Jun. 10th, 2011

ambrmerlinus: Portrait of a young white man with a flowing blond mohawk, in profile. (Default)
I am giving serious consideration to cosplaying Tavros from the webcomic Homestuck, for a variety of reasons. One, Tavros is freakin' adorable. Two, he is incredibly insecure, much like myself.*

There are a few logistical problems (mainly, how am I going to make those horns? and get them to stick on my head?), but those can be overcome with time, hard work, and ingenuity. What is really bothering me are the ethical problems.

Tavros is a wheelchair user.

I am not a wheelchair user.

And I really, REALLY don't want to hurt or upset anyone with my cosplay.

Logistically, it is no problem. I have the wheelchair. It is sitting in my living room as we speak. I can reach out and touch it right now.** But still: ethics.

There are several ways I could circumvent this issue. I could portray Tavros from the pre-wheelchair-using point in his canon, but that's such a small slice of the story and it honestly feels like a cop-out. (As in, the only time he is shown in the webcomic as a non-wheelchair-user is when they are explaining how he became a wheelchair user in the first place. Very quick flashback, not really the character as he is best known.)

I could also be Tavros in his post-wheelchair-using incarnation. (He gets robotic legs. The process is a little messy and the ethics of it are questionable but he seems happy with them?) While I could conceivably make robotic legs with the magic of the aforementioned time+work+ingenuity equation, again, most of the webcomic deals with wheelchair-using Tavros, not pre-wheelchair-using or robo-legs Tavros.

Alternatively, one could argue that since cosplay is done for fun and not profit, I am not hurting anyone by pretending to be a character who uses a wheelchair. (Unlike, say, the Glee casting department, who went with a non-wheelchair-using actor for a wheelchair-using character and my God does it show in the choreography.) But this feels like misdirection to me, as in, "Okay I might be doing something objectionable but at least I'm not doing something worse like those guys!"

I am telling you all this in the hopes of sparking some conversation, getting some feedback from a variety of sources outside my own head, and perhaps talking to people who have confronted this issue in the past and may have some advice.

So... thoughts?

---

*This is basically the formula for my portrayal of fictional characters.

Step 1: Be incredibly insecure.
Step 2: Pretend to be fictional character who is also incredibly insecure.
Step 3: Get (undeserved) praise for being in-character.
Step 4: Feel less insecure for a bit.

It's fun! And probably unhealthy! But still fun!

**Why do I have a wheelchair on hand if I am not a wheelchair user? Short version: My roommate is the president of my school's theater company. The company puts on a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show every year, and they own a wheelchair for that purpose. I borrowed the wheelchair to do some amateur accessibility testing on my campus... annnd I have yet to return it. They don't need it until September, I'm sure it will be fine.

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ambrmerlinus: Portrait of a young white man with a flowing blond mohawk, in profile. (Default)
ambrmerlinus

February 2012

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