strange like that

An Open Letter to Convention-Going Butt Photographers

After a long weekend at Comikaze, and being the regular cosplayer that I am, I thought it time to address some of those folks that make my con going experiences painfully creep-tastic.

Dearest Convention-Going Butt Photographers-

Yes, that’s right. We’ve seen you. All those times you thought you were being sneaky at snapping a cheeky shot of us in catsuits or leotards? You wish. You have relatively the same amount of stealth as a bell-wearing ninja in neon. Putting the phone to the side of your head like you’re taking a call? You know that button makes a shutter noise when you click it, right?

Look, we’ve heard the same old lines ad naseum. You’re a dude, you’re supposed to like butts. Just look at the way we’re dressed, we’re practically begging you to photograph our costumed posteriors. Here’s the sad bottom line, my friend: you are an asshole, and no amount of hemming and hawing is going to change that.

With the oodles of professional butt-shots on the internet (many of them available for free, I might add), why on Earth do you feel it necessary to capture ours? And to most often capture them on the shitty excuse for a camera that’s lodged in your mobile device? Assuming the worst in what you do with them, certainly you can find better quality, and consensual, imagery for your wanking pleasure aplenty on a little old thing we call the web.

If you’re not using the images for the worst of intentions, then what in the bloody hell are you hoping to achieve? Congrats on your, likely poorly lit, unflattering shot of my ass that you can tote about with you on your phone. Wow, and you can even back it up to the Cloud! Goodness and golly gee! The things technology can do these days!

I’m not going to lie. I make catsuits and leafy Ivy undies look good. However, when I paw through boxes of back issues at a convention, they are set at a height that requires me to bend at the waist. I do this not for your viewing pleasure, but because I absolutely have to find that copy of Batman #183 in a condition that’s hopefully short of fossilized. Just because I’m avidly seeking my treasures doesn’t mean I’m not aware of your creepy self standing behind me and acting like we’re at a photoshoot where I’m Derek Zoolander and you’re yelling “Dance, monkey! Dance!” You are the reason I keep folks around me to help shield my delicate rear from becoming one of the many in your less-than-tasteless collection. And yes, I did see when you stepped side to side, swaying like a pussy willow in the breeze, hoping to evade my own personal butt security guard.

Allow me to illustrate just how low you are on my list. The next to last entry on my list are the guys who get a little too handsy after actually asking my permission to take a photo. To find you, we have to scroll so far down the chart that we can smell the brimstone simmering near its location. In fact, the edges of my chart are tattered and seared mere fractions away from where you currently find yourself.

I am willing to bet that, with some exceptions, you are not the guy who snaps photos of women’s badonkadonks while trotting down the street on an average day. (Though perhaps I’m giving you too much credit.) Just because we happen to be in costume, this should not be misconstrued as a free pass to snap photos of whatever you like. Hate to break it to you, but there are people in them thar costumes. Women as people, what will they think of next, right?

I’ve been pretty forgiving in my convention travels, and that’s my bad. However, don’t be surprised when I loudly call you out on your behaviour the next time I catch you. I hope your out-of-focus booty shot was worth it.


Lady You-have-no-idea-how-much-I-want-to-punch-you-in-the-face esq.


11 Responses to “An Open Letter to Convention-Going Butt Photographers”

  1. girladactyl says:

    YES. Thank you. I actually yelled at a guy on the show floor at SDCC when I saw him doing this to a woman. In front of his kid too so hopefully the next generation realizes how not okay that is.

  2. Nathan says:

    I think you do yourself and others a disservice by orientating this argument towards men exclusively taking pictures of women’s.. shall we say “attractive features”, against their will. Taking private photographs of *anyone* without their permission (or knowledge) is wrong. Regardless of gender or the part of the body being photographed.
    I also believe that part of the reason this phenomena is consistently observed when males take pictures of female convention goers in costume – is that there is an ignorance of the consequences of a photograph as opposed to just an observation.
    One might argue that if someone can look at/see your butt or breasts, there isn’t a reason not to photograph it too.
    I think an understanding that people will look (quite lustily) at someone in a costume (and that this attention is relatively acceptable in most cases), but maintaining that photography without express permission is totally unacceptable, would go a long way.
    People need to appreciate the difference between a photograph and a memory, especially in this digital age. But any inference that merely looking/seeing is also “creepy” just pushes those men or women who take photographs into .. let’s charitably say “ignorance”.
    tl;dr Asking individuals to not take photographs without permission is reasonable. Asking individuals to not look at something that’s on display is never going to get much traction.

  3. Macabri says:

    Hey, Nathan. Firstly, thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog. I think you make some good points, however, not necessarily ones that were relevant to this particular topic and my intentions in writing it.

    I’m not asking people to not look when they see someone they find attractive. Hell, I do it myself, to both men and women at conventions. There is a pretty defined line between just looking and capturing “the moment” digitally, perhaps to even eventually share on the web. (Which I have seen happen in several cases, much to the chagrin and embarrassment of the cosplayers photographed.)

