Ginny McQueen, a costumer of 14 years who works full-time as Director of New Media for Cosplay.com, the largest cosplay website on the internet, recently received a proposal from an anime convention in Las Vegas offering her $200, snacks, and two free tickets in exchange for a "live burlesque performance" that would require McQueen to strip down to her undergarments (lingerie or pasties!) and dance for hours on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Here's the email:
Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM
Booking Contract for ***CON
Dear Miss Ginny,
Are you interested in dancing for ***CON Friday Aug 17 and Saturday Aug 18, 2012? Terms are as follows:
***CON agree to the following:
• Two Hundred Dollars US ($200) as compensation
• Complimentary Snacks and Beverages in the Green Room
• Two complimentary 3-Day Badges to ***CON 2012 ($120 value)
• A shared gratis booth to sell your merchandise/autograph pictures in the Exhibitor's Hall 3 days of the convention (Friday, August 17, Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19, 2012)
• To promote you (Ginny Mcqueen) as a performer of ***CON
Ginny McQueen agree to the following:
• Wear undergarments (lingerie or pasties) underneath your cosplay attire
• Provide your own cosplay attire(s) for to wear during your live burlesque performance on Friday, August 17, 2012 and Saturday, August 18, 2012.
• Perform live onstage in the 18+ lounge at ***CON on Friday Night, August 17, 2012 at 11:20pm to 11:40pm, 12:00am to 12:20am, 12:40am to 1:00am, and 1:20 to 1:40am, and Saturday Night, August 18, 2012 at 11:20pm to 11:40pm and 12:40am to 1:00am for six 20 minutes burlesque strip tease dance routines to anime songs (take off cosplay attire down to undergarments (no nudity)
• Return cosplay attire in good condition before you exit the 18+ lounge
• Perform live onstage at our Rave at ***CON on Saturday Night, August 18, 2012 at 12:00am to 12:20am and 1:20am to 1:40am for two 20 minutes go-go dance performances
• Live up to the terms of the Exhibitor Contract in the Exhibitors Hall
• To promote ***CON from now till the actual convention on all social media and at other events
• To provide ***CON the right to use your name and images, videos, marketing collateral, etc. in conjunction with promoting of ***CON in all media
• To be available and actively participate in any video/photo/media interview opportunities during the convention
This Offer, when signed, constitutes a binding Memorandum of Understanding.
Miss Ginny McQueen Date
Earlier this week, McQueen posted a YouTube video detailing the many offensive aspects of the offer: the "Miss" salutation (McQueen is married, but more to the point, what type of business contract assumes a woman is a "Miss" these days?), the extensive amount of work asked in exchange for less than minimum wage, and most outrageously, the fact that the convention assumed McQueen would be interested in stripping even though she's never done anything of the sort thus far in her career.
Here's a selection of some of the detailed costumes McQueen has constructed over the years; one of her favorites is this Madame de Pompadour dress, which earned her a spot in Doctor Who Magazine. She's won 18 costuming awards for her work. But she's also a lady — a lady who models and sometimes wears skimpy outfits — so, therefore, the convention assumed she'd be more than eager to take off all of her clothes for a bunch of convention goers. And for paltry compensation, at that.
"I find it insulting that someone would assume that because some of my costumes are revealing, I'd want to do a striptease for a crowd of people and let them film it," McQueen told us. "They put no effort into researching me or what I do. They also had absolutely no grasp of what a contract is." McQueen added that she tries to have a sense of humor when it comes to gender stereotypes within the cosplay community, as evidenced by her follow-up video, "How To Strip Off Your Cosplay." I was being facetious," she said. "I am not a stripper or dancer, nor would I spend even more of my own time and money to alter the costumes I've already made so I could easily strip them off for someone. I will, however, make insane videos of myself for the sake of humor."
Will the cosplay community at large ever fully accept women like McQueen, a self-professed "horribly goofy" geek who is also very traditionally attractive and enjoys emulating characters who wear skintight clothing? If they're stripping off their clothes, definitely! Otherwise, we're not so sure.
(Image via McQueen's website.)