A local newsgroup did some wonderful coverage on an event that I and many of my friends attended recently. They showcased so many cosplays and put some positive light on one of the largest conventions in Alabama. It was amazing to see the range of skills and abilities local and non-local cosplayers brought to my city.
However, not everyone in the city was too impressed with over 8,000 people attending the event and wearing costumes from various anime series, video games, comics, and TV series. Some happened to leave some colorful comments and opinions on something many of us enjoy doing in our free time.
Cosplayers have always been seen as immature and jobless for some reason. Maybe it's because we primarily cosplay characters that are not our age, or they think of it as we can't move on from Halloween. What these people do not see is the money, time and energy that goes into making a cosplay. I honestly cannot blame them for that, many people that have not looked into the hobby are clueless on that aspect. Cosplay, though, has recently only become more mainstream with TV shows surrounding it and it appears more and more on social media, even if it has been here since 1939. This has led to cosplay gaining both more interest and receiving more hate.
I have learned valuable skills through cosplay. From running a business to networking to more practical skills such as sewing, woodwork, budgeting and resin casting. I am able to apply these skills to other things besides just cosplaying. I feel as if I am much better off than some adults who are still going completely into debt, not working/trying to improve their lives, and still bullying others for having a hobby.
While many attendees were under the age of 18, so many were above the age of 18. Many of us have jobs ranging from bartenders to teachers to medical professionals and everything in between. Cosplay for us, is a hobby, a way to escape from the craziness of the world even for just a day. It is a creative outlet and a way to find new friends we might otherwise not meet. It is a way for people to come together for a weekend from all over the country and sometimes the world, for fun and crazy adventures.
Some even found work within the cosplay community, such as Cubster Cosplay Photography who takes photos, like the one on the cover photo, of MorrisWorld, Zombie Fishie Cosplay, Little Red Fox Cosplay, and JustcallmeZer0 after they spent hours and hours on building the cosplays. These photographers often up in 20+ hours over the weekend and then even more after the con on top of their normal daily life. Others work as vendors and artist selling merchandise and goods to attendees. A few may even discover a new passion for voice acting or developing and network to achieve their dreams.
In the end, it has always baffled me on how someone's hobby just causes someone to react in this way. Of course every group has it's bad eggs, cosplayers are no exception, but for the most part, it is full of wonderful people. I have watched other cosplayers band together for someone going through hard times. I have seen cosplayers comfort those at conventions that break down crying due to anxiety or protecting those who do not feel safe. The cosplay community is full of so many people that help to hype up others when starting a business or starting a new cosplay.
I get that not everyone is not going to understand how much cosplaying has brought people out of dark times. I get that not everyone will understand that cosplayers are not people who still live in their mom's basement. That is okay. I can never condone some of these comments made by people who refuse to try to understand. Though, hopefully soon, people will see cosplaying no different than those who dress up for sporting events, attending a home and garden show, or any other type of hobby that is now more widely accepted.