    Secondly, while the phenomenon may not be restricted exclusively to men, and please note I’m speaking solely of those folks taking photographs and not just looking, I have never observed nor heard of a woman engaging in this same behaviour. Though, perhaps if they are they’re just more sneaky about it.

    Overall, this was intended as a tongue-in-cheek response to something that’s a fairly rampant, and well observed, pattern of behaviour that makes make of us costumed ladies uncomfortable and frustrated. This is *not* a blanket statement and should not be read as such. As a model, I have written about the perils of having uncomfortable photos taken and have put that into its own separate post; this is not that post, so it is not covered here.

  4. Mris says:

    A friend linked me to this. Thanks for saying it. Last summer at a local con, some creeper was audibly using the zoom on his camera to take a zoomed-in picture of my friend’s 14-year-old daughter’s ass. My friend got con security to delete the photos and remove him, but the sense of entitlement and lack of boundaries from guys who do this–yes, mostly *guys*, never heard of women doing it–is off the charts. (The kid in question is a great kid, but she totally looks her age, too–it’s not like it would have been with me and some of my friends at that age, where someone could easily have thought, “Oh, she’s totally past 18.”)

  5. Sara A. says:

    Thank you for this!! I’ve gone through the same things at my local con here in Anime Boston, though I have to say one of the more aggravating occurrences are the will-not-take-no-for-an-answer types. Me and my best friends were cosplaying as Lolitas and were happy to take pictures when asked, which this one guy actually did. The thing was we were already late to get in line for a panel and on top of that we did not feel comfortable at all when he was talking to us about our cosplays. When he asked for a picture we were already trying to find any excuse to get out of the conversation, and after saying “no” repeatedly, took it anyway and tried to laugh it off. This was at least an early-thirties year old man and only one out of the three of us were even over the age of 18.
    No respect. No bounderies. And down right fucking creepy.

  6. Macabri says:

    So glad that you enjoyed the post! And as they say, I know that feel, bro. I have been in similar situations where I was on the move and trying to reach a panel or other engagement while in costume. Some people take it really poorly when you are unable to stop for a photo and act as if it’s owed to them. All you can do is brush it off, keep moving and remember that you’re at the convention for you, not for them.

  7. Chamere says:

    Macabri, I got to say I agree with you. I had a couple of friends that would constantly do this and start making mad creepy comments about the girl in front of them. Later, they would go to a corner of the hotel room and just stare at the pictures. (haha didn’t sleep there the whole time.) I had to call em out and everyone and generally stop hanging out with them. This behavior is not acceptable and the fact that it’s almost a norm at conventions freaks me out.
    I’ve had a moment, not so much with photography, but a creepy one in general.
    65 year old man came up to me in the bathroom and started urinating right next to me. Mind you, there were about 20 stalls open and no one in the bathroom but us. He had smeared make up and a maid’s outfit. He kept telling me that he was finally a pretty girl and if I thought he looked good. Freaked me out.
    Great post.

  8. Zarli says:

    The thing that gets me most about all of this is the “why?” part. Most people at conventions have no problem with people taking their pictures, just need to ask. And in case anyone this refers to is actually reading it, even that “hot chick” you are stalking.

    The only thing i can think of is they might get some kind of thrill on the thought that they are doing something they are not supposed to. As you pointed out, there’re so many higher quality shots all over the internet than they are going to get with their “ninja photography.”

    It was a nice read. Thank you from someone who’s friends have been harassed and stalked at cons and other smaller cosplay events.

  9. Shattersky says:

    I agree that it is wrong for people to take sexualized pictures without permission, and in a way it should be classed as sexual harassment. BUT I think that if you get angry everytime it happens you will never enjoy another con again.

    Males will be males, mother nature encoded this into the very core of males. Yes SOME males can act properly, but it will NEVER. EVER. be all.

    I believe that you have control over this, if you want to wear a revealing outfit with your butt hanging out that is fine. But then you expect every male to act like a perfect gentlemen? That is unrealistic. I’m not saying it’s wrong to expect that, I’m saying it’s UN-realistic. For example: You want to go through life with only good things happening to you. It’s not wrong to want that, but it’s unrealistic, because bad experiences IS a part of life just like creepers are part of conventions and you just have to accept it as a whole.

    If you don’t want to accept it then you actually have other options, wear something not revealing, or just never go.

  10. Macabri says:

    Shattersky- I disagree on several points.

    There are many things encoded into us by nature, but that we do not do because they are socially unacceptable. To say that some are so base as to be controlled by this programming is just sad, and should be insulting to both men and women who do take control of themselves.

    Also, we run into the issue here of victim blaming. Maybe not to such a severe degree as “she was asking for it”, but it’s victim blaming nonetheless. I know many women who are harassed at conventions while wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Where is the line? Is that considered revealing?

    My point is that this behaviour is really unacceptable and that fighting against it is a noble goal. Will it wipe out convention creepers by 100%? Absolutely not. I am not one who believes in anything so unrealistic. However, if we can make convention attendance a more comfortable experience for all involved, even if it’s just by a few degrees of improvement, it is worth having these kinds of discussions.

  11. Bellethiell says:

    Mac- THANK YOU, for so aptly telling it like it is.

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