No.6 Discussion Board

Lost Town => Forest Garden => Topic started by: Kai on January 01, 2016, 11:34:41 am

Title: Self-confidence issues
Post by: Kai on January 01, 2016, 11:34:41 am
I think this deserves its own thread? So people that don't want to be confronted with the potential negativity don't have to read and the chat thread can be used for lighter conversations.

Let me copy the part from Weisel in the other thread so I can answer to that here:
As for cosplay and weight, I totally get it. I've lost quite a bit of weight in the past several years, but I'm still a little in the "overweight" range. Everyone I've cosplayed with has been thinner than me and it's a bit difficult to feel confident in that situation because I've been curvier than every character I've cosplayed, and that's really apparent when I'm with someone thinner than me. I know it's silly to get caught up with beauty standards like that, but with cosplay, it's hard not to! Personally I use shapewear as a sort of solution. Of course it doesn't make me skinny looking, but it smooths down the curves I have. I actually use a binder, a corset, and some compression shorts (I need longer shorts though). It makes a big difference in my self confidence as a cosplayer just because it draws the attention away from the fact that I've got some serious lady curves and instead makes people focus on all my hard work. I first noticed the bit with the corset when I was cosplaying from attack on titan and I borrowed a corset from a friend. I'd been really self conscious because the tucked in shirt really showed my squishy stomach, but the corset hid that and wasn't too uncomfortable at all! Basically, it doesn't matter how much you weigh and cosplay is for fun, but little tricks like shapewear under costumes or contouring to hide chubby chins (I do that all the time for my squishy baby face) can make cosplay more fun by concealing those things that make you feel insecure and let you actually focus on enjoying the experience.

I agree very much that this actually does bother me more so with cosplay than in general, the looks of a character can be influenced by the body type you have and cheating only works to some extent.

Shapewear actually is a great idea. I've noticed that I tend to feel a bit more comfortable with my long binder that has a slight compression material overall and is a bit like a shaping top. I felt a bit better with that one, but if you have layers of fabric like I did with InuYasha I actually couldn't stand the long binder in August and made one myself that is just a tube of fabric with an elastic sewn in. Works well and is safe to let you breathe, but it only takes care of the chest and nothing else.
That's essentially also the fault I see in shapewear, it can be dangerous when the climate or the convention rooms get too warm. Heatstrokes are no fun.

My figure is more androgynous, my shoulders and hips practically have the same width and I have almost no waist or boobs (but a fairly sturdy ribcage instead). Which is technically a nice base for crossplay but everything extra is immediately looking squishy and doesn't form into nice curves and in eveyday life it's one of the most frustrating things to find a pair of pants that won't squish your waist or make weird folds around your hips. (It's actually making me shop in the men's department a lot.)
The only womanly thing I seem to have inherited are the chunky thighs and from my viewpoint that makes me look very strange in combination.

My personal solution to this is a plan to get back into lifting and then probably get over to body weight exercises to keep the muscle and the flexibility. Though that's not an instant solution for sure and I have a very resiliant metabolism, which is good and bad. The good part my muscles develope rather quickly, but getting rid of fat is really tedious.
(I would have agood set of genetics to survive in the westblock, but in a place where we have what we need in abundance my body just likes to make a little back up deposit...)

Also a general thing to the topic of figure and cosplay. I keep noticing that (sadly I have to include myself too) People keep envying the skinny ones, even for characters that one should objectively think: 'wait, he/she is an active and strong peson, wouldn't an athletic body actually look more authentic than the skinny one?' and it WOULD make sense, but the eyes and comments still very often go to the skinny ones.

It's just typical peer pressure in the form of society that makes me feel self-conscious very often. Personally I'd want a more healthy form and I really kind of want to pull out of the unrealistic ideals that society often has. Yet, I just can't stay unaffected.

Still, I suppose I've got my head straight enough that my goal isn't to starve myself to something, but take a path that is different from how I am now, but also medically healthy.

Well, this was a long rant, but not bad to get out. Also the topic shouldn't be just for weight or figure issues. Any form of insecurities you feel you can share or discuss.
Title: Re: Self-confidence issues
Post by: Weisel on January 01, 2016, 12:04:17 pm
Weight issues are definitely hard for me with cosplay. Out of cosplay it's not bad, I can look in the mirror and be content with what I see for the most part, but with cosplay it's a bit discouraging to have less attention than I would otherwise. Sure, I don't cosplay for the attention, but it's painfully obvious why I don't get attention when I see other people cosplaying the same character as me with a lower quality costume but a thinner figure and they get a load of positive comments and notes on their posts. It's a bit discouraging, but I at least know now that the only thing that matters in this hobby is that I'm having fun.

Another thing that's starting to get in the way now, and I KNOW this will reduce what little attention my cosplays get to about nothing, is that I usually need mobility aids to get around. Right now this means some large braces on my legs, but I'll probably later need a cane for long days. And with the argument that it makes the character look inaccurate, people won't want to take a photo at a convention or say anything nice about my cosplay. At the very least I have a few very encouraging friends who would tell me I look great, bless their souls. I can hide the braces with very few cosplays and the cane can be built into some cosplays but for characters like Nezumi, I can't do that at all. I can't even fit the braces under my pants. I still don't really know how to go about that. It just feels like having any kind of visible aid takes away any attention from how hard I worked to make my makeup and costume took great.
Title: Re: Self-confidence issues
Post by: Kai on January 01, 2016, 01:45:40 pm
Yeah, I think that is what irks a lot of cosplayers that aren't exactly skinny and it's just a very, very sad example of how our society idealises certain things. I mean if you are skinny and have spent a lot of work on the cosplay that is great, but if it is as you say and the attention's drawn away because of something else and the quality just gets ignored it is very sad.

