Metal Gear's Quiet and Cosplay's Unique Form of Free Speech

Metal Gear's Quiet and Cosplay's Unique Form of Free Speech

Cosplay appeals to shy people because it offers alternative communication for people not be gifted with strong verbal skills. This "cosplay free speech" principle is the reason so many cosplayers get enraged in the face of shaming.

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Pretty good article that divides a character design and cosplay.

Though I'm paranoid things are going to devolve into shit flinging because the phrase "free speech" was uttered.

erttheking:
Pretty good article that divides a character design and cosplay.

Though I'm paranoid things are going to devolve into shit flinging because the phrase "free speech" was uttered.

If that's the case, I won't be the one to start throwing feces around, because I also agree with the principle of what's being argued.

Characters embody different things to different people, and cosplayers are free to cosplay as whoever they care to, regardless of how controversial gamers or the gaming press might consider that character to be.

I don't exactly like the design conceit behind Quiet's character, but that's not for the cosplayers to shoulder - the character is Kojima Productions' responsibility. On the other hand, I can recognize an exceptionally accurate Quiet cosplay that's had time and effort put into it, and I don't have any say on what the character means to other people. If Quiet is more related to the broader concept of badassery than male titillation to you, then go ahead and cosplay her!

There's nothing I hate more than seeing self-styled crusaders rail down on cosplayers because they dared to dress as a problematic character. There's a world of differences between dressing as a character from Metal Gear's magnified and cheesy-ified 80s era and choosing to cosplay as someone who ACTUALLY should be cause for objection.

As ridiculous as I find the man to be, for instance, I wouldn't waltz into a convention while cosplaying as Kim Jong-Un. Quiet, though? Fair game for anyone - male or female. And yes, even males, seeing as the few "manly Quiets" I've found online were hilarious.

erttheking:
Pretty good article that divides a character design and cosplay.

Though I'm paranoid things are going to devolve into shit flinging because the phrase "free speech" was uttered.

It's not paranoia if you're right. Considering the shitstorm the last Liana article with a vaguely provocative title caused, it seems possible. Hopefully people will expend their rage on that SxSW article.

OT: 'human version of spicy food' sounds like a very Liana turn of phrase that she updated with 'champagne' to make sure people understood it was a joke.

On a serious note, if I had my way this piece would be attached to every cosplay spread and anti-cosplay tirade out there. I went into this series not knowing anything about cosplay or the surrounding culture (and actually knowing less that I thought I knew), and I'm really enjoying learning about it from someone who is not shy to point out inherent problems without demanding that the entire structure is torn down and remade to her liking. It's sadly rare to see constructive criticism.

Maybe I am just a closed minded dolt but even after reading this and a few other pieces about this hobby, I still can't move past my initial reaction.

I think people are trying to justify their hobby with pseudo intellectualism. If you want to dress up in a skimpy outfit, by all means do it but call a spade a spade, not a ground excavation device with ergonomic grip and new and improved cutting edge for easier and cleaner cutting power!

If you cosplay as Quiet 'cos you like the character, fair enough but don't get all stuffy when you get ogled 'cos you're dressed a paramilitary stripper, I don't mean that offensively but if you turned up at an army guys stag do, I bet you'd find a stripper dressed like Quiet.

I also think that it's (and look at how I tie this in....) escapism. Nothing wrong with that, we'd all like to be the big hero and have that badass story be just about us 'cos lets face it, if you're here you play games and that what games do for us!

Cosplay is just an extension of that, you think Quiet is a pretty badass character and you want to play dress up and be that character.

However I think cosplay takes it a little too far. Like, my mum has 4 huskie dogs ... huskies are beautiful dogs, shed like a bitch and can't bark but nice looking doggies! She takes it too far by spending a large amount of time on forums, meeting up with about 50 other huskie owners and going on walks with them, she also does home checks to see if people can adopt a doggie ... to me, it's a little much, like a crazy cat lady. Everything in moderation and all that and if you're spending hundreds to look like a person from a fantasy world, you're going a little far.

Like I said though, I'm probably just a close minded dolt, I am also FAR from perfect but I will let people be. I can have an opinion on something without wanting to change it to suit me ... I'm not going to tell my own mother to stop being so into dogs or any of you to stop dressing as anybody you like. Just thought I'd throw my 2 pence in, hey, free speech and all! But seriously, nothing worse than a circle jerk, so boring whenever everybody agrees on something.

omega 616:
snip

Liana's articles aren't about people being stuffy and uptight about cosplay, or getting upset if they're ogled.

