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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

If we got angry about this kind of thing we'd be angry all the time

Men’s Fitness – The Jocks Of Convention High School

Were you one of those kids in school who was made fun of for what you liked or how you looked? Remember the sick feeling you’d get in your stomach when that one jock would round the corner and you just knew to expect the worst? Say hello to New York Comic Con cosplayers and Men’s Fitness. One of the magazine’s reporters, Jordan Burchette, attended the pop-culture convention this weekend to post photos of unsuspecting cosplayers and make fun of them. And here we thought conventions were a safe zone. 

I’m not going to link to the actual article because I don’t want to them getting any more hits for their nerd-baiting but needless to say, that’s exactly what they’re doing. Michael Tresca, a reporter for the Examiner, brought the atrocious behavior to everyone’s attention.

There’s no way you could know what awaits you in the original piece with an intro like this:

Comic book conventions are among the few remaining refuges of sincere, unaffected fun in an otherwise odious leisurescape of extreme binge drinking set to techno or gun claps. They’re enjoyed by people of literally every age, ethnicity and economic disadvantage in celebration of the stories and characters on which they were all raised. It’s a bully-free zone in which underwear is in no danger of violently wedgie-ing its wearer and freak flags are free to fly. Nowhere is this more evident than in the practice of costume play, or cosplay.

Sounds like any other celebration of conventions, right? Wrong. Burchette continues:

This year, attendees all appear to have colluded in advance to imagine the most popular heroes and villains of comics, movies and anime as doughy, sickly, weak, infirm or, in the most impressive examples, morbidly obese. What we observed was a testament to the imagination and resourcefulness of the comic book fan, a live “What If?” comic, if you will, contemplating how our heroes would look close to death.

Wow. Just…wow. Burchette goes on to post photos he took of several cosplayers and write captions underneath that range from snarky to downright insulting. Under a shot of a Star Wars bounty hunter, “Jeez, they’ll clone anyone into a Fett these days. Hey, Blob o’ Fett, there’s a bounty out on a granola bar if you want the collar.” By a slim Iron Man cosplayer, “Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, finally dying from the nuclear reactor in his chest.” The author even had the nerve to take a shot at real New York City police officers, “Tubby Hawaii Five-0! Brilliant!!!”

It kind of makes me sad for Burchette. It seems that he never grew up. Why exactly did this reporter attend NYCC? It can’t have been just for this article, he could have stood outside and took pictures of cosplayers if that was the objective. That leads me to believe that Burchette had interest in at least one aspect of the con and if that is the case then what gives? Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time he’s done such a thing either. He wrote a similar piece for Maxim in 2008.

Nicole Wakelin wrote a great piece for Geek Mom entitled, “In Defense of Cons and Cosplayers.” In it she writes, “If you’re a geek or a nerd or whatever you want to call it, then you’ve likely been dealing with guys like this your whole life. He was the one who looked down on you for no other reason than that you were being you. Your hair was wrong. Your jeans were wrong. You were too smart. You liked the wrong movie. You hung out with the wrong crowd. The reason doesn’t matter because no matter what you do ‘this guy’ is always out there ready to rain on your parade and ruin the fun. But we’re not kids in high school anymore. We’re adults and these cons belong to us.”

I never gave too much stock to Men’s Fitness before (being a lady and all) but mine and other peoples opinions have certainly been lowered as to their legitimacy as a news source. Several people are calling for a boycott of the publication and I don’t blame them. A magazine that would that would willingly post an article making fun of individuals who were in their comfort zone and having a great time is despicable. Just like the entirety of the population, cosplayers come in all shapes and sizes. Going to an event meant for celebration and turning it into a high school campus shows us you never left school. We have and we’re happy where we are now, are you?

(via The Examiner)

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  • Bel


    I never dealt with this kind of bullshit in school.  I’m pretty surprised that anyone could consider this acceptable behaviour.

  • den

    As someone who has always straddled the line between “jock” and “geek” I view the Mens’ Fitness article as just mean spirited and lazy journalism.  Any writer could take Burchette’s approach and apply it to any gym in America and come up with snarky responses to the appearance of the patrons.  Whether it be the thick-necked bodybuilder, the Swiss Machine playboy it would be just as easy to mock those that Men’s Fitness caters to.  Responsible writers don’t of course because most of those subject share a common goal of trying to achieve some level of personal fitness – which is to be commended.  Just as those in attendance at these conventions are trying to enjoy the camaraderie found in being around those that enjoy a common interest in comics, movies, video games or what have you.

    Boo on you Burchette.  I hope your livelihood suffers for your blunder.

  • Terence Ng

    Thanks for bringing this to attention (and also for not direct linking to avoid giving them hits). How sad that article is. Even if you find the “look” of a cosplayer amusing to your personal sensibilities, it’s a space where people can have fun and mutual respect for the enjoyment of the con and the balls to put on a costume at all are what make them and the community in attendance so fun.

    People like Burchette are so bored and sad that they feel the need to commandeer these spaces and make them “hot people only” zones, dominating, alienating, and essentially destroying what makes these spaces great and entertaining for their shallow sensibilities.

