Waking up at the crack of dawn, transforming into a fictional character, the excitement in the car ride to a convention and seeing others dressed as characters is something I enjoy. Going to conventions is fun, but what makes the experience is cosplaying.
I’ve been cosplaying for almost three years. I’ve cosplayed characters from video games, anime and comic books. Going from cosplaying as Rosalind Lutece (Bioshock Infinite) and Delsin Rowe (inFAMOUS Second Son) one year to Harley Quinn has been quite interesting. The first convention I went to, I did simple cosplays, but by the next year, I was pulling together a Harley Quinn cosplay that I STILL can’t believe I actually did.
Harley has become my favorite character to cosplay. She’s just so much fun! I love to act like the character I cosplay, and since Harley is psychotic and crazy, I tend to have fun with that. Just recently I went to a con, and it was the first con that I went to since starting cosplaying Harley that I didn’t dress as her the whole weekend. It was weird, but my head was definitely happy that I didn’t wear that heavy, blonde wig.
I love cosplaying. It has become a big part of my life and has helped me open up more. When someone as introverted as I am goes to a con dressed as a character, I don’t feel like myself. I feel like the character. Or at least feel different to where I enjoy being crammed inside a convention hall waiting at a dealer’s booth in the Dealer’s Room or an artist’s booth in the Artist Alley as two to ten people are crowding around me, looking at the merchandise or fan art while many of them are cosplaying as well. Some may even be in full on armor, taking up more space.
Sadly, there are people out there who hate on cosplaying, calling it ‘childish’. Some even going as far as degrading some cosplayers by calling them ‘ugly’.
It confuses me as to why some hate on it like they do. If you don’t think people should dress up unless it’s Halloween, that’s fine. That is your personal opinion. But don’t hate on people who cosplay because you never know why they chose to start cosplaying.
Cosplayers cosplay for many different reasons. Not only to become one of their favorite characters and have a chance to be them for a day, but it allows them to escape from their real life troubles for a while. I started cosplaying because I wanted to dress up as characters I liked. I never went trick or treating as a kid, and never really dressed up. For me, cosplaying allows me not only to dress up and act like a character, but it’s also helping me learn so much about myself and learn practical skills that I never even bothered to learn before. Like sewing. I’m starting to sew now because I want to one day make a cosplay completely on my own and not buy any clothing that goes into the costume.
One thing cosplayers love and enjoy the most is seeing the face of other people when they see their favorite character right in front of them and want a picture. Especially when a little child sees a character they love being cosplayed, their face lights up and immediately they start talking to the cosplayer as if they were the character before taking a picture.
But the thing that hurts the most is the ones who “cosplay shame”, or make fun of cosplayers. There have been blogs on Tumblr about cosplay shaming, showing a cosplayer smiling and having fun as their favorite character and the blog just making fun of the person, calling them ugly, fat, and many other derogatory terms. The people who do it think of it as just fun and games, but it is actually hurtful. The cosplay community is big, and there are people in it who are mean to other cosplayers, which is saddening.
Cosplaying is a beautiful thing. True we all are not as thin as the character we cosplay. Some of us even adapt the costume to make us feel more comfortable wearing it. I know there’s a few cosplays I want to do that I’ll end up changing up to make myself feel better and not as exposed. Luckily, the amount of people who do this is small and are stopped very fast by other members in the cosplay community.
Cosplaying is not ever 100 percent perfect. I’ve never had a perfect replica of a cosplay before. Sure, there are ways to get a costume as perfect as possible, but there will always be things we cannot do. But that’s the fun in cosplaying. And it’s even more rewarding when someone recognizes the character you’re dressed as and it’s not exactly complete or 100 percent accurate. At the last con I went to, I dressed as Winry from Fullmetal Alchemist. Not her usual mechanic outfit, but the outfit she wears when she’s not at the mechanic shop. Only one person actually recognised who I was and called me Winry. That interaction made me feel good about my cosplay. The wig definitely was not perfect, the skirt wasn’t pleated, and I was in a costume most Fullmetal fans don’t associate with Winry.
So, if you ever see someone dressed as a character from an anime, comic book, video game, tv show or movie, there is either a convention in town, which you should try and go to and see what’s so great about a convention for yourself, or they’re doing it just for fun and probably having a photoshoot done as well. Cosplaying allows us to see characters come to life and it won’t be stopping anytime soon. It’s a way for people to express themselves, so next time you see someone in cosplay, ask them about it and the character they’re cosplaying as. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to tell to you.