The Darker Side of Cosplay

We are all in the Cosplay business for the same thing, is to have fun and with friends and fans.  But sometimes cosplay can be take over for both good and bad ways.  Here is one person who wanted to write for us about their experience of cosplay but wanted to remain anonymous.

Cosplay is a great hobby. You can learn new skills, meet new people, gain body confidence and achieve escapism. It is so many good things to so many people. There’s loads of articles on the pros of cosplay but there is a dark side to it that needs to get spoken about. I’ve lived it, learnt and grown and I think it’s important to talk about these things to the newcomers of cosplay so that they can avoid making the same mistakes.

We’ve all been in that situation, night before the con, surrounded by empty energy drinks cans, half finished pieces of cosplay balanced on every surface, botching everything together with a glue gun to have a somewhat wearable cosplay. You’re stressed, the people you live with are stressed, you’ve spent way too much money and you’ve blown off plans with friends in order to have just a few more hours to work. It’s now 5am, you feel sick, tired and agitated but there’s still so much to do! You can’t let people down, you told people that you would be wearing this costume! Finally at the con, you wear your costume, it doesn’t fit well, it’s not your usual standard and parts are either falling apart of not even salvageable for next time….that’s more money….Was the stress worth it? Did you get any good photos? Did you have fun?

Here are some very real downsides to cosplay.

Finance

Set aside a budget for costumes. If you can’t afford ALL of the worbla right now, don’t buy all of the worbla right now. Save for the worbla. Banks play a sly game, their whole system is designed to keep you in debt to them. Are you using a credit card for all of that worbla? Can you pay it back quick or are you still going to be paying it back when you buy ALL of the foam for the next cosplay? Still paying back for the worbla and foam from cosplay 1 and 2 whilst buying all of the fabric for cosplay 3? Stop! You’re downward spiralling! Also if you’re prioritising cosplay over basic needs and bills STOP! Cons are expensive and if you can’t afford to go to one don’t panic, there will be another con. There’s always another con.

Relationships

Firstly I want to say thank you to my partner and my friends for sticking with me when I’ve been a downright anti social, snappy, self centred cosplayer pre con. Staying up all hours, barely sitting down to eat, neglecting important non cosplay stuff. Don’t be that d*ck. There is only so much that they should have to put up with. Don’t make your hobby be the ruiner of relationships.

Peer pressure/Social media

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing and how they are doing it. Cosplay should be for you and you should do it the way that it suits you. Here’s a few thoughts:

  • If you announce to your social media followers that you are making a cosplay and you find that you can’t complete it for the event, how let down will they actually be? Is their disappointment worth more than your enjoyment/mental wellbeing/stress
  • *People want you to join a cosplay group but you don’t know the source material. Is it worth you spending time and effort on when you have other cosplay plans. Most cosplay groups actually are never realised, they never get further than whimsical internet plans. What if you get so far with the cosplay and then the group never happens?
  • Other cosplayers look like they have a different cosplay for every event. It might work for them, cool, but can it work for you? Are you sacrificing things to cosplay the way other people on social media are cosplaying?

I used to work so hard at cosplay. Trying to please goodness knows who because it wasn’t pleasing myself. Working on costumes, a new one for every con and often rarely getting many pictures of them. I’ve been in stressful periods of my life where I’ve worried about the roof over my head and where I’m going to live and all I could think of was ‘how am I meant to get my cosplay finished though?’ I’ve driven people away and alienated them with my hobby and I look back now and wonder if it was worth it. Now I do my own thing, when I want and how I want. To enjoy this hobby you need balance. Please don’t make my mistakes.

Cosplay should be loved and enjoyed. Don’t let it become a monster in your life.

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