    So you fill out a God of War costume pretty well? Yum! But if you’re a total dick, you can just GTFO right now.

  • Anonymous

    I agree Den, but beyond “Boo on you Burchette,” I would add Big Boo on you, Men’s Fitness, for printing this.  And if he wrote a similar piece in Maxim in 2008, then not only is Burchette’s career NOT suffering, but he is being rewarded for his boorish behavior.

    This is one of the many faces of the bullies who grow up.  And when the complaints roll in, he and his editors will defend it with, “Geez, can’t you nerds take a simple joke?”  Bet on it.

    Keep dressin’ up and geekin’ out, Cosplayers!  Your creativity and daring are awesome!

  • Zaratha

    My friends and I showed up on page 2 of that POS article. Needless to say I was really distraught, even though the caption was directed at my best friend and not me. The racist elements to the attacks were like extra salt in the wound. The shittiest part about all this is that the con itself was three days of awesomeness, so much positivity and fun was had. I didn’t meet one judgmental prick all weekend, we got nothing but love. And this jerk has to go and ruin it with his middle school antics.

    But I’ve been pretty heartened by the overwhelming support we’ve gotten from the cosplaying community. People are roundly condemning this crap, and it feels good. I think a lot of us if not most of us as geeks have been bullied in our lives and I think that’s why the response has been so powerful.

  • Stephon Walker

    I am a self-avowed geek, suffered bullying as a child, and love seeing good cosplay, so I know where you are coming from.

    That said, do you really think, “It kind of makes me sad for Burchette. It seems that he never grew up,” is the strongest position to take against a man who is making fun of adults who are *playing superhero dress up*?

  • ainok

    What an incredible ass.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I am DEFINITELY wearing my Boltie costume this Halloween.  Everybody who thinks I don’t have the right physique can just suck it.  

    One of the main reasons cons lure me is the cosplay.  I love to see who people are dressing up as, regardless of how close they resemble a superhero’s genetically-enhanced physique.

  • Anonymous

    Worst part about all of this is the straight up feeling of violation! Cons are supposed to be safe spaces where geeks can be geeks but apparently some people think they have the right to invade that space and remind everyone where they stand on the social hierarchy. That is one of the unfortunate side-effects of geekery going “mainstream”, the cockroaches come out of the woodwork to crap all over it. :-(

  • Anonymous

    Well, it is sad that he feels the need to do that. I’m not going to call him names, plenty of others have done that.

  • Anonymous

    “Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely
    descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about
    being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush
    at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of
    childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in
    moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But
    to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern
    about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was
    ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had
    been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I
    became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of
    childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” 

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know all the laws, but if that is a picture of you and your friend and they did not get your permission to use it on their website, then I would think you have the right to ask them to take it down. If everyone did that and they were forced to take all the photos down, he wouldn’t have an article anymore.

  • Michelle Simpson

    Seriously hope this dude’s life begins to suck because of doing this.  I don’t usually wish harm to anyone but this is seriously a dirt bag move.

  • Megan Danger

    The article in question didn’t have a comments section so I went to Men’s Fitness’ Facebook page and was gratified to see over two hundred comments of angry people calling Burchette and the magazine out for being asshats. This helped alleviate my rage a bit.

  • Jason Burnett

    Just canceled my subscription.  This is not okay.

  • Kalynn Osburn

    In all sincerity, we’ve all chuckled a little at the 300 lbs Naruto or the Sailor Moon who really… no…REALLY shouldn’t be wearing that short skirt, but it’s all in good fun and in all honest we all look like fools and geeks together. We recognize that so it’s more like ribbing a best friend because you both decided to do something stupidly fun. This feels like an uninvited party guest who crashed in, drank all the beer, and then decided to do bad karaoke even though there was no microphone.

  • Anonymous

    I guess that just proves again that taking steroids to fit that magazine’s muscle bulging ideal shrinks certain parts and he’s trying to compensate with picking on others in the only way his apparently also tiny intellect allows.

    Here’s to hoping there’s enough backlash to get his ass fired.

  • Lynn C

    Thank you for mentioning that, I went over and added my own pennies to the pile on their wall. I noticed that some few people have even been adding comments about it under other articles on the MFM wall as well, which was a very nice thing to see.

  • Angie Boo

    From their FB page:
    “We actually really like Comic Con, so please try to have a sense of humor, K?”What a bunch of assholes

  • A Talbot

    What really makes me sad is that he’s making fun of us for enjoying a hobby. That is so childish it doesn’t even happen in my school. We all accept each others likes and dislikes, and we don’t try and get into it with other people. People who joke about others’ interests are just honestly, very childish. I almost feel sorry for them, because they lead such pitiful lives, making fun of others.

    The really sad part is the fact that their brains are just so ill developed because all they do is work out all the time instead of using their brains to get ahead in life. Men with muscle is far out dated, it always has been, and its hard to get ahead in life if all you think is important is how your abs look in the mirror or how the football game was last night.

