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Why People Who Cosplay Are Wonderful

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Why People Who Cosplay Are Wonderful

You’ve seen the photographs from Comic-Con and Anime Expo. You’ve watched videos of the attendees at conventions having the time of their lives. Yes, cosplayers are a unique and interesting sort, and not just because they look like super heroes.

Here are a few reasons why cosplayers are more amazing than they are given credit for.

They are brave.

Have you ever been getting dressed in the morning and thought, “Ugh, I can’t wear this. It’s too outlandish!” The thought that you might be seen by someone else as having “bad fashion sense” or “poor taste” is real for so many people.

In the world of cosplay, however, that borderline is pushed far, far back. Does your character wear a hawaiian shirt and swim trunks with a giant turtle shell on his back? Better get the shell out! Cosplayers can push away the fear of judgment from other people in favour of flying their colours high–and that takes courage.

They are loyal.

What happens when a cosplayer gets judged harshly? It happens. Someone will criticize a cosplayer for being the wrong shape or size–or even colour–to cosplay that character. The overwhelming majority in the cosplay community will not stand for this kind of behaviour!

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Cosplayers stick together. If you can’t be yourself around other people in the same niche, then what’s the point? Cosplayers take that to heart, and there’s nothing better than watching a naysayer get schooled by a band of supportive cosplayers–nay, of friends.

They are resourceful.

Have you seen some of those giant robot costumes that people bring to big conventions? Eight feet tall, with lights and sounds, and fully-articulate, these costumes are phenomenal to witness. They must have cost a fortune, manufactured by some big movie company, right? Well, actually…

The dominant majority of the cosplay community made their costumes by the sweat of their own brow. The Gundam MK-II you saw was made primarily of cardboard and EVA foam, with hours of trial-and-error and research on how the joints should move. The Edward Elric’s automail arm was painstakingly built from pieces of plastic drink bottles and craft foam, painted to look like a pristine metal prosthesis. The huge Buster Sword that Cloud’s carrying around? Expanding Foam and papier-maché. Especially because so many conventions have special rules as to what your costumes and props can NOT be made of, cosplayers have to get creative.

They never cease to impress.

They are passionate.

Ever talked to someone who had a real, vested interest in something, and were just blown away by their zeal? Cosplayers are that to a tee.

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What’s better, though, is that the same passion they use for making their costumes extends to making friends. There’s no better way to gain a new friend than to ask about their costume’s series or compliment them on the construction of the specific details (because believe me, they put effort into the details). They will sit and nerd out with you about this series or that character, despite having never met you before, so long as you invoke the same passion that they have.

Extra tip: Find a “Doctor Who” cosplayer and ask what they think of the 8th Doctor. You’re sure to get some passion there!

They are highly skilled.

The skills needed to be a successful and amazing cosplayer are myriad, but the ones that stand out the most are the use of a sewing machine, wig and hair styling, makeup, and conceptual design. From a professional standpoint, cosplaying can build up a great portfolio of skills to show potential employers. It can be a great tool to learn new skills. And, according to a study from Asia Pacific University, it can even lead to a full-blown career: Many cosplayers take the knowledge and skills that they acquire in their hobby and turn them into a lucrative and successful lifestyle.

They are organised.

To be fair, it must be acknowledged that not all cosplayers are super-organised. Cosplayers will often speak of the “pre-con rush” that precedes the debut of a new costume, where they are far behind their deadlines and have to work into wee hours of the morning finishing their stuff. However, that too shows a level of organisation that is unparallelled in many other hobbies.

To make a cosplay, one needs to first gather reference images and stills from the source media. Gathering those, one then has to plan out all the pieces of the outfits and source materials. Costumes next need to be built individually, using a variety of skills and tools. Items that cannot be built must be bought or otherwise obtained, adding another layer of complexity.

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Finally, once all the items are finished, they have to be pieced together into the full costume, which includes styling a wig or hairdo, applying makeup, and making sure that all aspects of the costume look proper.

Bravo, cosplayers!

They are sociable.

With all kinds of social media available to the specific cosplay scene, including Facebook groups, Cosplay.com’s forums, Cosplay Archive, and even Cosplay Amino, even people who haven’t got cosplay friends nearby can immerse themselves in the community. Many colleges have anime clubs and cosplay groups. There are meetups in basically every major city. And if nothing else presents itself, there are always conventions.

Some people might think that going alone to a convention and cosplaying is an example of the non-social nature of the art form, but that’s the furthest thing possible from the truth. When you go to a convention alone, it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, hang out with other skilled and passionate cosplayers, and expand your social circle infinitely. With a little courage, presto! A new group of friends. This goes the opposite direction, too–cosplayers who attend conventions in groups tend to be warm and welcoming to those who approach them.

They are good people.

