How Cosplay Improved My Self Worth

Trigger Warning: body dysphoria conversation. Potentially triggering if recovering from an ED.

Harley Quinn and Bane.jpg

Where’s the Bat!? Gen Con 2019 

I was telling a couple coworkers about my vacation at Gen Con. Many of them aren’t self proclaimed “geeks” like me which is fine. One coworker made a comment asking “why do I cosplay?”. She genuinely doesn’t know enough about cosplay to know why someone would want to dress up as a fictional character and parade around a convention hall. It’s a legitimate question especially because she had never heard of the term “cosplay”. I thought about my answer and this made me want to devote a whole post as to not only why I cosplay, but how it improved my self worth.

When I was in middle school, I was increasingly aware of how much I hated my body. When I say hate I meant I truly despised the way I looked in the mirror. Specifically I would stare at my stomach and pinch the rolls of fat. Wearing shorts used to make me uncomfortable because my legs would be out for the world to see. A swimsuit would make me feel even worse. I didn’t know if I would ever come out of  this dark hole and appreciate my body the way it is.

After graduating from high school, my insecurities were better, but I had a long way to go before I felt “good” about myself. It wasn’t until my first Convergence back in 2013 where me and a friend “cosplayed” as Mario & Luigi. It was a simple cosplay I purchased from Ragstock. However, once I put it on, I felt cute and could walk around and do what I pleased. I received some warmhearted compliments on my cosplay (without the creepiness). Once Convergence was over, I knew I wanted to do more with cosplay and challenge myself to take on other characters.

Spider Gwen and Miles Morales.jpeg

I found a Miles!! 

Some of the characters I cosplayed were slightly revealing. Even the Wonder Woman cosplay I wore to Gen Con this year if worn at the wrong angle could potentially show a little bit of a butt cheek. What empowered me though was the control I had to show what I wanted to show on my terms. It was my body and I could conceal or reveal it if I chose to. This conscious choice I made is what has allowed me to fall in love with myself and the way I am. Additionally, cosplay exposed me to other body types and seeing other people rocking what they have, creates this open and accepting environment. 

I owe a lot to cosplay and how it’s changed my way of thinking. Every time I know I’m attending a convention, my head starts spinning as to potential cosplay options. Once I settle on an idea, I become elated and determined to make the cosplay work for me. My relationship with my body is one I will always have to work on, but I’m at a much better place mentally and all it took was to dress up as Harley Quinn.

 

13 thoughts on “How Cosplay Improved My Self Worth

  1. That is just awesome! As someone who has battled self worth all his life, I think it’s awesome to read how cosplay helped you out like this😊 And I have to say the costumes look fantastic! This post really made me smile: good for you! 😊

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to it. I got into cosplay because I needed a confidence boost and feel in love with it. I’m really shy​ and don’t have a lot of confidence but when I’m in cosplay I feel like I can take on the world. All of your costumes look amazing, and I’m glad you found joy in cosplay.

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  3. I love seeing photos of you cosplay because you look truly free, and after reading this I can see why now. I really wish I’d learned about cosplay at a different point in my life because it could have helped me in the same way – and before you say it, I know it’s never too late to go down that rabbit hole 😉 Unfortunately, ME does complicate things now.

    I suffered from body dysmorphia as a teenager. I was convinced that my thighs were ginormous when in fact I was actually underweight. It was only many years later when looking at my high school prom photos and my fiance, Chris, pointed out how skinny I was that I realised I’d even had body dysmorphia. Not even when I had to have the size 8 dress altered to be made *smaller* did I think, oh, I’m skinny. No, I just put it down to the lack of boobies (I was a very late bloomer).

    Then all the health fun came and I actually did end up putting on the weight, leading to even more body issues. So I’m thinking of doing a casual cosplay in October if I can get stuff together to help me feel more comfortable at a con. It’s also Halloween weekend so I’m not sure if our group is planning a full cosplay as well.

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    • I’m not going to pretend that I know what it’s like to have a chronic illness, so I’m not going to say “it’s never too late.” because I don’t know what you’re going through. You do you.

      All bodies are beautiful bodies and I really stand by that statement. Yay for casual cosplay! Please blog about it, I would love to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome post! Whenever I get the chance to cosplay, it makes me feel more comfortable with myself too. It’s fun to dress up as a fictional character and create a tribute to them of sorts, but it also makes me leave my comfort zone behind for a while.

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  5. This is an awesome view on cosplay! It’s through these fictional characters that we can gain some kind of confidence, because we’re in control of it!

    I actually haven’t ever cosplayed before, but I’d really love to!

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