“Cosplaying is about expressing your love of story through art. You have a love of fiction and story and you’re embodying your love. That’s what a nerd is and does.”
Putnam County, NY
I first got into cosplay through my love of science fiction and fantasy.
My older friends liked cosplay and I went to a few conventions, but I didn’t thoroughly understand the concept until high school. I really invested in cosplay when I realized it was a way of life that someone like me could learn from and explore through.
In my family, my father and I love to cosplay. My brothers enjoy it, but Dad and I view cosplay as a method fusing expression and art. Even though he started first, I also helped him to find a love of creating our own clothes.
I sat at the sewing machine and just experimented until I taught myself how to sew. I then went on to create my own clothes and costumes, thus inspiring him as well.
Now we have our own Instagram account where we post our costumes to show the world. The account displays our hard work and could brighten someone’s day.
Cosplay’s creativity and community appealed to me. It allows you to choose a character and make them your own.
Cosplaying is about expressing your love of story through art. You have a love of fiction and story and you’re embodying your love. That’s what a nerd is and does.
Then you have a whole community who celebrates with you. Superficial attitudes hold no place at conventions. Cosplay has a community that appreciates your hard work, creativity and originality.
When I walk by, people compliment me, saying ‘that costume is great’ or ‘your work makes me happy.’ In the end, that’s how cosplay resembles art. We use it to elicit emotions and uplift those around us.
Sadly, not everyone sees cosplay that way. One issue I would love to change is the negative connotation associated with being a nerd.
Pop culture supports too many stereotypes regarding nerd culture. Assumptions that we’re all shut-ins or anti-social annoyances, when interacting in nerd culture is really just about self-expression.
When I cosplay, I know that the community sees the hard work and hours of labor put into my costume. The costume then becomes something that is cool and should be commemorated.