How can you hate on cosplay? It’s fun, interesting and for those that partake in the painstaking effort of designing and creating costumes it’s an extremely rewarding hobby.
Well, it looks like one Australian researcher has proved it: cosplay is a force for good in this world.
PhD candidate Claire Langsford is an anthropology student, which is essentially the study of human culture. She decided to focus her PhD on cosplay and found there were many social and cultural benefits to the practice.
“Cosplay and other costuming movements are a kind of performance art,” said Langford. “It’s existed in one form or another for decades, and it crosses age barriers and cultures. There are now second-generation Australian cosplayers, and entire families who engage in cosplay.
“A key finding of my research is the level of creativity that goes into cosplay, because most people make their own costumes, and there’s a kind of prestige in doing that. This process means they are often rediscovering traditional art and craft skills, such as sewing and knitting, which otherwise would have been lost to their generation.”
The more obvious social aspect of cosplay was also studied: mainly the online communities that spring up around cosplay and the practice of cosplay.
“Cosplay is very much a shared activity,” she explained. “Cosplayers demonstrate their skills to the broader community through various forms of social and digital media, helping others to learn and join in on the fun. In this way, people are able to construct stories about the things they make, which is an important aspect of the culture.
“There is a stereotype that cosplayers are socially isolated but it’s very difficult to cosplay on your own. Being involved in such activities can help people to find friends, feel socially accepted, and express their imagination and creativity with people they consider to be their peers.”
Why costumed fans are a creative force for good [University of Adelaide]