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Unpacking the World of Cosplay

Cosplay goes beyond simply dressing up. If you utilize it for social interaction or as an art form cosplay is an opportunity to express themselves and to have a lot of enjoyment. Theresa Winge concludes that cosplay holds numerous lessons to learn from.

Winge is a cosplay show that follows the story of its origins in anime and manga 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 kind of cosplay spectrum that is determined by the degree of commitment, ranging from casual to extremely committed.

She claims that even casual cosplayers can be extremely serious. Winge says that “regardless of their position within the cosplay spectrum,” “each cosplayer is exceptional in their dedication and determination to portray the character they choose to portray.”

Winge draws distinctions between American and Japanese cosplay conventions. Conventions typically have an element of masquerade. Cosplayers perform their characters to an audience.
Winge says that the costume in North America includes performance while it’s more static in Japan. She writes that Japanese cosplayers restrict costumes to conventions, whereas American cosplayers wear costumes to public events.

Winge says that cosplay is more than just clothing and playing roles. It’s “a social activity that lets cosplayers take on identities of protection that can aid in the creation and strengthening of social networks that focus on and much more than just playing.”
Cosplay lets people have different identities through the ability to play in both public and private areas.
Winge says that cosplayers assume “malleable identities” and then translate them to the real world. This suggests that the world could be a simple outfit that can be worn off or removed at any time.

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