Demure Dress-up: A Few Words on Modest Cosplay

This article was written and submitted by Lydia Mondy

"Is that really a racy Wookiee costume?"

“Is that really a racy Wookiee costume?”

I’m a ‘live and let live’ sort. When I make the trek to fan conventions or other geek-centric events, I expect to be inundated with the usual ‘flesh-a-thon’ common at any gathering. Don’t confuse this with complaining or ‘shaming’. If someone wants to wear a revealing costume, by all means, more power to them.

I’m only speaking to what I personally prefer to wear. Frankly, I’m in awe of the dedication and creativity many of these costumes display. And the fact is, from teenagers to forty-somethings, women in any city or suburb in America sport clothing just as racy in line at the grocery store. To be honest, I’m no stranger to a high hemline myself. It’s just that,…sometimes I find the near-nudity at family-friendly events to be slightly distasteful. Lessons in human anatomy are still a few year off for these tykes.

I’m only speaking to what I personally prefer to wear. Frankly, I’m in awe of the dedication and creativity many of these scant costumes display. And the fact is, from teenagers to forty-somethings, women in any city or suburb in America sport clothing just as racy in line at the grocery store. To be honest, I’m no stranger to a high hemline myself. It’s just that,…sometimes I find the near-nudity at family-friendly events to be slightly distasteful. Lessons in human anatomy are still a few year off for these tykes.

My feelings on cosplay varies drastically compared to say, Halloween, where I don’t hesitate to lampoon costume choices like, ‘naughty firefighter’ or ‘Sexy Etch-a-Sketch’ (yes, this exists). But enough digital ink has been spilled talking smack on these sorts of goofy get-ups. No need for another naysayer.

I heard an analogy once that if you wear a White Sox jersey to a Cubs game, you would expect to be the recipient of some heckling. It’s just a fact, folks. Similarly, if you waltz in the door wearing nothing but body paint, obviously you should be prepared for…a little extra attention.

On the same note, people frequently attempt to draw a direct cause-and-effect relationship between donning a skimpy outfit and sexual harassment or aggressive behavior. This is ridiculous. If you don’t know how to show respect for other humans or understand personal boundaries, you’ve got a big problem. Much bigger than simply struggling to avoid ogling someone’s trussed-up cleavage.

As far as my own costumes go, I tend to err on the low-key side. I’d rather come dressed as ‘Endor Moon Leia’ than ‘Jabba’s Palace Leia’, y’know? Come to think of it, scratch that – about once a year I find myself dressing up for some sort of Star Wars party – and I always go as Han Solo.

Any character or persona can be turned into a ‘tarted-up’ version. Particularly when it comes to comic book characters, the vast majority were just …drawn that way (depending on the artist, era and storyline, of course). If you’re a fellow member of the modesty train, there are still tons of cool ideas out there. Let’s take a look at a few fully-clothed favorites:

SorshaWillow

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Carmen San Diego

"Where in the World" did she get that awesome jacket?

“Where in the World” did she get that awesome jacket?

Mrs. Frizzle – The Magic School Bus

From the book, ‘Journey to the Concrete Corner’.

From the book, ‘Journey to the Concrete Corner’.

Princess Toadstool

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Harley Quinn

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Sure, it’s super-tight – but also super-cute.

Endor Leia

Awww. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: little kids should just be Ewoks. In real life.

Awww. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: little kids should just be Ewoks. In real life.

 

Rockford Peach – A League of Their Own

“We are the members of The All-American Team…”

“We are the members of The All-American Team…”

Starbuck – Battlestar Galactica

The cigar is optional; being a bad-ass is a requirement.

The cigar is optional; being a bad-ass is a requirement.

Powerpuff Girls

Totally adorable. Totally homemade.

Totally adorable. Totally homemade.

Katara – The Last Airbender

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When attempting to cosplay modestly, if all else fails, there’s always a variety  of Disney gals or dressing as a traditionally male character. They’re far less likely to be depicted in underpants, as it turns out. Most importantly, cosplay is about having fun and being comfortable (though this means different things to different people).

But enough about me…what are your favorite costumes? Leave a comment below!

This article is an opinion piece and solely represents the views of the contributor.

Featured Fangirl: Dani

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While some fangirls write fanfiction to express their love of certain characters, others write song lyrics.

