Is Cosplay bad? It May Depends on you!

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Cosplay is a beneficial hobby. Keep in mind that sometimes this activity might be bad. It may depend on the person.

If you're looking for an answer to the question, "Is cosplay bad?", the short answer he is, maybe! The answer to this question may depend on how they interpret this hobby. For me as a cosplayer, this hobby is very beneficial to me. It becomes my way of expressing myself.

While this hobby is beneficial, you should also watch out for bad sides. Everything in this world has their own unique pros and cons. There's no such thing as a perfect hobby for everyone.

Key Takeaway: Cosplay: A Hobby with Both Light and Shadow

Cosplay is not inherently bad or good, but a complex activity with potential benefits and drawbacks. It can be a source of:

  • Creativity and skill development: Designing, sewing, crafting, and more.
  • Community and belonging: Connecting with fellow fans and building friendships.
  • Personal growth: Boosting confidence, overcoming challenges, and discovering new passions.

However, cosplayers may also face:

  • Body image issues and harassment: Unrealistic comparisons and negative comments.
  • Cultural appropriation and environmental concerns: The importance of respectful representation and sustainable practices.
  • Financial burden and gatekeeping: The potential for excessive spending and exclusivity.

Ultimately, whether cosplay is "bad" depends on individual experiences and choices. It's crucial to prioritize self-care, respect others, and be mindful of potential pitfalls while enjoying the positive aspects of this creative and engaging hobby.

12 Reasons why Cosplay is Bad? (Case to Case Basis)

As mentioned before, cosplay is not inherently bad. But there's some instance there are some instances that this hobby might be bad or unhealthy. Without further ado, let's tackle down those bad sides of cosplay!

Body Image Issue

Cosplay often involves emulating characters with idealized body types, which can lead to unrealistic comparisons and negative feelings about one's own appearance.

The pressure to look like a 2D character can lead to unhealthy body image comparisons. Not everyone has the same body type as their favorite characters, which can be discouraging.

Many cosplay characters, including Hulk from Marvel, are way too unrealistic! Unattainable body types of characters might be a big trigger for the body dysmorphia disorder of some cosplayers. 

Harassment

Sadly, some cosplayers face judgment, harassment, or body shaming, especially online. It's crucial to remember that everyone deserves to enjoy their hobby without negativity.

Cosplay community is not perfect, there are some trolls that have an intention to hurt cosplayers. I made an article before on how you can deal with these kinds of harassments. It's a must-read blog for cosplayers dealing with convention creeps. 

Competition

Cosplay contests are not bad. Sometimes, this kind of competition might be a comparison trap that can ruin the fun of cosplaying. 

Some cosplayers find the competitive aspect stressful. Competitions can add pressure to create the most elaborate or accurate costumes. Remember that cosplay should be entertaining, not a chore!

Fear of Judgment

Cosplay is an art form. Every person in the world has their own different perspective in arts. Your cosplay looks according to your friends, but some people will say it's bad!

Receiving a criticism is very common in the creative field, including cosplay. The fear of being judged by others for their appearance or cosplay skills can prevent some people from participating altogether.

Lack of Privacy/Respect of the Community

Cosplayers often attract attention and may be photographed or filmed without their consent. This can feel invasive and violate personal boundaries.

These kinds of privacy invasion can make cosplayers feel stalked. In the worst case, some cosplayers opt to quit their passion for the sake of their own personal well-being.

Cultural Appropriation (Sometimes)

Cosplay is not a form of cultural appropriation by itself. But there are some instances that it may be yes. 

Cosplaying characters from different cultures can be problematic if not done respectfully and with understanding. It's important to be mindful of cultural sensitivities and avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

Every hobby should be done with caution. Cosplay is not an exception for it. Participating in cosplay without doing a deep research about the character might be a cause of accidental cultural appropriation. 

Environmental Impact

Most of cosplay materials are non biodegradable. Let's face the reality that sometimes cosplay might harm our mother earth. 

Many cosplay materials are not eco-friendly. Consider sustainable options when creating your costumes to minimize your environmental footprint. You can reduce your footprint by using recyclable materials for your props. Buying a pre-made costume (fabrics) might be a sustainable for beginners because every error you made, the more resources you will have spent. 

Gatekeeping and Elitism

Elitism is so common in the anime community. We know that the anime is connected to cosplay. That means. Gatekeepers and elitist is very common in anime conventions.

