What does your cosplay say about the character you portray?

I note (upon ripping off lots of Comiket cosplay images from San-Com) that most cosplays can readily be boiled down to a one-sentence summary.

“I have large muscles and a sword sharp enough to turn my muscle power into destruction.”

Yes, I know the real cosplay sword is probably not a really sharp or useful blade. But the character is making that statement.

Note: Possible minor spoilers for Full Metal Alchemist.

“I am a marriageable young woman, and also I can repair machines.”

It’s interesting to note that Winry was a very powerful character in terms of influencing the plot, although her mechanical skills were far from super-powers like Edward Elric’s alchemy effects. Winry had the single-use, one-way power to turn herself from one kind of interesting female – a virginal free agent – into another kind of interesting female – a committed mother. Her spouse was also transformed from a bachelor into a husband, but something in human nature means that we don’t care quite so much about that.



“No woman can be a faithful wife without a lot of tsun, but I want the man who can bring out my dere.”

It’s interesting that sweet, docile brides are probably less represented in anime than tsundere brides. Either Japanese boys have seen so much tsun from real-life married women that they can’t imagine a married woman who isn’t tsun, or else it’s an expression of mate guarding.

“The sociologist, Davis (1948) defined jealousy as a fear and rage reaction fitted to protect, maintain, and prolong the intimate association of love. In a pair-bonding species like our own that lives in social groups, jealousy is a logical prediction from evolutionary theory.


I have no idea who this character is. The cursive “K” on her uniform probably identifies her for those who have seen the relevant anime.


“I am empowered by my nobility, which includes both my inherent strengths (such as knowledge of ettiquette) and my social position.”

There are many kinds of empowerment in the world, and you might not find the one that gives you everything you want, but you can probably find some form of power that suits you. The trick is holding onto it.

This character seems powerful, but seems to lack the ability to change the world directly. This character has some indirect sort of power.



“I am empowered and confident; therefore I can choose to be friendly.”

By contrast to the tea-drinking noblewoman shown above, this wizardess seems to have direct power to change the world – possibly she can throw fireballs, or turn pumpkins into carriages. She does not feel the need to strategize or to work indirectly. She can solve problems as soon as she’s aware of them.


“I am devoted to your needs. My needs aren’t important so long as I can serve you.”

The pre-feminist idea of the sexes was that they had to help each other or society would die out, and that every individual had responsibilities to society that outweighed personal freedom. Feminism started from the axiom that personal freedom was a higher good than social responsibility. Feminism taught that women must insist on high social standing and enforceable legal rights. Feminism taught that women should put their own needs ahead of the needs of men, and added a presumption that any man who allows a woman to serve him should feel ashamed.

The image of a docile (even servile) maid is profoundly contrary to feminism. The docile maid provides wife-like attention to the intimate needs of some male, but does not usually have the social standing and legal rights of a wife.

G. K. Chesterton said: “It [feminism] is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve their employers but slaves when they help their husbands.”

Likewise, many Japanese women are willing to work in maid cafes, or to flirt with hosts in host bars, but they are not getting married very much. But the world of professional work for professional compensation is emotionally dull. Corporate work is not cold, but it lacks any kind of personal emotional intimacy. Workers have some small sense of camaraderie, but nothing to compare to the intimacy of a family. The professional worker – whether he fixes cars or adds up accounting spreadsheets – might be incapable of emotional intimacy, but his customers don’t mind, so long as the work is done on time.

It is interesting to note that women choose to dress up as maids. Women who do this are probably asserting, on some subconscious level, “I am capable of emotional intimacy! I don’t want an emotionally dull life, I want EMOTIONS!”


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