Cosplay is a niche but fast-growing subculture that combines elements of dressing up, performance, and social networking. People who cosplay create and adopt fictional identities – often from popular films, TV shows, video games, or comics – and dress as fictitious characters. Some more talented hobbyists have turned cosplay into a full-time paying job!
Many people enjoy cosplaying because it gives them an opportunity to leave behind their everyday persona and transform into someone new for a brief period of time. It can also be a great social experience with other like-minded individuals. However, this hobby isn’t for everyone so here are the pros and cons of cosplaying that you should know before developing a deeper interest in the practice.
What is Cosplay?
Cosplay, which is an acronym for “costume play,” is a type of performance art where participants dressed as characters attend conventions, compete in costume contests, and/or create costumes from scratch for personal enjoyment.
What sets cosplay apart from other types of costuming is the attention to detail in each aspect of its creation. The meticulous selection of materials, styling, and execution of each outfit is a dedicated, time-consuming effort. Especially as the cosplay community is very large and constantly growing. It’s estimated that more than 2 million people in the United States alone are involved in cosplay.
Why is Cosplay So Popular?
Cosplay is a very accessible form of creative expression that anyone can try. You don’t need to be an expert in sewing or have a large budget to embark on a cosplay project; all you need is a bit of imagination and some basic supplies. Matching the right costume with the right character can be a lot of fun!
And while that may sound superficial, finding the perfect cosplay can also be a great way to express your creativity. There’s something very empowering about transforming yourself into a fictional character. Plus, since you’re dressing as someone from a movie or TV show, you won’t have to worry about impressing anyone with your personality!
Why Do People Cosplay?
People cosplay for various reasons. Some do it for the social experience; others do it to express their creativity, and others do it to show off their sewing or makeup skills. Unfortunately, not everyone who cosplays does so for the right reasons. Others look for validation in the form of recognition. Some people wear costumes not to be the character but to get the attention of a particular celebrity who also cosplays.
Others do it to feel attractive or to get sexual attention. Cosplay is not a sexual fetish. Wearing a costume is not a substitute for consent. For example, if someone is wearing a revealing costume, don’t touch them as if they’re part of the costume. It’s not appropriate, and it’s not OK.
Cosplaying is a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age, gender, or social status. It’s a common misconception that only teenage boys or men participate in this activity. However, there are plenty of female and adult cosplayers out there who participate in the subculture for fun, as a creative outlet, or to make new friends. There are cosplay conventions that cater to people from all walks of life.
No matter what your interests are, you can find a convention or event that matches your interests. Cosplay is not limited to conventions, of course. Many people cosplay to simply express their love for fandom, whether that’s dressing up as a character from a movie, TV show, video game, or comic book.
Pros of Cosplaying
– You can express yourself in a new artistic way.
– You can try out new makeup and styling techniques.
– You can make new friends and learn skills from more experienced cosplayers.
– You can learn more about different fandoms and characters.
– You can make a positive impact on your community.
– You can host your own cosplay events.
– You can participate in cosplay competitions.
Cons of Cosplaying
– You don’t have control over what other people think about your costumes.
– You risk being mistaken for a member of a particular group of cosplayers.
– You may not have the right skill set or budget to create a high-quality cosplay.
– Some costumes may be uncomfortable to wear or impractical in certain public spaces.
– You may find yourself spending too much money on your cosplay hobby.
– You may need to work long hours in order to finish a costume on time.
– If you’re taking photos or posing in public, you may receive unwanted attention.
How to Avoid Scams When Cosplaying
Cosplay is a growing hobby and with it, unfortunately, comes a rise in scams. Many people may try to take advantage of those who participate in cosplay by selling low-quality costumes, charging you for costumes you can easily make on your own, or asking for money for a “photo shoot” that’s really a way to get their hands on your money. To avoid these scams, it’s important to do your due diligence before investing in a costume or photo shoot.
– Research the costume and cosplay tutorial websites before purchasing your costume. If the website looks sketchy, stay away from it.
– Make sure the company or seller you’re buying from has a refund or return policy.
– Be wary of anyone who asks you to send them money after clicking on a link in your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter feed.
– Avoid cosplay contests that ask you to pay a fee to enter.
– Check the authenticity of any costume, photo shoot, or contest offer that seems too good to be true.
– Ask for references and don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t feel comfortable.
-The best cosplay is a safe cosplay for buyers, sellers, creators, and cosplayers.
How to Stay Safe When Cosplaying
Safety should always be a top priority when cosplaying and attending conventions. Here are a few tips to ensure you stay safe.
– Cosplay with someone you trust. It can be fun to cosplay with a friend, but make sure you’re with someone you trust. This can help you avoid unwanted attention or harassment.
– Wear cosplay costumes that fit you well. Make sure the costume you choose is appropriate for the event you’re attending. Not only will this keep you from being embarrassed, but it will also help you avoid any unwanted attention.
– Use the buddy system. Make sure you always have a friend with you. Your friend can help you if you feel uncomfortable in any situation.
– Bring your phone with you. If you feel unsafe, call the police.
– Stay hydrated. You’ll stay healthy and avoid getting sick if you hydrate.
– Avoid bringing expensive items to conventions. You don’t want to lose or misplace your items.
To Cosplay or Not To Cosplay?
Cosplay is an activity that is open to everyone. It can be a great creative outlet and is a unique way to express your love for a specific fandom or even just a specific theme like Steampunk, Pop Art Comics, Victorian, Anime, or Post-Apocalyptic. If you’re interested in trying out cosplay, there’s no better time to start than now!
While cosplay is often perceived as a fun and exciting hobby, it does come with its fair share of challenges. With the right amount of preparation and research, however, you can make sure that your first cosplay experience is a positive one. To Cosplay or not to cosplay? That’s the question. For this gamer? The answer is always cosplay.