Cosplay, in recent years, has become hugely popular. Whether or not you think cosplay (short for costume players) is weird, there’s one thing you should know: cosplaying is one of the most liberating acts to perform. Considering that my favorite holiday is Halloween, cosplaying makes every day Halloween for me. I can be anyone I want to be just by changing my dress, hair, and makeup.
Does this mean, though, that I suffer from an identity crisis? Are cosplayers so unhappy with their own images that they have to dress as fictional beings in order to accept themselves?
Explaining the concept of cosplay is very difficult, and highly misunderstood, because it is definitely something that needs to be experienced. I feel like for many people—including myself—cosplaying allows us to personify people we find a similar quality in, which helps us relate to the character and embody them, in a way.
So, in an attempt to explain the deeper meaning of cosplay, I have provided yet another Funday Friday countdown with bonus material at the bottom (SPOILER ALERT: they’re videos you can watch as a distraction).
- Cosplaying is Temporary
One of the best things about cosplaying is that it’s temporary—something that you can do a few times a year—which allows you to fulfill this desire to emulate one of your favorite characters, then return to your “normal” state.
- You Can Literally Be Anyone You Want
Last year, I wanted to be Batgirl (cuz she’s a BOSS), but I also love vintage fashion and the styles of the 1940s. What did I do? I merged the two.
It’s really that easy. Each year, when convention season rolls around, I get presented with the wonderful, exciting, and daunting task of deciding who I want to dress up as. The problem is deciding who, as there are tons of possibilities.
- Cosplaying Gives Confidence
While I’ve gone through many issues with my own image, cosplaying actually gives me a creative release, which helps my confidence. It’s taken a lot of years for me to be comfortable with myself, but personally, I’m not dependent on cosplaying. Because I choose to dress as characters I love, I feel like I embody their good qualities, which can make me feel heroic, courageous, bold, or even silly.
Cosplaying can change a shy person into a social one, and it may be the only outlet that this shy person has to be more confident and to try out new social cues. Cosplay has the ability to positively transform someone, and make them step out of their shell for a few times a year. Ain’t it great?
- There’s No Embarrassment
Unless you do something that you might consider to be embarrassing, cosplaying is not one of those acts. No one judges you because just about everyone is in costume, and there is always someone at the convention who will totally appreciate your costume. That’s one of the main attractions of a convention: to go see the new and clever costumes that people are wearing.
- There is NO Obligation to Cosplay
I prefer to cosplay whenever I attend a convention, but it’s not a requirement. You can attend in plain clothing if you want, or you can be Naruto. It goes either way. However…
- Cosplaying is HELLA Fun
You guys, you don’t understand: IT’S SO MUCH FUN. When else can you dress up as Poison Ivy for a day, get your picture taken, buy nerdy swag, meet celebrities, and interact with other people that have the same passion for books, comics, movies, television, and games? AND YOU’RE IN COSTUME?? To me, cosplaying is the equivalent of getting ready for a school dance, and the convention is the dance. You want to look your best and present yourself well, and have fun in the process.
So my advice is this: try something new! Look at cosplay as expression—a transformation—that can make anyone smile. If you would like to know more about cosplay, here are some great things to watch:
Heroes of Cosplay (Syfy Network)