Have cosplay Patreons become a backdoor for porn? (NSFW)

5 min read
63

18 plus only

I love cosplay. I think it’s so cool to see the weird and wonderful creations that people come up with – from gender swapping Deadpools to sexy Assassin’s Creed designs to full on masks, face paint and more. In fact, when the nice people organizing Sexpo this year asked if we wanted to get involved with a local sexy cosplay competition, I jumped at the chance and I will be reminding all of you about it again soon. Not all cosplay is sexy, but if it is, I still think it can be awesome.

Nigri assassin

I also, have pretty much no problem with porn – it’s a safe and enjoyable outlet for sexual energies. I think it can be mostly great as long as it is ethically created and doesn’t lead to awful things like human trafficking or something of that ilk.

I do, however, think that pornography does need to be for adults, and not offered to children or those who aren’t looking for sexual content. And there is currently an issue in that regard.

If you head on over to Instagram, you can find some fantastic cosplay talent. Sure, some of it can be sex positive, but still safe for work – just check out Danielle Baloo:

She is clearly a talented cosplayer, doing some seriously detailed and well-created costumes. As is the way now, her Instagram account links to a Patreon account so you can give her money each month to pursue the art form. And that’s great, until you visit the Patreon and start browsing similar accounts.

Most of her tiers are fairly standard across Patreon cosplay accounts. For $10, Danielle will send you high-res photos. For $25 she will send a thank you note and prints of the images. For $50 you can play LoL or Blizzard games with her. You can even pay to add her on Skype to ask all your costume creation related questions.

For $100 per month you get to spend one-on-one time together with Danielle at conventions. You’ll get a “boudoir” or character photo print too. It’s definitely very sex-positive cosplay, but it’s still about costume and character creation, and I wouldn’t fault her on it at all.

But things don’t always stay so innocent. Luna Lanie also has an active Instagram account where she posts some sexy cosplay pictures (warning, not all images are that safe for work):

Her Patreon page reads more like those old webcam sites. For $5, you get “Access to the all EXCLUSIVE lewd and sexy cosplay inspired, lingerie or swimsuit photo sets WEEKLY” and for $10 you get access to her private, 18+ Snapchat.

And she’s not the only one with a Patreon page like that. In just 20 minutes or less of searching on Patreon and Instagram, I found similar adult oriented cosplay accounts from Stephanie Michelle, Tara Babcock and way, way more.

To be clear, I have no issues if you want to make cosplay erotica, like Steamgirl openly says she does. I have absolutely no problem with these ladies selling their images to make some money and continue to do cool cosplay projects, or ladies who simply want to make porn with some gamer/anime themes.

However, it does feel like there is a line being crossed here. Are some of these ladies simply creating porn but marketing it as cosplay? Are they exploiting a community of hard working creative people by simply throwing on an anime pasty and calling it cosplay? And what about Patreon’s responsibility – should 18+ Snapchat groups as rewards be subject to the same kinds of labeling rules and other restrictions that other 18+ material requires? Is Patreon actually a, um, backdoor for pornography?

According to the Patreon community guidelines, the service is not for pornography and any NSFW content must be marked as such:

Patreon is not for pornography, but some of the world’s most beautiful and historically significant art often depicts nudity and sexual expression. Because of that, we allow nudity and suggestive imagery, as long as it is marked NSFW. Think of the policy as allowing “R Rated” movies… but not porn. In keeping with our strong commitment to safety, we have zero tolerance for content that sexualizes children in any way. The glorification of rape and sexual violence is also not ok, Patreon reserves the right to review and remove accounts that may violate this guideline.

They even go so far as hiding “erotic” art accounts like this one that can’t be found through the Patreon search function. But how can they police 18+ SnapChat rewards or Skype chats? Do you think Patreon is facilitating the distribution of pornography without proper restrictions, or is this all just fun and sexy cosplay? And does this change your perception of cosplayers in general?

Last Updated: July 11, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • Admiral Chief

    Heh, backdoor
    *flies away*

    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      XD

  • The only place where I really have a problem with erotic cosplay is with Twitch streamers. It’s clearly used to rake in viewers and milk for donations, and is not used in the spirit of “cosplay”

  • Dutch Matrix

    Laat Gods water oor Gods akker vloei.

  • Grimsupanoob

    Yoh but if jessica “take me forever” nigri does some nsfw shoots and offers those through patreon…. Forgot what i wanted to say…mmmh jessica

  • Original Heretic

    Rule 34 is at play here. Or at cosplay here.

    Either way, Rule 34.

    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      They even made a porno about Overwatch O_o nothing is sacred, everything is permitted

      • Original Heretic

        There’s Pokemon porn. There’s Adventure Time porn. Gawd, there’s porn based on things I’ve never even heard of.
        I read some bizarre shit recently about cosplay porn, where the “clients” complained that in one of the parodies, the one character’s ponytail was on the wrong side. There are some seriously strange peoples out there.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          It took me out of the moment okay!?!

          Um… I mean… er… HEY LOOK OVER THERE!

