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KatawaGrey's avatar

Would this be offensive? (Please see details).

Asked by KatawaGrey (21335 points ) November 10th, 2011

I have been playing the videogame Left 4 Dead a lot lately. It is my favorite game and what I spend a good deal of my spare time playing. I usually play Left 4 Dead 2 and my favorite character to play is Rochelle. I admit, I originally played as her because she’s the only female character in the second game, but she quickly became the only one I wanted to play as. I would love to dress up as her for a convention or maybe even for Halloween, but she is black. I want to be as authentic as possible with the costume. I was not thinking of doing blackface, because I know that is offensive. However, I was thinking of using dark brown foundation for my face and possibly my arms, depending on how much patience I have in order to look like Rochelle. Would this be offensive?

Before anyone asks, it is unlikely that the outfit would be enough. She is dressed pretty generically in the game, just a pink shirt with a logo and jeans. Just as a white girl in this outfit, people probably wouldn’t recognize me as Rochelle.

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14 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well, at least it matters to you that it might come off as offensive. It’s a tough call. I would say that since she’s actually a black character and you’re not dressing up as her in a manner that is like those dumbass people who do blackface on Halloween ‘cause ‘it’s funny’ and usually have cartoon-y caricatures of people, that it’s not offensive but it’s not un-problematic either. It depends on who you ask. I understand however the simple urge to be dressed up as a character and to be authentic.

XOIIO's avatar

You could dress up as the white female in the first game. I think there is one

EmptyNest's avatar

As a White woman who was married to a Black man and has three grown, biracial children, I’d say GO FOR IT. Obviously your intentions are honorable. And anyone who doesn’t like it—tough SH$t!

Aethelflaed's avatar

I think I would say, I’m not sure there’s a great argument there for it being actually offensive. Maybe there is, and I just haven’t found it. But, that it’s quite likely that someone will take offense, so just be really sure you want to do this costume, in a general “think through which battles you want to take on” vein.

FutureMemory's avatar

it’s your turn in Scrabble! :P

TexasDude's avatar

I don’t think it’s offensive, and Fluther seems to agree mostly, but I think it would be asking for trouble if you did it because someone is bound to be offended by it amid the crowds of people at a convention. A clusterfuck could potentially ensue.

So do it anyway.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@XOIIO: That’s not really the point. I don’t want to just dress up as a girl, I want to dress up as Rochelle. Rochelle is my favorite character. I like her lines and her actions in the L4D2 introduction. She nails a zombie in the head with a fucking fire axe! I just don’t want the costume to be lost if people are offended by my use of makeup.

Thanks for everyone’s answers so far. I might experiment now with finding the right shade. I got the idea because of this video on youtube.

flo's avatar

If you don’t want to offend you could chose from other characters. How many other characters are there in that game, that you do like, maybe not as much but still? How about white women or men from other games? If not to offending is important enough to you you will (edit:manage to not offend) Also, this is much bigger than offending or not offending the people a the party.

wonderingwhy's avatar

From the cosplay crowds I’ve known it’s more about costume (from a “prop” sense), selling and relating to the character, being able to talk canon, having fun, and celebrating what you find awesome in the genre. Race and sex really isn’t as big an issue, I mean come on I’ve seen black guys as sailor moon. Also, offensiveness aside – and right or wrong some people have strong feelings about it – it’s really hard to pull off race changing makeup well, though just adjusting “tone” which it sounds closer to what you’re trying is probably easier. Sorry, I don’t know much about makeup.

Bottom line, I’d go without and if you have fun and think you want to do it again, ask the crowd your with same way as you asked us. I’d bet they’d be happy to let you know and give you any tips or advice they have for the next con (ha, they’ll probably tell you if you can pull it off go for it!).

Oh, and seeing your post – investing in a replica of her fire axe and mounting a split zombie head along the blade would probably get you much praise!

Judi's avatar

How about a spray on tan? At least that might look a little more natural.

boxer3's avatar

One time, my friend and I went as members of one our favorite bands, in high school.
We are both female both band mates are dudes, and wear pretty normal clothes.
So, we printed off their faces life size, attached it to a stick, and periodically put
their faces in front of ours, just an idea.
If it’s offensive or not to do as you described, I’m not sure. I imagine some people may be offended and others would not.

Buttonstc's avatar

I have a hard time imagining any black people being offended since you are paying homage to a character who has mad skills and obviously commands respect.

And if there are any white people who thinks it’s offensive, screw them; they don’t get a vote (like what makes them such an authority).

However, I do think that if you used the makeup on your face only, that would probably come off as kind of weird.

Are you planning to use grease makeup? I can see where that could get kind of tedious for your hands and arms as well since it really needs to be thoroughly powdered down in order not to make a smeary mess of everything you touch.

However, if you use a good quality (theater-grade) water based pancake, doing the hands and arms as well isn’t all that difficult since you’ll be applying it with a sponge and if a large one is used it’s really pretty quick. And sometimes you can just put it on dry without needing to wet the sponge (or only very slightly damp)

The face will likely take longer because of the detail involved.

Two of the best brands to consider both have a broad range of shades available in their water based pancake lines. Look for either MEHRON or KRYOLAN (watch the spelling on the latter-some people have gotten it confused with Krylon)

Most locales have at least one shop which carries theater supplies and clothing, including makeup.

I’ve used products from both of these companies at various times and they are both excellent quality.

Facade's avatar

I don’t think it would be offensive, especially if you painted more than just your face.

Eroundy12's avatar

As like anything in life, there will always be people who get offended. If you’re doing it with a good intention,then it doesn’t matter. Like you said before, they wouldn’t be able to identify the character anyway. Do it.

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