The Psychology of Cosplay PANEL

In October of 2012, I had the pleasure of speaking about the Psychology of Cosplay at New York Comic-Con. You can watch me fumble with microphones and talk about my experiences with cosplay here:

Although we discussed some aspects of cosplay and costume-wear, Dr. Rosenberg and I realized that so much more can be explored and so many myths have yet to be dispelled. And after the recent stereotyping, debasement, and misconceptions regarding women who cosplay, I wanted to reach out again to the community. As a clinical scientist, I know that the best way for us to increase our knowledge is to rely on facts, not assumptions. We utilize empirical methods like questionnaires, surveys, and speaking to members of our community directly.

If you are a cosplayer or wear costumes of any kind of fandom, please take this survey. It is anonymous and should only take about 8-10 minutes of your time. Thank you so much!  NOTE: This survey has been closed. Thanks to the contributors and participants, we have some interesting findings that will soon be published!

Thanks to Lawrence Brenner for the video taken at New York Comic-Con.

4 Responses to “The Psychology of Cosplay PANEL”

  1. Genie says:

    I found this very insightful and would like to see more discussion.

  2. Leo says:

    I started to do the survey, and immediately stopped short. Two options for gender? Male or female? This is fandom. This is COSPLAY. Surely people who understand fandom and cosplay (especially someone working on a psychology project) would understand how limiting, limited, and blatantly incorrect that dichotomy is.

    Perhaps you could re-work that part? Maybe a bit less closed-minded this time?

  3. Suford Lewis says:

    I have answered your survey. However, I chose my costume characters for their dramatic possibilities–a choice you did not include. (I chose to be The White Knight in an “Alice” group because I knew Richard Burton had taken that role.) You should include “hall costuming” in your survey, too, as it is more usually an expression of the personality than Cosplay/Masquerade costuming which is often group membership motivated.

    I also enjoy “dressing up” at cons as no particular character but colorful and wild (not sexy, particularly, but, hopefully, attractive). When my face was a better canvas and I didn’t wear glasses, I also used to put on wild make-up. Drama is my motivation. I still wear wild clothing at cons as the dramatic version of me, not that my friends don’t already know the dramatic version, but just to have fun with it. I have not put together a costuming page but my facebook page has an album of my recent wear at Arisia. I suppose I am less egotistical than dramatic; my hair comes almost to my knees and why else would I bother with that? (Actually there is an answer to this question, but it is not clear whether it would have been sufficient motivation for the trouble.)

    I may be an atypical respondent both as coming from SF convention masquerades (dating back to the 60s) and coming from a theatrical background. When I graduated from high school in the Hollywood area I had the possibility of a scholarship to the Pasadena Playhouse and as a singer, dancer, actor actually considered a career in the performing arts. I really like acting and was the best in my high school, but I knew even then what a demanding life it is and chose to make my living with my brains–it is MUCH less strenuous, requires less travel, and is less prone to injury.

    When I was 30 I re-evaluated this decision as I really missed performance and took an extensive set of apptitude tests. Based on the statistics of the testing organization, people successful in the theatrical professions had A+ or A++ aptitudes in the relevant areas and mine were only B+ and A, so I made the correct career decision. However, I still perform every couple of years as an amateur actor or singer (most recently in 2011 at the Reno Worldcon in “Godson”). Like the old warhorse still ready to charge to the sound of the guns, just say the word and I am ready to perform!

    • Andrea says:

      Thank you so much for this feedback! We’re developing a new survey and we’ll definitely take your ideas into account.

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