Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Negative Side of Cosplay

Posted by ajaberico at 7:30 AM

Cosplay had been on the mainstream in the past few years. The numbers of people who want to do costumes, portray characters or become cosplayers are continuously increasing. Although cosplay brings positive effects to a person, there are also negative counterparts in doing cosplay which I would like to discuss.

As a cosplayer, I love being in costumes and portray different roles but sadly, many people are criticizing it because there are studies in psychology that shows the negative effects of cosplaying to cosplayers. So I was quite amazed with the idea and while I was researching about this topic I came across with a blog by Trinket Princess at http://trinketprincess.blogspot.com, an illegitimate source but the post she sited captured my interest and curiosity to know more about the negative effects of cosplay. Her post was entitled Negative Aspects of Cosplay. Here's the complete run down of the negative aspects of cosplay according to her. I've also did some research supporting what she have said.

1.         Cosplay can be an act of fandom – or an act of obsession. Many anime and comic book fans want to cosplay their favorite characters. To put it simple, they are true-blue fans. However, some people develop a certain obsession, where cosplay becomes an integral part of it. And when you’re obsessed with cosplay or anime, you can be known as an “otaku” which we wwas defined by tvtropes.org as people who staked out their own favorite thing, and they obsess over it relentlessly. Regardless of other intelligence, an otaku will have an obsessive, unhealthy, and almost encyclopedic knowledge of their chosen topic.

2.       Cosplay opens up a new breed of discrimination. Many cosplayers are prone to discrimination. They are discriminated in terms of gender (girls over boys), looks (where less-than-pretty cosplayers are laughed at or criticized), weirdness and race (where cosplayers who do not look Japanese are frowned upon). 

3.       Cosplay gives the world a wrong portrait of Japanese culture. Almost all cosplayed characters are actually Japanese in origin. However, cosplayers portray these Japanese characters as whimsical or cutesy, sometimes saying "sayonara" or "kawaii", both japanese words, in little, high-pitched voices. For your knowledge, the falsetto voices are deemed disrespectful by the Japanese as they seem to mock the Japanese race. The inaccurate portrayal of anime characters by cosplayers are seen by the Japanese as “cheap imitation”.

4.        Cosplay encourages people to address their self-esteem, self-confidence, or self-image issues by “shedding one’s real personality”. There is nothing wrong with wearing a costume – but if you wear it because it boosts your confidence, then you spring back to your low self-esteem once the costume is taken off, then therein lies the problem. Instead of allowing young people to explore their true selves, they learn to hide behind masks and feel better by pretending to be someone else. The real self is discarded, as it does not produce the same satisfaction as the fantasy self. In this way, cosplay, for many shy youngsters who have self-image issues, becomes a form of escapism.

5.       The world of cosplay, just like the world of modeling, may give the youth unrealistic expectations of what they should be. False lashes, contact lenses that increase the size of one’s pupils, and wigs have become quite popular in the non-cosplay world, a phenomenon encouraged by cosplay. Many youngsters now look at these accessories as indispensible. Some cosplay critics believe that cosplay discourages people to be who they are, that it keeps people from being comfortable in their own skin while promoting a culture of pretense.

6.       Cosplay also promotes the objectification of women. A lot of cosplayers will shun the idea of wearing plunging necklines in real life, but will not hesitate to wear skimpy costumes for cosplay. Many cosplay fans actually admire cosplayers because of their skimpy attire. Female cosplayers are objectified this way, earning the wrath of many feminists. There is a subset of cosplay that revolves around sex appeal: cosplayers actually choose very revealing, sometimes very explicit, costumes. To be blunt, cosplay has become the perfect excuse for many young women to wear inappropriate clothes under the guise of self-expression.

And before you call yourself as cosplayers  or an “otaku”…
In Japan, otaku has a negative impression. Decades ago, an “otaku” kidnapped many young girls and took videos of their dead bodies. This otaku serial killer has caused a lot of panic in Japan. Ever since, most Japanese think that to be called “otaku” is very insulting.

I myself had experienced these situations and am glad that I am progressively coping up with it. It is really important to do researches before venturing into your hobby or if you are already in the cosplay community, now, that you’ve knew the negative effect, would you still prefer to do cosplays?

3 comments:

Dan Tran on May 29, 2014 at 9:32 AM said...

hello there, i like these, especially number 6, i had a argument over number 6, what r ur thoughts on girls dressing skimpy? my gf jus call them all sluts?

ajaberico on June 18, 2014 at 8:38 AM said...

Hello Dan,
I apologize for the late response..
With regards to your concern, I believe it is just a matter of perception of how people accepts this kind of clothing. It is whether they have beliefs that they are holding on to that they might find "skimpy" clothing as offensive and violates their beliefs that leads to conclusion that people who wears these clothing are 'sluts' and those who are more liberal and open minded to accept that these are all just part of the so called 'cosplay'.
Hope this helps.. :)

Unknown on February 12, 2018 at 9:23 AM said...

The fact is, dressing up once or twice a year for a convention is one thing (still a bit weird, but ok), but if you spend hundreds of hours on cosplay related activities, then you've got mental issues.

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