Cosplay is considered a lifestyle statement in many countries, especially so in the western countries. When it comes to smaller countries like Sri Lanka, the concept is slowly catching up with the youngsters.
Recently, Sri Lanka held its geek cultural festival Comic Con, which required people to participate by cosplaying as their favorite comic book characters. Not uncommon, but two girls and school-friends, Amaya Suriyaperruma and Seshani Cooray, turned out dressed up as the same character, the Wonder Woman!
Now, considering the fame of comic series on Wonder Women, especially after the movie featuring Gal Gadot was released, it was not very surprising to see the two friends don the dress of the same character. But the internet is certainly not a nice place, with there being so many social media platforms packed with trolls. As soon as they posted some of their pictures together wearing similar outfits, innumerable people poured in to criticize them needlessly. They were shamelessly body shamed and found themselves in a pool of disturbing memes and hateful comments.
Most of the comments were later pulled down from Twitter.
Hinting at the body shaming bit as the worst part, Seshani was quoted saying:
Her body was being compared to mine, and I couldn’t do anything.
She further added:
I expected some comments, but not such nasty memes where they took our pictures and body shamed us. I was very disappointed.
From being hailed as “too skinny” and “too dark” to being bullied harshly over and over again, these two girls had to go through immense cyber-bullying till a couple of days later. But there were some decent people as well who helped to bring accolades to these two girls’ effort –
These women cosplayed Wonder Woman at Sri Lanka Comic Con, and now being rediculed on social media. RT if you think they look amazing! pic.twitter.com/0uq5NOsLAI
— Mathisha (@Pasan_Mathisha) August 27, 2017
However, as luck would have it, their photos went viral on the social media and gained much support as well from various people, including Patty Jenkins – the director of the film ‘Wonder Woman’ – and Gal Gadot herself.
Here’s what Patty Jenkins had to say:
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) August 29, 2017
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) September 1, 2017
Jenkins tagged Gal Gadot in her second tweet, and the latter’s RT came instantly –
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) August 31, 2017
Sharing more on the incident, Seshani said:
Amaya wanted to wear a skirt and I supported her, but since I wasn’t comfortable, I wore jeans. Yet, this was the reaction. I thought I would never cosplay again, but then someone told me that people not just in Sri Lanka but across the world have come out in our support and are re-tweeting our picture. When I was informed that Patty Jenkins – director of the movie Wonder Woman – has tweeted our picture and praised our efforts, I joined Twitter and read the post again and again to get back my confidence.
Interestingly, it was Amaya’s 21st birthday when she was brutally trolled on the internet. But their day was greatly made when Gal Gadot herself retweeted the photograph, boosting the girls’ confidences.
I’m really inspired by not just Gal Gadot’s portrayal of her character, in the film, but also by the person she is in real life. For me, it’s been an honour to cosplay Gal Gadot, that too on my 21st birthday.