Some cosplay communities can be exclusive or judgmental, making newcomers feel unwelcome or inadequate. If this is your first convention, be confidence. It's advisable that you should have an experienced cosplay with friends beside you so they can guide you on how to handle gatekeepers in case that you encountered one. 

Perfectionism Trap

Cosplay should be a hobby, not a chore. There are some cosplayers that fell into a perfectionism trap that they built an obsession on touching up their costume. This trap can make you feel that cosplay is a chore than a hobby.

The pursuit of screen-accurate costumes or props can lead to unhealthy perfectionism and self-criticism. It's important to remember that cosplay is about fun, not flawless replicas.

Negative Stereotypes

We all know that norms are way too judgemental! Cosplay is one of the victim of societal judgement. Individuals that's not familiar to pop culture might see cosplayers as weird or societally unacceptable.

Cosplay is sometimes associated with negative stereotypes, such as being childish or socially awkward, which can be discouraging. Remember to not listen to those people. Cosplay if you love it. Don't cosplay if you don't like it. That's a simple logic!

Lack of Diversity

Some fandoms or genres may lack diverse representation, making it difficult for cosplayers of specific body type to find relatable characters. 

As a male cosplayer by myself, I experienced this one! If you type the term "Male Cosplay" in Google, the results will be always a cosplayer flexing their six-pack abs, which I don't have because my body is not for body building.

As mentioned before, it's difficult to find relatable characters because of body type, especially if you are a male cosplayer and people expecting that you are a gym rat. 

My solution I did for lack of body diversity in cosplay is a hard, deep research, till I found a character that resonates to my body type and to my personality. It's the Wanderer from Genshin Impact.

I found this character comfortable in cosplay according to my body type and break the norm that a male cosplayer should be a gym rat. It takes time to know your "signature character!"

Please take note that you can cosplay any characters regardless of your body type. I just found that the Wanderer is very comfortable to cosplay because of body type. This doesn't mean that I cannot cosplay any muscular characters.

Financial Burden

Elaborate costumes, wigs, props, and convention tickets can quickly add up, straining your budget. Many cosplayers find themselves constantly saving or taking on extra work to fund their hobby.

Overspending and going to debt is one of the negative effects of cosplay. Make sure to watch your spending habit to avoid financial burdens while doing cosplay.

My suggestion here is to allocate some portion of your paycheck or allowance that's not part of your basic needs. Spending your bill money for cosplay can cause you a financial burden! 

Let's Flip The Table! 12 Reasons why Cosplay is Good?

Now, we've discussed the 12 reasons why cosplay is bad for you. Now, let's flip the table and give me an opportunity to showcase the good side of cosplaying!

Let's highlight the brighter side of cosplay with 20 positive impacts it can have on those who participate:

Cultural Appreciation

If cosplay can be a cultural appropriation, it may be also a form of cultural appropriation. In this case, cosplaying a character with connection to any cultures is a double-edged sword. Cosplay is bad if you're doing it for that reason.

Cosplaying characters from different cultures can spark an interest in learning about their history, traditions, and customs. It promotes cultural exchange and understanding, as cosplayers research and respectfully portray diverse characters.

Charity (Causeplay)

There is some cosplay NGO (Non-Government Organization) that focused on helping the charity by cosplaying. You can try to search the word "Causeplay" in Google and you will see on how the cosplay community is striving to give a cause to others. 

Many cosplayers use their platform to support charitable causes. They participate in fundraising events, donate costumes for auctions, or create an awareness of important issues. Cosplay becomes a way to give back to the community and make a positive impact.

Creative Outlet and Skill Development

Cosplay opens a world of creativity, allowing you to design, sew, craft, and paint. It's a fantastic way to learn new skills like pattern making, prop building, wig styling, and even special effects makeup. You become a jack-of-all-trades, constantly pushing your artistic boundaries.

These creative skills can be a good asset for your personal portfolio. In this case, you can secure many career opportunities from the skills you've learned from cosplaying.

Boost in Confidence and Self-Esteem

According to Robert T Muller Ph.D. on Psychology Today, research shows that wearing a costume can actually influence your behaviour and can provide a sense of empowerment.

Stepping into the shoes (or costume) of a beloved character can empower you. As you embody their traits, you may discover new facets of yourself and gain confidence in your own skin. Overcoming challenges in creating or saving up money for buying and wearing a costume can further boost your self-esteem.

Community and Belonging

Cosplay communities are vibrant and welcoming spaces where individuals with shared interests can connect and form lasting friendships. We can see here that cosplay is not just a dressing up hobby, it's a form of socialization!

