Filipino cosplayers unite to advance ‘geektivism’ for peace and change

September 23, 2017 - 1:09 PM
Cosplayer Maronne Cruz in Batgirl costume holds a placard that alludes to human rights advocates. Image courtesy of A Heroes Call.
Members of the local cosplay community united for a cause last September 21 to protest against extra judicial killings and corruption in the government. Image courtesy of A Heroes Call.

Filipino cosplayers teamed up on September 21 to show and voice out their stand on pressing national issues. The group went online to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Martial Law declaration, International Day of Peace, and National Day of Protest.

Through the A Hero’s Call on Facebook, some Filipino cosplayers posted photos of themselves donning their favorite superhero characters and even villains while holding placards condemning extra judicial killings (EJK) and corruption in the government in a movement they dubbed as “Geektivism.”

Cosplayer Maronne Cruz in Batgirl costume holds a placard that alludes to human rights advocates. Image courtesy of A Heroes Call.

Maronne Cruz, one of the cosplayers and convener of the group, said in a statement, “The message being sent out by this is: In a time where villains are real, it’s time to become our own heroes. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re into, if you have a voice and if you have a passion, you can use it to fight for good.”

One of the photos shows a Jedi holding a placard that reads, “No to Order 66; No to EJKs.” Another showed a cosplayer portraying Cersei Lannister from the famed Game of Thrones series with a placard saying, “At least the Lannisters pay their debts and don’t beg for immunity.”

One of those who participated in the movement is multimedia visual artist and professor Toym Imao. He told InterAksyon, “I participated because I believe we should do more creative protests.”

According to Imao, the “old school” still works but this kind of movement can work if you really want to “go and conquer cyberspace, which is one of the major battlegrounds in combating all the hate, disinformation, revisionist views that preys on younger minds.”

The initiative was both applauded and bashed online as highly opinionated netizens shared their own thoughts and opinion on the group’s initiative.

Some said, “You’re not solving anything;” while some asked “Magkano ba bayad sa inyo (How much were you paid)?”

Artist Toym Imao as Baze Malbus in the movie ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.’ Image courtesy of A Heroes Call.

Imao shared that their Facebook page got shut down by trolls and bots who have attacked the site an hour after it was put up.

Many netizens also came into the group’s defense, and applauded the group’s cause. The page was up again as of this posting, and has more than 4, 000 likes and has almost 6,000 shares already.

On the page, a shout-out said, “It’s up again with a vengeance. It went viral and was trending on several media platforms—unmindful of the cesspool of trolls and hate that descended on the site, these make-believe ‘heroes’ with real messages made a statement against real villains. These brave volunteers are aware of that they will be targets of trolls, bashers, and haters even within the cosplay community who believe that cosplay and politics don’t mix. But, as these posts of support will tell, there is a swelling of support regarding taking a stand and using one’s hobby from pure fashion to passion.”

One netizen commented, “This elevates a mere hobby to a loftier purpose…kudos guys, it takes real courage to post these and hope the movement spreads;” while another one said, “So beautiful. Using your hobbies to spread awareness.  Also, ignore people who call you guys names. Know that you are all awesome.”

A cosplayer dressed up as Spiderman holds a placard tackling the EJK issue. Image courtesy of A Heroes Call.

Cruz said they hope that this initiative can inspire at least one more person to make a stand for the return of justice in our country.

“This may be the first time the local cosplay community braved up to be publicly political in costume,” Cruz said, and added that they intend to continue using A Heroes Call Facebook page to encourage people to fight through Geektivism.

For those who saw their works, the group encourages everyone to answer the call by taking a picture of yourself and your message, and post it on your timeline or send it through their page. You may use the hashtag “#answerthecallPH”.