Tag Archives: crossplay

nightsky & five

Re-post: Femme Doctors and crossplayers: Not that different

During December and January, Geek Feminism is republishing some of our 2012 posts for the benefit of new and existing readers. This post originally appeared on February 27, 2012.

Cross-posted at Doctor Her.

Post-Gallifrey, I was interviewed at i09 about the phenomenon of femme Doctor cosplay. If you’re not familiar with it, femme cosplay is when female cosplayers alter the costumes of male characters to make them feminine. Femme cosplayers add ruffles, lace, heels, alter the silhouette of a costume (often with a corset), etc.

A femme Jackson Lake A femme Jackson Lake sports a corset and long coat. Photo by Alex Halcyon.

This trend is often contrasted with crossplaying. Crossplayers are usually female cosplayers who alter their bodies to costume as male characters. (Male crossplayers dress as female characters.) Unlike their femme counterparts, they will bind their breasts, wear men’s wigs, and wear makeup designed to mask feminine features. Generally, people think these trends are at odds; they believe that femme Doctors and crossplay Doctors are doing very different things.

A femme Eighth DoctorsquirrelyTONKS is a bit of a femme Doctor superstar at the Gallifrey convention. Photo by Alex Halcyon.

A snippet from the interview:

Both crossplay and femme cosplay draw attention to gender. Women passing as men are destabilizing gender by illustrating how easy it is to perform the opposite gender, by showing that all gender performance is performance, since cosplay is fundamentally performative. Femme cosplay does the same thing: it draws attention to the performance of gender, but this time femininity. […]

So really, crossplay and femme cosplay are not that different. Both alter their bodies, showing that no matter what gender they are playing, their bodies often don’t match any ideal. While crossplayers wear binders, femme cosplayers wear corsets and heels. But their motivations are the same: they emphasize the performative nature of gender, and thus destabilize it. Women do this more because they have more to gain by destabilizing gender, being at the bottom rung of the gender hierarchy.

I have quite a bit more to say about how I think femme Doctor cosplay (and crossplay) is a feminist critique of Doctor Who and its fan community, so go read it!

two femme fivesTwo femme Fifth Doctors with cropped jackets…and celery! Photo by Alex Halcyon.
Wall of Spam, by freezelight on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Life, the Universe and Linkspam (29th May, 2012)

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

nightsky & five

Femme Doctors and crossplayers: Not that different

Cross-posted at Doctor Her.

Post-Gallifrey, I was interviewed at i09 about the phenomenon of femme Doctor cosplay. If you’re not familiar with it, femme cosplay is when female cosplayers alter the costumes of male characters to make them feminine. Femme cosplayers add ruffles, lace, heels, alter the silhouette of a costume (often with a corset), etc.

A femme Jackson Lake A femme Jackson Lake sports a corset and long coat. Photo by Alex Halcyon.

This trend is often contrasted with crossplaying. Crossplayers are usually female cosplayers who alter their bodies to costume as male characters. (Male crossplayers dress as female characters.) Unlike their femme counterparts, they will bind their breasts, wear men’s wigs, and wear makeup designed to mask feminine features. Generally, people think these trends are at odds; they believe that femme Doctors and crossplay Doctors are doing very different things.

A femme Eighth DoctorsquirrelyTONKS is a bit of a femme Doctor superstar at the Gallifrey convention. Photo by Alex Halcyon.

A snippet from the interview:

Both crossplay and femme cosplay draw attention to gender. Women passing as men are destabilizing gender by illustrating how easy it is to perform the opposite gender, by showing that all gender performance is performance, since cosplay is fundamentally performative. Femme cosplay does the same thing: it draws attention to the performance of gender, but this time femininity. […]

So really, crossplay and femme cosplay are not that different. Both alter their bodies, showing that no matter what gender they are playing, their bodies often don’t match any ideal. While crossplayers wear binders, femme cosplayers wear corsets and heels. But their motivations are the same: they emphasize the performative nature of gender, and thus destabilize it. Women do this more because they have more to gain by destabilizing gender, being at the bottom rung of the gender hierarchy.

