I realized I’ve been thinking a lot about other people’s money…and that it’s really none of my business. The issue of crowdfunding in cosplay has come up a lot recently, and I’ve been on the fence about it for awhile.
At one point, I was very much against it. “Why don’t you just buy your own shit? Why are you begging for money online to find your hobby? How shameless” and so on. And then it hit me: “DeLa Doll, mind your own fucking business, girl,” and it all became clear. What people wanna spend their disposable (and maybe not-so-disposable) income on really isn’t my business, and it doesn’t personally effect me. What a freeing realization! However, it took me a bit of thinking to get to this point.
Asking vs. Begging. I believe there are two main types of cosplay crowdfunding out there: asking and begging. Personally, I see nothing wrong with asking. Begging, on the other hand, is fucking irritating. Let’s look at some examples (inspired by real life crowdfunding for cosplay campaigns!):
- Asking: Hey! I know a lot of you want me to be at this con/make this cosplay, but I currently lack the appropriate funds. If you’d like to make this happen, you can donate here!
- Begging: Cosplay is my life. I’ll die if I don’t go to this con. I’m really struggling to put food on the table, so I need at least $300 in order to make it to the con and buy my costumes. Also I need a ride and a hotel room. I have to do this. Please help. Give me money here.
To me, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking…and a fuck of a lot that’s not ok with begging. I think most of the stigma associated with crowdfunding in cosplay comes from people automatically labeling everyone who has used crowdfunding or donations as a begger, when that’s really not the case. The differences are in approach and demand.
With asking, there’s usually a demand for the cosplayer in question to make an appearance or cosplay. People wanna see them, and they wanna see them produce more content. It’s totally fine for that cosplayer to say to those people, “Alright, cool. If ya really wanna see it then you can help me out a little here.”
With beggars, typically nobody gives a flying fuck about their cosplay (harsh reality) or whether or not they attend the next big con. Knowing this, beggars foolishly attempt to garner sympathy because they’re lazy and mildly delusional with jacked up priorities.
Basically, someone with a following and supporters who leaves the option up for donations from said followers and supporters is just being smart. Someone who prioritizes cosplay and con attendance over more important things, treating the hobby as a matter of life and death, is just being pathetic and desperately needs to get their shit together.
The Salt Demon The other bit of stigma, I think, comes from a place of insecurity and jealousy. Seeing someone receiving money to make a cosplay or attend a con when you’re out there struggling to afford more craft foam and acrylic paint can cause the salt demon to manifest.You start to think to yourself, if only you were more skilled, more attractive, etc., maybe people would give you money too. Or you think you are better and you’re secretly upset that nobody is giving you anything when somebody you consider beneath you (get over yourself, there, buddy) appears to be having money thrown at them. And then you think you’re somehow better for saving and struggling because it feels harder. But you’re not. Do you know how fucking hard it is to garner even a modest following? Let alone a following of people who are willing to part with their money just for you? If it were really that easy to successfully crowdfund your cosplay, everyone would be doing it. I can’t look down on someone who managed to be skilled or likable enough to be able to do get patrons or donations. Shit doesn’t look easy at all. Nobody can force anyone to fund their cosplay endeavors, so keep in mind that if someone else is getting funding, it’s because people actually wanted to give it to them. What other people do with their money is their business, and getting them to want to give it to you doesn’t look easy at all.
The Bottom Line
All these things considered, when I see that a fellow cosplayer has thrown up a gofundme or started a patreon, I mostly don’t care. I understand that not everyone is begging, I regularly exorcise my salt demon, and I keep in mind that nobody’s hand is being forced one way or another when it comes to choosing whether or not to donate. So, unless someone comes into my room, holds a rusty katana to my neck, and demands that I subscribe to their patreon, I’m probably not gonna waste time getting worked up about it. As for other people, if you really feel like you just can’t help how bothered you are by it, at least try to ask yourself these questions before demonizing another cosplayer over their use of crowdfunding:
- Are they asking or begging?
- Am I really bothered by it, or am I just a little salty right now because I wish somebody would give me money?
- Is anybody forcing anyone to give their money away?
- Is it hurting me?
This will likely help you to not give a damn, just like me! Or, if you’re someone who likes to donate, this will likely help you learn to avoid scummy beggars and at least save your cash for someone a little more worthwhile.
**Please share your thoughts below!**