Cosplaying is a combination of the words costume and play. Part of it is organization, form, and unity. Another part of it is satisfaction, enjoyment, and entertainment. Having the freedom to be anything, anyone, and in any way you see fit is a tempting idea. It is a blank canvas for icons like Batman, Wonder Woman and Captain America to be portrayed in our own respective definitions. If a person is disabled, for instance, that isn’t a wall to them in cosplay; it can truthfully be an empowerment.
Acceptance takes on a human shape as a person changes how they feel about themselves. Race, age, ability, gender, and height have little, if anything, to do with how a person sees their heroes. In this case, it has even less to do with other people’s opinions. Cosplay allows for a domain of expression with fewer negatives. Sometimes in societal intimidation, huge disappointments and disapproval can put a damper on individual creativity. Dressing in a costume and having fun provides an opportunity for a change in that. It permits a boy, girl, man, woman, or family to redefine how they feel about themselves. They can figuratively step into a new definition. They can reform their own persona, making the experience personal while feeling excited in the process.
Cosplay in a way, could be likened unto starting a business. You can do it as a sole proprietor/by yourself or you can find partners. It requires a strategy, a goal, and primarily a vision. It could be a grassroots effort or maybe the goal requires “angel investors” to help fund the cost for materials. Wire, mesh, foam, perhaps cardboard. Depending on the outfit, it could be an expensive endeavor but definitely a fulfilling one. Networking is involved as a person socializes with other individuals that are more than likely dealing with similar issues. Together they can find solutions and celebrate achievements. There are workshops for making costumes as well as props that are just like business seminars to find the best means of obtaining a goal. This assists in accurately depicting what the end game is going to look like.
Cosplay, as all business plans are, is subject to scrutiny. The judgmental glances, snide remarks and off-color comments by some try to deconstruct other’s interpretations of traditional icons. This is all taken with a grain of salt, in a cup of sugar. By that I mean, the good far outweighs the bad. For a business the goal may be to profit, it may be to help the community or both. It is very similar to cosplay. A person can don the mantle of Superman or The Sailor Scouts of Jacksonville and act as a symbol of hope. Adorable and elegant cosplay can be adopted like PikaBelleChu or Candy Keane. Another person could wear the mask of Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th” and help people overcome their inner fears. This could be done by just being approachable with a friendly, although creepy, hug.
The form of the cosplay is up to the person. The outfit that a person chooses could be a famous truck, a transformer, or even a regal queen. It isn’t confined to just comics, anime or a video game. Cosplay isn’t about dressing up as much as it is about fun.
Also it is not limited to a convention. A movie opening, a game night or an event it happens a great deal, making it something unconventional but yet profound. The Florida Garrison 501st Squad 7’s charity work, for example, surprised me. They are experts at what they really love doing. They are a part of Star Wars’ fandom and devoted to everything it means. They also participate in the community. They lift up hopes. They are role models to children, to fans, and to the public. The Umbrella Corporation Jacksonville 219th Brain Surgeons, HellGirl Cosplay, The Jacksonville Ghostbusters and a lot of other great examples are out there, too.
In a Shakespearean way, cosplay is to become, to be and to be more. To be everything, to everyone and to be no one. To be the dream or to be the smiling face when others need it. The fibers of fantasy are intimately stitched into the cloth of cosplay. At the hands of visionaries cosplay is sown into reality right out of the sentiment of human hearts. And I think that means cosplay is a valuable talent and a gift to one’s self and to others. By the way you should see my Perry Boyd cosplay; it’s pretty amazing.