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 Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy Cosplay Costume, he says, “provided me with the strength. I feel as if I’ve grown into it and become it. He and Turner were one of the attendees at AwesomeCon in June.
“My name is Becki,” says a young woman standing in a convention center turned comic book bazaar. Then she flips a mane of orange hair and launches into Scottish accent. “And now, I am just Merida from Brave.”
Turner, a 28-year-old reaches 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 When she’s not a fictional Scottish princess coming from a Disney movie, Turner says she’s much more withdrawn.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 because i do when I’m me, [like] some 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 sci-fi or fantasy characters began at sci-fi conventions in the United States back in the 60s and 70s. The very first cosplayers wore outfits from Star Trek and Star Wars. But the practice has really grown. People wear costumes from comic books, anime, video gaming, movies and television series. Think of a character from even a modestly popular science fiction or fantasy universe, and there’s probably been someone who’s masqueraded as that character. And then 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 as well as the U.S. For geeks, the convention offers a sanctuary where they could nerd out and meet their science fiction and fantasy brethren. For the cosplayers, that means sharing the experience of transforming themselves into someone, or something that is, else.
But also for many, it’s not just a mere bet on dress-up. The Sexy Catsuits they choose reveal something within them that’s not usually visible. Ni’esha Wongus from Glen Burnie, Md., has 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 once I got all of the buckles and straps on and the gun and stood in front of the mirror the first time? I fell crazy about 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 of the Marvel Comics character. The costume, he says, “provided me with the strength. I feel as if I’ve grown with it and become it.”
These cosplayers are invoking clothing’s subtle sway over us. Individuals have used clothing to subdue, seduce and entertain for millennia. In some outfits, people not only look different, however they feel different. Psychologists are trying to figure out how clothes can change our cognition and by exactly how much. Adam Galinsky, a psychologist at Columbia Business School, spoke with NPR’s Hanna Rosin for that podcast and show Invisibilia. Galinksy did a report where he asked participants to wear a white coat. He told a few of the participants these were wearing a painter’s smock, yet others that they were in a doctor’s coat.
Then he tested their attention and focus. Those who thought they were in the doctor’s coat were much more attentive and focused compared to the ones wearing the painter’s smock. On the detail-oriented test, the doctor’s coat-wearing participants made fifty percent fewer errors. Galinksy thinks this really is happening because when individuals put on the doctor’s coat, they begin feeling jqbzdg doctor-like. “They see doctors to be careful, very detailed,” Galinksy says. “The mechanism is about symbolic association. By putting on the clothing, it will become who you really are.”
Almost any attire carrying some sort of significance seems to have this effect, tailored to the article as being a symbol. In one study, people wearing counterfeit sunglasses were more likely lie and cheat as opposed to those wearing authentic brands, just as if the fakes gave the wearers a plus to cunning. “In the event the object has been imbued with some meaning, we buy it, we activate it. We wear it, and that we get 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 say that locking the doorway was a lot more like securing a home, an abstract concept, than turning a key, a mechanical detail. The result from clothing is probably twofold, Rutchick says. “After I gear up in those ideas, I am going to feel a particular way,” Rutchick says. Then, he says, “I [also] feel how people are perceiving me, and that’s planning to change how I act and just how I believe about myself.”