Cosplay is ‘costume play’, where people dress up in various ways. Sometimes it’s used to describe, or be part of, various scenarios of a sexual nature, sometimes it’s just fantasy as associated with comic book conventions and so on. ‘Cosplay’ is, I guess, whatever you want to make it.
Cosplay could be anything from being a bunny girl, a belly dancer, superhero characters, or various ‘erotic’ variations on that theme.
I’ve said it before, but naturists are particularly keen to throw on a costume at any opportunity. Go figure! But if you have a look at naturist photos, you’ll find quite a bit of ‘dressing up’ going on, with everything from ‘Red Indian’ headdresses to togas to revealing belly dancer outfits being donned for club parties. (Note: most of the photos below cannot be remotely described as naturist in any sense – coming more from an ‘erotica’ line of photography, but I’ve included them to illustrate the point).
While thinking about this, I thought that many of us, at least in western culture, are conditioned from birth to embrace ‘cosplay’ in many forms. Think of us in kindergarten in the ‘dressing up’ corner, or Christmas/birthday presents where at 5-6 years of age we can embrace our inner cowboy, policeman, princess, nurse, etc. So by the time we become sexually aware, there’s something deep in our psyche where we merely continue this conditioning. We -all of us- love to do a bit of dressing up, both in our real and Second Lives. While some of it will be of a ‘fancy dress’ aspect (naturists in togas or ‘Red Indian’ loincloths where relaxed clothing codes meet our expectations as naturists) some of it is of a sexual/erotic nature. It exists in the bedroom, again from dressing up as nurses where cosplay meets role-play. Many people find it enhances their sex lives. Which is fine. Whatever works for you. But that aspect of cosplay is beyond this blog’s brief.Historically, naturists also favoured a ‘nude pageant’ beauty contest, but these are exceptionally rare now, due to feminist modes of thought about women not being judged on ‘beauty’, but rather misses the point that, in naturism, there was always an equivalent male version. Certainly, you can make a case for guys not being judged on ‘beauty’ either. Equally, you could be moved to suggest that killjoys merely diminish the sense of daft fun in the world.
Denied beauty pageants on grounds of sexism or cultural appropriation, either by killjoys or self-policing by naturist clubs, naturists have shifted their emphasis to a different mode of ‘dressing up’, in a sense, with body painting. You can now see this in a naturist environment quite a lot, as well as events such as the World Naked Bike Ride, charitable events such as the Streak for Tigers, and science-fiction conventions.
It would also appear that the body painting aspect of it is being embraced in the likes of Brazil’s Mardi Gras, with actual costume becoming less and less and body paint replacing it.