TangleCast 10: Crossplay

This week, JP (Japesland) and Casey (CutsceneAddict) share a discussion on an interesting and oft-ignored topic in the otaku world: crossplay. Don’t know what it is? Well be sure to take a listen as Casey explains its place in the anime community and con scene, and also provides an argument for why those who raise their eyebrows might want to give it another look!

As always, every episode of The TangleCast will be covering a different topic, from anime reviews, to discussions on spirituality, to listener mail, and everything in between. Please join the conversation by commenting below or submitting a question at our contact page!

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12 thoughts on “TangleCast 10: Crossplay

    1. Christianity, and religion in general, really, covers such a broad spectrum of beliefs that it’s very easy for two people to be claiming the same belief to be bothered (or not) by completely different areas. By the same token, a large number of Christians claim opposite views about cross dressing, with many claiming it to be a non-issue and others emphasizing their interpretation of its immorality. That’s fundamentally what makes these conversations both interesting and worth having!

      Reasoning aside, I’d tend to agree that there are a number of issues that I, were I in a different situation, would not even realize were “issues” at all!

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  1. Your podcast was very informative! I have not been a part of the cosplay/crossplay community, and it was nice to get a general overview of it! Regarding the Christian morality of crossplay, it is simply acting and dressing for an event, so I personally see no major issue with it. However, once it dives into a lifestyle is when problems begin to arise.

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    1. It’s definitely a complicated issue, as you’ve said. I hope we were able to raise some points that can help in figuring it all out! Thanks for listening!

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  2. It’s a bit jarring at first, but it’s something I eventually stopped thinking about. Most of the pages I follow tend to paint it more about character expression, rather than any kind of personal statement. I might be a little jaded from years of taking pictures, but I think we’re pretty much at a point where it can just be a thing, much like the convention going scene to begin with.

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    1. It’s pretty easy to approach it that way, which I think is both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, that makes it easier to coexist with something different from you, which seems to me to be a basic tenet of the Christian faith and the goal of reaching others in a positive way. On the other hand, if it’s something that is truly deplorable, then simply ignoring it isn’t exactly responsible. I don’t think I can honestly say that crossplay is worth getting worked up about, so it makes more sense to learn more about it!

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  3. Great podcast. I never really thought about crossplay, never heard of the term but I did see that Lady Beard video…..if a guy like that can be successful in the anime/otaku space, Beneath The Tangles will do just fine 🙂

    Kidding, but thanks for your well-thought out discussion on the topic!

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  4. This is quite thought provoking, love it! In year 12, my school had a gender bender day, and our year came to school dressed in the opposite gender’s uniform. I got into the role that day and acted like an overly exaggerated stereotype of a girl which was quite amusing. It was purely for fun, so I’m honestly not sure if there is anything spiritually wrong with it if it’s purely for fun. I suppose the real question is, what is sin really? In this case, is it the act itself of crossplaying? Or is it the heart and purpose in which you are doing it?

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    1. I think you may be getting into the heart of the issue here, though of course that is always up for debate. Though I must say that you would be hard-pressed to find a school doing that sort of thing anymore due to gender sensitivity 😛

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  5. I have no con experience, but after admiring pictures of crossplay, I view it kind of like fanart, with the person using their body as the “canvas” on which they build the character through clothes and makeup. So I don’t have much of a problem with it, so long as it’s done with taste.

    I’ve never cosplayed before—I haven’t had the opportunity—but I’ve often tried to think of who I’d cosplay as. One of my greatest frustrations is identifying a female character I admire who dresses modestly (and in outfits that a first-timer unwilling to invest much time and money could easily throw together). Gender bending is a likely route I’d go, for my own comfort. Though I’d prefer to find a female character I admire who shares my hair color and modesty standards. Which pretty much just leaves TenTen (sort of—I don’t like her *that* much), *maybe* a couple secondary characters from Attack on Titan, and a bunch of dead moms, and I think I’d want to save that last group for when I’m at least a few years older.

    On women crossplaying as men being more prevalent than men crossplaying as women: Think about all the things associated with men that women can now associate with (in most circles) with relatively little judgement: sports, action movies that are all explosion no plot, toy cars and lego sets, the color blue (wait, that was never off-limits for girls). Now think about all the things arbitrarily considered feminine that are considered off-limits for boys: pink (except in the right fashion contexts), “chick flicks,” toy baby dolls (as if there’s something wrong with encouraging little boys’ nurturing side), etc. It’s increasingly possible for women to take on traditionally (not just Biblically, but socially/culturally) “masculine” clothes, hobbies, and jobs without their femininity being questioned. It’s more of a battle for men to be able to do the same without their masculinity being questioned. “Masculine” traits, I’ve observed, are often more associated with strength, capability, and capital value than “feminine” traits (think about it: shoujo heroines are often meek to a fault, even from a Christian perspective). This is very much related to what Casey was saying about women “working up to men’s level” over the centuries, whereas, historically, men would have to humble themselves to women’s levels. I suspect this plays into the crossplay choices… and, again, there are a lot more great male characters to choose from than female. You don’t need to crossplay if your favorite characters already share your gender.

    Whoops, let the rant out. I just get annoyed when either gender is left out of something for annoying social reasons when God would have no problem with both men *and* women enjoying and doing many of the same things. I was never exactly tomboyish, but I never felt pressured by family and friends to be overly feminine, either. Meanwhile, I see guys I care about who think they can’t even say they like a romance movie unless they preface it with a disclaimer. Grrr… but no more ranting.

    Nice podcast on crossplay.

    Also, I need to watch Hourou Musuko eventually.

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    1. I think one of the reasons (certainly not the only one) that I crossplay so much is because it’s much harder for me to find a female character that I (1) identify with (2) is modest (3) has my body-type (4) wears an outfit in a style I like. There are more male characters in general, and these tend to have more overall variety. It’s also more common for women to cosplay than men (especially in the anime medium), which results in a rise of female crossplay. I definitely feel you there. I was so excited to find a (super ultra minor) character named Juget from the Final Fantasy series. She had my body type, personality, and preferred dress style (suit and tie). But she’s certainly one-of-a-kind.

      If hair color is an issue, you can get decent wigs on Ebay or Amazon for low prices. I rarely pay more than $15 for a wig. All the wigs you see in the featured image above are as such. With a little styling, they can look quite natural. I have no professional training in hair styling, so (I assure you) if I can do it, you can too.

      You’ve expanded on my thoughts regarding history’s long-running male-over-female mindset. I think it does center around the subconscious, un-biblical concept that men are superior to women and that, while women may “work up” to a man’s level, it is seen as “weak” for a man to venture to the “women’s” level. Even in the 21st century, this is an issue, as you’ve mentioned, and that’s unfortunate because men and women could both benefit from having some stereotypical traits of the opposite sex. Crossplay is slowly evolving from this mindset of “male crossplay = sexual preference” and into “male crossplay = character performance.” Certainly, female crossplay is interpreted that way (I would argue, universally so).

      I was always a bit of a tomboy growing up. I wanted to dress in knight’s armor and wield a sword while all my girl friends wanted to wear dresses. I remember requesting to be a knight at a homeschool, medieval murder mystery, as I was mortified at the thought of having to wear a fancy dress and by a damsel in distress. Perhaps that translated into my love of crossplay, as I tend to feel more comfortable in traditionally masculine clothing (jeans, suits, T-shirts, etc.). Certainly, I have never received any assumptions about my gender based upon that.

      If you ever want to dive into the world of cosplay and Cons, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Keep it on your proverbial bucket list. It’s worth it.

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