Is cosplay a weird hobby?
For those outsiders looking in, you might be wondering about the mysterious hobby of cosplaying.
Is cosplay a weird hobby?
It’s a question that many people ask, especially those who are new to the cosplay world. After all, why else would people spend so much money on a costume? But the truth is, there are many reasons such as how fun and fulfilling cosplaying is. And the irony is that the “weirdness” is actually what makes the cosplay hobby so unique and wonderful! So is cosplay a weird hobby? Who cares!
In this post, I’ll go over 10 reasons why cosplay is and is NOT a weird hobby, and why people dress up and cosplay as a past time or even for a living.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Yes – We spend way too much money on our cosplays!
Let’s get this one out of the way. For the most part, we do spend a ton of money on cosplay! As I mention many times on this blog, cosplay can be a very expensive hobby. Just one costume alone can be hundreds of dollars. And that’s just the costume. Attending a cosplay convention can cost even more money, especially the larger ones.
But we spend all this money for a reason; we love this hobby! For a variety of reasons of course, which I’ll get down to later in this article. But we’re not stupid though (at least most of us). We’re spending our money on a hobby we truly enjoy. And whether your hobby is collecting cars or Pokémon cards, no one has a right to tell you how to spend your money if you’re truly enjoying what you do.
On the flip side, cosplay can also be affordable as well. Trust me; I know a lot of cosplayers who have little to no money. Yet they are able to make it work. Things such as closet cosplay and learning how to save money (link) go a long way to making cosplaying a lot more affordable.
So while yes, it might seem strange that we spend so much money to dress up, there’s a lot of nuance to that. It’s for good reason and there are ways to save money on this hobby to make it accessible for most people.
2. No – Cosplay is an art expression
Who would think dressing up in itself is an art? This is especially in cosplay if you’re the one who makes the costume. When you sew and craft your own costume, you have the ability to customize it the way you want. Whether it’s adding some beautiful embroidery or modifying the character look, you have total control over how you look. When you cosplay, you’re expressing yourself to others.
For example, when I cosplay Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist, I’m expressing how much of a badass military state member I am, with my fire and flames! Or when I cosplayed Hyuuga from Kuruko No Baske, even though it was a simple cosplay, I should that I enjoyed basketball.
For most cosplayers, we truly find the art of expressing ourselves in costume…a lot of fun!
It’s interesting to note that while you can use cosplay to be someone else, you can also use cosplay to accentuate your own personal traits as well. According to this study, “The fan performer relies on multiple bodies and repertoires that are intimately connected to the fan’s identity and the performed character.” So cosplay can be an artistic expression of your true self.
3. Yes – We get stressed over dumb stuff!
It’s true it’s true! Cosplayers do stress out about the most trivial stuff. Stuff like:
- Finishing a costume on time before the next convention. This phenomenon is called Con Crunch. Click here to read more about that.
- Whether our cosplay photos will turn out good or not. This is why we do our best to prepare for a cosplay photoshoot.
- Like many subcultures, we have our drama and toxic people. If you want to learn more about the cosplay community and how there can be good and bad people, click here.
For an outsider, it might seem strange to get upset over the smallest things when it comes to cosplay. But it just shows how passionate we are about this hobby.
I mean, it would be the same if cosplayers saw someone in a different hobby getting mad over something trivial. Like a sports fan getting mad over their team losing. For a lot of us, our response would be, “Why be mad over something you can’t control?” It’s the same thing!
So in short, everybody is passionate about something. Whether it’s sports, cards or in this case, cosplaying. When we get emotional with our hobby, it shows how much we love it.
4. No – Cosplay is a fun challenge and learning experience
Learning how to make your own costumes can be frustrating and difficult. But it makes for a fun challenge. And it feels so rewarding when people appreciate your finished costume at a convention by asking for your photo!
Because no matter how you often you cosplay, you’ll likely learn something new each time you dress up.
I mention this a few times on this blog, but there’s a lot of nuance that goes into making a cosplay look really good. You could be wearing a simple cosplay like Lola Bunny, but there’s a lot of stuff you can do to make yourself look better: makeup, using the right poses, using high-quality material, shooting in the right setting, etc. If you’re the observant type like me, then you LOVE to notice these little things when you cosplay.
The last photoshoot I did, I was cosplaying Kaeya from Genshin Impact. One of the pieces of my costume kept falling off and someone told me I should carry bobby pins with me for situations like this. We called this Cosplay Malfunction. For me, trial and error is fun to learn and that’s what makes the cosplaying experience so enjoyable.
5. Yes – Cosplay is Escapism
In essence, cosplay is fantasy and it’s definitely fun to escape your reality!
