Rule 63: “For every given male character, there is a female version of that character. And for every given female character, there is a male version.” A rule that is known across the internet and is the one responsible for the term known as Genderbending.
Now, what is Genderbending exactly and why is it so fascinating to the people of the internet? Especially when it comes to cosplay. I talked briefly about it in a previous article: “Move Over Princess Peach, Bowsette Has Arrived” but it’s time we find out more about this internet phenomenon that’s been around for who knows how long.
According to the website Know Your Meme, Rule 63 came into existence in the summer of 2007 after the infamous “Rules of the Internet” was made. But, it didn’t become as popular until a DeviantArt user, Xxescaped-vulpinexX. This started the trend of “flipping genders” on fictional—and sometimes non-fictional, characters.
Now that we know the history of the “gender bend”, how exactly did it reach cosplay? There are many different stories on how it came to cosplay. Whether it be from a cosplayer wanting to put a new spin on a character, or wanting to simply just try their hand at “crossplay”
But no matter the reason, it has become something highly embedded in cosplay and quite popular. But what is the allure? There can be many answers to this question, but that would take too long to write. So, I’m going to sum it up from a cosplayers/ fan girls’ point of view: Artistic Gender Fluidity and simply Love for a Character.
Artistic Gender Fluidity
Gender fluidity. A topic that has been talked about for quite some time. Both in politics and in general social conversations. It has been something that has been looked upon as bad that you are born as one gender and that’s it. That’s not the case for quite a lot of people though. They feel and believe that even though they were born as one sex they are another. Or even perhaps they don’t identify as either.
With genderbending this gives an artistical expression and freedom to this topic. It gives a way to express your love for a character and draws no boundary with gender. Being that you can cosplay a male character being a female or vice versa. It’s a beautiful form of artistic expression and a way to show the world “This is me. This is who I am and you’re not going to change me.”
Love for a Character
The love for a character that a fan has is immeasurable. When they get hurt, we hurt, and when they are happy, we are happy. So of course, we would want to transform ourselves to look like those who we admire. And even if we aren’t the gender of that character, we still will do everything we can, so we can embody what we love. It’s what we do as fans.
Heck, just two weeks ago at a convention I transformed myself to look like my favorite villain in Fullmetal Alchemist—the homunculus Envy. And I’m a girl and he’s, well…the popular opinion is that Envy is male.
That is why the cosplay community is so enamored with Genderbending. It’s an art form, it’s a declaration that we can be whomever we want without any boundaries. And it’s an homage to what we love.
Categories: Posts of the past