Cosplayers can get pretty wound up when asked about the current state of the cosplay community. My generation in particular can get their wonder panties in quite a bunch over “cosplay” and what cosplay means and how it’s basically a dirty word ruining everything associated with costuming.
Many of us have acquiesced and accepted the term because it makes thing so much easier to explain. But overall, we are “costumers”. Or at least, that’s what I always considered myself.
Oh, when asked if we are cosplayers, we’ll probably shudder a little. Swallow a long detailed explanation about how we were out there doing this before cosplay was even a word, and try to sum it up as easily as possible so we don’t sound like cranky old timers going “back in my day…blah blah blah…”
My short answer when people ask what cosplay is for me – I make costumes and wear them during times other than Halloween, often with groups of people congregating at ComicCon-type conventions or events.
I remember back when there would be themed events and there would only be a handful of people dressed up. Now everybody gets into it and the odd one is the person in normal clothes. This is why I’ve accepted cosplay as a term and am ok with using it. So what if there are now a million Slave Leias, too many conventions, cosplay chicks constantly asking for money to “support their art,” Facebook likes and social media silliness and just the general idea that people are scrambling to get “cos-famous.”
It doesn’t matter what you do, there will be stuff like that associated with it. You like fishing? I’m sure there are women making a living being half-naked chicks fishing, famous fishing people that are assholes, big fishing events and some people are probably “fish-famous.” Cooking. Exercise. Surfing. Art. Doesn’t matter. Every interest will have crap associated with it you may or may not like. And people being made famous by it that you may or may not like.
Personally, I am happy this little thing got this big. I now have a ton of friends with a similar interest. An interest in dressing up like our favorite characters and running around having fun. An interest in being creative and learning new crafting skills. In interest in all things geeky and being out and proud about it.
So that’s what cosplay is to me. And I’m very happy to be a part of this community before it was big, now while it’s riding the wave and I’ll be here long after just enjoying this thing I’ve always done.