          • You don’t know what you’re saying!

    • HairyEwok

      All I can say is… Execute order 66 on the people who exploit cosplay in the wrong way.

      • Original Heretic

        I hear you, but also, what you consider “the wrong way” and what someone else considers it, those are two vastly different things.

  • Dutch Matrix

    What is porn in anycase? Answer me this.
    What is porn to you is art to the next guy. And guess what? We live in such a “touchy feely do not hurt my feelings era” that we cannot rightly judge without hurting someones feelings.

    • Zoe Hawkins

      like i said, i have zero issue with porn or erotica, but surely it should be labelled as such? I mean, if they are calling it an 18+ SnapChat, i think we know the kinds of images that we’ll see there…

      • Dutch Matrix

        I don’t have a clear answer for you. The best thing I think would be to apply this rule: If there are breasts or genitals on display, then label it as Adults Only. So I guess that answers your question?
        Ha ha! Sorry Zoe. I cannot brain today.

      • VampyreSquirrel

        Trust you to know the difference between porn and erotica xD

        • Dutch Matrix

          Erotica is using a feather. Porn is using the chicken.
          Terry Pratchett very loosely quoted.

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Lol! Yeah, I love that quote.

      • Original Heretic

        It should be labelled properly. But how often do people on the internet do “what they should be doing”?
        If you have a 1 million users and 99% of them follow the rules you’ve set in place, that still leaves that 1% that are going to flaunt the rules and do what they want. That’s over 10 000 users.

      • cloudzn

        Great article Zoe but you forgot to include Marie-Claude Bourbonnais who does some amazing cosplay but also posed nude

    • Darren Peach

      Anything that ends with the money shot is porn…..

      • Original Heretic

        But it doesn’t necessarily require said money shot to be classified as porn.

        • Dutch Matrix

          EXACTLY!

        • Darren Peach

          You get my drift…..

  • Darren Peach

    Wow. Cosplay has changed. I think there is no blurred line here. It does present a problem when there is no clear distinction between what is considered a fairly benign pastime which allows those whom are a little more shrewd than most to profit through creativity and great self promotion and the exploitation of this very thing to market porn on a mainstream platform not designed for it.

    • Dutch Matrix

      The problem with any social media platform you throw open to the public is that somewhere, somehow someone is going to use it for the advertising and selling of porn. How do you police something like Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook?

      • Darren Peach

        Fair point. I don’t use Twitter or Snapchat so I can’t relate. But in all my travels on Facebook, I generally tend not to see anything Porn related.

      • Darren Peach

        Where you point is very relevant is on other platforms like soundcloud and mixcloud. I have accounts on both and have had many people trying to promote porn. Even on Skype.

  • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

    Tara babcock used to be part of Zoomingames and it always bothered me how she presented herself, not quite NSFW but enough to draw attention. Always felt like she used her assets as clickbait

    • Original Heretic

      Her name is Babcock? Well of course she’s going to use her assets.

      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        XD

      • ASSets? babCOCK.. Okay I’ll stop now

        • Original Heretic

          And here I was, purposely NOT capitalizing those parts of the words, making an effort to keep things clean.

          Along comes Gavin….

        • Jonah Cash

          I laughed more than I should have at this comment… Very long day indeed!

    • Dutch Matrix

      But look at a hell of a lot of the Cosplay girls out there. Breasts exposed like my butt when I bend forward. And boobs shoved into some Wonderbra it looks like they can put their coffee on their breasts whilst they sign your print. So is Ms Babcock all that different?
      Just asking.

      • Original Heretic

        But then also look at WHAT they’re cosplaying. Females depicted in video games and anime series, they look just like that. It’s not like the cosplayers are going extreme, they’re just following suit.

        • Dutch Matrix

          I hear you, but I dunno man. Sometimes I look at those cosplayer’s boobs and I feel I have to start a support group for them. Not having boobs myself, I cannot rightly say, but it reminds me of puppy abuse…

      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        Because it’s a channel about games and not cosplay or how revealing you can be without Youtube taking the video down

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        You mean your sexy plumber’s crack cosplay? 😀

        • Dutch Matrix

          No. My Super Mario Pipe Cosplay. A fat italian plumber can disappear in there and find a shitload of gold coins… Well, unprocessed corn mostly but hey…

    • Admiral Chief

      “zoom in”

      heh

      • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

        stahp! XD

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I’m perfectly okay with people using cosplay as the vehicle to sell nudes or semi-nudes via Patreon – as long as it doesn’t go beyond softcore stuff I don’t really care. Hardcore porn is clearly against the rules, and if that’s where it’s going then they’d need to abide by all the same rules that R18+ sites have to.

    And It doesn’t colour my opinion of cosplayers at all because they come in all shapes & colours, sexy or not, and do it for a variety of reasons. A few people wearing sexually suggestive cosplay doesn’t make me think anyone else is automatically doing the same thing. In that way it’s no different from a nurses uniform, catholic schoolgirl uniform, or whatever fetish outfit floats your boat.

