Recently I've been talking to a lot of people at expo about the 'consent' issue! It seems quite a few people have stories to tell of incidents they have experienced (or have witnessed friends experience) in regards to being touched inappropriately, being photographed inappropriately and being hit with things or glomped (flying hug) by strangers at expo!
It's been really fascinating to speak to so many different people about it and it's lead to the set up of this petition [link]
which asks people to sign if they'd like more promotion of 'consent' asking at MCM (a huge convention). Within the petition consent asking refers to asking for a photo, hugging or touching someone and this petition doesn't aim to alienate glompers, photographers, people with paddles or props etc it just aims to promote 'asking' first! It also can't be put into force for things like people brushing past you in the crowd or people taking a photo of a crowd that you're in. But there is a huge difference between brushing past you in a crowd and groping someone, there is also a huge difference between a casual crowd photo and a casual non-consensual panty shot, also there is a difference between me hugging a long-term friend and glomping a complete stranger.
Some of the reasons cosplayers give for wanting consent for these things can often include simple things like being hit hurts or being glomped could ruin my costume, being prepared for a photo means I am in control and I've worked to hard on my costume for it to be damaged by others.
The thing is that asking for a photo or a hug allows a cosplayer to be prepared for it, after all as one cosplayer said 'I've worked hard on this costume and I'd like it to look good in a photograph', some people may be 100% ok with hugging strangers (sharing the love can't be that bad can it?), other people may be ok with panty shots (I've seen them on here being consensually posted by cosplayers) and some people might be ok with getting whacked with a paddle or prop but people should deserve a choice, it's an invasion of personal space to do these things without asking and for some reason people don't always ask at expo (excitement? assumption that the fandom has different rules to general society? the assumption that you ARE a character and not a real person because you're cosplaying? I don't know).
MCM have said that 73,000 people attend their events, which would make any security issues hard to control which is why the petition doesn't say MCM are in the wrong and it doesn't ask for harsh bans/policing to be imposed, there are already security there for when these incidents happen, what the petition does ask for is the promotion of 'appropriate' and consensual behaviour. A lot of the cosplayers I've spoken with LOVE expo and really want to go and have a good time, the thing is that when they get harassed/assaulted etc it obviously has the potential to ruin their time.
If you think this sounds like something you'd like to see happening at cons please sign up and feel free to share it/pass it on to friends!! I don't want to make enemies or offend anyone I'm just spreading the news that this petition is open.