about the use of flags as props

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#1 mathilda on 4 years ago

So, we all know that, since the hetalia characters are personifications of countries, people who don't know the series will connect it with an a)historical context or b) political context, this, so it seems to me, is even more the case when you carry a flag with you.
So for outsiders the cosplay in combination with a flag, can look like a political or historical statement.
this may lead to negative reactions, especially when the people have the feeling that you don't show enough respect for their nationality or a historical event for example when sitting on the flag or using it as a prop in a photo.

That's why for me using the flag as a cosplay prop is like a double-edged sword. They can make great props for photos, but they can also be pretty easily very offensive when used wrong.

An example:
A few years ago I was googling germancest pictures and by accident came accross two young asian cosplayers wearing german ww2 uniform replicas and kissing each other while standing infront of the modern German flag. While it was technically not a bad cosplay photo, for me as a German it was offensive, since they used a symbol for oppression and dictatorship (the uniform) for pure entertainment purpose and connected this with the modern post war Germany(the flag).
(...at another thought I probably wouldn't like it more when they'd used the Reichskriegsflagge instead.
It feels probably similiar to me like for a Afro-American seeing the character America spanking an almost naked black person. it just feels bad using politically difficult topics for entertaining purposes. )

What do you guys think about using flags as props?

#2 KuruttaKanashii on 4 years ago

If you're going to be respectful with it, you need to research what that country's rules for display of their flag are. America has LOTS of rules, which I never seem to see his cosplayers respecting (they let the flag drag on the ground, etc.)
Moreover, wearing a full-size flag as a cape never seems to work. It's an odd thing to do, it's hard to hold onto, and it obscures a lot of your costume while you're walking around. I've seen some Americas use flag blankets rather than actual flags (yes, we have ridiculous amounts of rules for displaying the flag but putting it on boxer shorts is a-OK... go figure) which are heavy and unwieldy. If I ever got back into the Hetalia cosplay scene, I'd say go for little bitty flags on sticks. They're cheaper, they don't hide your cosplay, they're easier to pose with for photos.
Yeah, I agree with you about the "sexy Nazis" bit. That's a problem that the fandom as a whole has, not just related to Germany. Even on the less offensive side of things, I see the occasional historical cosplayer using a modern flag.
If you can't tell what country you're supposed to be without a flag, go back to the drawing board, says I.

#3 SuzuStarlight on 4 years ago

Generally spoken, the most improtant rule is not to destroy a flag or make it dirty (dragging on the ground, standing on it,...) I heard that a while ago, some other german Hetalia cosplayers got in trouble because they used flags to sit on them.
My suggestion is that if you have to use a flag, get one on a stick you can hold on and make some epic poses with, but don't joke around with it.
I'd go with Kurutta and say: research flag law. Not only of the respective flag's country, but also german law. I think you'll be on the safe side with that.

#4 Shana05 on 4 years ago

The "sexy Nazis" thing is something that reaches outside of realm of Hetalia. It's pretty much a fetish at this point. But I can understand why people would have a problem with that.

Also the show itself is known to use modern German flag during WWII segments to avoid use of the Nazi flag. It's done the same with Russia.

#5 belligerent on 4 years ago

I cosplay like 23749274928734928374 people from hetalia and have never carried around a flag because having to make sure I am doing 100% respectful things with it at all angles and could never even accidentally look like I'm disrespecting it to be caught on camera as an example of a "bad hetalia" would be a pain in the ass and requires more energy than I have.

In other words, even if you're as careful as possible, it is possible to fuck up and have somebody get pictures of you fucking up.

Why take that risk?

Also carrying around props you can't set down is obnoxious. My Denmark axe can be set down because it is an axe and not a flag, but finding places to put it while eating, for example, is difficult. Sometimes I just have to hold it with one hand and do other stuff with the other hand. A flag would be worse.

#6 AlaizabelCray on 4 years ago

[QUOTE=belligerent;4932406]I cosplay like 23749274928734928374 people from hetalia and have never carried around a flag because having to make sure I am doing 100% respectful things with it at all angles and could never even accidentally look like I'm disrespecting it to be caught on camera as an example of a "bad hetalia" would be a pain in the ass and requires more energy than I have.

In other words, even if you're as careful as possible, it is possible to fuck up and have somebody get pictures of you fucking up.

Why take that risk?

Also carrying around props you can't set down is obnoxious. My Denmark axe can be set down because it is an axe and not a flag, but finding places to put it while eating, for example, is difficult. Sometimes I just have to hold it with one hand and do other stuff with the other hand. A flag would be worse.[/QUOTE]

Pretty much this whole post is the reason why I don't cosplay with flags. That, and finding a Belorussian flag for my Belarus cosplay was next-to-impossible.

When my boyfriend cosplayed as America, he kept having to run back to the hotel to get things and didn't wanna bring the flag with him (trying to fit it into his car was a pain) so most of the time I got stuck holding it until he got back, which was kind of a bummer.

#7 Ronan on 4 years ago

Actually in America we have Rules and we have "Rules". Let me explain. You as an individual are allowed, by law, to do anything you wish to and with the flag. It is covered under freedom of expression. But there will always be people who disagree with you on how you use it, unless it is displayed according the the Rules and Regulations in the US Flag code. And it is their right under Freedom of expression to say anything to you about your treatment of the flag. Some will even take unlawful action to "save" the flag. So best to just avoid it all together.

#8 kenlagamine on 4 years ago

[CENTER]i can totally agree with you
i can just see people get super duper offended with the use of their national flags.
i, myself, have considered some countries from hetalia to cosplay.
now, if it were up to me, i`d have a small flag of the country. the only time i would have it out is if there aren`t many people around, or have it sticking out of my bag if i were to carry one with me during the day.
again, i can see what you mean, but, it is a country we`re cosplaying, the personificated version, a flag would be essential.
c:[/CENTER]

#9 EXEC_HYMME_MACARON on 4 years ago

[QUOTE=kenlagamine;4932860][CENTER] it is a country we`re cosplaying, the personificated version, a flag would be essential.
c:[/CENTER][/QUOTE]



I'm sorry.. but how is it essential..? It's not essential, it's a choice. I mean.. I'm not that into the Hetalia fandom ( I've seen it while my roommates are watching it, and I like some of the character designs.. ) But ..essential? I just don't see it. It's not like the characters go around carrying their respective flags all the time in the show or anything.

#10 Moorey on 4 years ago

I also would have to agree. I went to meetup before and people would throw their flags onto the ground and would even sit on them like they were blankets. Sigh. When I used to to cosplay Greece I got a large flag for him and it definitely wasn't fun to carry around after awhile.

#11 IcySky on 4 years ago

My personal opinion is that unless you're unrecognizable without a flag (cosplaying an obscure character or wearing a casual/non-canon outfit), there's not really any reason to carry a flag.

I mean...what are you going to do with it? There's only so many flag-holding poses you can strike for photos, and there's really no other reason you would need a flag. You shouldn't be using it as a cape or sitting on it, poking your friends with it, using it for a sword fight...no. And eventually you're going to get tired of carrying it, and that just makes you all the more likely to drag it or drop it.

So, I think if you really need a prop for something, think outside the box. If you're cosplaying America for example, instead of carrying around a giant flag, carry a stuffed eagle. It's different, it's interesting, and it's still in the essence of the character.

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