Conventions, online forums, and social media groups provide platforms for cosplayers to interact, share experiences, and support one another. This sense of belonging can be especially valuable for those who feel isolated or marginalized in other areas of their lives.

Personal Growth and Self-Discovery

Through cosplay, individuals can explore different aspects of their personalities, challenge themselves to overcome fears, and discover hidden talents. The process of stepping outside of one's comfort zone and embodying different characters can lead to personal growth and self-discovery.

There's so much skills in cosplay that you can learn. It's an endless possibility of photography to wig styling. What if these one of cosplay skills are your talents? Another talent has been discovered!

Physical Activity

Aira, is this true that dressing up like your favorite character can beat a sedentary lifestyle? The short answer here is yes! Cosplaying offers activity that required bodily movement!

Certain types of cosplay, such as armor-making or prop-wielding, can involve physical activity and exercise. Attending conventions or participating in photoshoots can also involve walking, standing, and dancing, contributing to a more active lifestyle. 

It's awkward to think that dressing up like a fictional character can be a counter for a sedentary lifestyle. In my opinion, cosplay is the most physically activity form of fashion!

Building Resilience

In my previous blog, I mentioned that becoming a professional cosplayer requires a resilience from criticism and rejections. Let's face the truth that creative journey like cosplay and visual arts are full of step backs.

Facing challenges and overcoming obstacles in the cosplay process can build resilience and perseverance. Learning from mistakes and adapting to unexpected situations are valuable life skills that extend beyond the hobby.

Enhancing Social Skills

Let me give you a head up. I'm an introvert being before I discovered cosplay. Cosplay is my way to get over my socialization comfort zone. This hobby actually makes me an extrovert because I'm getting used to interacting with cosplayers online. If I'm still an introvert, I'm not a blogger today because I'm too shy to share my writings😅. 

Cosplay events often involve interacting with strangers, posing for photos, and answering questions about your costume. These interactions can help you develop valuable social skills, such as communication, public speaking, and networking. Overcoming shyness or social anxiety becomes easier when you're immersed in a supportive and accepting environment.

One more thing, interacting with other cosplayers, photographers, and attendees at events helps to improve communication and interpersonal skills. It's a chance to step out of your comfort zone, initiate conversations, and build meaningful connections.

Advocacy

Cosplayers often use their platform to advocate for diversity, inclusion, and representation in media and entertainment. They can challenge stereotypes and promote positive portrayals of underrepresented groups.

Entrepreneurial Ventures

Some cosplayers turn their passion into a business by selling their creations, offering commission work, or teaching workshops. Cosplay can open up entrepreneurial opportunities for those with creative and business skills.

I made a blog before on how you can ethically make money from cosplaying. You can consider checking it out! There's so much business opportunities in the cosplay community.

Having Fun

Last but not the least, having fun is the most important aspect of cosplaying. Any hobby should give you an enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment.

Above all, cosplay is about having fun, expressing your creativity, and connecting with a vibrant community of passionate individuals. It's a chance to unleash your inner child, embrace your favorite characters, and celebrate the joy of imagination.

So, Is Cosplay Bad for you?

In fact, the answer is yes or no. Every hobby in this world has their own strength and weaknesses. This blog summarizes the pros and cons of cosplaying, not saying that cosplay is a bad or good hobby.

Based on what you read, it's up to you whether you consider this hobby bad or not. I'm here just to clarify the dark and good side of cosplay in order for you to decide. 

In my own perspective as cosplayer by myself, my answer here is a big no! Despite of bad effects of cosplay, the benefits are way too good. It's a 1:1 ratio. It may depend on how an individual handle this kind of hobbies.

Conclusion

Cosplay is a beneficial hobby, but there are some instances where it can be bad or unhealthy. These include body image issues, harassment, competition, lack of privacy, fear of judgment, cultural appropriation, environmental impact, gatekeeping, elitism, and more. While there is no such thing as a perfect hobby, everyone deserves to enjoy their hobby without negativity.

 It's important to be mindful of cultural sensitivities and avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes. Participating in cosplay without doing a deep research about the character might be a cause of accidental cultural appropriation. Cosplay contests can be a comparison trap that can ruin the fun of cosplaying. Comparing characters with idealized body types can lead to unhealthy body image comparisons. Lack of privacy/respect for the community can violate personal boundaries and make cosplayers feel stalked.