Crossplay: The Misunderstandings and Taboos of This Form of Cosplay

The difference between cosplay and crossplay.

What is crossplay? It is a form of cosplay, or costume play. Costume play is dressing up as a character, historic, fantasy, Sci-Fi or even self invented.

There are not many restrictions into cosplay. Same goes for crossplay.

Yet, crossplay is some kind of travesty, in which men dress-up as women and opposite way around.

Still it might not all be so black and white, since in many series, films, literature, myths, legends and even in history we have characters that dress-up as the opposite sex, so crossplay might also be playing these characters.

Cosplayers usually play a character of their own gender. But some might be more fascinated by one of the opposite sex. Calling this just a travesty might be a little too simple.

Keep in mind that in many series or stories, there are men that need to dress up like women.

Some example:

- Anime: there is an episode of Pokemon on which Ash, the trainer of Pikachu dresses up as a girl to get in somewhere. Or you have the series Lady Oscar, based on a book, but there are claims she was an historic character.

- History; we have character like Joan of Arc, who mostly dressed as a man to lead her armies and to feel more at ease. We also have pope Joan, a woman who got elected pope, since she was presumed to be a man. Often women also disguised themselves as men, to enlist on a ship when women were considered to bring bad luck on board.

- Fantasy and movies: remember Willow? Ladykiller Madmartigan had to disguise himself as a woman, to escape the wrath of the husband of one of his mistresses. Thinking back on the previous paragraph: how did Elizabeth Swan made it on a ship in the second Pirates of the Caribbean film?

Even in ancient Scandinavian myths there is a story of Thor having to dress-up as a woman, to gain his hammer back, while Vikings looked down on travesties.

And there are also stories of men being transformed into women. Remember the move Switch, in which a ladykiller gets punished by one of his mistresses and ends up being transformed into a pretty babe himself.

There are also anime and manga characters who can change sex.

So calling crossplay simply a travesty, might be too simple. By that way: travesty might be an art of a form of cosplay itself.

Yes, many might do big efforts to look like somebody of the opposite sex and feel great about that. Keep in mind that this is not exclusive for perverts and gays. Many travesties are straight and so are most crossplayers.

But still they are not accepted everywhere and even some cosplayers look down on their travesty colleagues.

On the other hand you may consider yourself, before you judge others. It is really easy to break down what is different from you. You are also different.

Keeping an open mind and accepting that the differences between people make us unique, might be more worthy that bashing people and breaking them down. While many cosplayers are already been bashed by people considering it as a folly, crossplayers might have a double hard time to get accepted, while their act might be the hardest of them all.

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Johnny Dod
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Posted on Apr 28, 2010