Welcome to the wonderful world of cosplay!
Today I had to explain what exactly ‘cosplay’ was to a lady who had heard of it but didn’t really understand. For those of you who have also been in this position, know that this isn’t such an easy thing to do. In my case I chose to give the textbook answer of…
“Cosplay is when people dress up as their favourite character from a book, movie or game.”
But as soon as I gave this answer I could see that look cross her face which told me instantly that she’d already dismissed it as simply “adult dress-up” (No! Not THAT kind). Yet if you have ever had any experience with cosplay you’d probably have started to realise that there’s a lot more to cosplay than fancy dress outside of Halloween.
Cosplay allows us to be the person we want to be
For some, cosplay is a way for us to hide who we are and for others it’s a way to step out of their shell and take on a new identity.
In a way, cosplay is a form of a mask or persona. This new sense of identity then creates a community of like minded people.
This persona is not just limited to the convention or festival. Instead there are many people who use their cosplayer identity to
create an online identity and essentially make money.
When I use the term “online persona” I’m referring to the social identity that someone constructs within online communities. For cosplayers this online persona is an extension of their cosplay identity and is a way for them to connect with communities.
Cosplayers such as GrimmboneZ or Evey Dantes have become media influencers with large numbers of online followers. It’s a life-style that may seem to be too good to be true but often takes a lot of work to maintain.
In the end, cosplay can mean something different for each person yet in undeniably brings people together both online and in the everyday. Is it a mask we hide behind or is it a way for us to become heroes? I’ll leave you to ponder.