She says Captain America was a motivation to him over the past year because he lost 45 pounds and went off insulin. So he designed this Renaissance version of the character. The Iron Spiderman Cosplay Costume, he says, “provided me with the strength. I feel as if I’ve grown into it and be it. He and Turner were amongst the attendees at AwesomeCon in June.
“My name is Becki,” says a young woman standing in a convention center turned comic bazaar. Then she flips a mane of orange hair and launches into Scottish accent. “Now, I am Merida from Brave.”
Turner, a 28-year-old reaches AwesomeCon in Washington, D.C., in addition to a large number of other attendees dressed in elaborate costumes. When she’s not just a fictional Scottish princess from the Disney movie, Turner says she’s much more withdrawn. “I’m a lot less shy when I’m in cosplay. I don’t have as much hangups as I do when I’m me, [like] some social anxiety.”
She flares her green dress and brandishes a recurved bow having a grin on her face. “[Merida’s] a strong, fierce, independent woman,” Turner says. Now, so is she.
Costuming as sci-fi or fantasy characters began at sci-fi conventions in the United States back in the 60s and 70s. The first cosplayers wore outfits from Star Trek and Star Wars. But the practice has really grown. People wear costumes from comic books, anime, video games, movies and TV series. Consider a character from also a modestly popular sci-fi or fantasy universe, and there’s probably been someone who’s masqueraded as that character. And then there large subgroups of specialty cosplay such as the “bronies:” men who dress as ponies from My Little Pony.
Now cosplayers, a portmanteau of costume role players, regularly pack conventions in Japan, Europe and the U.S. For geeks, the convention delivers a sanctuary where they are able to nerd out and meet their science fiction and fantasy brethren. For that cosplayers, that means sharing the event of transforming themselves into someone, or anything, else.
However for many, it’s not just a mere game of dress-up. The Superhero Costumes they choose reveal something in them that’s not usually visible. Ni’esha Wongus from Glen Burnie, Md., comes with a 6-foot foam gun and wears a tight leather bodysuit. “I am just Fortune from Metal Gear Solid 2,” she says. “I still consider myself an introvert. But once I bought all the buckles and straps on and the gun and stood before the mirror for the first time? I fell deeply in love with it. I feel as if there’s some strength, some confidence in me now because of this.”
And for Leland Coleman of Nashville, Tenn., his costume symbolizes an actual transformation. Captain America was an inspiration to him within the last year because he lost 45 pounds and went off insulin. So he designed a Renaissance version in the Marvel Comics character. The costume, he says, “provided me with the strength. I think that I’ve grown in it and become it.”
These cosplayers are invoking clothing’s subtle sway over us. Folks have used clothing to subdue, seduce and entertain for millennia. In a few outfits, people not merely look different, but they feel different. Psychologists are trying to figure out how clothes may change our cognition and also by exactly how much. Adam Galinsky, a psychologist at Columbia Business School, spoke with NPR’s Hanna Rosin for that podcast and show Invisibilia. Galinksy did a report where he asked participants to wear a white coat. He told a number of the participants they were wearing a painter’s smock, and others they were in a doctor’s coat.
Then he tested their attention while focusing. The people who thought these people were in the doctor’s coat were much more attentive and focused compared to ones wearing the painter’s smock. On a detail-oriented test, the doctor’s coat-wearing participants made fifty percent fewer errors. Galinksy thinks this really is happening because when people put on the doctor’s coat, they start feeling jqbzdg doctor-like. “They see doctors to be very careful, very detailed,” Galinksy says. “The mechanism is about symbolic association. By putting on the clothing, it might be what you are about.”
Nearly every attire carrying some sort of significance may have this effect, tailored for the article as being a symbol. In one study, people wearing counterfeit sunglasses were much more likely lie and cheat compared to those wearing authentic brands, as if the fakes gave the wearers a plus to cunning. “When the object continues to be imbued with a few meaning, we buy it, we activate it. We put it on, and that we have it on us,” says Abraham Rutchick, a psychologist at California State University Northridge.
In Rutchick’s studies, he has discovered that people wearing more X-Men Cosplay Costume like they could wear to the interview thought more abstractly and were more big-picture oriented than individuals casual wear. As an example, those who work in formal clothing would say that locking the door was similar to securing a property, an abstract concept, than turning a vital, a mechanical detail. The impact from clothing is most likely twofold, Rutchick says. “When I gear up in those ideas, I am going to feel a certain way,” Rutchick says. Then, he says, “I [also] feel how individuals are perceiving me, and that’s going to change how I act and how I do believe about myself.”