The identity play in Cosplay

Cosplay fans may be influence by the costumes they’ve put on.

Elaine Chan, the associate professor form Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts in San Francisco State University, mentioned research done by Nick Yee and Jeremy Bailenson from Stanford University  explaining such influence.

Elaine Chan profile image

Elaine Chan profile image. Used under permission.

The research report, the Proteus Effect: The Effect of Transformed Self-Representation on Behavior, says an individual’s behavior consisting with self-representation regardless of how others think of them in the online environment. In the research, subjects assigned to taller avatar in viral world act more confident then those assigned to shorter avatars.

Apply that to the comic venture. The ‘hey-baby-take-a-photo” reactions amuse cosplayer as appreciations to their senses and costume. They choose the poses according to their roles,even adding some historical context. For instance, the cosplayer dressing up as Alice, the heroine from Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, tends to bow a lot in order to suit the Vitoria Era.

However, unlike the counterparts in Japan, cosplayers in the U.S.tend to recreate the character to “spin” around rather than copy the exact details, according to  Kelts Roland  in his book Japanamerica : How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U. S. The eager to express self and long history in Halloween costumes and Renaissance’s Fairs may be the reason.


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