Every community has outliers–the people who body shame others, the elitists who will not socialise with other, “lower quality” cosplayers, the people who go to conventions looking only for pictures of scantily-clad con-goers.

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It must be made clear, however, that these people are not the epoch of cosplay, nor are they even close to a majority. Cosplayers tend to be polite, cordial people who look out for others and enjoy being with people who share their interests. Far greater is the number of “Your costume looks amazing!” cosplayers than “You should stop cosplaying” members.

At the end of the day, when you and your new friends go to the diner down the street and sit around eating pancakes and sharing stories until 3 in the morning, you’re experiencing the reality of the cosplay community. When you head back to school or work when the gathering is over, your life is enriched by your passion, your efforts, and your friends. When people come to bully you for your taste in media, your choice to dress like a super hero, or your spending time with others like you, it is they that need the support the most.

Invite them to come along to the next con with you–maybe you’ll make a new friend there, too.

Featured photo credit: Rocket Racoon and Groot Cosplayers by Gage Skidmore via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on December 7, 2021

World’s 15 Weirdest Museums You Must Visit

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World’s 15 Weirdest Museums You Must Visit

When we think about culture one of the first things that come to mind are museums – it is ingrained in our collective consciousness that we need to visit a few museums when vacationing abroad, so we can then feel free to indulge in hedonistic pleasures because we’ve bowed at the altar of culture first. However, not all museums are created equal. While some may have your standard collections of classic artwork, statues and pottery fragments, there are a lot of unconventional and even fairly quirky museums around the world. If you like to travel and want to experience something new and truly unique, to be awed, then be sure to visit some of the following museums on your next vacation.

1. Cancun Underwater Museum

Let’s start off the list with something entirely different. The Cancun Underwater Museum boasts hundreds of beautiful sculptures such as “The Silent Evolution”, a huge crowd of people, and “Inertia”, a fat man sitting on a couch in front of the TV. These sculptures would evoke powerful emotions regardless of their location; however, being situated underwater gives them an air of mysticism and an almost unnerving calm. The marine flora and fauna has already become one with some of the sculptures, making the whole site look like the sunken remnants of an ancient civilization.

2. Paris Sewers Museum

We all admire the grand architecture of famous cities, particularly one as iconic as Paris, the city of romance and art. What people seldom stop to look at is the complex labyrinth that is the Paris sewer system. It is an entire network of tunnels as large as the city itself and it is also a museum that tourists can visit and explored, complete with tour guides. It doesn’t smell as bad as you’d think, so if you ever find yourself in Paris and have about an hour or so of time to kill, this is definitely an interesting option.

3. Franz Kafka Museum in Prague

A man with a dark and near dreamlike vision of the modern world, where bureaucracy, alienation, lack of empathy and human suffering are the order of the day, Franz Kafka is rightfully considered one of the greatest modern writers. The Franz Kafka Museum reflects some of the main themes of the authors works, which Kafka himself wanted his friend to burn after his death, and their unique atmosphere. The weirdest thing about it is probably the sculpture of two men urinating in a pool shaped like the borders of the Czech Republic, which are, for some reason, animatronic and can spell out words in the pool based on SMS messages that people send.

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4. Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri

Art has always been very accommodating, allowing artists to choose from a huge range of different mediums and materials from which to create unique designs. That being said, I doubt you’ve ever considered hair as a valid material for creating works of art. Luckily, Leila’s Hair Museum is here to prove you wrong. With thousands of wreaths and various creative jewelry pieces made out of real human hair, which is said to have been popular in the Victorian period. There are multiple pieces containing hair from famous people, including the likes of Queen Victoria.

5. Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in Saint Petersburg

The Kunstkamera houses Russia’s oldest museum, the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, which has exhibits ranging from interesting to bizarre and morbid. Peter the Great reportedly wanted to dispel myths about monsters and mythical creatures among his people, so there are plenty of deformed skeletons, jars with fetuses and rarities like two-headed animals. Some of the exhibits are not for those with a weak stomach, but they are definitely unique and rare.

6. Iceland Phallological Museum in Reykjavík

Iceland is known as “The Land of Ice and Fire”, a small and some would say magical island with a long and proud history. It’s no surprise that it would feature a world renowned museum, but what’s unusual about the Phallological Museum is the fact that it is devoted solely to showcasing penis samples from 93 different animal species – including the 67 inch front tip of a blue whale penis and specimens supposedly belonging to mythical creatures like trolls and elves. It definitely offers a unique experience.

7. Meguro Parasite Museum in Tokyo

Many museums feature animal exhibits, showcasing everything from dinosaur bones and large stuffed land mammals to unusual insects, but rarely does a museum focus solely on parasites. The Meguro Parasite Museum takes humanities worst nightmares, lays them before you and provides plenty of information on each and every one. Their motto is “Try to think about parasites without a feeling of fear, and take the time to learn about their wonderful world of the parasites”, and there really is a lot to learn if you can get over the initial feeling of unease.

