A Comprehensive Guide to the Colorful World of Cosplay

Cosplay is much more than just dress-up: for the people who make it an outlet for socializing and an art form, it’s also a source of self-expression and a lavish pleasure. Theresa Winge concludes that cosplay has numerous lessons to learn from.

Winge is a cosplay show that follows the story of its beginnings in manga and anime to the current-day manifestations on the internet and at conventions.
She writes that though cosplay’s origins are unclear, it is comprised of four basic components–the cosplayer, the social setting, the character/role-playing, and the dress–that facilitate social interactions between people, environments, and the imagination. Winge defines a cosplay spectrum based on different levels of commitment, ranging from casual to more complex.

Even the most casual of cosplayers aren’t that casual according to Winge. Winge states that “regardless of where they fall within the cosplay spectrum,” “each cosplayer is remarkable in his or her dedication and dedication to playing an individual character.”

Winge makes distinctions between Japanese and American kinds of cosplay conventions, which usually include an element of masquerade in which cosplayers display their characters to an audience.
Winge says that the costume in North America includes performance while it is more static in Japan. She writes that Japanese cosplayers limit costumes to wear to conventions, whereas American cosplayers wear costumes in the public.

Cosplay goes beyond role-playing and clothing according to Winge. It’s “a highly social activity” that allows cosplayers to assume protected identities that help to build and strengthen social networks that are both about, and much more than play.
Through the creation of intimate and public spaces and experiences that are distinctive and significant, cosplay affords an alternative identity.
Cosplayers assume “malleable identities,” says Winge “created within these spaces in which people aren’t themselves’ but instead are fictional anime and manga characters.” Then these identities are then reintroduced into the “real,” non-cosplay world…suggesting that maybe the world is just a costume that can be reinterpreted or removed at will.

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