People about Cosplay...
Absolutely! Just not in the way your potentially-leading question could be interpreted to imply.
Wikipedia says that “cosplay” broadly applies to any costumed role-playing in venues apart from the stage. Therefore, it’s only the growing and disturbing layman’s trend of equating “cosplay” with “manga/Japanese” which makes it appear there’s a problem. My generation was cosplaying before the term was coined (c.1984), and thus we “costumed” at conventions as characters from Star Trek, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Doctor Who, Marvel and DC comics, etc., none of which are anime or in any other way Japanese in culture. Even if some were, most other characters equally originated from different countries and cultures, so on the surface the answer would appear to be “no”.
Now, is cosplay appropriation of any kind? It’s actually nothing but! By definition, cosplay is of a previously-established character from a previously-established distributed media venue (TV, film, books, etc.). You’re always cosplaying a character which someone else invented, or at least basing in on one (crossplayers, etc.). You’re not asking the creator of said character to do so, so yes, you’re appropriating it. But it’s an appropriation of trademark or license issues, not of culture… all cultures are potentially fair game for it.
Finally, cosplay itself has matured and spread enough that Wikipedia already classifies it as a “subculture”, which I suspect is a conservative definition if you’ve ever been to a comic-con.
So: cosplay is, in the end, a “culture” based on “appropriation”. If we concede that this encompasses any culture and appropriation, then your answer is a resounding and unabashed “yes”.
I think it is just fashion modeling in disguise. (pun intended)
Overall it is a harmless fun. As a creator (artist or writer) there is no greater honor than someone loving your show so much they would dress as your character and even try to be like them. Even against the possible ridicule.
Playing pretend can be fun. And it’s something everyone even families can engage.
But if you look at the most famous and successful cosplayers (as in Twitter famous) they are either:
A) People that could be modeling in mainstream modeling agencies.
This one is the category that gives more envy and disappointment to your average cosplayers. Of course they will get more attention even if your costume is more “comic/book” accurate or well done.
Like I said, cosplaying is basically fashion modeling. They look amazing and it’s nice to see models having a nerdy side.
B) People with awesome disguises that resemble the original show or movie.
In this category you’re judged by your amazing sewing skills.
So for being ultra famous you need to be one of those categories. But if not it’s just harmless fun you do with friends.
Think of it as early Halloween.
Sadly as a lawyer it isn’t professional for me to do this. But I respect people that do.
Cosplay is full of fun and creativity!
I don’t do cosplay but I do have a lot of friends within the community. Some of them do it for fun but most of them take cosplay as a job and it is their passion.
I’m an anime con goer and I know that cosplaying a certain character from scratch is difficult and take a lot of resources. From creating the costume, studying the character traits and personality and interacting with people while you’re in disguise, sure it needs a lot of confidence, energy and creativity.
Seeing your favorite character in person is amusing enough but to take a photo with them is a different experience.
I know that not all cosplayers are perfect, there are limitations since we’re humans after all. Regardless, you should respect them and don’t judge them. If they’re missing something like a detail on their costume or unable to do what the actual character does, you don’t know their history before deciding to cosplay that character. What I’m saying is, you can approach them in a nicely manner and tell them what does the character do and any improvement she/he can do for this character in the future. This method always work with me and my friends. Cosplayers are also fan of the character they portray, they’re open-minded and open for feedback since they’re like a public figure. Just make sure to be nice and I’m pretty sure that they will return it.
I just hate people who judges cosplayers based on their physical appearance. They can’t even cosplay the character itself, why do they need to attack the person? There are times when toxicity is inevitable in cosplay community but it doesn’t mean that you can always attack people who loves to cosplay. If you have a negative thing to say, keep it to yourself.
For cosplayers out there, just continue what you’re doing! Be proud and always look up. Conventions will not be alive and active without you guys!