The pros and cons of cosplay!
Are you someone who’s considering getting into the cosplay hobby? I mean, as a cosplay blogger myself, of course I would say “yes.” Cosplay is one of the best things ever!
But maybe you have your own reservations about cosplay. Is it too expensive? Are cosplayers all toxic people? Is cosplaying itself a lot of hassle?
The pros and cons of cosplay
There are many pros and cons of cosplay. It can get quite expensive cosplaying all the time and you do have to deal with the not-so-great stuff at times, such as drama and stressful situations. But while cosplay isn’t a perfect hobby by any means, there’s lots to love about dressing up as fictional characters. It’s fun, artistic and you get to meet some truly amazing people!
In this post, I’ll go over the pros and cons of cosplay. That way, you can decide if cosplaying is the right hobby for you. (Spoilers, it probably is).
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Let’s start with the first pros and cons of cosplay.
I feel like this is a highly underrated aspect of cosplaying. In fact, I’d say this is one of the best reasons to cosplay.
Whether it’s dressing up at a convention or simply meeting up with friends for a private photoshoot, cosplaying always gives you an opportunity to socialize. As I mention in this article, cosplaying is a great way to make new friends. Or even to find a dating partner! You can be into the same fandom, or it’s a great excuse as an icebreaker to talk to someone new. For example, if you’re into Final Fantasy, it’s totally fun and awesome to meet someone who is also cosplaying from FF, because they’re into the same series. Getting these opportunities to meet new people is important for cosplayers, and this is probably the biggest reason why we cosplay.
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.
Pro: Confidence booster
Cosplaying can give you a lot of confidence in yourself!
I know so many cosplayers who have gotten more confident because of this hobby.
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 back, 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!
Pro: Cosplay is an artistic expression
Cosplay is an art, don’t you know? Especially if you’re the one making the costume. When you sew and craft your own cosplay, 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.
When I cosplay Marth from Fire Emblem, I’m expressing how noble of a prince I am! 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 a 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.
Pro: Cosplay is challenging
Learning how to make your own costumes can be frustrating and at times difficult. But cosplay 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.
Pro: It’s fun
Cosplaying in general is so much fun! You always learn something new. You always have fun and memorable moments at cosplay conventions. And for many people, this hobby serves as stress relief from all the stuff that’s going in your life.
How can you NOT have fun dressing up as your favourite characters?
When you’re cosplaying, you have an excuse to act a little more wild and eccentric than usual! I know for me, I’m usually calmer and reserved when I’m a normie going about my adult life. But when I’m in cosplay, I let myself act a little more wild. I’ll say random geeky things that other cosplayers understand. I let myself do some role playing, depending on the character I’m dressing up as. And I know a lot of cosplayers who do the same. It’s not unusual for cosplayers to act completely different from when they’re not in costume!
Okay, so there are some of the most notable pros of cosplaying. What about the cons? Let’s get into it. Pros and cons of cosplay!
Con: Cosplay is expensive!
While you can definitely save money on cosplay, in general cosplaying is a not a cheap hobby to get into. On average, you’ll be spending at least $100 USD on a decent costume every time, whether that’s buying it online or making it yourself. If you’re only budgeting for 1 or 2 costumes a year, then it’s not so bad. But if you’re trying to cosplay the most popular characters throughout the year, then you’ll be spending a lot of money! It’s why a lot of cosplayers buy used cosplays and try to sell their old ones.
Some cosplays like ones with armor can run you well over $300 USD. On top of that, traveling to a cosplay convention, staying at hotels and buying weekend passes can add up. So in general, you’ll definitely need some money in order to enjoy this hobby.
Con: Can be stressful
When you cosplay for a while, you do tend to 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 you get for 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.
Con: Takes up a lot of space in your home
This is more of my personal gripe. But if you’re living in a small home or even just a room, then you’ll find that cosplaying takes up a lot of space! From the wigs you’ll have to store and hang properly (more on that here), to the closet space you need for your actual costumes, your cosplays have to go somewhere. So if you’re keeping a lot of different cosplays around, they’ll be taking up a lot of space, which can be a hassle. I can see why a lot of cosplayers do a lot of selling. It’s not just about having more money for the next cosplay project, but to also clear out the closet space!
Con: Toxic community
You probably have heard all the “drama” and “toxicity” about the cosplay community.
Is the cosplay community toxic? Yes and no. In the community, there are definitely issues such as Cosplay gatekeeping (e.g. can’t cosplay if you’re not skinny, you’re of a certain race, not good enough at costume-making, quizzing someone based on the character they’re cosplaying).I mean, there are always bad people in every community.
But that doesn’t mean everyone is toxic. In fact, there are some amazing people in the cosplay community. Here’s how you can enjoy being in the cosplay community without the toxicity:
- Set your boundaries
- Pick and choose who you associate with
- Be extra kind and accommodating (lots of people with mental health issues, give them compassion and be there on their side, they’ll return the favour at some point)
Con: Doesn’t solve life problems
If you’re looking for cosplay to solve your life problems or to forget about them permanently, then unfortunately cosplay is not the answer.
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.
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. And in the end, your life problems will still be around after you take off the cosplay.
But as long as you strike a balance between having fun versus actively avoiding your problems, then you’ll be okay. You can enjoy cosplay while working on whatever is going on in your life. That’s the best way to be happy long-term!
Pro/Con: We’re geeks at heart!
Let’s face it; cosplay is a geeky hobby. 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.
Is this a pro or con? I’ll let you decide that. 🙂
To summarize, here are the pros and cons of cosplay:
- Pro: Cosplay provides social opportunities
- Pro: Confidence booster
- Pro: Cosplay is an artistic expression
- Pro: Cosplay is challenging
- Pro: It’s fun
- Con: Cosplay is expensive!
- Con: Can be stressful
- Con: Takes up a lot of space in your home
- Con: Toxic community
- Con: Doesn’t solve life problems
- Pro/Con: We’re geeks at heart!
And there you have it; the pros and cons of cosplay!
If you ask me, this hobby is totally worth it. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not perfect by any means. But I’m sure you’ll have an awesome time regardless. Now you know the pros and cons of cosplay.
Let me know in the comments your thoughts and suggestions!
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!