Why cosplay is fun for everyone!

For most of us, cosplay is a hobby we truly enjoy and very passionate about. But why do we find it so much fun? Why do we spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a costume we only wear occasionally in the year (click here to find out how much cosplay actually costs). Some cosplayers stay up all night to finish their costumes a few days before the big convention?

Why do cosplayers spend tons of money AND time to get dressed up and ready for photoshoots, trying to perfect their technique every time? Most cosplayers put a lot of effort into promoting their social media and they don’t even get paid to do it! Why do they do all this?

For a normie who doesn’t know much about cosplay, you might be scratching your head wondering why cosplayers go through all this pain and suffering, financially and sometimes emotionally.

Here’s why cosplay is fun for everyone. Cosplay gives tons of people the opportunity to express their love and creativity of geeky fandom, whether it’s from Anime, video games, comics, etc. For many cosplayers, it’s an opportunity to socialize with others while boosting their self-esteem. It’s a great hobby that relieves stress and allows artistic expression. And for some, it’s just an excuse to dress up! Whatever the reason may be, cosplay is a hobby that’s fun for everyone!

In this post, we’ll go through 9 intriguing reasons why cosplay is fun for everyone. Some may be obvious, while others fall under the radar. I’ll use personal experiences (including mine), as well as scientific academic studies to show why cosplay is fun.

Let’s get started!

1. Social opportunities

Cosplay is a fun way to meet new friends and meet like-minded people! Photo by Mooshu. Licensed by CC BY 2.0.

I feel like this is a highly underrated aspect of cosplaying. 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. 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 (according to this study), and this is probably the biggest reason why we cosplay.

2. You get to be someone else

I can tell you, it’s fun being a Protagonist! Photo by Rajeeman.

You can’t spell “cosplay” with “play!” When you dress up as a character, you can pretend to be them. And they can be the total opposite of who you are. So if you’re an introvert, you can cosplay be and someone outgoing and outrageous, such as Haruhi Suzumiya! Or if you’re a happy bubbly person, you can cosplay someone emo and angry like Sasuke from Naruto. Or best yet, you can dress up who resonates with you. For me, Roy Mustang is the type of guy I like and aspire to be, which is why I cosplayed him. It’s totally fun to cosplay various characters from all genres and fandoms.

3. Artistic expression

Katara Avatar cosplay
Cosplay is an art form. Cosplayer: totlamadi. Photo taken by jenxnoir.

Cosplay is an art, especially if you’re the one who makes 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 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.

4. Stress relief

Whether you’re cosplaying or listening to K.K. Slider, you’ll always feel at ease. Photo by William Tung. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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.

5. Escapism

Cosplaying definitely can put your mind at ease…for the most part. Cosplayers: jestina_keys and caram3llo_cosplay. Photo by futurephotographybym3.

Escapism is definitely a huge 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, 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 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 (if you’re interested in that topic, click here on my article about this). But as long as you strike a balance between having fun versus actively avoiding your problems, then you’ll be okay.

6. Confidence boost

Cosplay can make you feel great! Cosplayer: magdy_lu.

In fact, previous psychological research has shown that wearing a mask can shift people’s experience of themselves and their behavior. For instance, when stutterers in one experiment wore a mask, they stuttered less (Pallczek and Homefield, 1954).

Robin S. Rosenberg and Andrea M. Letamendi – Expressions of Fandom: Findings from a Psychological Survey of Cosplay and
Costume Wear

I know so so many cosplayers who have gotten more confident because of cosplay.

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 overlooked is that 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 prettier. Even learning social etiquette to make more valuable friends in the community.  All these things are not only confidence boosters, but definitely shows why cosplaying is fun.

7. You always learn something new

contacts (why cosplay is fun)
Whether it’s using contacts for the first time, or a new crafting technique, there’s also something fun to learn in the cosplay hobby. Image by Martin Slavoljubovski from Pixabay.

No matter how you often you cosplay, you’ll likely learn something new each time you do.

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.

8. Excuse to act differently

I do act a little differently when I’m Roy Mustang. 🙂

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!

I’m certainly not the only one. As mentioned previously, cosplay can accentuate some of your personality traits hidden inside you.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can act recklessly. There are definitely lots of cosplay rules you should follow, and respecting other cosplayers is very important. If you want to know more about these cosplay rules, check out my article. No glomping or Yaoi paddles allowed, those days are over!

9. We’re geeks at heart

Being a geek is fun, it’s as simple as that.

Let’s face it; 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.

Summary

Let’s recap all the reasons why cosplay is fun for everyone:

  1. Social opportunities
  2. You get to be someone else
  3. Artistic expression
  4. Stress relief
  5. Escapism
  6. Confidence boost
  7. You always learn something new
  8. Excuse to act differently
  9. We’re geeks at heart

And there you have it; 9 reasons why cosplay is fun for everyone!

If you’re new to cosplay, I hope this clarifies why we dress up and spend so much time and money on this lovely hobby. And if you’re a regular cosplayer, then this stuff isn’t new to you but now you see why it’s fun for you. What do you think? Let me know in the comments!