She says Captain America was an inspiration to him over the past year because he lost 45 pounds and went off insulin. So he designed this Renaissance version of the character. The Silk Spider Cindy Moon Cosplay Costume, he says, “gave me the strength. I think that I’ve grown into it and be it. He and Turner were amongst the attendees at AwesomeCon in June.
“My name is Becki,” says a young woman standing in a convention center turned comic bazaar. Then she flips a mane of orange hair and launches into Scottish accent. “And today, I am just Merida from Brave.”
Turner, a 28-year-old is at AwesomeCon in Washington, D.C., in addition to thousands of other attendees dressed up in elaborate costumes. When she’s not a fictional Scottish princess from a Disney movie, Turner says she’s much more withdrawn. “I’m a lot less shy when I’m in cosplay. I don’t have just as much hangups when i do when I’m me, [like] a small amount of social anxiety.”
She flares her green dress and brandishes a recurved bow using a grin in her face. “[Merida’s] a strong, fierce, independent woman,” Turner says. And today, so is she.
Costuming as science fiction or fantasy characters began at science fiction conventions in the United States back in the 60s and 70s. The first cosplayers wore outfits from Star Trek and Star Wars. However the practice has really grown. People wear costumes from comic books, anime, online games, movies and television series. Imagine a character from a modestly popular science fiction or fantasy universe, and there’s probably been someone who’s masqueraded as that character. There large subgroups of specialty cosplay like the “bronies:” men who dress up as ponies from My Little Pony.
Now cosplayers, a portmanteau of costume role players, regularly pack conventions in Japan, Europe and the U.S. For geeks, the convention delivers a sanctuary where they could nerd out and meet their science fiction and fantasy brethren. For the cosplayers, this means sharing the experience of transforming themselves into someone, or anything, else.
But also for many, it’s not just a mere game of dress-up. The Sexy Catsuits they choose reveal something inside them that’s not usually visible. Ni’esha Wongus from Glen Burnie, Md., comes with a 6-foot foam gun and wears a strict leather bodysuit. “I am Fortune from Metal Gear Solid 2,” she says. “I still consider myself an introvert. But when I got all the buckles and straps on and the gun and stood while watching mirror the first time? I fell deeply in love with it. I feel like there’s some strength, some confidence in me now because of this.”
And for Leland Coleman of Nashville, Tenn., his costume symbolizes a physical transformation. Captain America was an inspiration to him within the last year as he lost 45 pounds and went off insulin. So he designed a Renaissance version from the Marvel Comics character. The costume, he says, “provided the strength. I feel as if I’ve grown with it and be it.”
These cosplayers are invoking clothing’s subtle sway over us. Individuals have used clothing to subdue, seduce and entertain for millennia. In certain outfits, people not just look different, but they feel different. Psychologists are considering how clothes can change our cognition and by how much. Adam Galinsky, a psychologist at Columbia Business School, spoke with NPR’s Hanna Rosin for that podcast and show Invisibilia. Galinksy did research where he asked participants to put on a white coat. He told a number of the participants these were wearing a painter’s smock, and others that they were in a doctor’s coat.
He then tested their attention and focus. Those who thought they were in the doctor’s coat were much more attentive and focused than the ones wearing the painter’s smock. On the detail-oriented test, the doctor’s coat-wearing participants made 50 percent fewer errors. Galinksy thinks this really is happening because whenever people put on the doctor’s coat, they begin feeling jqbzdg doctor-like. “They see doctors for being very careful, very detailed,” Galinksy says. “The mechanism is about symbolic association. By putting on the clothing, it becomes what you are about.”
Nearly every attire carrying some sort of significance may have this effect, tailored to the article as a symbol. In just one study, people wearing counterfeit sunglasses were much more likely lie and cheat than those wearing authentic brands, as though the fakes gave the wearers a plus to cunning. “When the object has become imbued with some meaning, we buy it, we activate it. We wear it, and that we obtain it on us,” says Abraham Rutchick, a psychologist at California State University Northridge.
In Rutchick’s studies, he has found that people wearing more X-Men Cosplay Costume like they would wear to a job interview thought more abstractly and were more big-picture oriented than individuals casual wear. As an example, those in formal clothing would claim that locking the entrance was similar to securing a home, an abstract concept, than turning an important, a mechanical detail. The impact from clothing may well be twofold, Rutchick says. “Once I gear up in those activities, I am going to feel a specific way,” Rutchick says. Then, he says, “I [also] feel how folks are perceiving me, and that’s planning to change how I act and how I do believe about myself.”