Quite the opposite: they've said repeatedly, including in the video conversations with various cosplayers, that they are fully aware that the costumes are often very attractive, proactive, or sometimes just silly. However, they are against people saying that cosplay is done solely for sex appeal, or only by 'attention whores.' They see value in their escapism past just wearing a costume, just as people here will defend to the death the value of games like Spec Ops: The Line or Shadow of the Colossus as more than simply time-wasters. Cosplayers not trying to make statements specifically for others, but when asked they'll reveal some very interesting reasons as to why they chose a given costume. Before this series, I never thought it went beyond 'This character looks cool, I can probably do it within my budget, and I like the game.'

And as a guy who has collected 3 different Warhammer armies, in addition to spending several hundred dollars a year on video games, I can't throw any stones on pricing. There are definitely worse hobbies than this to be spending your money on.

Ok, here's the only part I'll take issue with:
"What's missing are articles defending these maligned characters, to reduce the appearance of objectification."

The definition of 'objectify' is "to treat (someone) as an object rather than as a person"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objectify

the problem is that when you're talking about video game characters, you can't really apply that, because they aren't people. No matter how realistic the graphics are or how well developed they are as characters, they are still fictional characters and aren't living things. In other words, you can't objectify something that is already an object.

Ihateregistering1:
Ok, here's the only part I'll take issue with:
"What's missing are articles defending these maligned characters, to reduce the appearance of objectification."

The definition of 'objectify' is "to treat (someone) as an object rather than as a person"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objectify

the problem is that when you're talking about video game characters, you can't really apply that, because they aren't people. No matter how realistic the graphics are or how well developed they are as characters, they are still fictional characters and aren't living things. In other words, you can't objectify something that is already an object.

You can definitely objectify a fictional character. Just look at how Quiet is portrayed compared to male characters in the same game. Others are treated like people while Quiet gets some creepy scene where she strips naked and plays around in a rain puddle.

OT: Fine article, but one thing I disagree with is the ragging on sites for publishing articles criticizing Quiet but then promoting her cosplay. I don't see that as being hypocritical at all, it is totally possible to criticize a certain character but then recognize the craft of cosplaying it, and even realize that some people may be empowered by it.

You are using "objectified" as code word for "sexy" or "possessing sexuality". They are not synonyms. When you are treating them as synonyms, it amounts to disapproving female sexuality in general.

Being treated as object and being deliberately sexual toward a guy you know well are two different things. If a real women decides it would be fun to tease her boyfriend that way is she devaluating herself? Should real women cover up and hide that part of them because society disproves female sexuality? If you really think so, I guess that is your thing, many people do. If you do not think so, that is message you are sending.

However, hiding that behind language of feminism is dishonest. It is more of return to traditional conservativism then anything pro-female. Real women who decide not to cover up at one point or another are treated as bimbos oftentimes for the rest of their lives, so this attitude harms women-who-do-not-obey the most. Again, if that is your opinion, then it is so, but don't pretend you are doing to to protect women from "objectification". You are not protecting them from objectification by somebody else, you are stigmatizing women who are more open about their sexual side.

I get that rain scene is sexy to guys. And there are people who object to sexy in principle and it is their full right not to like it. "Sexy shall not be shown" and "she is objectified" are two different things. It annoys me that "she is objectified" is used as an excuse when people really want to say "sexy shall not be shown", but do not want to sound like conservative.

If a couple of sexy scenes cancels out all the character did whole game and makes her reduced to an object in someones eyes, it might not be the game that objectified her. Game shown many sides of her and it is player who decided that sexy part cancels out everything else and character achievements do not count anymore. Real women can get treated the same way and there is nothing feminist about promoting that attitude.

unsafeideas:
You are using "objectified" as code word for "sexy" or "possessing sexuality". They are not synonyms. When you are treating them as synonyms, it amounts to disapproving female sexuality in general.

