Before I give my opinion on this touchy subject, I want to point out I’ve been cosplaying since 2009. My first con was Momocon, and I can safely say the cosplay community has changed, but not for the worse like some people think. I’m going to be stating my opinions on statements I’ve heard over the years about cosplay and cosplayers in general and going to be looking at why people think it is becoming corrupt.
The most popular reason on why people think cosplay is becoming corrupt is they have this idea if a cosplayer wants a lot of followers, it means they are just in it for the fame. We can never know a person’s true intentions for wanting a large following, whether it’s for fame or they just want people to notice the time, energy, and more obviously money, they put into the costume to become a real life version of a character. While fame isn’t always negative, it gives a cosplayer a platform to talk about or rise awareness to issues they hold near and dear to their hearts. I think it’s safe to say a small portion of cosplayers are like this, but we all get grouped into that category.
The second most popular reason is cosplayers want money or they are trying to get rich from the hobby. If you ever made or brought a cosplay, you know how expensive it can and will get; wigs alone can run from $35.00 and up depending on the quality, nice decent fabric is about $15.00 a yard, and props and accessories add on even more money to your budget. What’s wrong with getting some of that back? The way they get their money back is by selling prints and other merchandise, and this is sometimes frowned upon if a cosplayer starts “selling out” because in some people’s eyes, the cosplayer isn’t cosplaying for fun anymore.
Here are some reasons most cosplayers sell prints: a) it’s highly requested by fans who want to show their support or b) they’re trying to make their hobby into a career (which we all would like to do) and in some cases for charity i.e. Cosplay for a Cure. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make money off your hobby; everybody including people outside of cosplay would do the same thing, so for the people who down cosplayers for doing that, don’t.
Based off just some of these ideas, to answer the question “is cosplay becoming corrupt?” I say no, it’s just becoming popular and accepted. When any hobby gets attention the bad apples of those communities surface. Cosplay has had so many breakthroughs like having an reality show about it, a competition show and even a line of fabric dedicated to it. The fact that cosplay is growing into a normal and discussed topic is great news because a few years you couldn’t wear a costume outside of Halloween and not get followed around.
Just remember cosplay is about acceptance, and you should accept that cosplay is growing into something bigger and better than before.