Dani, who goes by starwarspunk on her YouTube channel, enjoys writing songs about characters in the Star Wars universe.

“I was so in awe when I heard the song parody, “The Saga Begins” by Weird Al Yankovic. The way he so effortlessly told the entire story of The Phantom Menace in a catchy, memorable and non-awkward manner was the coolest thing I had ever heard.” She says that she was inspired to write her own Star Wars parodies so that she could sing about Star Wars while listening to the radio.

Every Star Wars fan you meet has their own story explaining a situation that made them a fan—albeit the first time they saw one of the films as a kid or a memorable scene. “I had my first experience with Star Wars in summer of 1999,” says fangirl Dani “Although I really enjoyed A New Hope, the moment Chewbacca and Lando departed on the Millennium Falcon to rescue Han Solo from Jabba’s palace, I knew I was completely hooked. I couldn’t get the ROTJ VHS tape in the VCR fast enough! The dialog, the characters, the music, the story, and essentially everything about the trilogy to me was perfect.”

Dani explains that she was fortunate to catch The Phantom Menace right as it was about to exit the theaters, but felt sad after seeing the film since she knew that she would have to wait three years before seeing the next installment in the saga. “I began checking out EU books from the library, learning how to play the songs from the soundtrack, buying action figures in hopes of re-creating Jabba’s palace, debating with people on Star Wars message boards and that’s when I realized I had taken my first step into a much larger world: the world of being a dedicated Star Wars fan!”

Dani is musically inclined, and says that she is more comfortable expressing herself through her music and song lyrics then by writing,  painting, or cosplaying.  “In 2011, I finally got the courage to publicly post an original Star Wars song called, “What I Used to Be.” My purpose for writing this song was to share the emotions and thoughts I believed [Darth Revan] had although never explicitly stated on the screen or in a book. “

The Revan storyline was one that made an impact on Dani, and it’s one of her favorites. “Since I generally try to keep my characters aligned to light side, this was a complete shock much like Revan would have felt. When writing this specific song, I imagined the horror I (as Revan) felt upon the realization that my identity and memories were from a fictitious life and in fact, I once embraced the evil I was trying to defeat.”

Listen to “What I Used to Be” below:

“In a way, my songs are musical fan fiction, says Dani, “my lyrics tell the story and the melody sets my intended mood. The feedback I have received has been so encouraging and I am so excited to continue writing even more Star Wars songs in the future.

Her song “Give Up,” underlines the Jedi rule of no attachment while highlighting the growing fondness between Obi-Wan and Siri.

“In a way, the Jedi unintentionally encouraged forming attachments by maintaining the tradition of a master and apprentice relationship,” explains Dani. “In addition, the practice of identifying Force sensitives at an early age and removing them from their families also forced the Jedi to become the only family these potential Jedi candidates would ever depend on or know. While it was initially believed that all attachment could lead to the dark side, in the later years this belief is discarded, only proving that it perhaps it is possible for a Jedi to allow themselves to experience love and not turn to the dark side…unless your name is Anakin.”

Listen to “Give Up” below:

“Although Siri and Obi-Wan gave up the hope of a relationship out of respect to the Council, their feelings for each other never truly disappeared,” she explained. “At least, I like to think they never did.”

“Ahsoka’s Song,” is one of her newer songs. The lyrics “Eager to point out my flaws, but your pride will come first before the fall,” seem to point towards the judgmental nature of the Jedi council.

Listen to “Ahsoka’s Song,” below:

Dani  enjoyed watching Ahsoka’s growth throughout the series, and says that she became one of her favorite characters.

1758756“I was very disgusted with the Council’s dismissal towards her despite the loyalty and dedication she demonstrated throughout the entire Clone Wars. When Mace Windu attempted to justify the Council’s decisions by playing it off as if Ahsoka was simply going through a Jedi trial, it was evident that he was too proud to ever admit he had been wrong. In ROTS, Yoda and Mace Windu have a conversation about arrogance among the Jedi, yet they failed to recognize that they themselves also suffer from the flaws they find in others which eventually leads to their downfall. “What knowledge? There’s just ignorance” was a line I included to point out the hypocrisy within the most common form of the Jedi Code where it states, “There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.”