I have quite a bit more to say about how I think femme Doctor cosplay (and crossplay) is a feminist critique of Doctor Who and its fan community, so go read it!

two femme fivesTwo femme Fifth Doctors with cropped jackets…and celery! Photo by Alex Halcyon.
Gender Bent Justice League (for featured image)

Justice League, Geek Feminism style

With DC rebooting their entire universe, it’s not entirely surprising that I’ve seen a lot of Justice League links of late. Here’s three that I think Geek Feminism readers might find interesting, put together in one post.

What If Male Superheroes Posed Like Wonder Woman On The David Finch Justice League Cover?

Apparently, something like this…

The Green Lantern, Batman and Superman, posing in the same style as used for Wonder Woman on the David Finch Justice League Cover

The Green Lantern, Batman and Superman, posing in the same style as used for Wonder Woman on the David Finch Justice League Cover

That’s just three of them: More here.

An Interview with the Batgirl of the SDCC panels

For example, in the beginning of the panel [Dan Didio] took questions from the audience, and one man asked, “Why did you go from 12% to 1% women on your creative teams?” Didio responded, “What do those numbers mean to you? Who should we be hiring?” If you listen to the podcast, [Note: here’s the soundbite] you can hear the hostility in Didio’s tone when he speaks to this man. This belligerence was present every time anyone asked him about female creators.

On the other hand, Paul Cornell came directly to where I was sitting as soon as the New 52 panel ended and said, “I heard what you said, and I’d like to take a minute to try to sell to you directly.” He told me that his new swords and sorcery comic, Demon Knights, would have a majority female cast and that he was committed to keeping it that way. I am utterly uninterested in swords and sorcery, but I will be subscribing to a full year of Demon Knights anyway, because Paul Cornell made me feel like he cared about my opinion, both as a fan and as a human being. I want to give this comic a chance, and I think it would be fantastic if everyone reading this article would at least pick up issue #1 of Demon Knights and give it a chance, too. Cornell’s also writing Stormwatch, and says of Apollo and Midnighter in the linked article, “Yes, Apollo and Midnighter are still gay men. They’re still out and proud. I wouldn’t have written it otherwise.”

Vote with your dollars, people. If you can bear to give DC any of your money after reading the rest of this, buy Paul Cornell’s and Gail Simone’s books. As SilverLocust1 said to me on Twitter, “Please encourage readers to buy comics that prove reader interest, boycotting gives the people who buy all the influence.

I recommend you read the whole interview even if you’re not particularly a DC or comics fan since the talk of women creators, women characters and how we can try to influence the industry to have more of both could be relevant to other media as well.

San Diego Comic-Con Cosplay Spotlight: Gender Bent Justice League

“A couple of us like to do female versions of preexisting male characters. One of our friends, Psykitten Pow, she had a female Flash,” says Tallest Silver, who organized the group and who dresses as Batma’am. “One night, we were all hanging out and I said how funny it would be if we had a whole Justice League with swapped sexes.”

Kit Quinn as Superma'am and Tallest Silver as Batma'am (photo by Shannon Cottrell)

Kit Quinn as Superma'am and Tallest Silver as Batma'am (photo by Shannon Cottrell)

Gender Bent Green Lantern (photo by Shannon Cottrell)

Gender Bent Green Lantern (photo by Shannon Cottrell)

Lots more pictures in the original post and on page two. Wonder Guy’s pose is not as bad as the David Lynch rendering, I promise. And yes, I intentionally inserted photos here of the same three characters as we saw at the top of this post.


I know I also saw some very interesting posts about the reboot of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl but I can’t find it in my history, and I’m sure there’s been a lot more interesting geek feminist friendly commentary on the DC reboot, so please share those links or add your own commentary below!