How Does Cosxplay Affect Gender Relations?

Cosplay involves donning the clothes of characters from anime, manga or sci-fi films for role playing at fan conventions and other events. Cosxplay requires great skill; many people combine sewing, foam and thermoplastic work, prop building, wig styling, special effects makeup application with sewing. They choose their characters from movies, video games, Japanese anime series or original designs – this requires much creativity!

Cosplayers may also opt for crossplay, which involves dressing as the opposite gender of their character. While crossplay may present challenges for some individuals, it should always be done with dignity and without mocking or humiliating its subjects.

Cosplay research typically centers on whether it subverts gender norms; some scholars claim it does and others disagree (Bainbridge and Norris 2013; Gn 2011; Lamerichs 2014). Unfortunately, these discussions overlook how socially constructed characters can affect a person’s body through embodiment, with specific bodily features conveying gendered messages about that character’s gendered attributes or messages conveyed via specific bodily features (Gn 2011; Lamerichs 2014).

Gendered body movements and facial features can convey powerful gendered messages. For instance, angular and prominent body movements combined with slim facial features can communicate a masculine sense of aggression and dominance, while curvier features can communicate passivity and submissiveness in women. When these characteristics come together they reinforce membership claims of cosplayers within certain sexual categories while amplifying any differences in power between their character/cosplayer and the audience they encounter.

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