Dani said that when she’s writing songs, she tends to  focus on the emotions that she personally feel towards the situations as if she was the one experiencing them while still being in line with the character’s behavior. “In order to do this, I research the character’s traits in their respective media appearances and also on Wookieepedia. For this particular song, I hope I was able to convey Ahsoka’s sadness with the betrayal she felt from the Council while also being determined and brave enough to begin a new life alone.”

Dani regularly writes new songs and uploads them to her YouTube channel starwarspunk. Be sure to check out her work and follow her channel for more of her “musical fan fiction!”

Learning to “Flaunt Our World.”

Dream your world. Be your world. Flaunt your world.

heruniverse_logoHer Universe’s motto starts off its message to geek girls with the encouragement to dream your world. Sometimes, people have goals and dreams that they set for themselves that seem so far out of reach that they swear that they cannot accomplish them, so they never do. However, sometimes people have goals and dreams that, although they seem impossible, they push themselves to believe in not only the dream, but also in themselves, and they make that dream a reality.

Several young girls, who I am now proud to call my friends, made that dream a reality when they met the voice behind Ahsoka Tano, actress Ashley Eckstein, at Star Wars Weekends nearly five years ago. It was an experience I will never forget, and neither will any of the other girls: We each fulfilled a dream of meeting the voice behind one of our favorite Star Wars characters.

In middle school, the age the majority of us were when we met Ashley for the first time (except for a few young adults had already embraced their love of geek!), we were a far cry from society’s standards of a “typical” girl. We defied the standard goals of most girls our age: We loved Star Wars.  We had braces. We wore glasses. We didn’t burry our faces in makeup. We were geeky, plain and simple. We were often teased, but we dreamed of being accepted for who we were.

In 2010, Her Universe, the clothing line for women that enables female fans to embrace their geek and make it chic, launched and revolutionized what it meant for a girl to be a geek. Her Universe showed us that being geeky is its own kind of beautiful. It subtly tore down the walls that had been built in front of our faces by television shows and movies that expressed that geek was nerdy, that geek was unpopular, and that geek was a laughing stock. Her Universe helped pull girls who would rather trade Lisa Frank folders in for a G.I. Joe one out of their shells.

It has been four years since the launch of Her Universe, and now, four years older, the girls who I met through Her Universe embrace their geek because they are proud of who they are and the young women they have grown into. Some of us still have braces (I even miss mine), embrace their glasses (have those!) and are confident without without a pound of makeup on–we grew up geeky. We’re still not the “typical” girl–but we don’t ever really want to be and we love that about ourselves. We’ve learned that it is important to “be your world.”

Recently I had the opportunity to help coordinate a “fangirl dinner,” with Ashley Eckstein and a few of the same incredible young women who met Ashley and were inspired by Her Universe years ago. Underneath, we’re still the same giggly middle school girls who are prone to falling into a fangirl attacks, but we’re older, more mature, and coming into our own. We have jobs, we have other interests, and we have  goals.

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The Fangirls (plus one brother!)

I don’t think any of us could have been more grateful for that evening of fellowship, giggling, and, naturally, fangirling. We donned Her Universe attire for the occasion, and transformed the night into the ultimate Her Universe Friday (#HUfriday.)

Star Tours was definitely a 10390037_1439718616279796_3133395302440421018_nhighlight of the evening. We had a large party, but managed to squeeze into the back rows. Grace was the Rebel Spy…naturally. They must have taken the hint from her red sequined Rebels shirt ;) We finished off the night by viewing some spectacular fireworks, all set to the Star Wars score. Memories from the fangirl dinner will bring back smiles to our faces for years to come.

I don’t think any of us can really imagine what path we might have taken if we hadn’t met Ashley Eckstein and learned about Her Universe years ago.  Although  we probably would have heard of Her Universe eventually, growing up with the company’s positive message of being confident in your interests and learning about what Her Universe hoped to accomplish from Ashley herself made the existence of Her Universe special and more meaningful.

Now, the next four years of our lives have begun. Although our paths may take us different ways, we’ll always cherish what brought us together: Our love of sci-fi, Star Wars, Her Universe, and the call to flaunt our World.

Group pic

Highlights From Star Wars Weekends

IMG_9751 Star Wars Weekends, where Storm Troopers heckle the crowds, the Cantina Band mingles with their intergalactic fans, and diehards have a chance to meet and interact with their favorite Star Wars celebrities,  is a Star Wars fan’s delight.

