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Hunting in the deep dark woods and further creative ventures


The Incident

In the news for the past couple of weeks, there has been discussion about something referred to as 'the Incident'. This incident occurred at the Alberta College of Art and Design, and involved the killing of a chicken (as part of a performance piece, and commentary on human to food relationship). I'm not going to go into detail, as there are innumerable articles and opinion pieces scattered about the internet, which I'm sure can be found by typing in 'ACAD chicken'. 

The situation got quite messy after the school fired an instructor, as a result of the incident. This has caused even more trouble, and is continuing to bless ACAD with the title of 'the chicken killing school'.

As as student attending this school, I'm becoming quite tired of the situation. A great deal of students comments and stand points and letters to the school have been tossed around Facebook, and they all say the same thing. They take this issue and go on to discuss every single thing wrong with the school. The budget issues, politics, so on, so forth. Great things to discuss, but not under the umbrella of the firing of an instructor and the killing of a chicken. As far as protesting goes, this is why modern protesting doesn't work. Remember the Occupy movement? Of course you don't. It started on Wall Street, and was blown out of proportion. Dozens of cities "helping the cause" by taking on the name, and complaining about whatever issues that suited them. When protesting or offering an opinion in the form of a professional letter, you have to choose one battle. Otherwise you look like you're whining, and looks like you can't write a concise letter.

On top of the poor protesting skills that are driving me up the wall, ACAD has earned a black mark. We are lovingly referred to as the chicken killing school. Now, this is a joke within the art community, but when you step outside of that community, you have to carefully explain to non-artists and non-critics how it is art, and yes it's wrong but it raised a point and blah blah blah. I don't really have an opinion about the chicken killing. Personally, I'd have preferred to see the person keep the chicken as a pet. If it was a hen, you could carry it around, keeping it happy, and eating its eggs. It wouldn't have the same strength in message, but it would be less of a health hazard. I don't really care about the chicken thing any more. I care about Gord Ferguson getting fired, and I care about the budget issues. Again, though, one battle at a time. Still,  it's hard to want to be involved at all when you tell someone that you go to ACAD, and when it used to be 'Oh! What do you do there?' it is now 'Oh! The chicken killing school?'. ACAD, a formerly well perceived school, has become a bit of a joke. As an extension, the students are being viewed as a joke. It is a hole that we have dug ourselves into and now we can't dig ourselves out easily. We as students need to try to restrengthen the public's view of the school, instead of whatever it is we're doing now. I'm just tired of being embarrassed to be part of ACAD.


Cosplay and Body Image

This morning, I stumbled upon this comic, called Is This What Respect Feels Like (click the link for the comic). At first glance, it has some good points. It discusses body image, both the downsides of being overweight or being overly 'sexy' in the context of cosplay and comics. Body image is an important thing to consider, but then I read it between the lines, based on my own and others' experience. I also thought about it in the context it presented itself: comics and cosplay culture.

To begin, I do feel bad for the people who this has happened to. However, I don't think it would happen in the direct context of somewhere like a Comics Convention. You are more likely to be sexualized than be judged for your weight. This is why the concept of 'Cosplay =/= Consent' arose, stating that yes, girls and young women may dress in attractive forms of cosplay, but it does not mean that it is consent for sexual harassment. However, being made fun of for not having an ideal body image...

First of all, I have seen confident, happy, cosplayers of all shapes and sizes. They pose for photos, after spending months on the costume that fits their body shape and their individual personality. Now, when I say this, I do not mean women strictly. Cosplayers come in all genders, and all cosplayers have the same issue of body image. Especially when they choose to portray a comics character.

Traditionally, and even today, comic superheroes are drawn in what we call 'heroic proportions'. This means roughly this:

Really, heroic proportions are a lot easier to draw. They are exaggerated, and just that- they look heroic. Now, look at every person you've ever met. How many look like this? Speaking from my own experience, both in people I've met and learning about anatomical proportions... Most of these heroic proportions aren't really that realistic to achieve. When body image is brought into cosplay, as they say in the comic being discussed, no one is really good enough. However, because no one is good enough, that circles back and everyone is good enough.

Again, I feel terrible for people who have been picked on, but for body image, it goes beyond women. Comics and superhero films depict men and women as heroic, almost godly, figures. Women constantly discuss issues with body image, but the reality is that men have just as many emotional and psychological issues due to the body images presented to them through these different forms of mediums. We live in a world where everyone has a messed-up body image, and a world where it's harder to be thin because of what is in food. In a separate world like Comic Con, everyone is in the same boat. The comic implies that everyone else at a comic expo is so sure of themselves and their own image that they will all collectively laugh at you, and make you feel terrible about yourself. Which... is doubtful. You are more likely to get picked on out there, in schools and the real world, than in comic con, where everyone is a geek who plays video games, collect comics, spends hours every week watching bad movies, and above all, marvels at the work spent on a good costume. 

I do have issues when people write comics that suggest that no one is good enough to cosplay, without offering anything else. The comic states that no one respects you as a woman, and you're either fat or you're a slut. In truth, it's hurtful to everyone who does passionately cosplay. It's hurtful to someone like me, where it's implied, through the two options offered, that I am a slut for dressing up. The comic implies that all cosplayers have low self esteem, and that there is only one way to cosplay. It also implies that because no one is good enough, no one should cosplay. Which... is a tragic idea. There are so many beautiful people who cosplay. Amazing people who spend months planning and making their costumes, and even go over on time, so they have to be sewn into their outfit. Men, women, and children, who look stunning in their outfits, and they shine through with confidence. Their craft is perfect, they fit the character, and people revel at the work done and time spent. It is like so many forms of art. People admire how much work is done, and it doesn't matter if you're fat, skinny, tall, short, cosplaying as an anime character, a comic book superhero, or Doctor Who. Cosplayers are confident, overwhelmingly amazing people, and the world needs to know it, instead of thinking that all of us have low self-esteem or thinking that maybe we shouldn't or don't cosplay because of how others might see us. Also, if you are a cosplayer who doesn't want to cosplay because of your body image... Cosplay any ways. You can dress however you want, you can change the character's clothes to fit you. Just remember that in a place like a comic convention or expo, people will stand up for you, if someone was to make fun of you. More often than not, they will simply look at your costume in awe, and have respect for you. 


Road Tripping

Wooooohoooooooo! Road tripping. Tripping on the road. Kidding. I'm going on a road trip with my fiancee, and because of that, I will be indisposed for the new couple of days. So... no updates on 12 Months of Alice blog. I'll be back on Friday.

Oh memes. Sometimes you express my life. For the record, I'm a good driver. But let's not kid ourselves. Merging onto the highway is completely terrifying.

And for good balance...

How can you tell that it's seven AM and I'm not completely functioning?