I’ve heard this argument a lot over the past couple of years. As someone who enjoys doing both regular cosplay and sexy cosplay… there’s a couple of things I feel like I need to point out. And let’s start with this:
No. Sexy Cosplay is not what’s ruining Cosplay.
Sexy Cosplayers are not what is pressuring you into doing sexy content
That’s really, really important for everyone to understand. I have never, ever seen a sexy cosplayer telling someone else they’ve gotta throw their tits around to get money. You know who I have seen saying that?
Entitled pervy Fuckbois.
Random dudes in person or on the internet who want to see more of your body than you’re willing to show. And that’s not a problem that’s unique to cosplay – raise your hand if you know what “Send Nudes” means!
Please don’t blame girl just trying to do something she loves, when it’s the entitled Fuckboi demanding you be like her that is the real problem here.
Why you don’t have as many fans/followers as them
One of the most common complaints about sexy cosplay is just how much more popular they are than people who don’t do revealing stuff. How hard it is for your big, impressive armor to get noticed. There are two reasons for that, though… and spoiler alert: both of them mean you should totally keep rocking what you are happy rocking, and not worry so much about the numbers.
1. Sexy Cosplay is a completely different Community from regular cosplay
We’re dealing with two different demographics here (Oh, definition time. Demographic: a particular sector of a population. So for example… Women ages 18-35 is a demographic) There’s the Sexy-loving demographic, and the armor loving demographic. Now, there are some overlap between the two, of course. I personally love both, so I would be part of the overlap. But, there are plenty of people who are only in one category.
You have to decide which category you want your page to be in, and then go for that fan base. Sure, the armor-loving demographic is smaller than the sexy-loving one… but because they are more in line with your goals, you’ll be creating a higher quality experience within the community you are creating. You don’t want people who aren’t in your demographic to be following you.
Here’s the other thing… Different demographics aren’t just looking for different types of content… they behave differently, too. In my experience, a prop-builder can successfully open their own business with less than 1,200 followers. Because those followers are often specifically looking to purchase props. On the flip side, a sexy cosplayer generally needs 20 times more followers before they can even begin to consider quitting their day job, because their followers more often just want to look at photos and aren’t necessarily looking to spend money.
So don’t worry so much about follower count. Followers do not equal success. Focus on getting fans who are into your specific niche.
2. It is a lot harder to get noticed online because cosplayers are way better at cosplay than they used to be
This is true for both sexy cosplayers and regular cosplayers, by the way.
Think about cosplay 5 years ago vs. today. Back then:
- Worbla could only be purchased online from a couple of shops
- Quality stretch fabrics were not regularly carried in most stores
- Cosplay wasn’t a word the mainstream retailers even knew about
- Tutorials were hard to come by
5 years later, and all of us have gotten so much better at cosplay! The Armors are all so impressive, and detailed, everyone’s wigs look amazing… It’s a lot harder to stand out in a fantastic build, when everyone else around you is also fantastic!
I saw this myself: When I first started cosplaying in 2013, I made a Twi’lek Bounty Hunter from Star Wars. And it was pretty decent. I wouldn’t say amazing, I was still really new and made some dumb choices when building. But people absolutely loved it! I could barely move at con, so many people wanted pictures! They loved all the bodypaint, the detailed armor, the head prop…
Fast forward 4 years, to when I first wore Widowmaker. It was a very similar design – same stretchy catsuit with light armor, bodypaint, head prop, etc. It was actually ever sexier than my Twi’lek because of the deep V neck of her catsuit. Hardly anyone stopped me for photos in that one! Even though it was even better than my Twi’lek… everyone had already seen it. It wasn’t new, and compared to everyone else at con that year it wasn’t above average either like my Twi’lek had first been.
The competition is just stiffer than it used to be. The bar has been raised, it’s a lot harder to impress people now. That has nothing to do with sexy cosplayers. It has everything to do with regular cosplayers stepping up their game.
(Side note: sexy cosplayers are dealing with this, too! People are stepping up their sexy game a lot and it’s getting a lot harder to get noticed as a sexy cosplayer, too)
Do the numbers really matter?
Here’s my last thought. It’s a question I don’t think enough people ask themselves… do followers and likes really matter?
Sure, if you’re trying to do this professionally… maybe score some sponsorships, or become a self employed business person… you definitely want more followers (though please see my section about making sure it’s the RIGHT followers) but if Cosplay is just a hobby? How much do those numbers matter?
Too many people pressure themselves into running a Facebook page, or making prints to sell, or trying to post every single day… but if you’re not looking to make a career out of this, why go through the stress of all that? It’s okay to let this just be a fun hobby? You can be REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD at it and still just want it to be a hobby! You don’t have to go through all that noise if you don’t want to.
At the end of the day, that’s what’s important here. Do what you want. Don’t let other people pressure you into doing things that you don’t enjoy. What does Marie Kondo say? If it doesn’t spark joy… thank it, and chuck that shit right in the trash.
And I bet you, almost any sexy cosplayer out there will give you the same advice.