Friends, I am sure to say that I am back to blogging on a personal level. It’s been a while since I wrote pieces for this blog (because I have been focusing on activities outside keepsakes. for the longest time).

A trailer for an R-Rated film with Cosplay as its setting has been released online Saturday night (January 13), sparking conversations on how this film will further stigmatize cosplayers especially the female ones.

I’m watching reactions from actual cosplayers:

  • I stumbled upon one post from a cosplayer who was an extra when it was being filmed. The gist of it is that they were informed late that it’s part of THAT film, giving them little to no choice to back out.
  • Another is from a cosplayer (a student) who said that she was asked by another student if she can do sexual acts because she’s a cosplayer (and this was at school, by the way).
  • Reactions from people in the community who are familiar with how mainstream media interpret niche cultures without care AND are also familiar that we have aliens in the community who lack respect and sensitivity towards others.
  • Reactions from people who understand that cosplay has been sexualized in other countries (especially in Japan) and felt that this was bound to happen.
  • A response from a trusted friend of mine who, in detail, shared what they figured out from this, assuming they shared their thoughts hours after watching the trailer (and I share their sentiments, too).
  • The rest are cosplayers who are either enraged and/or disgusted at the portrayal of Philippine Cosplay in the said film.

Now, this is being billed as an original film for a video-on-demand platform, therefore you need to pay a subscription to the platform and then you can watch THAT film plus hundreds more in their catalog.

That said, before it gets released on the platform in full January 26 (previously announced February 2), I watched the trailer and figured the following:

  • While this is billed as an original film for the platform, it is produced by an unfamiliar entity who produced 3 other films prior. The IMDB entry for the said producer does say that Viva Films is a co-producer for the said three films.
  • I looked up the directors’ names online and saw that one of the two directors is best known for directing horror films. He directed segments for four films under the same series. The other one is part of Batch 29 members of the Directors’ Guild, whose batch mates include several known directors in the field of cinema and television.
  • The lead actress for the said film also starred in several films, including one penned by a National Artist for Literature who I’d love to learn from either in person or in prose.

Again, the film has not been released yet, but as the cosplayers gatekeep harder and harder against the displayed ignorance of how mainstream media portrays cosplay in the Philippines, what can cosplayers do about it? What can you do about it? I humbly suggest the following:

  • Just ignore the film. All this film needs is publicity, either negative (warranted) or positive (questionable), and they are winning each time we give it any further mention.
    • Do not talk about it online. That will only gather attention from fellow humans (like you who can’t search this piece because I explicitly didn’t include keywords as much as possible) and robots (search engines and scrapers will not display this as part of the results upon your request).
    • Don’t talk about it offline. Do not spread the word that this exists while we are making the most out of our hobbies especially in safe spaces.
    • Do not talk about it to others at all. Crusades and calls for boycotts can backfire because it is still publicity. Heck, keep it to yourself and do your best to forget it exists! Move along.
  • Reiterate and then reiterate some more that this is not reflective of Cosplay in the Philippines. I have a long list of stuff to say about this, but allow me to be brief:
    • First, let’s show the uninitiated and uninterested that Philippine Cosplay is fun, a great hobby, develops creativity, and boosts confidence. Introduce your parents (and by extension, your relatives) to what you do, let them get to know your trusted cosplay friends, show them your support system.
    • Second, let’s show them photos and videos of what you are doing at a cosplay event – please don’t show them the kabedons or any other fanservice though. The goal is to reassure that nothing bad is happening there.
    • Heck, if you were even able to buy books about cosplay, show them those as well! Let them know you appreciate cosplay and you will defend it as much as we want to defend the cosplay scene from the stigma this R-Rated film is giving.
    • Lastly, do your best not to get into any drama, no matter how petty or heavy it is. Do not fall victim into any scams, traps, or anything that will distress you – because if anyone (parents, relatives and even friends who are not familiar with OUR culture) see you in a sad state, they’ll just advise you to quit.
    • Take note: From the time that R-Rated Film’s teaser was posted online until the time its hype or any mention of that film dies down, all of us are on red alert for stigma and is expected to be at your best behavior and reaction as someone familiar with cosplay in your family or circle of friends. You can control how you react to this stigma. It just so happens that I am reacting in a concerned manner, warning you about this and preparing you for the worst to come.
  • Rest assured that cosplay isn’t going away. I get it, some of you have fear of missing out (I do). Cosplay in the Philippines has boomed post-pandemic that even events can’t just get us all in one place altogether.
    • In fact, I checked the calendar of events and I think we are eating good at how major event organizers are already cooking their events scheduled for various dates. (One day I will update mine)
    • If you are not allowed to cosplay yourself, then by all means still enjoy going to cosplay events. We are now at a time where cosplay events at malls are all the more becoming the norm, so you can tell your parents you’ll be meeting friends at the nearby mall when there’s a cosplay event happening – and if they need to join, that’s a perfect bait for them to see how great cosplaying is.
    • In due time, you will be able to cosplay. Don’t mind if you’re already in your 30s beyond, there are still cosplay ideas around for your age. Heck, if you are allowed to be independent, you got the chance.

If you feel that my suggestions are one-sided or lacking, please suggest anything possible and let’s help in putting a positive spotlight and removing stigma against Philippine cosplay.

Photo by meijii from Pexels