I come to you today to speak out against a disturbing trend in Doctor Who fandom. Whereas it’s well-known that various fan factions don’t get along– the RTD-apologists loathe the Moffatt-acolytes, Seventh Doctor fans hate the classic series fans, and so on and so on– this strong derision and division has stayed out of cosplay circles… until now.
My dearest friends, the Amy cosplayers have Heathers among them!
I’ve worked hard to make peace with the Nouvelle Vague of costuming: those lovely people who have joined the fandom during the New Series, and, informed by anime sensibilities, feel that scoring the EXACT SAME ITEMS as worn on screen defines the awesomeness of the costume recreation. Me, I’m old school, I’m all about making it if I can’t buy exact. Hardly anyone knows how to sew these days, though, so I totally respect those who want to dress as a Doctor or Companion and have to exercise their BankAmericards instead of their Vikings (or Singers or Brothers) to do so. Sometimes, though, it can get obnoxious. There’s always the temptation to one-up others, whether it’s in identifying what exactly the costume piece is or it’s in obtaining said piece first. Usually, though, as has been the case for the 30 years I’ve been cosplaying DW, players help each other out. They compile Outfit Breakdowns, they alert each other when a specific item comes up for sale (either on eBay or on the manufacturer’s website), they organize mass-buys of 5th Doctor sweaters or 4th Doctor scarves or 7th Doctor umbrellas or 10th Doctor suit fabric or 11th Doctor shirt fabric. It’s in general a wonderfully-supportive community that supports each other in its costuming endeavors.
And then there’s the Amys.
I love their enthusiasm in scoring all the latest outfits, but I find their comments in the LiveJournal cosplay community tend to be passively-aggressively bitchy. (I tend to skim the Amy posts; I keep wishing there would be an Amy-only spinoff community, like there was with Rose, ’cause both chicky babes seem to dominate the convo.) But, yanno, I accept I’m old, and that the young folk have different sensibilities, including the need to have multiple photoshoots of them in costume, and then posting said photoshoots in detail as many places as possible ’cause they’re exhibitionists like that. (Yanno, I would totally be like that, had the Internet existed like it does now some 30 years ago, so I can grok it.)
At Chicago TARDIS, we had some Amy cosplayers, but they seemed to fit right in with everyone else, no cliques, no trash talk. I was quite happy to see the amount of Amys we had. (I also totally rocked on the family who came decked out in Rory Stag Night shirts, but that’s a different subject indeed.) Based on CT, I was totally accepting of Amy cosplayers.
Then came Gallifrey.
It was the Invasion of the Amys. A virtual Pond of them. (No, NOT “fairytale,” as several people tried to correct me on Twitter.) And, yanno, I would have been totally cool with that. Amy’s the first young, Caucasian female companion in several years; she’s independent and feisty, so what young adult female fan wouldn’t want to dress as her? (I would totally be Amy were I my thirty-years-younger self!)
In observing all the Amys, though, I noticed there was a clique who noticeably talked about the Not-We’s behind their backs. It wasn’t always verbal; a sneer and an eye-roll served just as well as commentary. So very high school, so very “Heathers.”
Good Kroll, not the thing at all, and I did tweet about it. (Yo! @jakelleywrotty if you’re so inclined!) I was also surprised by two things:
- The main Amy clique wore their Amy wigs all the time, even in mundane clothes.
- We had virtually no Amys in the Masquerade. Considering there were dozens of Amys at the con, I can only go “WTF?”
Needless to say, I found myself in a quandary about the Pond. Then this week, an Amy Spammer on LJ posted a “OMG I can’t believe you think I’m MEAN” post (subsequently removed) to the LiveJournal DW_cosplay community, which seemed to be the culmination of in-fighting on other boards. As much as I grooved on the Dynasty backstabbing, a part of me felt very sad indeed. We cosplayers are supposed to be supportive of one another. The idea is, we raise everyone up by sharing knowledge, and then, if we happen to win prizes over the others in Masquerades, it’s truly an honor.
Heathers Amys, on the other hand, seem to be all about Who’s Best? Who Got It First? Who’s Cutest? And, if you’re not a Heather, you’re a Booger and therefore eligible for derision both on line and in person.
I don’t like the negative energy the
Heathers Amys bring to the community. It gives the rest of the Pond a bad rep… and reflects badly on the cosplay community in general.
edited from original posting to correct some grammar and to clarify a thought or two.