This is a funny topic that I wanted to discuss today as it involves a lot of things that will easily trigger a bunch of people. Many people have the own idea of what cosplay should be and I’m one of those people. I wanted to share how I see people view cosplay, then share my view on the topics and discuss them.
So to begin, lets take a look at the definition of cosplay:
Cosplay, a contraction of the words costume play, is a hobby in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character.
Very self-explanatory right? It’s an activity that many in the geek culture enjoy doing. You have events set up by fans, for fans, that celebrates one’s effort in re-creating a specific characters. However when you dig a bit deeper, you’ll find that it’s not as black and white as its lead out to be.
Many people have their own sense of what cosplay is and act accordingly to those believes. Lets start with the most common conception of cosplay ideology;
“If you don’t craft it from scratch, it ain’t real cosplay”.
This is a discussion that has surfaced time and time again. Now keep in mind that only the so called “elitist” in the community have this type of mind set and will alienate you from the community. Still, if you go to your local costume shop and purchase a Spider-Man suit rather than make one from scratch, it won’t be considered cosplay by vast majority of people either.
I sat back and tried to see things from their perceptive. And honestly I can see a few points that they’ve have on their side from seeing things they way. On one hand, if someone spends hours re-creating a Zelda outfit as suppose to buying it, their cosplay will be far more superior to the pre-built outfit (sometimes). There’s a sense of pride that comes with it.
Plus you’d naturally end up praising the person for crafting their outfit more that the person who just bought theirs in a shop. That mindset is fine in my opinion, but what’s messed up is the idea that the pre-built cosplayers can’t be part of the community. That’s where the elitist mindset comes into play. It’s an interesting mindset that some people have and I’d like to learn what led to such an ideology in the first place. Of course I don’t agree with alienating or shunning anyone who want’s participate. That’d be crazy!
Personally, I’ll admit it, I find crafting your own cosplay outfit to be more impressive that some who buys theirs in a shop but I would never shun them or anything. Not everyone has the time to craft. Next up is lewd cosplaying. Now this one here is what’s going to get me heat. I don’t consider lewd cosplaying as cosplay.
“WHAT? HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT AFTER TALKING ABOUT ELITISM YOU HYPOCRITE!…” Is what I imagine you’re saying right now. Let me explain.
You see, the concept of cosplaying is dressing up as a specific character right? So, if I held up a picture of a nice girl in a bikini, and I told you she’s cosplaying a Pikachu, would you consider that cosplaying? This isn’t a rhetorical question, I’m genuinely asking you guys to answer this question for me, so I look forward to seeing your answers in the comments. As for me, I wouldn’t see it as cosplay. When I look at cosplay, I see effort put into it to recreate something or to take a concept and twist it on its head to make something awesome.
Lewd cosplay to me, especially the extreme ones, are essentially soft-core porn in my opinion. Seriously, I could take a lewd cosplayer, slap them into a playboy magazine and you wouldn’t be able tell the difference. I do follow a couple of these girls on Twitter but I’ll be the first to say that I ain’t following them for the cosplay…( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).
All I’m saying is that I don’t personally see it as cosplay and I probably never will but I ain’t hating on them either. If they’re having fun and making people happy…wink…then that’s fine by me. If the community considers them cosplay too, then who am I to object? I’m just a guy sharing his thoughts online.
Let me know your thoughts on Lewd cosplay and how you feel about them?
Another thing that’s gotten me quite pissed off is the notion that PoC can’t cosplay or aren’t considered as cosplayers if they don’t cosplay as black characters, yet you have the exact same people praising individuals who purposely darken their skin tone to match a specific character. Now PoC been dragged and attacked for cosplaying as “fair-skinned” characters isn’t anything new.
It’s been going on for years now and has even forced some people to quit cosplaying altogether to avoid harassment. The argument that I hear from these aggressors is that PoC “ruin their favorite characters” or “needs to be authentic to the specific characters their cosplaying” aka looking like the characters their cosplaying. I can assure you that that’s complete bullshit. If you dig hard enough, you’ll find excellent cosplays in all shades of colour.
Yet these same people are willing and ready to defend certain cosplayers who go out of their way to “darken” the skin in order to “look” like the characters. I don’t have to explain to you why that’s fucked up. Cosplaying, to my understanding is role-playing a character you have a connection with. Most people just want to have fun pretending to be the characters they grew up watching. So it’s wild to me that PoC get the most grief for cosplaying FICTIONAL characters that some of the guys will NEVER get to meet in REAL LIFE.
Anyways, I just wanted to share these thoughts with the community. Please share your thoughts on how you view cosplay these days?