Exploring the Mind Behind the Mask: The Psychology of Cosplay

With Halloween right around the corner, everybody seems to have costumes on their mind. People who have been wearing jeans and T-shirts suddenly begin to take a look at vibrant caps, spandex, and corsets. They are looking to make an impression and present themselves to the world as something that they are not.

Cosplayers, who dress in costumes to play characters from movies and television, comics as well as video games are ecstatic to accept the challenge of transformation during different times of the year.

It is feasible for cosplayers to spend a lot of money, time, and energy in designing or creating unique head-to-toe displays. Certain designs incorporate elaborate accessories, body or facial prosthetics, intricate electronic components, or working electronics. Some costumes make it difficult for wearers to see and move. The costumes are not as comfortable. Comic-Con Cosplay – Photos of the Coolest Costumes[ ]

What’s the thing that draws cosplayers to create so much imagination? Psychologists and cosplayers that study this phenomenon have discovered personal and communal features which make dressing up appealing and rewarding.

To love costumes

From October. 6 to 9 thousands of cosplayers attended New York Comic Con 2016 (NYCC), costumed as superheroes and supervillains Jedi and Sith, Ghostbusters, Starfleet officers Hogwarts students and their teachers, and many, different characters.

“Cosplay makes me happy,” Edgar Roldan, cosplayer and NYCC attendee said on Live Science recently.

Roldan was wearing an outfit of a furry blue suit, an over-sized head, and a coat of fur to represent Happy in the film “Fairy Tale”, (Del Rey Manga) The best part of cosplay was “just being yourself — being who you are and doing what you’d like.”

Other NYCC cosplayers claimed that cosplay enabled them to explore their creative side especially since a lot of their costumes were made by hand. Live Science spoke with Joe Bokanoski, Mike Labarge, and Mike Labarge about the process they used to create their costumes. They created post-apocalyptic versions of DC Comics’ Captain America (and his arch-nemesis, Red Skull) by searching for junkyards and flea markets.

They were bulky and heavy in their clothes. They were elated to wear the clothes, despite their discomfort, and the appreciation they provoked.

Bokanoski added, “It’s worthwhile just to make people smile on their faces.”

Being the character

Robin S. Rosenberg, a psychologist at the University of California San Francisco says that cosplayers usually pick a particular outfit because it speaks to them personally.

Rosenberg who is an author on how people interpret and embrace fictional characters expressed her fascination with cosplay and Live Science after she saw cosplayers at conventions where she was delivering talks.

Rosenberg declared that psychology has demonstrated that different people have different roles throughout the day and week. Different aspects of me -as a psychologist mother’, ‘wife, and mother’ are present in different situations. I was curious about how people can truly play a role as well as what happens when they do not dress in costumes.

Rosenberg declared that certain costumes can assist individuals to deal with their issues. For someone who has suffered from trauma, Batman can be an appropriate choice for cosplay. As a young man Batman was subject to horrific trauma. He saw the brutal murder of his parents and battled to overcome the tragedy.

Rosenberg stated that people who dress as Batman frequently discuss their own trauma experiences. “He was able to overcome his trauma and discovered the meaning and the purpose from his experience and that is inspiring to them.”

Rosenberg said the fact that Wonder Woman is a cult and enduring option. This is because of her ability to be a competitor in the male-dominated world of superheroes dressed in costumes. For cosplayers who dress in the role of Wonder Woman is a way to celebrate and acknowledge her strength, Rosenberg said.

A set of Instagram pictures of a 3-year-old girl in a costume of Wonder Woman went viral recently. The father of the girl who is a photographer stated that he had not only fulfilled the dream of his daughter by creating her Wonder Woman costume but also organized an image shoot where he placed his daughter in scenes of Wonder Woman, due to be released in theaters on June 2nd, 2017. The girl’s smiles in the pictures show that she was excited about her new role as a superhero. It was an absolute joy to be a superhero. DIY Halloween Costumes: 7 Cool costumes for any occasionThe girl was awed by her new costume.

Cosplay is a type of entertainment. Putting on an outfit makes a clear declaration of the wearer’s dedication to a specific person or fandom. It also encourages people to approach the character to snap photos and have conversations. It was a surprise for Rosenberg to learn through her interactions with cosplayers that a lot of them identified as introverts.

Rosenberg said that people who dress in costumes tend to be more socially conscious. She explained that in some cases dressing up in costumes allows a person to tap into confidence they didn’t realize they had, and helps to overcome shyness in everyday social situations.

Rosenberg declared that wearing costumes, particularly cosplay lets you be completely independent of yourself. It can also summon an aspect of yourself that’s not usually there.

The creation of a community

Costume play not only imbues the individual with powers but also fosters a sense of community, according to Michael Nguyen, a cosplayer and columnist in the costuming section of the “Star Trek” news site Trekmovie.com. “Star Trek” was the first movie that introduced him to cosplay, he told Live Science. And through creating and wearing “Star Trek” costumes, he found an extensive and diverse community of people who shared his fascination with the characters and the universe they resided in.

Nguyen declared that “Star Trek” is a tale about unity and diversity. “It depicts a future that many people would like to be a part of.”

He added, “They’re doctors, attorneys in Ph.D. programs — simply people who want to be themselves and express what they envision the future to be.” The cosplayers are from all walks of life. 10 Futuristic Technologies Star Trek’s Fans Would Like to See Cosplayers are from of every aspect of life.

In addition to cosplaying at conventions, Nguyen hosts bimonthly social events to allow “Star Trek” fans in New York City to get together and get together dressed in costumes. The idea began with five people in 2013 and was expanded to 50-60 participants three years after. Nguyen described the friendships he has made throughout the years with people living thousands of miles from him. They have enjoyed “nerding the hell out” over Science Fiction and they’ve also inspired his cosplay creativity.

“Costuming is more enjoyable when you do it with people you know,” Nguyen told Live Science. “You make your style however, you also feel like you are part of the universe when you are surrounded by people who love the same thing as you do.”

Cosplayers at NYCC shared their opinions. Live Science spoke with a woman who was wearing the She-Ra: Princess of Power costume from the TV show “Masters of the Universe”. She said that cosplay was her favorite part of being a cosplayer.

She added, “It doesn’t matter who or what you look like.” “It’s a community, it’s like a large family. Each year, I visit and see people I’ve never seen. It’s wonderful!”

Another person dressed as the character of a Hogwarts student in Harry Potter movies and books said she took part in a flash mob during NYCC. The group of 75 in Potterverse cosplay gathered for a photo and one member proposed to his partner.

“It’s wearing your interest in your body,” she said. It’s a great way to find common ground and bridge the gap.

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