“Competition” is a dirty word in the world of cosplay. It scares and angers some; as they dread the idea of “elitists” approaching cosplay with such a mindset. Recently, I came across a tweet by @0Becki expressing concern towards those with this mentality. They felt that cosplay is a hobby and not a competition, that they should share tips with others, and they should hang out with cosplayers (who are cosplaying as the same character).
I’ve mixed feelings about this. I agree; cosplay is a hobby. People should share tips, be friendly, and help others. But they aren’t entitled to do such things. People have the right to be competitive with their passion. Competition is natural in any field. Competitive cosplayers enjoy it as it pushes them to work hard on their skills and talent to become the best. As long as it’s not toxic, competition isn’t bad.
We need competitive cosplayers.
Competitive cosplayers have the driving need to win and outperform everyone else in the niche. To them, every little detail matters to ensure victory. The perfect wig. Professional grade makeup. The exact color contact lens. Superior craftsmanship. They have no tolerance for error. It’s the difference between being just a cosplayer and becoming the cosplayer. First place or second place in a cosplay contest. And trust me: nobody remembers the second place winner. For the hobbyist cosplayer, this might be hard to understand. That’s okay: you lack the competitor’s spirit. Unless they attack you, don’t hate on these people.
It’s who they are – they can’t help it.
It’s funny how hobbyist cosplayers get angry at the “elitists” for their competitiveness. Yet, they love these high-performing manga artists, ruthless anime directors, passionate game designers, what have you. Why it’s okay to praise those people for their high levels of desire and drive but it’s wrong for cosplayers to act the same?
You’re a hypocrite if you praise one group but shame another for the same thing.
Competition is great. It drives others to better themselves. It forces you to become innovating. It encourages change. If a cosplayer above your skill level trashes your cosplay, instead of being mad and pissed, use that as inspiration to prove them wrong and better your cosplay.
They talk shit about your wig (or lack of)? Buy a high-quality wig. A snobby cosplayer thinks your skirt for your cosplay is trash? Hire the best seamstress in your community to make you one better to prove that asshole wrong. Better yet, study the best cosplayers in your community and learn how they won rewards, got their fame, and so forth. Use that anger, the power of the dark side as you will, to better your cosplay game so that one day, nobody will ever talk shit about your cosplay again.
Or beat their ass. I don’t care.
REVERSAL: Not everyone is competitive. Hobbyist cosplayers far outnumber the competitive. I’m not telling you to be humble or lower your standards, but keep in mind that your attitude could offend – thus furthering tainting the cosplay community. It can also ruin your reputation, which you must guard with your life. To quote Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power: ‘Know who you’re dealing with – do not offend the wrong person.’ and ‘Think as you like but behave like others.’.
Yes, be competitive but only compete with those at or above your skill level. Simply acting arrogant and prideful towards those below your skill level will only stir up hatred and anxiety against you. Nobody will want to work or be around you if your attitude is nasty.
If you know a group of cosplayers are having fun, don’t ruin it for them. Suggest ways to help them improve their cosplay skills in a friendly, loving tone. Don’t mock a cosplayer for something they can’t control (such as race, color tone, gender, disabilities, etc.). Remember: you too were once a hobbyist cosplayer who didn’t know any better. So spread the knowledge (but not too much of it)
Sometimes, it’s better to feared than loved. Sometimes, it’s better to be loved than hated.