  • Frodo Baggins

    I’d be more affronted by this if the same type of mean-spirited teasing wasn’t rampant within the nerd community itself. The article (or what you’ve sampled of it, anyway. I don’t want to give it more hits either) isn’t nerd baiting. Nowhere does it make fun of the idea of dressing up as a superhero. It’s all making fun of people who the writer sees as not being able to pull it off because their body doesn’t match the popular representation of the character. If the same type of snark showed up on a pop-culture blog (which happens all the freakin’ time), it might draw some ire from the more fair-minded among us, but it probably wouldn’t merit its own protest articles. 

    I guess I’m saying that, as a community, we geeks should remove the log from our own eyes before pointing out the splinter in the eyes of fitness nuts. Especially since, as fewer of us conform to idealized body types to begin with, trashing chunky cosplayers is not just mean, but hypocritical and self-defeating.

  • S. Suzuki

    THANK YOU. In this very comment section (as well as in a number of the “protest articles” I’ve seen), they specifically point out that, sure, they’ve made rude comments about the overweight people dressing up as their favourite characters and ENJOYING themselves at cons, but what this guy Burchette did was just too far. 

    Could we all just take a single moment out and recognize the huge steaming pile of hypocrisy in geekdom? Or is that only reserved for when “hot geek girls” are being treated badly or when some jock dick is getting his poorly written article about trashing OTHER BODY TYPES BESIDES FATTIES dressed up in cosplay published? 

  • Jordan Burchette


  • Anonymous

    There’s also the fact that they published it for a magazine.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    You know, cosplaying isn’t JUST about wearing the costume and presenting an ideal body.  It’s about craftmanship and creativity!  I usually work on a costume for months, sewing custom garments, making gleaming armor from foam, creating weaponry and accessories, using makeup effects or prosthetics, airbrush painting my body as needed! Coordinating themes and series with friends from around the country. All that just so one judgemental douche-wad can come along and take away my joy and pride as a cosplayer because my thighs are too fat or my arms are too skinny?  Don’t like what you see??  Look away, mother-licker!  This is what I love to do, I don’t need the approval of the mainstream thank you very much.

  • Anonymous

    Did I not call that one?  “It’s just a joke; lighten up.”  No, it was mean-spirited, nasty and uncalled for.  Good on those of you who went to Men’s Fitness to call them out!

  • Zaratha

    I have nothing to say to you. The next time you hear from me, it’ll be through my attorney.

  • Stephen Dudley McPherson

    What an arsehole. I bet those guys put a lot of effort into their costumes. So what if they’re fat or whatever, nobody’s perfect and they’re just out having some fun.

  • Anonymous
  • Frodo Baggins

    Somehow, “mother-licker” sounds so much worse than its technically obscene counterpart.

  • Nichole Filbert

    Good point. Thank you for mentioning this. 

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Enjoying your notoriety, Burchette?  May I ask, why did you take such a mean-spirited tone?  Was it a freelance job or was it assigned?

  • Anonymous

    They make fun of geeks? We make fun of bodybuilders.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Reciprocal rudeness is not the solution, monkey. Bodybuilders have as much right to their weird obsessions as geeks have to theirs.

  • Taka Kagaku

    I’m a member of a cosplay group on youtube called Freaks of a Feather Productions and we just finished the script for a “Cosplay 101″ video before I even found out about this appalling article.
    We discussed about typical debates in the cosplay community such as height, weight, fun vs serious and making vs buying. This man’s biggest beef isn’t the art of cosplay… but the artists participating.
    And, what’s even worse, is that he’s not the first to have these body fetishes. Even active cosplayers in the community are making “Fail” or “Success” Cosplay sites. Some of these “fail” cosplays are actually perfect. Everything about it is dead on… the only reason it’s a “fail” is because the cosplayer isn’t the “ideal body image”.
    It disgusts me that there are twats like that even in the cosplay community. Stuck up little skinny cosplayers who apparently “look” the part of a FICTIONAL character. They forget they are FICTIONAL and 80% of the time are hard to represent exactly.
    By bashing and making fun of larger cosplayers (or even skinny ones as Burchette did), you’re pretty much saying “only good, toned bodied people should cosplay”. That’s so hypocritical.
    There was already a troll on youtube saying “only asians should cosplay anime/manga characters”. And everyone- skinny, average, or larger- was mortified. Well… how about we get mortified again? Or are all of the cosplay participants going to pick sides and be hypocritical?
    If we keep this up, we might as well say “only girls can cosplay female characters and guys can only cosplay male characters” even though there are girls out there who “crossplay” a male better than a real male anyways and vice versa.
    Yea… you want to look good, serve the character justice, and not be picked on. And, as a cosplayer looking in, you want people representing your favourite characters to do all of the above as well.
    Yes, there are larger people who cosplay “fail” cosplays purposefully (ex: larger, male, Sailor Scouts with facial hair) for shits and giggles. But then there are larger people who legitimately cosplay with perfection.
    Again, it’s the difference between a serious cosplayer who takes cosplaying to the next level as “acting” and the fun cosplayer who does it merely for their own personal reasons.

  • thepopex

    Nahh, if you’re reading this and you read comic books you didn’t straddle nuthin’ – you’re a geek.

  • thepopex

    What a bunch of cry babies you all are.