I’m sure some people think cosplayers are a strange bunch. I mean, people who go to conventions dressed up in costume… for what? For the attention, so they can be gawked at and have pictures taken of them? So people can ooh and ahh at how pretty the girls look, and how badass the guys look? I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who sneer at these folks and dismiss them as freaks.
Thing is, considering the amount of dedication that’s required to make some of these costumes (never mind the effort required to haul them halfway across the country, or to roam around all day in the heat inside them), it seems like attention alone would be pretty poor payback. Unless one is really inclined to believe that their ogling eyes make life itself worthwhile, there surely must be something else.
My friend Natalie wrote an excellent article for Nerd Appropriate (“PAX Prime 2013: Cosplay Coming Out”) about what it means to be a cosplayer, to be part of this community and to celebrate the things you love in a very demonstrable way. Makes sense to me.
But what does cosplaying mean to someone like me, someone who helped build these characters they’re cosplaying as and who helped build the worlds they’re celebrating?
I was lucky enough to go to the Bioware panel at D*C last year (yes, allowed to get in due to my Shae Vizla costume- I had been Liara in the parade and umm… collapsed so no more prosthetics for me that day! Bodysuit and armour really was the better option…) Anyway. There was very real emotion when the panel talked about how much the devs appreciated the effort of the costuming fans.
Okay so I was a little emotional as it was, due to traveling from New Zealand and being overtired and overheated, but there was some sniffling. A fair bit. Okay I cry a lot when it comes to the good side of this cosplay thing. That’s not faked when handing out prizes.
Also all the cosplayers in the room were really polite and we all were trying to let people see past us if we were standing!
And I realised how many Bioware inspired costumes I have made and are in progress (Samara, Shae, Liara, Nyreen and my Femshep- Flemmeth is on the must do as well even if I have a high and girly voice) So Bioware goes on to the short list of sources of Must Make All The Costumes. And it overlaps with the other one 😉