Cosplay Chapel party scandalous to the Church

From ‘Chapel party at Chijmes called off’, 3 April 2012, article in asiaone.com

A controversial party to be held at Chijmes this Saturday has been called off.

…The party, which was to be held on Black Saturday, had raised eyebrows due to the provocative images used to promote it. In one image, two young women were dressed in skimpy nun-like habits. While habits normally cover the whole leg, the outfits the women wore were shorter than mid-thigh length.

It was posted on the Facebook page, with the caption “A sneak peek at what some of our girls will be wearing on the 7th of April.” The page also featured an event poster, with a woman also dressed in a habit-like outfit.

In an earlier my paper report, Archbishop Nicholas Chia of the Catholic Church in Singapore said that the event “is scandalous to the Church” and that “such events should not be held in a chapel”.

Chijmes, which was established in 1854, was previously the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus before a $100-million restoration project transformed it into a lifestyle destination in 1996.

According to the my paper report, Creative Insurgence’s director, Mr Aaghir Yadav, said they had taken down the images and apologised to the Catholic church.

He also said the women in the photos are friends of his in cosplay costumes. He denied that there was any religious symbolism in the photos. Mr Yadav also claimed that the party was named because of its location, Chijmes.

Chijmes’ management, however, has said that it strongly disapproves events held there that are ‘illegal and immoral in nature and/or disrespectful of religions, faiths and races’.

Blasphemy aside, cosplaying as a nun is almost as fun as dressing up as your school principal. Didn’t these theme party organisers learn from the related CHIJ school crest outrage some months back? Giving the excuse that there was no intended ‘religious symbolism’ in wearing a habit with thighs exposed is like putting on a Manchester United jersey and saying you’re ‘not really a fan of EPL’. Portraying a convent or nunnery as a sleazy boudoir where habits are fetishised to schoolgirl panty proportions is the stuff of porn, not a ‘costume party’. I’m no expert in cosplay, but I thought this meme was the realm of mythical, video game and manga characters, not mimicking St Teresa of Avila in various states of ecstasy. Today, you could go to any cosplay party dressed as an Indian chief and not be laughed at because fans are too young to remember the Village People. Well, I do.

The original Cosplayers

Yet, despite CHIJMES’ firm stance against such kinky sacrilege, the management has no qualms about sexy maid costumes at the COSAFE cafe currently residing in the ex-convent’s premises as we speak. Perhaps if the ‘Chapel party’ opted for lacy aprons and phallic, tickly pink feather-dusters instead of abusing religious attire they wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. And it looks far sexier than an undersized habit too.

Maid to order

Profane parties aside, depictions of nuns in pop culture have gotten diehard Catholics’ robes in a twist. In her music video for Alejandro, Lady Gaga wore a habit and little else, including what appears to be a red inverted cross near her crotch. They still play the song on radio, by the way.

Nun this way

Gaga was clearly inspired by Madonna, who started the ball rolling with ‘church erotica’ in her Like A Prayer video, where divine rapture was confused with a very earthly, dirty emotion that most of us who don’t wear habits or crucifixes are more familiar with: Desire. Mixing such elements have stirred controversy in films since the fifties, where nuns were depicted doing anything other than praying or staying celibate. A common theme was girls being submitted to the convent against their will, or joining for other awful reasons that have nothing to do with God; In ‘The Nun’s Story‘, Audrey Hepburn dons the habit after a failed love affair but changes her mind later, which prompted church leaders to condemn the film for depicting religious life as being ‘too gloomy’ (Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act and of course, the Sound of Music, would suggest the exact opposite).

In  La Religeuse (1966), a film based on a Denis Diderot novel, a nun was seduced by her Mother Superior and raped by a monk. 2003’s the Magdalene Sisters featured women forced into sisterhood by their parents for  ‘immoral’ behaviour.  God-fearing parents criticised the release of the 1985 film Agnes of God, which was accused of promoting violence, lesbianism and incest when it was mainly about a nun mysteriously giving birth. In 2006, 3 Needles was screened here on World Aids Day, a film about a desperate nun exchanging sex for favours to protect South Africans. In Spy Hard, comic legend Leslie Nielsen cross-dresses as a nun and peeks under habits to find lacy pantyhose. He also knocks out gun-totting Sisters in the clip below.

One can cite countless references, both tongue-in-cheek and sinister, of convent culture. But thanks to a self-righteous horde of Facebook-bred vigilantes, we have  somehow gotten the POLICE involved, when they  really should be out there catching thieves, murderers and gangsters instead of clamping down on mini-skirt habits and heretical orgies.  Our cops are supposed to handcuff violent criminals and solve crimes, not go round thumping sinners with biblical verse like the Inquisition. At this rate, I wonder if a police report would be made if men go to a ‘Temple Party’ dressed as topless hunk-monks, or women to a ‘Mosque party’ dressed as belly-dancing Princess Jasmines.

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One Response

  1. […] Nun-themed Party – Musings: On The Escape Chapel Party, A Sinful Woman, And Divine Love & Grace [Thanks Eve] – Everything Also Complain: Cosplay Chapel party scandalous to the Church […]

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