Seeing someone in cosplay can be startling at first, but after you think about the time and effort it took to make their costume, you can really appreciate their dedication. Cosplay is like sports are to many people. A way of life. A way of living.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Cosplay is “the activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction (such as a comic book, video game or TV show).”
Cosplayers should not be viewed as weird or freaks. They should be viewed as artists for their hard work and dedication to their costumes and fandoms. Not only can cosplaying be time-consuming, but it also calls on the person’s imagination once in awhile.
Those who cosplay are often viewed as odd by people who do not understand the practice or why people dress up as flamboyant characters from, often foreign, shows and movies. What most people don’t realize about cosplay is that it can take months to create a costume. Most cosplayers that you see often create their own clothes and props to portray their favorite character for conventions dedicated to particular genres.
Cosplay comes in all shapes and sizes. Crossplay is when a member of one sex dresses as a character of the opposite sex, like a female dressing as Red from the popular “Pokémon” series, without making their costume more feminine or masculine. Genderbend cosplay is different.
A cosplayer that genderbends a character usually completely redesigns their outfit to match that of the sex they identify with. For example, a male that likes the character Sailor Moon from the anime “Sailor Moon” may redesign her uniform so that he can dress up as the princess of the moon, or in this case, prince of the moon.
There’s also cosplayers that put a spin on beloved characters, like creating a steampunk version of the Batman villain The Riddler. The possibility of cosplay is infinite.
Most anime conventions even hold cosplay contests, which are very similar to Halloween costume contests but with more intense competition.
Some people dedicate their lives to cosplay. The term professional cosplayer is not an uncommon phrase to hear in fandoms. Names like Jessica Nigri and Ginny McQueen are thrown around with awe and respect for their work. Some cosplayers even idolize them.
So instead of staring and snickering at people dressed head-to-toe as a Power Ranger, respect their work. Everyone has their own quirks and shouldn’t be judged based on them.