Body Shaming And Bullying – Cosplay And Mental Illness At Wizard World Portland Comic Con


Andrew Grossberg writes,

Body shaming and bullying are very real issues for cosplayers at conventions. The sting of negative comments can carry over into regular life for some and even lead to anxiety or depression. A panel by cosplayer Arielle Lien and psychologist Dr. Beth Murphy addressed these issues at Wizard World Portland this weekend.

Quoting a recent Wil Wheaton blog post for emphasis ("You're not broken, and you're not weak. Depression lies because Depression is a dick.") the panelists went over topics like medication, getting help, and how something as small as compliments from fellow cosplayers can lift the spirits.

They also covered the way mainstream therapists approach cosplay as escapism and that even collecting action figures is not "normal" to them.

Most of the panel was taken up by questions and conversation with audience members. One man with a psychology degree offered the idea of using cosplay in therapy as part of role-playing tools and this was well-received.

Another suggested doing a study on the topic with perhaps a survey of cosplayers and their issues.

But the highlight of the session was actually a group in the audience who mentioned that their charity Pretty Awesome Gamers takes terminally ill kids to conventions and how cosplay helps them cope.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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