Cosers Confess: Is “White Face” or “Black Face” In Cosplay Racist?

Disclaimer: Submissions may be edited for clarity of reading and comprehension.

Dear The Magic Rain Team,

Why must skin colour matter for cosplay? I’ve heard people go on and on about the accuracy of the outward appearances of other cosplayers, famous or not. I find this very discriminating and mean towards said victims. What are your thoughts on this matter?



Dear Mr.A.G,

Once again, since this is a controversial matter, I’d like to mention that my thoughts do not speak for everyone. Hence, I hope we can discuss this matter with an open mind as adults. Personally, I am not disturbed by anyone’s accuracy whether or not they do try to imitate the character’s skin colour. If you’re talking about “blackface” or “whiteface”, i.e. the controversial issue of cosplayers using makeup to imitate the character’s race or skin colour, I don’t find it racist. Why? Because I feel that every skin colour is beautiful and that racism is constructed by society themselves.

Let me explain further, I am Asian but when I cosplay anime characters, I make my eyes bigger for accuracy. Does this mean I’m trying to be white? No. Moving on, I look at every race skin colour as just a colour. Same goes to the colour of your eyes, your lips, your features. They are all beautiful and are just parts of the body. Dark skin or light skin. Small eyes or big eyes. They are all beautiful.

If someone does try to imitate the skin colour of a character, I don’t think it’s racist. Because many cosplayers do use foundation to make themselves appear fairer so why does making yourself darker racist? I see skin colour as pigment. Eyes, mouth, lips as lines and curves that you can change with makeup. If someone paints their face blue because they want to cosplay Avatar… is that racist to Avatars?

I personally admire people who would go to the extremes to copy the character as accurately as they can. Be it without skin colour or with skin colour. What I’m trying to say is that we should embrace every skin colour and appreciate individuals effort in trying to replicate skin colour (or not!) It’s up to them. Let’s not be too sensitive and start an issue for no big of a deal. I see European individuals trying to replicate my race skin colour and features when cosplaying characters of my race and I’m totally fine with it. In fact, I’m even more impressed if they do succeed.

People cosplay characters of a different race all the time. There’s nothing new here. They do it because they LIKE them. Not because they intend to hurt you. Look at their intentions. They want to give the characters justice. Give them credit for that. They made the effort to look as similar as they can be to the character and that’s hard. I am Asian. I don’t have stereotypical Asian features, so when I cosplay Mulan, I actually use a warmer shade foundation and change the shape of my eyes with eyeliner. Does this mean I am racist to my own race? Is that even possible? I’m just doing it to resemble as closely as possible to the character. Have you seen shapeshifters? They exist. You can check one out on YouTube, her name is Jbunzie.

At the end of the day, changing the shape of your eyes, skin, hair should not be an issue. If that’s so then what can we say about Asian people dyeing their hair blonde? Does that mean they want to be white? Racism is constructed by ourselves. If we just saw every hair colour/skin/features as just pigments and lines, we’d live in a very different world. Also, if you do value these accuracies you SHOULD NOT put down those who do not want to do so. It’s a personal preference, whether you choose to do it or not, both sides should be open and respectful to one another. That is all. If you don’t like something, move on and say nothing.

Ms. Scrumptious

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