I have seen the cosplay community compared to high school with cliques, factions and clubs and then you have the people who stand out and adamantly deny it, telling us how cosplay expanded their lives and all cosplayers are equal.
The truth of the matter is…
….Cosplay is SO high school!
Cosplay is a reflection of life. You have the critics and the haters, you have the obsessive and the blasé, you have the pervs and the creepers. There is good and bad in cosplay, just like there is in life. High school was the same thing, only on a smaller scale.
You still have cliques, clubs and teams, we just call them different things like groups and genres. Some of the groups are considered elitist because your cosplay has to perfectly match the source material. There are groups based around certain shows or comics and as long as you cosplay something to do with the topic they let you in. Others groups are a lot more open and will let you in just because you cosplay or have an interest in it.
In high school the jocks weren’t supposed to mix with the nerds and the nerds weren’t supposed to hang out with the smokers, and everybody avoided the ‘weird’ group. In cosplay you hear how Star Wars won’t mix with Star Trek and anime won’t socialize with superheroes. Rumors have the cosplayers who don furries as ‘weird.’
High school also supported the stereotypes. Girls weren’t supposed to take shop, guys weren’t supposed to take Sewing. Blacks weren’t supposed to play hockey, East Indians didn’t play football and if you were Oriental you weren’t supposed to be good at any sport. You see this in cosplay. There are always stories of people being told they are the wrong color, race, age, gender or size for whatever they are portraying.
In high school you also had that group of people who didn’t see the clique boundaries, the people who wandered freely in between the groups and didn’t care. There were also the people who broke the stereotypes, the ones that fought for their own identity and did what they enjoyed or wanted to do. They might have cared what you thought, but they didn’t let it stop them.
There weren’t many of those people in high school, but there are lots of them in cosplay. Yeah they are all geeks, nerds and freaks, but they are also jocks, cheerleaders, rockers, punks and goth. They are black, yellow, red, brown and white. They are the social cream of the crop and wall flowers, they are the people watchers and the partiers. They are fat, thin and muscular. They are tall and short; enabled and disabled.
It doesn’t really matter, WE are people, people are diverse. Everyone’s personality and skills are different, everybody has different backgrounds and different beliefs. Everyone has a life outside of cosplay (or so I hope) that also influences them. When you get ANY group of diverse people together you are going to have a difference of opinion. There are no true equals, just differences. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. There are always going to be haters and lovers.
Don’t let them get you down, you are out of high school, you have grown up and matured, maybe they haven’t. Next time someone makes a comment just remind yourself that at least you got out of high school.