Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Why Does Cosplay Bring Us Joy?

(Guest post by Jason)

As I made my way through the halls and booths at the Dallas Fan Expo, I marveled at the hundreds of elaborate costumes around me. This showing could surely rival the most massive Halloween parties in the US. With Jedi and stormtroopers, superheroes and villains, fairies and trolls, famous and obscure characters, I started wondering what’s behind the costumes? What about cosplay brings these people so much joy? And why they choose the costumes they do?

Is it for the attention? Cosplayers in the most elaborate or unique costumes would often get people wanting to take photos with them. They beamed each time it happened. Can’t imagine that happens to them much outside of this world.

Or possibly for the connection? The Guardians of the Galaxy group surely had fun planning their costumes and walking around feeling like they could save the world together.

Maybe it’s the escape? As I watched the lightsaber battles between jedis, it really felt like they had entered a different world. I can see how the opportunity to escape from everyday life and become someone/something totally different would be a reprieve from the same old daily routine.

Could it be self-expression? Harry Potter fans seemed to embody this purpose. First, with such passion in their different houses (particularly Hufflepuffs, who didn’t seem to realize they weren’t in Hogwarts). But, beyond that, many took it to a whole other level and tailored their robes to their personalities.

Or maybe people are just trying to feel young again? As I watched a toddler excitedly approach an edgy-looking rabbit from a game I didn’t know, the two connected on such a sweet, innocent level. The toddler just saw a sweet white bunny, and the cosplayer became that sweet white bunny in the moment as if it was the highlight of her day.

Not really sure what people’s reasons are. Maybe all of these, or maybe there are other reasons. But, whatever the reasons, the fantasy world cosplayers create is objectively incredible and something everyone should experience at least once in life.

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