Courtney writes

The tumblr belonging to Courtney Stoker, of Doctor Her and The Cosplay Feminist.

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The Hottest Trends In Crossplay At Comic-Con

femmedoctors:

Specifically, check out #30-41.

Okay, so yay lady cosplay! But this article doesn’t actually know what crossplay is. Or that the TARDIS is (now canon) a woman, and was never characterized as male, so calling a woman cosplaying as the TARDIS a “Trans-Tardis” is…problematic.

"If the Tardis even has a gender…vehicles and robots were a grey area."

Actually, no. Vehicles and robots are not male by default. They are not a “grey area.” If the TARDIS wasn’t gendered in the show, it would not have a gender. Look dudes, you don’t get to claim that fucking robots and vehicles for your goddamn gender. It’s not like you have a paucity of representation in science fiction.

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Fans on cosplay

This is the first bit of my essay on femme cosplay and crossplay in Doctor Who fandom. Any thoughts?

There’s a common misconception that cosplay is unlike other fan productions. According to this idea, cosplay is fundamentally different than fan art, fanfic, fan comics, fan vids, fan remixes, filking, podcasts, and blogs. Those productions are about analysis, interpretation, creation. In those creations, fans are responding to the show, interacting with a community, and producing their own creative content. But cosplay is considered, even within fan communities, to be doing something else. Something weird.

While most fans will concede that other fan productions are
creative, they often downplay the creativity of cosplayers, even when those cosplayers handcraft their entire costumes. Oh, sure, they’re talented, but it’s just copying, isn’t it? And often cosplayers are positioned as immature, and it is suggested that because they are all so young (they’re not), they are unsure of their own identities. Perhaps they use cosplay to try on different identities. Perhaps they are simply overidentifying with a character.

While fellow fans are usually admirers of cosplay, they often have a sneaking suspicion that cosplayers aren’t quite capable of separating fiction from reality, or themselves from a TV show.

What I see in this distorted perception of cosplayers is the expectation that you can’t really understand cosplayers without psychoanalyzing them. When people ask me why fans cosplay, they don’t want to hear about how cosplay interprets the source material or makes political statements. They want to hear about childhood traumas and identity formation. I don’t know why cosplay gets this different expectation, one we don’t have when we want to find out why fan artists or fan writers do their thing.

From here, I’ll quote from Fandomania and from a fellow Doctor Who fan, illustrating that they think cosplay is somehow about identity. Then I’ll talk about how cosplay is generally not about identity, and in particular, femme cosplay and crossplay  in the Doctor Who fan community are actually about gender politics, not gender identity.

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Another call for cosplayer interviewees

Hey everyone, I’m writing another article on femme cosplay and crossplay in the Doctor Who community, and would like a few more folks to interview. So if you’re a femme cosplayer or a crossplayer, and would be interested in a quick email interview, please contact me at courtney@doctorher.com!

If you’re interested in what I’ve written on the subject before, I have an interview at i09 and an article at the Guardian. You don’t have to agree with me to participate, by the way. :)

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