Would-Be Cosplayer Seeks Advice

Recently, a friend invited me to go to a convention and cosplay our favorite characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Spider-Man and Jane Foster.

Right, I know, Jane is supposed to be just a ‘superhero girlfriend’ to Thor, but in the movie she’s pretty smart and doesn’t stand for people getting in her way. As far as heroes are concerned, she’s definitely one of my favorites, even though she’s just a human.

Because Jane’s clothing (as seen before she goes to Asgard in the “Thor: The Dark World” teaser) is simple, comfortable, and affordable, I figured it would be the perfect cosplay. Additionally, the makeup’s pretty easy, I’m already short like the character, and I have most of the clothing needed for the outfit as well as access to the necessary props.

Unfortunately, there’s a problem: going by the measurements of Natalie Portman (who portrays Jane in MCU), Jane Foster is a full eight sizes smaller than me. And even if I was the same dress size, my body hardly has the same shape. So what do you do when you want to cosplay a character built differently than you?

There’s a lot of information out there on modifying a skimpy costume to fit a plus-size frame, but most of that advice doesn’t fit for my situation. First of all, part of the reason I like the costume and the character is that she’s the one dressing modestly while her love interest is the one walking around shirtless – that’s a breath of fresh air in a genre that usually only represents the opposite. Secondly, I’m not ‘plus-size’ and I don’t feel like I need to modify the costume; I’m just terrified that people are going to say ‘you’re way too fat to look anything like Jane Foster.’ And if I was 50 pounds lighter, I wouldn’t be too fat, but my body would still be an entirely different shape.

I also don’t have another problem encountered by many cosplayers – being a different race, age, or gender than the character I want to portray. I can only imagine how insecure I’d feel playing a character even more different looking than me, because we’re conditioned to think that good cosplays, especially for characters represented in movies, are the most accurate – and that includes all of those attributes as well as body type.

This is an entirely different experience from LARPing as an original character. I’m confident as that character because I created her, and the people that got to know her got to know her as she looks like – me! Cosplaying is very different.

I feel brave enough to cosplay since my friend is going as Spidey, but I’m still pretty nervous.

What would you do?

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About Tara M. Clapper 272 Articles
Tara is a lifelong geek and the founder and publisher of The Geek Initiative. Her interests were forged in an early appreciation for "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Jurassic Park," and many historical fiction and fantasy novels. Tara is a game designer, LARPer, and frequent convention attendee. The author of over 1,000 individual blogs, her content has been featured on HelloGiggles, nordiclarp.org, LARPing.org, and The Billfold. She holds a B.A. in English from McDaniel College and has attended many events as press (including New York Comic Con). Tara has a professional background in marketing and publishing. She lives in the Philadelphia area. A Marvel fan, her favorite superhero is undoubtedly Thor. View her portfolio at: tmc.pressfolios.com.

2 Comments

  1. Just try to hold into that bravery. Cosplay is for your enjoyment, not their enjoyment. I had to make that my mantra when I Cosplayed as Captain Marvel and Black Widow. Tight Lycra on my plus size frame, between a size 14-16. I wore a body shaper which helped keep,things from being overly jiggly. Some people loved it and asked for picture, most I would even say. I am sure there were a few hip who didn’t, but I had convinced myself it didn’t matter at that point. This was about my fun, fandom and love of the character, not theirs.

  2. Thank you so much for your encouragement. After writing this, I committed to going to the convention with my friend and cosplaying. I think having a friend there also cosplaying will really help. Thank you, thank you, thank you! (And now I am going to stalk on on Tumblr from my personal blog!)

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