You're right, they are not synonyms, which is why the article uses "objectified" rather than "possessing sexuality." Not as a code word for, but instead of. And the reason for this is that, as far as I can tell, Quiet does not possess any actual sexuality, she just has an incredibly dumb costume design that appeals to Kojima's penis. An incredibly old woman on her death bed who flirts with the doctors she sees has more sexuality than Quiet regardless of what she's wearing.

Admittedly, that old woman breathes through her skin so that obviously changes things.

OT:

DrownedAmmet:
OT: Fine article, but one thing I disagree with is the ragging on sites for publishing articles criticizing Quiet but then promoting her cosplay. I don't see that as being hypocritical at all, it is totally possible to criticize a certain character but then recognize the craft of cosplaying it, and even realize that some people may be empowered by it.

What this person said. There's a reason you can criticize the design choices of developers while still believing that real women with real agency can wear what they like and even be impressed by the efforts they put into what they wear.

Anyone who learns enough Navajo to pass as Quiet, can look like me (male) in a Quiet outfit and I'm going to love them.

You can insult the character design without insulting the cosplayer. Remember the whole problem is agency. The cosplayer dresses this way because of choice. Characters don't get a choice you don't have a problem with the character, but with the person who designed it.

I think Quiet is Kojima trolling, quiet successfully too.

DrownedAmmet:

Ihateregistering1:
Ok, here's the only part I'll take issue with:
"What's missing are articles defending these maligned characters, to reduce the appearance of objectification."

The definition of 'objectify' is "to treat (someone) as an object rather than as a person"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objectify

the problem is that when you're talking about video game characters, you can't really apply that, because they aren't people. No matter how realistic the graphics are or how well developed they are as characters, they are still fictional characters and aren't living things. In other words, you can't objectify something that is already an object.

You can definitely objectify a fictional character. Just look at how Quiet is portrayed compared to male characters in the same game. Others are treated like people while Quiet gets some creepy scene where she strips naked and plays around in a rain puddle.

Doesn't matter, because no matter how well characterized those other characters are, they still aren't actual people, and thus they are no more 'objects' than Quiet is.

Again, it's largely semantics, but by definition you can't objectify something that isn't alive, because it's already not alive.

omega 616:
Maybe I am just a closed minded dolt but even after reading this and a few other pieces about this hobby, I still can't move past my initial reaction.

The reaction that her design is fucking ridiculous? Can't get over it myself.

Interesting, I hadn't considered that male cosplayers deal with the same issues having been reported from female perspectives all this time. Thanks for that perspective, Liana.

Ihateregistering1:

DrownedAmmet:

Ihateregistering1:
Ok, here's the only part I'll take issue with:
"What's missing are articles defending these maligned characters, to reduce the appearance of objectification."

The definition of 'objectify' is "to treat (someone) as an object rather than as a person"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/objectify

the problem is that when you're talking about video game characters, you can't really apply that, because they aren't people. No matter how realistic the graphics are or how well developed they are as characters, they are still fictional characters and aren't living things. In other words, you can't objectify something that is already an object.

You can definitely objectify a fictional character. Just look at how Quiet is portrayed compared to male characters in the same game. Others are treated like people while Quiet gets some creepy scene where she strips naked and plays around in a rain puddle.

Doesn't matter, because no matter how well characterized those other characters are, they still aren't actual people, and thus they are no more 'objects' than Quiet is.

Again, it's largely semantics, but by definition you can't objectify something that isn't alive, because it's already not alive.

It's a depiction of objectification. It is not literal objectification. I do get the need to clarify though, since objectification of individuals is an inherent wrong whereas treating an object as an object is not. I'd also point out that a character that wants to fuck guys and dress skimpy isn't being objectified anymore than the real women who like both. They are a character who themselves want these things and ergo are not being treated without respect for their personhood externally except for the people who steamroll their own desires for what they think are the sensibilities they should possess to be valid characters. Additionally, in video games where a female character is objectified, it is typically done by a character in the game and usually the villain at that. Casting objectification as an action of a villain is a good thing to portray as evil and it's ridiculous to complain about its portrayal at all when it encourages people to be aware of dehumanizing practices and to view them as both evil and something that should be undone when uncovered.

Johnny Novgorod:

omega 616:
Maybe I am just a closed minded dolt but even after reading this and a few other pieces about this hobby, I still can't move past my initial reaction.

The reaction that her design is fucking ridiculous? Can't get over it myself.

I'm confuzed.

Can you elaborate?

 

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