And wow I experienced that very differently. I've been to a few cons in Germany last year. And I saw several cosplayers with walking aids and also some in wheelchairs and they generally got a lot of positive attention. People going to take pictures with them and encouraging them to keep doing good work. But of course I can't say how they perceive it themselves, I know none of them so it might very well be that they do encounter discouraging comments as well.

In fact I knew some people as well that started thinking in a very elite way of themselves. The irony of one person even that was 'hating' the elite because they didn't belong, yet at the same time they were laughing at quite a few chubby ones and other's they percieved as below their level. There's a little bit of a classic authoritarian behaviour and social hierarchy going around in the cosplay scene in general that can cause insecurities in people.
Finding the right group of friends/comrades/connections that fits your own attitude is very helpful.
Title: Re: Self-confidence issues
Post by: Weisel on January 01, 2016, 02:28:36 pm
I haven't worn my braces over a cosplay yet, only under my cosplay with a cloak, but I've heard other disabled cosplayers express the same frustration that their cosplays tend to be ignored. I might just experiment one day and wear the same cosplay two different days of a con, but one day with my mobility aids and the other without them and take note of the difference.

And I think there's always going to be some kind of hierarchy in anything, as stupid as it is. A lot of people want to feel better than others and hate the people who are liked more. It's all really ridiculous though, considering we're all nerds in costumes... It really does make all the difference to have the right friends for sure. I was feeling super insecure about all my cosplays until I met two of my dear cosplay friends (who I met through No.6, they cosplayed Nezumi and Shion) and they have been so encouraging and positive. Since then, I've been much more confident in sharing my photos and I haven't cared so much about being perfect. Now cosplay to me is about having fun, celebrating achievements, and learning from mistakes. It's much more fun that way.

I should add about the disability thing, my braces aren't generally an embarrassment for me. They either don't show up (they're black and I almost always wear black pants) or if they do, it silently lets people know that I have trouble walking. For someone as young as me, it's nice to have something speak for me about my limitations because otherwise people just think I'm lazy. The cane is something else entirely since it's considered an "old person" thing, but I've had several months to mentally prep myself for when I might need one. A lot of people in the disabled community have trouble taking that step into mobility aids just because of that sort of stigma. I think maybe I'd be a lot more anxious about it all if I was trying to date people or something, but I don't particularly care about that stuff right now so that isn't an issue for me. Still, that's an issue for a lot of people in my position unfortunately.
Title: Re: Self-confidence issues
Post by: Kai on January 05, 2016, 02:57:37 pm
That would be a very interesting experiment. I'd be very curious on how people's behaviour would change.

And yeah that is true, it's simply human nature I guess. As frustrating as it is. And it'll always be tied to what society deems beautiful at that point in time.

It's good though that your braces don't make you feel less confident in everyday life.

And I've got another thing that has started to bother me more and more again. It's been uncomfortable to me as a young teenager and I kind of just gave a f** about it later, but as I've started to experiment a little more with make up and generally how I look. It's coming back to bit me.
I got sick on Silvester/New Years when I was 10 and after that there's this really peculiar thing that has no definite cause, only gusses, spot baldness (alopecia areata) my eyebrows and eyelashes just gradually fell out. And it doesn't hurt or anything, but it's just weird having no eyebrows and eyelashes. Especially since I used to have very long, verly black eyelashes before.
I'm very grateful that my eyebrows have started to 'recover' in the last two years and they're not really full, but at least there again. My eyelashes though still not really, maybe five lashes or so, which is just weird, still. I'm hoping they will recover as well, even if it'll be just short ones, whatever. But a naked eye just looks weird and it's starting to make me uncomfortable again. I'd like to use mascara with the rest and fake eyelashes also don't really stick if there's no lashline to be the base of it, so you can forget those, too.
I think this is one of the reasons I have a lot of trouble with cosplay eye make-up as well. Naked eyeliner is just not the same as it is over lashes, no matter how short or thin they are.

I know it's not life threatening, so it's a bit whiny, I guess. But I do get bothered sometimes.
(I used to actually think it's stupid how some people shave off eyebrows to paint them on. But that was jealousy rearing its ugly head. Just... you want something really bad and other people throw it away on purpose.)
Title: Re: Self-confidence issues
Post by: Weisel on January 05, 2016, 04:18:11 pm
I don't know anything about that condition, but as someone who has had sparse eyelashes and eyebrows all my life, I've found taking prenatal vitamins has done wonders for me. I started taking them maybe a month ago and my eyelashes are much fuller and longer, and I think my eyebrows have filled in a bit more. (I also think it's sort of silly to totally shave off eyebrows to draw them back on, I just pluck off the stuff I really don't want and use makeup to shape them better when I cosplay.)

As for makeup, eyelashes on male characters generally don't need to show up. The eyeliner is really key in cosplay, and eyelashes are only "needed" for girl characters (or really girly boys lol). I've found that I really prefer clear mascara for my eyelashes for my male cosplays. I actually have a friend who is pretty much the queen of eyeliner, and I could totally ask her about techniques that would work for you. (She's super nice, I'm sure she'd love to help).

Anyway, I don't think it's being whiny, it's hard to feel bad about something you always see in the mirror. I'm still working on my butt chin issues lol...