For my final project, I decided to do a sort of triptych installation concerning the sexualization and objectification of women in anime and cosplay, and overall in the "nerd" culture. Being a cosplayer, and a woman, I have been on the receiving end of sexual harassment because of what I choose to wear when cosplaying. I am able to see the problematic elements of what comes along in this industry and bring awareness to it.
I edited three videos, each having to do with the objectification that is in this culture. Kill La Kill, an anime series released in 2013, is infamous for the women in this series wearing suggestive costumes. The creators even spoke of the designs, wanting them to be a "challenge to the cosplayers." While this may be partly true, I think a lot of character designers create suggestive looking female characters because they know women will dress up as them, revealing their bodies; this is done purposefully for the male gaze.
The next video I appropriated was the music video, Me!Me!Me!, released in late 2014. This video is actually a criticism of otaku subculture, showing a male character being consumed by suggestive imagery of women dancing and eventually being stripped down naked. This sort of imagery affects his personal life, including his relationship with a woman he once had, choosing this sort of media over her. While exaggerated and over the top, I think the music video shows how potentially harmful the anime industry can be if one becomes so obsessed with it that it affects their personal life.
The final video I used was footage from Comic Con 2014, showing women in cosplay exclusively. Many of these women are dressed provocatively and the way the videos are shot voyeuristic and objectifying in nature. While I don't have any issues with women dressing sexy if they choose to do so, it is how they are viewed and treated that is problematic; they are degraded and treated with disrespect because males think their clothing is an invitation to sex. This leads and supports rape culture, ultimately putting the blame on women if they are harassed or assaulted even though they aren't at fault.
In an industry ran by men, I think that this view of women is harmful and disgusting. While I am a part of it, I think it's important for me and other people to call out the awful behavior that men carry out when it comes to objectifying women.