Cosplay, or the act of dressing up as a character, is a hobby that has become increasingly popular over the last several decades. Since its conception in 1939, the practice of cosplaying has always been heavily tied to that of conventions. Until 2019 these conventions were utilized by cosplayers to showcase their outfits and creations – in a phenomenon called “masking” – but with the widespread emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, conventions were put on hold for over a year. This paper questions how convention culture has changed in a world where cosplay can no longer rely on it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through analysis, personal narrative, and a critical reflection, the authors compare Saboten Con 2019 and 2021 to discuss that despite the numerous changes to the physical culture of conventions, the social essence of conventions has remained the same.
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- Cosplay and Conventions: A Critical Reflection on How the COVID-19 Pandemic Shaped Saboten Con