Although I have attended Weekends over the past few years, every year has its own special moments, memorable photos, and exciting stories that I tell to my friends and family over and over again until they finally remind me that I’ve already told them that story.

Here are a few of my Star Wars Weekends (weekend two) Highlights in no particular order:

Cab Ride - I took a cab at four o’clock in the morning to get to Hollywood Studios to stand in . It was an adventure and I loved it.

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Hanging with Chewbacca - Chewie has always been one of my favorites, but meeting the “real” Chewbacca definitely pulls at a fan’s heartstrings. He’s huge, sweet, and huggable, just like the Wookiee fans all know and love. In the past, I’ve waited an hour to meet this guy, but I got to the park super early and made meeting the Wookiee my first task of the day. I was in line by 7:55 (ish) and getting a picture with him by 8:15! Who says a Bounty Hunter and Han’s sidekick can’t be pals?

Behind the Force - In the past, Behind the Force featured interviews with Clone Wars actors and exclusive clips from the series. Now, the show has transitioned to showing content from the upcoming series Star Wars Rebels, and has been a great way to create hype for the show and introduce fans to the new cast. Ashley Eckstein sat down with Tiya Sircar, the voice of Sabine Wren, to talk Rebels and her acting career.

Meeting Tracy Cannobbio - Tracy Cannobbio not only has a last name fit for working at Lucasfilm, but she’s incredibly sweet and amazing to talk to. She has one of the coolest jobs in the galaxy (she’s a publicist for Lucasfilm!!) and ensures that awesome people like Dave Filoni and the Rebels cast are represented well. I honestly could have talked with her all day. We will get a picture together next time, Tracy!

Don’t Blink!

 

Meeting Tiya Sircar (and James Arnold Taylor!) Because James Arnold Taylor ran out a few minutes before Tiya came out for her autograph session to let fans know that Tiya was loosing her voice and to encourage her to rest it! Snapped a quick selfie with him before he dashed off!

I was second in line to meet Tiya Sircar, the voice of Sabine Wren in the upcoming series Star Wars Rebels). She was really sweet, and since it was her first time at Disney and her first Star Wars Weekends, I welcomed her to the Star Wars family and let her know that the fans were excited for the show.

Veggie Burgers – This is extremely random, but I’m a vegetarian and just found out that there are Veggie Burgers at Disney at select restaurants! Who knew?! I was pleased.

Familiar Faces - I ran into several other fangirls! I met Molly from the Lakehouse, and got a picture Tricia Barr (Fangirlblog.com and fellow Year of the Fangirl Contributor).  I also saw Tracy at the Her Universe section of Darth’s Maul, who was sporting full HU gear. I even ran into my old friend Brad who just happened to be at SWW the exact same day as me.

Bith Kissed!

Bith Kissed!

Alien Fiancé - I was kissed by a Bith, and a pretty famous one too. Does this make me a Cantina Band groupie?

Get to da Chopper! I got to hear Chopper’s “voice” for the first time, and I love it! Whereas R2 speaks through beeps and high tones, chopper whirrs and grumbles. It’s adorable! I love that there is a distinction between the two droids’ sounds!

I had a blast at Star Wars Weekends this year, and am so glad that I had the opportunity to make the trek to Orlando…going to these events definitely makes a galaxy far, far away feel a lot closer to home and to the heart.

Legion of Leia Interview: Ashley Eckstein from Star Wars: The Clone Wars

LillianSkye:

Check out this interview with Ashley Eckstein from Legion of Leia!

Originally posted on Legion of Leia:

Today we begin our Legion of Leia profiles of amazing women in all aspects of sci-fi. We begin with Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Ashley also started Her Universe, a company that sells sci-fi clothing for women and girls. We’re so proud to feature this awesome lady and her work!

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Legion of Leia: What did playing Ahsoka Tano mean to you? How has it changed things for you?

Ashley Eckstein: Being the voice of Ahsoka has truly changed my life. Most important, it instantly gained me an entire Universe of family and friends that have my back and are forever there for me. For that, I am most grateful. Star Wars fans are some of the nicest fans out there and I consider being a part of this franchise an honor that I do not take lightly. In terms of being the…

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