In Defense of Cosplay

cosplayheaderResearching this particular topic has been interesting, to say the least. Sifting through Google Image results, on the other hand, often reminded me of the times I searched for “crusty bedsores” or “gangrene + maggots.” Don’t ask.

Normally I may post one of these images. Too bad I’d prefer you to keep reading.

Yes, I am employing hyperbole here. However, the picture of an slightly overweight gentleman squeezed into the attire of anime beauty Faye Valentine is quite memorable. Add in the fact that he is attempting to show some bootay and you have… I just don’t know.

I just don't know...

I just don’t know…

I was exaggerating earlier. The bed sores weren’t that bad.

I’ll define, for the bewildered and terrified among you. “Cosplay” is short for costume play, and incorporates most of the people you see at “Star Wars” conventions. You construct a costume stitched together from Goodwill fragments and antique belt buckles, jury-rig some cardboard armor and BAM you’re Boba Fett.

For some reason, it’s always Boba Fett. I found one picture with nine of them.

Steampunk version...

Steampunk version…

Samurai version...

Samurai version…

And Sexy version. There is always a sexy version.

And Sexy version. There is always a sexy version.

It’s not always “Star Wars,” though. In fact, the scariest come from other niche audiences, like “Transformers,” “Pokémon” or “My Little Pony.” I found one man dressed as Velma from “Scooby Doo,” to my complete horror.

Now, some cosplayers are quite impressive, mostly for their adherence to detail. Some Japanese cosplayers are celebrities, and spend thousands of dollars to perfectly emulate an anime character. To them, life is like Disneyland, except everyone is wearing oversized animal heads.

Sometimes my similes have a life of their own...

Sometimes my similes have a life of their own…

I get how it can be fun to play pretend. Heck, most acting is pretty similar and I’m a theatre guy. My fear is when they cross over the “fun” line and dash into the “obsessive-to-the-point-of-social-paralysis” endzone. But let’s see how the community defends itself.

In my routine research, I found fan blogs. Scratch that, I slogged through fan blog after fan blog until the word “awesome” lost all meaning. Vocab variety, people!

Eventually, I found something worthwhile.

Nicole Wakelin of Geekmom.com wrote an article about how conventions are “bully-free’” zones, despite the amount of snarky commentary that swirls around them. She quotes an article in Men’s Fitness titled, “NY Comic Con: Flabby Versions of Your Favorite Superheroes!” to display the widespread snarkiness surrounding this particular hobby.

I obviously know nothing of such snarkiness.

Tom Pinchuck of Comicvine.com writes, “’Mainstream culture’ has an awfully long list of hobbies it says are only suitable for children. . .(it baffles me) how much negative sentiment about cosplaying I’ve heard from fans and pros alike.”

Okay, point taken.

I still believe some of these cosplayers are trapped in fantasy worlds. Pretend can become obsession, and that is a dangerous downward spiral. However, that fact does not give me a license to bully. As long as everything is in good fun, I am fine with even the strangest cosplay.

There are always sexy ones. "Gotta Pee Lady Vader" is not one of them.

There are always sexy ones. “Gotta Pee Lady Vader” is not one of them.

And let me tell you, I’ve seen some doozies. Ever wanted to see a large gentleman dress like Wonder Woman? I know I didn’t!

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