Cosplay: Why Do We Do It?
Written by Amber Van Sonata

A lot of people on the outside of the cosplay community have one burning question: “Why?” To
most, it makes sense to dress up on Halloween because it’s a cultural norm, but dressing up
outside of the holiday is strange. But even those who only dress up one day a year are gaining
an affinity for elaborate costumes, so dressing up for conventions shouldn’t seem too far out of
the realm of understanding.

For most cosplayers, the answer as to why is simply, “It’s fun.” It’s a way to express oneself, or
become a character they idolize, and it’s also a way to just be creative, and make art. There are
those who buy their costumes, but for the ones who hand-make their outfits, it’s a way to let
out their inner artist.

From a psychological standpoint, Robin S. Roseburg from the University of California, says that
there are many cosplayers who find meaning in and can relate to the character they dress as.
People who dress as Batman, for example, have reported that their choice is meaningful
because they’ve dealt or have been dealing with their own trauma, like Batman. Similarly, many
women pick strong female characters (Wonder Woman has been particularly popular lately),
because they’re able to hold their own in an often male-dominated world.

Cosplayers also use dressing up as a confidence boost and a way to be more social. Getting into
character and allowing yourself to be someone you normally aren’t is a fast track to overcoming
shyness. While attention isn’t usually the primary goal, the community appreciates the
attention to detail that costumes have and it opens the door for discussion and positive
feedback. Even those who aren’t shy and simply come for the conversation get a win. The
cosplay community is tightly-knit, and costuming is essentially a way to wear your interests on
your sleeve (see what I did there), so it’s easy to find a group of people that you have common
ground with.

With sexy cosplay, the fantasy is taken one step further. There’s a fetish and a group for
everything, and cosplay is no exception. The cosplayers and the audience truly are a match
made in heaven here. The cosplayer gets to dress like a character they love and even feel sexy
doing it, and the audience gets to see their favorite character(s) being sexy and having a good
time. Ultimately the reasons remain the same: it’s fun, it’s creative, and it’s expression. The
only difference is the added bonus of sexiness.

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