how the judging is going to be determined.

      Rather than just giving out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall, you could have a “most accurate”, “best alternate interpretation”, and even a “sexiest version” award.

      That way you cover all your bases without having to get a bunch of nerds to agree on a definition of “best”.

      1. I’m inclined to agree with you on this. If cosplay is about an expression of your fandom, an at times very personal expression of what you love about something, then simply ranking based on “best to worst” is kinda flat for what is a both broad and deep collection of different motivations and theories about expression.

        Also, “best” is such a loaded statement within nerd/geek culture (plus pedants), all looking for a solid standard by which to judge anything, and adding categories allows a better division of this, to make everyone happy.

        The more I think about your idea, Deepblue, the more I am coming to love it. If this isn’t already a thing somewhere, it should be!

      2. That smacks a bit too hard of “separate but equal” for my tastes. Maybe we should be calling more attention to original character costuming. Still, characters like the alternate universe Iron Man above–ooo, there’s a thought! An “alternate universe costume contest”!–really need to have a place in all this.

    1. *spews nose noises out-of his nose instead of bovine inspired beverage cooling soakings from a ground and roasted South American plant that has been boiled in H2O.*


    2. The clincher being her better able to explain the concept of an amorphous solid to the resident five-year-old judge than the window in 4th place.

  6. The way to win at the cosplay contest is to show up with sexyness and windows?


    Adventures in wondering if Francis broke the fourth wall without looking, or is the author messing with our heads?

  7. I attended Connecticon this year and there was a panel on this same subject. Very topical of you, Mr Rusche

  8. Am I the only one that doesn’t see the problem? I mean…show skin. Don’t show skin. Make it true to the source. Or change it up for fun. Let people do what they want :| Isn’t that the point? …and technically, isn’t all cosplay a bit show-off-y? Like they go “look what I made!” and then people like me go “Oh wow, that’s really nice, cool work!”. And then we go have pie. but eh, maybe I’m the weird one here.

  9. I wonder about Pumpkin’s receptivity to the dissent considering Ellie’s reference to likely genetic consequences of initial boob growth. If Pumpkin’s really going for accuracy and what will look best/most accurate after she finds herself sporting larger than a D cup, she’s going to have a lot less options if she throws out “sexy cosplays”.

  10. You know, I kinda find the irony funny. She told Ellie she could enter as Powergirl in street clothes, yet she seems annoyed at the genderbent Ironman. Just… seems a bit more hurt that she lost rather than thinking logically lol

  11. Didn’t they have two dozen or so girls dressed like that in Iron Man 2? The “Ironettes” or something?

  12. My thoughts on this contest- “Spike” is a cosplayer. Doesn’t matter if he had been male or female, he dressed up in the suit and even had props, showing his love for the character. The RWBY person was awesome, lots of dedication and time spent on her outfit. Even the guy/thing from mass effect was cool; but “iron maiden”? Its a chick in a bikini w/ sleeves and lights. She might be a nerd, geek, a huge fan of iron man, or just none of the above,but she only wearing a bikini. I would be angry (if i was spike), since it looks like boobs and a good body would win over dedication and effort.
    I’m not saying she’s not cosplaying, i’m saying she should not have won since it was a costume contest, not a sexy costume contest. Otherwise it becomes how big are your boobs and how much are you showing them/yourself off.

  13. I showed up late and missed an increasingly narrow argument on photography, but nobody’s commented on the social justice warrior hypocrisy?

    Social Justice Man: EXCUSE ME! She should be free to cosplay a character however she wants.

    Spike: Because she has freedom of expression?

    Social Justice Man: Yes!

    Spike: Just like how we’re free to express our dislike for her… except we didn’t try to stop her from expressing herself, while you’re trying to stop us.

    Social Justice Man:

    1. Dammit, the last part got eaten.

      Social Justice Man Well [red herring]. You see [indirect insult, which will result in cries of “ad hominem” when a direct insult is returned]. So [attempt to retreat while looking like a departing victor].

    2. A-MEN. Gravatarless! Freedom of expression ALWAYS cuts both ways. Something my 20-something daughters have yet to grasp…

      Although, every time I remind them they are legally adults and are welcome to establish their own residence where my “old-fashioned” ideals won’t be imposed upon them, they suddenly decide, out of their bountiful love, to forgive me, “one last time” and stay in my home….

  14. Also that’s not a gender bent iron man, it’s one of iron man’s dancers from his weapons expo in the 2nd movie.

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