School limits students from cosplay

Erika Miessner, News Editor

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With a new decision made by the administration and activities director, cosplay at GCHS has been put under greater dress code scrutiny as a reaction to what have been deemed inappropriate costumes.
Cosplaying, the act of dressing up as a fictional character, is very popular among some students at the school, especially those in the pilot anime club.
According to activities director Dianna Soenksen, any cosplay would need to be directly approved by her and/or the administrators.
“I would need to approve it, because the [costumes] we have seen were not approved by the dress code,” Soenksen said. “So now if there’s anything, which nothing’s been proposed to me, but it would need to be approved by myself and/or the admin team, because all of our decisions get made by a group. It’s never just one person.”
But this can cause issues for cosplaying students, especially concerning the costumes over which they feel the most protective.
“I don’t like just handing my costumes to people, because we spend a lot of time and money making them and buying them,” senior Mickenzie Kaleel said. “Now that I think about it, that’s a little concerning for me.”
Dan Landry, while confirming that outfits that violate the dress code are not permitted, believes that to say all cosplay is banned is an inaccurate statement.
“Cosplay can be as simple as putting on a cape, so saying ‘it’s not allowed’ is too much of a hyperbole,” Landry said.
Yet some students who cosplay regularly still feel restricted and are very unhappy with the decision.
“I was very upset,” senior Madi Rice said. “It just bothers me because it takes away all forms of expression for people like us who cosplay, and other people in the school are able to express themselves how they want, but we got the one thing we do taken away from us.”
Cosplaying is a valuable way for students to express themselves.
“Cosplaying creates an alternate me in multiple senses,” Kaleel said. “It’s something to do during my freetime, and it’s kind of just turned into a passion.”
“It does make me upset that I can’t express my love for something as somebody else might do,” junior Colleen Ketterer said. “I can’t express my love for anime, in any way shape or form, and I can’t express my love for cosplaying because it’s banned from the school.”
It is important to note here that the decision takes a form closer to a restriction, or regulation rather than an outright ban. Cosplay is precious to these students also because it requires a great amount of time, effort and money.
“I put my pride and joy into that stuff,” Kaleel said.
“I was actually really disappointed, because all summer long I’d been working on different costumes to wear at school, and I had actually hand-sewn a lot of the items that I have,” said Ketterer.
The main issue was that the administrative team felt that cosplay was breaking the dress code at times.
“We just want to follow our dress code and we were learning that costumes were not coming across as following our dress code,” Soenksen said
“There have been incidents in the past that involved props that caused issues,” anime club sponsor Kyle Deland said. “There’s also been misinterpretations of the cosplay by people who are unfamiliar with the world of anime.”
“When Mr. Deland and I met, he did show me some costumes that, the way he put it, are not altogether uncommon, but did fall outside the lines of the dress guide,” said Landry. “Now I don’t know what was the thing he showed me by name, because that’s not what the purpose of the conversation was, but [the outfit] was inappropriate when you compare it to the dress code.”
Cosplaying students feel,however, that their outfits are appropriate.
“If they were inappropriate, we wouldn’t be wearing them,” said Rice. “We make sure that what we’re wearing follows the dress code.”
“[My cosplay is] school-appropriate since it’s an inch and a half past fingertip length, and the skirt comes down past where the skirt lies from midriff,” said Ketterer.
Despite disagreement with the policy, some cosplayers can empathize with the administrators.
“I understand [their] point, I just wish I was informed sooner last year of the [distracting nature] of it,” Kaleel said.

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School limits students from cosplay