Cosplay: A Case Study

1802 Words 8 Pages
Rahman & Liu & Cheung (eds. 2012, p. 318) stated, “Cosplay or kosupure is a term that represents the combining of the words for “costume” and “play” or “role-play”. There are several versions of how the term “cosplay” became popular and how its culture began”. According to the authors, the term “cosplay” always has a solid definition that it is about dressing up in costume and play/ role-playing. However, it is arguable that the meaning of the word “cosplay” has changed, as “cosplay” is a form of dress by using people who dress up as super heroes as a case study. This essay will be addressing whether cosplay is a form of dress and identity, how it affects the wearer’s behaviors, or just purely costumes.

Firstly, Cosplay first started at
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232) brought up three examples of Superman, Spider-Man, Batman and their double identities. He claimed, “the contrast between two identities are maximized” by using Peter Parker/Spider-Man as an example (2004, p.232). Peter Parker is an ordinary student. Even after he acquired the super power by getting bitten by the spider, he still presents himself as nerdy. However, when he changes to the Spider-Man costume, he becomes more powerful and he bears the responsibility of a super hero. The one-piece costume covers his face to hide his real identity; the huge spider badge in front of his chest and the color of the costume-red put emphasis more on his Spider-Man identity and made him stand out. Hence, it shows that the super hero costume (or the spider) changes his identity from Peter Parker to Spider-Man. After he puts the costume on, the narrative is presented to the viewer that he is going to fight. Without the costume, he is “almost invisible” when wearing checkered shirt, jeans and sneaker. That is how everyone sees him, and more importantly, his true identity. Therefore, cosplay/costume is used to support the narrative of the story, as well as change the characters’ identities when they put it …show more content…
It is also proven by Peirson-Smith that cosplay is not only about the appearance but also about the relation between the wearer and the chosen character “ the boundaries of superficial identification with the character are often transgressed in the act of Cosplay from public through private exhibited secret self, and the players are not only visually transformed by the costume, but often become the imagined persona, both cognitively and affectively, carrying this into their daily lives and other social worlds” (2013, p.89-90). When cosplayers are in their characters, they imitate very closely to the chosen persona “… felt and behaved differently when wearing their costumes” “ some of the male heroic Cosplayers noted that this was a positive influence on their daily lives as their chosen characters empowered them” (Smith 2013, p.88-89). A sense of empowerment also shows how a person’s social value change “Ranking ordering of occupation identities on the basis of their perceived social

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