Confidence through Cosplay
You'd be forgiven for assuming cosplay might involve some sort of salad-based activity, but nope - cosplay has absolutely nothing to do with cos lettuce... that is unless there's a lettuce-shaped manga character we've never heard of? No, cosplay is in fact a contraction of the words 'costume play' and participants of this culture choose to dress up as their favourite book, film, video game, or comic character. What you might not know is that there's a HUGE community of cosplayers around the world, and for people who find it difficult to interact with others as themselves, cosplaying can be just what they need to give them a confidence boost.
In the clip above from WTF is Cosplay, anime addict Daniel, who has struggled to make friends in the past because of his autism, talks us through the ways that cosplay has enhanced his life. Watch other episodes of WTF is Cosplay here, but please keep in mind that some clips may not be suitable for younger viewers.
Would you do cosplay?
If cosplay is something that interests you, then you're in luck, as we have everything you need to know about it - from what makes a good cosplayer to where you can show off your new vibe...
What is cosplay?
The term 'cosplay' came about in 1984 and was coined by a Japanese reporter called Nobuyuki Takahashi. To some, cosplay is a hobby or a bit of fun. To others, it's a way of life. The former will usually dress up as they would for halloween and will attend special cosplay-themed occasions, but the latter will fully immerse themselves in the world of Cosplay - often altering every part of their look and behaviour, and sometimes performing in front of people at events.
Why do people do cosplay?
Everyone who involves themselves with cosplay has their own reasons for doing it, but many people find that living 'through' the characters they dress up as allows them to behave in ways they wouldn't be able to otherwise. Within this subculture, there's a strong sense of 'family' and no matter what their background, participants often feel united through their love of cosplay.
What makes good cosplay?
You never need to feel that you SHOULD look or behave in a certain way - do whatever makes you feel comfortable. If you want to catch people's eye with your costume, then attention to detail and creativity will never go amiss! Feeling confident will also help you stand out, and although you may feel awkward with your new look at first, you will slowly become more comfortable the more you put yourself out there. People who do cosplay often say that they are normally very shy, but that when they are in costume it's a completely different story!
The risks of cosplay
Some cosplay characters are designed to be quite provocative, and unfortunately many females have been subject to some unwanted attention. The same goes for males who might not fit the 'conventional' cosplay look. A lot of places where cosplayers gather are trying to crack down on this behaviour by implementing anti-harassment policies, which is positive, as people come in all shapes and sizes and shouldn't feel bad for the way they look.
How can I get started as a cosplayer?
First, pick out which character you'd most like to mimic! Once you've chosen your look, a good place to show it off is at a convention. Most large cities will hold their own events, but London Comic Con is a good one and takes place in May. You can find out about it here.
Cosplaying can be a positive and liberating way to express yourself, and can be a great method of meeting new people who share your passion - but always make sure to take care if you decide to attend cosplay events as they can be quite overwhelming environments!
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