So much has happened in the past 24 hours in regard’s to Liz Katz’s crowd sourcing project. Cosplay model, Liz Katz, started up a fundraiser via IndieAGoGo to help fund a sexy Princess Peach photoshoot. She needed $650 to front the material cost, sewing machine, photoshoot accessories, camera lens, etc. As far as perks for donors, she included promises of posters and live chat via skype for high rollers. She’s raised well over her goal with over $4000 for the sexy Princess Peach photoshoot.
Liz Katz did not scam anyone, as far as we know. It’s causing interesting discussion and debate and migraines in the cosplay and nerd communities. White knights defending her choice to raise money for a photoshoot have gone rampant in the Facebook communities. Male tumblr feminists are calling this empowerment. However, hobbyists and veteran cosplayers are calling Bull Shit, as they rightfully should.
The results show a pink corset, different from the reference photo on Indie A GoGo. Instead of a two piece, we see a one piece that looks like it came from an adult specialty store. Props include a Mario hat and what looks like to be booty shorts for Mario’s trademark overalls. I’m a bit confused here. I do give her credit for wanting to sew the actual two piece, but with all that money, why settle for a cheap looking one piece corset? There are a ton of specialty corset makers that will do it for the right price. This is not to judge Liz Katz’s sense of style and design, yet to critique as to why the design looks different from what she originally presented. However, that’s not the point of this editorial.
Kickstarter and IndieAGoGo serve to help indie projects succeed. These services should be reserved for student film makers and aspiring artists who have a great project in mind that could be a stepping stone in their career. However, cosplay is a hobby – a hobby that we all have to work hard for. Even if it means saving up allowances, babysitting, dog walking, selling crafts on Etsy, setting aside disposable income for a fabric run, or finding the right commissioner, etc it takes a lot of work getting that perfect look.
What will the couple of grand go to? Sewing lessons at a local community college? A professional industry grade embroidery machine? Using a crowd sourcing service to fund an individual’s hobby just seems cheap and self-centered. Exploiting beta (hetero) males also seems to upset many gentlemen nerds as well. Beta males who buy into this and support this behavior is one of the top things wrong with the nerd community. It shows that they’re not as smart as they claim they are and that they buy into something as fake as a Gucci bag from Chinatown.
I don’t care if Liz Katz is fake nerd girl or not or whether or not she was a porn star in her former life. Truth is, if she does have those connections in the adult industry, there are ways to find opportunities of both babe-ing. Even Asia Carrera has had her share of Hentai dubbing and booth appearances at anime conventions in the early 2000’s (and also being a humble otaku as well). As much as I criticize Tanya Tate, even she uses her award winning adult career to get ahead in the comic con scene.
However, the point is, cosplayers – famous or not – should not be begging for money from others to fund the hobby. Part of the joy of cosplay is =attaining the skills, knowledge, supplies, etc to make that dream cosplay. It’s a great feeling when you’re all done with the project and you’re ready to rock that dream costume at a con. I can tell you after working on three Eternal Sailor Senshi cosplays for Anime Boston, it is a dream seeing these projects come to life especially after you worked so hard on them. I pity these people who have to beg others for money, they won’t know that rush of achievement. Even if you commission a costume, saving up for that dream cosplay is definitely something to be proud of.
Begging for money and donations is a cheap way to go about in the hobby. It’s also sad to see that this now creates justification for all of the other Liz Katz’s of the community to abuse a crowd sourcing service. This is a symptom of the new cosplay era that I’ve always been afraid of – this climb and desire to be famous by dressing up skimpy for a hetero male audience. It’s no longer about the art and the craft, but rather to play into the notion that adult women in costume = sexy. This is not to say that skimpy cosplay is bad and should be illegal, but there’s a big picture to be looked at here.
If this was done 10 or 15 years ago, I’d be very whatever about it. For the most part, the community – males and females – would just scoff at it and move on. Because cosplay is becoming much more popular at comic book events and beta males have made cosplay models into pinup goddesses and waifus, this is something veteran cosplayers do not want to see cosplay turning into. We do not want the mainstream media to look at cosplay and assume that it’s associated with dress up play /hetero male bedroom fantasies. Cosplay is an art of dressmaking and turning amazing designs into reality.
The Liz Katz fiasco is symptom to a larger issue. White Knights are pulling the “you’re just jealous, fatty!” card on critics. So-called male feminists are pointing out “slut shame!” to veteran cosplayers who don’t approve of exploitation. Cosplay has always had it’s share of creepy fanboys and white knights – what is up with this wave of beta males and why are they visible now? There’s something wrong here and I fear that it’s only going to get worse. Yes, I do know that even in Japan that there is a market for cosplayer porn. However, sexy versions of characters should not be what defines cosplay. Begging others to fund a hobby – even if you make a video of yourself claiming not to be a “fake nerd girl” – is tactless. I certainly hope my cosplay colleagues – veterans and newbies – know that crowd sourcing for a hobby is not the way to go about it. There’s a certain kind of joy you get when you’ve saved up for a dream costume. Promises of webcam chats aimed toward beta males…sounds like prostitution to me.