One of the most fascinating, vibrant trends in cosplay has been genderswapping. In other words: Wonderman instead of Wonderwoman, and Jacqueline Harkness in place of Jack Harkness. Pretty much any fandom you can name has been genderswapped, as this selection of Google images shows.
In that spirit, a friend linked us to this article, written by “Slave Leo,” who has put together a marvelous genderwapped version of the iconic Slave Leia costume from the third Star Wars movie. Now, while this alone makes us happy in our geeky little hearts, what is more intriguing is what led him to that point.
It started just about a year and a half ago when he wrote this post about his objections to the Slave Leia costume. Yes, yes, the standard sort of objections one would expect to see from a typical nerd guy. However, having gotten feedback on his post, he rethought matters and then posted this revised argument, which we agree with for the most part.**
But then he took it one step further and wanted to see what it would be like for him, as a man who did not think of himself as a sexual icon, to genderswap cosplay a character that IS one. What it would be like to be that exposed to scrutiny and possible harassment.
We admire Ryan for undertaking this in order to understand what it can be like for women who cosplay as Slave Leia (as well as for women who may select other, less revealing characters). We will be very interested to hear what kinds of reactions he got, in particular if he experienced any harassment based on his cosplay.
**In regard to his fourth argument, we maintain that it is not the cosplayer’s fault for whatever feelings they may have aroused in a potential harasser. That skirts very close to “they were asking for it,” a concept to which we are vehemently opposed.