It is called cosplay, a neologism that combines the words costume and play game. In practice, it is about putting yourself in the shoes of a comic book protagonist, a character from fantasy literature or a superhero, creating the costume, the accessories, paying attention to every detail in order to make the disguise as believable as possible. Thousands of adults do it, especially at events such as Lucca Comics & Games, Roma Comics and at least 180 comic events and fairs in Italy. Whether it’s Batman or Spiderman Costumes, the Mad Hatter, Mr. Spok, Snow White or Dracula, what drives grown-ups to have a day as a fantastic character? We asked the psychologist, psychotherapist and blogger Sergio Stagnitta, of the Order of Psychologists of Rome.
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Cosplay Is a Game like Any Other
The cosplay falls into the category of the game, so in a healthy playful dimension, where those who game do so rigorously, with dedication and attention to detail. Usually cosplayers build their own costume, with a non-trivial research of shapes and materials. It is a game that is played with commitment, which evidently amuses as much as other people enjoy playing football, at a forty scale, or practicing an extreme sport. The cosplay fits the form of imitation games that play at being someone else, even completely immerse themselves in the character traits of the character.
Cosplay As A Form Of Self-Disclosure
People who find it hard to bring out parts of themselves, thanks to the disguise can be able to amplify these parts. As Oscar Wilde said: “Every man lies, but give him a mask and he will be sincere”. Here the mask does not hide but rather becomes a tool for self-disclosure. The disguise therefore allows to recognize and explore parts of oneself that are normally inhibited. A shy person has the opportunity to put himself in a condition of great visibility and confront and perhaps overcome his inhibition, even if only for a day.
Cosplay as A Desire For Knowledge
The choice of the character by cosplayers is not accidental. The characters of fairy tales, comics, and superheroes in general are never ambivalent but have a very clear character, clear and defined identities. They are good or bad, ogres or fairies. A person who chooses a very aggressive character is likely to do so because he recognizes this dimension within himself and wants to experience it in the game. Moreover, in a period of fragile identities like the one we are experiencing, cosplay can be a game that allows the search for a clear definition of oneself. And yes, the Captain America Costume is the trendiest one.
Cosplay as a Form of Empathy
In the game of cosplay, in putting oneself not only metaphorically but concretely in the shoes of the other, an opportunity that helps to understand how the other feels, to experiment with forms of empathy. The greatest development of this dimension is the theater, after all there is theatricality in the cosplay phenomenon, however bizarre it may seem.
Cosplay Has No Age
When they tell you that cosplay is a hobby only for the youngest or for some specific age groups, know that they are telling you a lie, perhaps not strictly voluntary, but more likely of an unconscious derivation, dictated by not actually knowing how to cultivate it and maintain this passion over time, despite the inevitable change in our body and the growth of our mind which obviously also determines a variation in the activities that characterize our life, unfortunately or fortunately, always evolving.
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