For those that are not aware the practice of getting dressed up as your favorite characters from comics, movies, cartoons or video games while at a convention is commonly referred to as cosplay. I myself in the past have dressed in a Star Trek uniform when going to conventions. I even dressed up as Harry Dresden at a comic book convention about 8 years ago. I have no issue with people that want to cosplay for the love of the character.
The idea of dressing up as your favorite character at a convention was done in the spirit of celebrating that character. Whether it’s Spider-Man or Batman you have a character that has touched your life in some way. It also makes you feel empowered when you dress up as that character. And the main thing here is anyone should feel free to dress up as their favorite character to celebrate them and what the character means to them.
But Cosplay has changed and in some ways it has become toxic. We actually talked about this topic on the podcast a long time ago.
People are doing it for the wrong reasons. So when people started showing up at cons in costume the cons decided to have costume contests. And over the years the contests have gotten bigger and more elaborate. And while these contests can be a fun part of a con, they’ve attracted people who are more concerned with winning then having fun celebrating their favorite characters. Some people going as far to create sexier versions of the characters they are dressed as to help give them an edge. After all the characters in the comics are all physically “perfect” it seems like a logical conclusion. But this of course has led to people being shunned from the community for not having the right look.
Cosplay no longer has a sense of inclusion. When the show heroes of cosplay was on one of the cosplayers was shocked when some of the other cosplayers were making comments about people not having the right body types for their costumes. And when we discussed this on out panel show most of the cosplayers shook it off as not indicative of the community. But most cosplayers I know work out religiously. And some of them won’t even dress up “off season” when they aren’t working out regularly. Afraid they might look doughy in their costume. As a former cosplayer, who is now an overweight middle aged father, this makes me sad. Though they may not say it directly, this stuff make me feel like I am not allowed to dress up. Giving credence to that comment from the TV show. A lot of people feel like they aren’t allowed to cosplay if they are out of shape, and that’s making this an exclusive clud, shich shouldn’t be what the comic book community is about.
It’s become a business. I’m sure you are aware by now, but there are a growing number of famous cosplayers. This started out with cosplayers who would create elaborate costumes and won a handful of costume contests. A lot of cons asked this cosplayers to join the panel of judges for the contests. Then we had cosplayers creating fan pages for themselves on facebook. A lot of these cosplayers posting risque photos of themselves to help gain followers. And a large number of them also have patreon pages with exclusive photos for patreons subscribers. Some of these photos are beyond risque. But these cosplayers have become so popular that the cons have now started inviting them to the shows as guests. Giving them tables where they sell autographed pictures of themselves. It’s kind of gotten ridiculous and really buries the reason people started dressing up in the first place.
So in conclusion I think cosplay has become a toxic environment that hurts that comic book community. If you want to dress up as your favorite character at a con, I say go for it. And don’t do it to become “internet famous” do it because you live the character. Remember this is entertainment and i should be fun. So put the camera down, get off Instagram and go have fun.
Don’t forget to check out the latest Super Hero Speak!