Escapism is in fact a big reason why cosplayers dress up. Being able to cosplay and be a different character, even for just a little bit, can provide a lot of happiness for you. It allows you to live a fun, fantasy world while you’re dressed. Even if what’s going on with your life isn’t the greatest or best, by dressing up as your favorite character, you can forget about life’s problems and just enjoy the moment. Not only can cosplay be fun, but it can allow you to appreciate the positives of life.
That being said, using cosplay as Escapism can be taken too far. Spending tons of money on a costume to escape your issues is not a very good idea. But as long as you strike a balance between having fun versus actively avoiding your problems, then you’ll be okay.
6. No – Cosplay is stress relief
Cosplay is a hobby, first and foremost. Hobbies are a way for us to have fun and relieve some stress, similar to watching Anime and playing video games. Which by the way, go hand in hand. Because many cosplayers are into Anime and video games! Dressing up as a different character is a lot of fun and helps you relieve stress.
Everyone looks forward to cosplay convention weekends. Not only are they fun, but they relieve all that stress you may be dealing with in your life. Cosplay can be truly a mental blessing!
7. Yes – It’s our way of socializing and meeting
Looking back over the past decade, a lot of my friends are from the cosplay community. It’s crazy to think that I’ve met some of the best people ever by dressing up as a fictional character…aka cosplay!
While you might think that’s weird, it really isn’t that strange.
In fact, there’s a scholarly article showing that attending cosplay conventions is similar to going on a pilgrimage. No joke! At first I was a bit puzzled. But after reading the article, it does make a lot of sense. We travel and dress up to attend a mass gathering, to celebrate our specific hobby and passion, similar to a pilgrimage.
So while looking on the outside, you might think that dressing up as fictional characters is a weird way to socialize and meet new people. But it’s really no different from any other subculture in terms of socializing. Cosplay is so mainstream these days, that it’s not even considered “weird” anymore!
8. No – Cosplay is a confidence boost
Cosplaying can give people so much confidence in themselves!
I know many cosplayers who have gotten more confident because of this hobby.
Wearing a costume in itself can make you feel better.
The hobby can challenge you in many different ways. Whether it’s making a complicated cosplay that requires advanced techniques. Or even something as simple as wearing a more revealing cosplay. This hobby can make you feel great about yourself.
I remember my friend a few years ago saying that the Cosplay Community improved her self-esteem I asked her about her post a few weeks ago and here’s what she said:
“I did post that the Cosplay Community is a BIG CONFIDENCE booster for me, it still holds to this day.”
Another thing that I find overlooked is when you see all these great and beautiful cosplayers, it serves as motivation. Whether it’s for the attention, likes or recognition, I have seen so many cosplayers become motivated to become better and improve themselves:
- Hitting the gym to lose weight or gain muscle
- Improving their cosplay skills to make better-looking costumes
- Learning how to use makeup or wig styling to look pretty
- Even learning social etiquette to make more valuable friends in the community
All these things can definitely be confidence boosters!
9. Yes – Cosplay is geeky at heart!
Plain and simple; cosplay is a geeky hobby and subculture. And we love to do geeky things. It gives cosplayers much fun and pleasure to do geeky stuff like dress up and hangout with like-minded individuals who are into the same thing. It’s why we spend so much money on these damn costumes.
10. No – Cosplay is a form of love (for the character)
If it isn’t so obvious, part of the fun of cosplaying is dressing up as characters you like! By creating a costume or even spending money on a cosplay, these actions show how you much you love the character. By playing the role of that character, you’re showing that passion you have for that particular character.
Yes, there are instances where people cosplay a particular character because they’re famous. Or their design is so awesome that you want to wear what they’re wearing. But for the most part, we tend to cosplay the characters we genuinely love and respect.
To summarize, here are 10 reasons explaining why cosplay is a weird hobby. Or not!
- Yes – We spend way too much money on our cosplays!
- No – Cosplay is an art expression
- Yes – We get stressed over dumb stuff!
- No – Cosplay is a fun challenge and learning experience
- Yes – Cosplay is Escapism
- No – Cosplay is stress relief
- Yes – It’s our way of socializing and meeting
- No – Cosplay is a confidence boost
- Yes – Cosplay is geeky at heart!
- No – Cosplay is a form of love (for the character)
Whatever the reason may be, is cosplay a weird hobby? Who cares if it is! It’s great that cosplaying is so unique in its own way. It’s why so many people take part in this hobby. And that’s how we shall wrap up this article. Let me know what you think in the comments below! Do YOU think cosplay is a weird hobby?
Roger Senpai is a writer that is an expert with the cosplaying hobby. He has traveled to several cosplay convention in North America and writes various articles regarding cosplay including tips, tricks and ideas.