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8. The Iga Ninja Museum in Mie

Western pop culture has been in love with ninja’s since the 80’s and we have only grown fonder of them with time. If you find this topic intriguing or just want to learn more about the whole ninja phenomenon, then the Iga Ninja Museum is the right place for you. You can see the numerous weapons and tools used by these legendary warriors and enjoy a practical display of some of the traditional techniques and tactics. It is a lot of fun and very informative to boot, great for people of all ages.

9. Bran Castle near Braşov in Transylvania

The name might not sound familiar at first, but the geographical location kind of gives it away – yes, this is the castle of Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, a.k.a. Count Dracula from the Bram Stalker novel and world-famous horror character. Bran Castle is the only Transylvanian castle that perfectly fits Stokers description of the world’s most famous vampire’s castle and has thus been dubbed Dracula’s Castle. It has been turned into a museum which every horror fan is welcome to visit and explore.

10. Malacca Museum of Enduring Beauty

The nature of beauty is a topic that has troubled mankind for millennia.  Aesthetic preferences and sensibilities have been very different in different regions and at different times, and as fashions changed so too did people try to change themselves to conform to the various ideals of beauty. The Museum of Enduring Beauty showcases the numerous traditions and the jewelry, tools and practices used by peoples the world over to try and make themselves as beautiful as possible. Practices such as foot binding, neck elongation, inserting huge discs into the lips and many others are explained in detail, which gives us an insight into our nature, and perhaps motivates us to see the current standards of beauty for what they really are – an artificially created set of desirable features based on a subjective interpretation of beauty.

11. The Museum of Human Disease in Sydney

Doctors spend years and years in medical school for a good reason – there are a lot of diseases that can plague humans. Some of these are more serious than others, but each one is interesting from a scientific standpoint. The Museum of Human Disease catalogs a huge variety of diseases and their effects on the human body, including the most common causes of death. You can participate in dissection workshops or explore some of the large number of vital organs on display. It is a real eye-opener and highly educational, if somewhat morbid and unusual.

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12. Museum of Medieval Torture Devices in Amsterdam

There are, of course, some parts of our history that we are not exactly proud of, and this includes wars and atrocities like torture. However, it is interesting to see just how creative people of the past centuries have been when it came to thinking up different ways of inflicting pain to fellow humans. If you’ve got a morbid curiosity for this sort of thing, the Museum of Medieval Torture Devices in Amsterdam has a lot to offer you. There are plenty of weird torture devices, complete with images and even sculptures, depicting the various torture methods that were in use, and the courteous staff is more than happy to answer any questions.

13. The Skull Tower of Niš

The Balkans region has had a very turbulent history, particularly in the past few centuries. In the nineteenth century, as Serbians sought to free themselves from their Ottoman oppressors, many battles raged, and one of the most famous was certainly the Battle of Čegar. When the tides of war changed and it became clear that the Turks would win, Serbian commander Stevan Sinđelić sacrificed himself and the remaining Serbian forces in an unprecedented act of bravery, blowing up the gunpowder storage and taking out thousands of enemy soldiers in the process. In order to silence the rebellion and frighten the people, Hurshid Pasha had a ten foot tower built using over 900 skulls of the fallen Serbian soldiers. The original Skull Tower suffered some structural damage over time, and now only 58 skulls remain in the wall, one which is said to belong to Sinđelić himself and is encased in glass. It is a fairly frightening, yet awe inspiring site.

14. Funeral Carriage Museum in Barcelona

Funerals are still somewhat of a taboo topic and it’s certainly something you’d mention in polite society. This is really a shame, since there are plenty of wonderful rituals that have been built around escorting the departed on his way to the afterlife. The vehicles used to transport the deceased have always had a somber tone, but where not without a hint of grandeur, as you can witness by exploring the Funeral Carriage Museum in Barcelona.  The exhibit consists of 13 beautiful funeral carriages and six coaches that were used to transport departed citizens to their eternal resting place.

15. Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok

The word “medical” in the name of this museum has surely tipped you off that you are in for something morbid and unusual. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it has a lot to offer. Also known as “The Museum of Death”, you can see everything from the mummified remains of a serial killer and cannibal to a large variety of human skulls and different preserved body parts. There are plenty of interesting examples of fatal injuries in the Forensic wing of the museum, and there is enough material to keep you occupied for several afternoons, if you aren’t squeamish.

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It is good to sometimes break from the mold and look for something a bit more thrilling and unusual than rusted bits of ancient swords, broken pottery and pieces of jewelry. These museums may be a bit weird, morbid or even spooky, but they will not disappoint. If you are an adventurous soul, be sure to check them out.

Featured photo credit: Igor Miske via unsplash.com

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