Body Image in the Geek Community

Photo from livescience.com

Photo from livescience.com

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

So to keep this momentum going from my last post about Fake Geek Girls and the Heroes of Cosplay controversy, I want to address another issue that the show has brought up: body image.

So in the show, Becky discusses her insecurity about gaining weight. Her issue in the last episode was about looking and feeling confident in her Merida (from Disney’s Brave) cosplay. This issue is so relevant in the geek and cosplay community because as fellow geeks, most of our hobbies, such as playing video games, reading comic books, watching anime, etc. doesn’t really require us to be super active. Therefore, we tend to be less in shape. (And just as a disclaimer: This isn’t a scientific fact so don’t quote me on this. This is just from my experience as a fellow geek.) Now that cosplay is such a huge part of the geek fandom, it presents this oxymoron of the sorts. You spend all your time playing a video game (not being active or exercising) and then you want to cosplay a character with a tiny waist, perky boobs, and a nice ass. Well, that’s lovely and all but you just finished an entire box of Hot Pockets. Having six-pack abs definitely wasn’t on your mind as you were finishing the game.

Let me just put it out there that I DEFINITELY know these feels. I have always and currently struggle with body image issues because I dance. And dancer bodies are HOT! It can be such a struggle to keep up with the masses. Not to mention the amount of pressure and stress it can be on a person to have to look a certain way in order for society to deem as acceptable and successful. The internet can be a very scary place. People are ruthless behind their keyboards and they won’t hesitate to point out your stretch marks or love handles in your latest cosplay pic.

But I’m here to tell you to face your insecurities head on. Don’t run away from the problem or just be depressed about it. First of all, be PROUD of your body type. I’m slowly learning to love my curves and I find myself becoming more confident when taking pictures. I know it can be such a “foreign” concept, but we all have different body types! Say what?! You mean, we’re not all supposed to be those stick skinny girls on the magazine covers?!

NO! And don’t give into that crap. Love your body and love where you came from. That’s step 1. Step 2, if you do find yourself wanting to change something, then go do it! Do it at your own pace. If you haven’t worked out in 10 years, don’t jump into P90x today. Be realistic and set some realistic goals for yourself. Even if it’s once or twice a week, just take a walk in the park. As long as you’re moving, you’re being active and you’re working those muscles.

And on the other side of that spectrum, if you have a thin body type, don’t worry! There’s always room to bulk up and get that nice, toned booty! People tend to shun naturally thin girls and tell them they have it easy because society deems thin as acceptable. But on the contrary, thin girls can feel just as insecure. It doesn’t matter what body type you are, advertising companies are gonna drill this idea in your head that YOU will never be good enough. And don’t let them. You’re better than that.

And I didn’t forget my handsome fellas reading this! Don’t get caught up in the whole “bulking up, protein shakes all day everyday” culture. If you genuinely enjoy that lifestyle, then by all means, go do it! But just because your friends are all doing it doesn’t mean you have to as well. Same idea here: love and accept your body. Then if you want to make some changes, then go make some changes. Even if it’s just pledging to cut down on junk food or just doing some simple at home conditioning – every step counts. Do it at your own pace. You owe yourself that.

Cosplay can be this amazing motivational tool to help you get into shape. But don’t just strive to have Psylocke’s body or Wolverine’s biceps. Strive to have YOUR best body. Work out because you want to be a better you. Not just to look like a certain character. Trust me, you’ll feel a whole lot happier in the long run.

Body image will sadly always be an ongoing issue in our culture, but we can’t succumb to those negative thoughts. Positive energy is contagious and I encourage you to own it and spread that shit all over!

… That sounded weird and awkward. But you get my point. I hope.

‘Til next time, my loves.

-Alice

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