I would like to provide a little insight on this issue beyond the usual (valid) arguments that you should not go on a witch hunt for fake geek girls/guys. Full disclosure here, I have cosplayed characters I did not know on several occasions. *gasp* My first cosplay was a character I didn’t know. So please here me out.
4. You’ve been invited to a cosplay group:
Cosplayers are a social bunch and like to collaborate. Often times it might be for a series that one person is a big fan of while the others are less aware or unaware of the series. Is the big fan’s costume better because they are a fan? No. Is their costume more valid because they are a fan? No. If anything they are bringing more people into the fandom.
Also it could be that the group collectively like the designs (Point #1) or they like the artist (Point #2).
5. You look like the character:
Sometimes this is enough to get the interest of a cosplayer or maybe the character is often suggested to them as a potential costume. This can be an especially strong incentive for people who find very few representations similar to themselves in popular media. Although I believe in cosplaying whatever you want, I can understand that sometimes people are more comfortable cosplaying characters that look like them. There is a certain form of satisfaction to being told “You look exactly like them.”
6. You already have the supplies:
Cosplayers tend to accumulate materials over the years and it is nice to get rid of them in a productive way. Sometimes they stumble across a costume that will use up some supplies and tools that have been collecting dust. It is especially the case for expensive items such as: an embroidery machine and leather crafting tools. But this also applies to slightly less expensive items such as: wigs, boots, and fabric.
7. Limited time:
There is only so much time for hobbies. Although we all would love to spend more time reading visual novels, watching TV, and playing video games, there are so many hours in the day and something has to give. Cosplay is a time intensive hobby especially when you throw in work, school, family, friends, and other interests. If someone is passionate about crafting then let them dedicate their time to that.
Disclaimer: I would advise cosplayers who plan to cosplay something they do not know to do some research. You may unknowingly cosplay something contrary to your beliefs and interest, such as characters from adult content (hentai), culturally insensitive costumes, and controversial historical figures/symbols (ex. Nazi uniforms).
Reasons Why it's Okay
4/12/2014 06:08:18 am
Thank you so much for posting this! I love cosplaying characters that look similar to me just because it's easier to do my hair (and plus, don't have to buy a wig!).
5/12/2014 03:45:46 am
This was the same reason why I chose my first cosplay. Long black voluminous ringlet curls are hard to come by in anime.
4/12/2014 07:15:07 am
First this article is well written & your points well thought out. That said, I was a fan of comics before the 2000's boom when they hit mainstream media. Because of that I did receive some ridicule (mostly upon hitting my late teens/early 20's) about "comics are for kids" & "videogames are a waste of time". I for one am very glad to see my interests receiving more of the spotlight & gathering more fandom. I love seeing girls dressed up as my favorite characters (guys too but girls seem to have more devotion & better costumes per capita). I will admit I have never actually attended any conventions myself. Were I to walk up to Jessica Nigri, Yaya Han or Lindsey Elsie at a convention & they were dressed as a character I love but didn't know much about the character I would probably use that excuse to interact with them more (to share my knowledge of the character/story)(hopefully without geeking out too much on them). I personally would not belittle a cosplayer for doing a costume of a character they know little to nothing about. We are visual creatures & as such we are drawn to what we find attractive/interesting. I myself got into comics for the art. Not interested in the story very much at all for the first few year of my collecting. So koodos to you all & keep doing what your doing. Peace & Love
5/12/2014 01:42:46 am
well said as well!
4/12/2014 07:35:36 am
It's not ok. The point of Cosplay was fandom, not it is about wanting to be a model and get attention. There is nothing wrong with that, other than this is cultural appropriation. You are taking my culture and you are stealing it for the gain of others culture. Please stop.
4/12/2014 10:12:13 am
Oh, wah. It's not 'your culture', it's a culture that you may have grown up on, but it does not make it yours and it does not mean it cannot be changed into another form of culture.
4/12/2014 11:35:07 am
thank you! I'm a professional cosplayer. and it sickens me to see and hear the hate that flows through these people that claim to be cosplayers. if you are a true cosplayer, then they would believe just as you stated. not spew rude and hurtful comments. cosplay is to just enjoy ones self. does not matter the color, race, size, age, whatever! and for someone to stoop so low to say that a "handicapped" person is not allowed to cosplay should be ashamed of themselves. smh. thank you for being many of the few people who know the true meaning of cosplay and what cosplayers should stand for. :]
4/12/2014 12:19:48 pm
Hahahahaha "your culture"
7/12/2014 11:11:45 pm
Did you know that the term "cosplay" was coined when a visitor from Japan saw Americans dressing up at Star Trek conventions? It is a name inspired by a love for something, and it's not just about Japan. Please broaden YOUR horizons and learn.
Thank you so much for writing this. I agree with you completely and I'm so sick of people complaining about other cosplayers who do this. In the end, this is a non-issue. We're just a bunch of dorks having a laugh. So why make a mountain out of a mole hill? Just cosplay whatever the hell you feel like.
4/12/2014 09:03:45 am
I dress as characters I don't know usually as part of a couple's cosplay with my husband; it goes both ways, he went as Peeta to my Katniss one day, and I went as a FOX soldier to his Solid Snake the next.
4/12/2014 09:51:31 am
I believe that you can definitely cosplay a character if you haven't played the game but if you are worried about someone coming up to you and quizzing you on everything then definitely look up some videos of the character and their personality. Or if they have a catchphrase or something. It makes the character seem more alive but you don't have to if you don't want to.
4/12/2014 11:00:47 am
number 5 is a great point! someone or several people say "Hey you look like so & so from _____" You look the character up & yeah you kind of do. I've had this happen before, I didn't know the character but I did look like them & loved the design ^_^
4/12/2014 12:52:09 pm
Thank you for posting this. I was very well thought out. I've done group cosplays with my friends because they're so much fun, even when I'm not familiar with the fandom. They've done the same for me.
4/12/2014 01:51:05 pm
Love the article, a good informative one too!
4/12/2014 10:38:41 pm
Posers are still posers.
5/12/2014 03:55:18 am
Haters gonna hate
7/12/2014 06:46:06 am
This is a very nice, sympathetic article defending the hobby of cosply as practiced by many people, some of whom happen to be very fine costumers. I can cerainly see how fascination with a costume can lead one to constructing and wearing it despite unfamiliarity with the character. But I will admit that I am even more impressed by cosplayers who choose a character for some personal significance and have a good, thorough knowledge of the character and the word from which they come.
15/12/2014 06:59:17 am
I can think of another reason someone might cosplay from a series they aren't really in the fandom for. And it was actually a reason I made a couple of costumes.
10/5/2015 06:49:27 am
I was pondering over this for my next cosplay. I had considered the character before but I am not heavily into the source. I always believed that cosplaying was the way that you showed your utmost love for a character, show, game, etc. And I can see why some would get upset if you cosplayed someone you don't know. But I think it's best to at least educate yourself a bit so that you'll know their mannerisms, their part and personality and a bit of the source so that you can communicate about it with people who are fans.
22/2/2017 07:41:40 pm
Thank you for posting this, I was so scared of making a cosplay bc I didn't know the source material nor have I the funds to play it with a school, but I had cosplay supplies and really liked ahri's design, and have watched some gameplay. You gave me the confidence boost I needed to go through with it. Besides, I could use those tails for other nine tailed characters like Ninetales!
divine block o art
23/6/2022 03:44:46 pm
the world has standards. as much as i understand why cosplayers choose to randomly dress up as something from a source, they still gotta try to understand where their source is from. respect in a two way street.
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MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.