    I’m actually getting a faint hint of gatekeeping here because it seems like you’re disapproving of those who’re taking advantage of cosplay to sell themselves, for want of a better way of expressing it, compared to those who do it for more innocent reasons.

    • Zoe Hawkins

      nah, like i said – i’m happy if people want to make cosplay erotica/porn. just call it what it is. if you label it as porn/NSFW stuff, you can do whatever you want.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        No worries, as long as it’s labeled for what it is I’m happy too.

    • Too many euphemisms!

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Your FACE is a euphemism… for PAIN!

  • konfab

    Do the people making the SFW cosplays complain about the NSFW stuff?

    Maybe an intrepid Lazygamer journalist should pay a couple of donations and get an interview.

    If they haven’t complained then I don’t see why it is an issue.

    • Admiral Chief

      Lol “donations”

  • Original Heretic
  • HairyEwok

    Heh, different strokes for different folks.

  • Ghost In The Rift

    Cosplay is okey if that’s what fuels your fire, in the end it still someone with clothes on, there is no excuse on this planet for dry humping, just saying.

  • People PAY for pics!?

  • Jonah Cash

    Jis Lunalanie het daardie puppies laat in sit, maar dit wil voorkom of die puppies net wil uit klim die hele tyd…

  • Fatty

    If you enjoy cosplay support the cosplayers, if you enjoy faping to cosplay support the cosplayers as well. Win-win-win

  • Andre Fourie

    I think Cosplay is taking the nerdery a bit too far.

  • Dungeon of JJ

    For many it’s just an excuse to dress in skimpy outfits, which is fine if that’s what they like or prefer. But to me it often just seems like they’re doing it to get more attention, and it’s all the wrong kind of attention. I won’t mention names, because I will be tried for saying it, but many well known cosplayers are doing it when it’s completely unnecessary.
    I love the creativity that goes into some of the cosplays, especially when they’re bringing a new edge to something, but as long as it doesn’t demean whatever it is they’re cosplaying.

  • Batman vs. a Banana

    Give these ladies… bells

  • Batman vs. a Banana

    I am conflicted. I like cosplay and I think I like porn. 😀 Must give money to patreons!

  • Patreon has become a backdoor for a lot of questionably legal, let alone moral things.

    My view is that as long as stuff is consensual, leave it alone. If you start morality policing a private service, than that content just goes back underground, making it harder to find the people crossing the line. Take out bad guys one at a time and use the Patreon as evidence, don’t try to just outright ban all [insert dubious practice here], when the bad actors are easy to spot and not the majority.

    I can think of at least three things where a Patreon is really just a hidden way to pay for some really not quite legal entertainment. Think about how rewards are handled.

    – Youtubers to circumvent DMCA. They make money on “producing free videos” even if the video is of questionable fair use value.
    – Adult performers to circumvent credit card merchant rules against prostitution.
    – Gambling, eg pledge X amount, get Y amount in fictitious currency in Z product (eg a MMO game)

    As a perfect example, sexualized “furry” content is considered bestiality, which is illegal (and the animal obviously can’t consent to it.) But drawings have physically harmed nobody, so “sexualized cartoon furry art” tends to be within the spirit of the rules, but is technically illegal by the same definition used to say that “sexualized cartoon art of pre-teens” doesn’t harm anyone either. Yeah, maybe it doesn’t, but that is still dancing on the line between legal and illegal, since there would be no legal way to know what that art shouldn’t look like. You can’t just pull down the content and go “it looks too real” having no legal way of knowing if it’s real. Is that a painting, or is that a photoshop filter over a real animal or child?

    So it comes back to consent. If someone wants to cosplay rule 34 [popular trendy thing here], and charge money for it, that’s fine, even though it likely violates copyright and trademarks and the copyright holder would not be too happy about it being public. Privately however what two people consent to doesn’t need to be known, though creepy people may record it and share it after-the-fact, and that isn’t consensual at all. We’re still in a bit of a wild-west when it comes to copyright and consent, and whenever we ask a service provide to police their own content, it winds up creating over-reach situations.

    Patreon has survived thus far because they haven’t been told by their payment processor to ban anything resembling porn (AFAIK.) As far as I know this is because there is a high degree of consent, and charge-backs are not high enough to warrant a crackdown. Should that situation ever change (eg Paypal has such policies, so does the government on gambling) it’s back to begging for gift cards for some creators.

  • (strandedon)thewrongbeach

    hey thanks for the article, I didnt know lunalanie did nsfw

  • FactsinExile

    I think it’s fine to a point. I myself have no real issue with cosplay “lewds” or other cosplay erotica. But since the artform can be monetized, it was only a matter of time before people merged it with other forms of media to extend that money making ability. Things like cosplaydeviants.com have been around for a long time due to thinking like that.
    So to sum up my opinion, I do think it kind of crosses a line; but the train has already left the station on that issue. Now it’s just about differentiating between porn peddlers and actual erotic cosplay.

Check Also

Let’s talk about Cosplay and Consent

Cosplay is not Consent. It’s a phrase we’ve all heard and seen on expo and con floors. So …