View Full Version : Is Mermaiding essentially Cosplaying?

Merman Andrew
03-26-2017, 12:23 AM
So a couple of days ago my boss was asking me some questions about Mermaiding and one of the questions he asked was is it the same thing as Cosplay? I answered no because to me Mermaiding is not just about dressing up but is an actual activity you do like Snorkelling or Scuba Diving. In other words it is it's a form of swimming.

It got me thinking though as I know some Mers specifically put on tails as a form of Cosplay, and of course some Mers even Cosplay certain Mer characters such as Pokemon etc, while for others like me I see Cosplay as quite a discreet thing to what I do, even though I technically am dressing up as a fictional 'character' . So I wanted to get your opinions, is Mermaiding and Cosplay the same thing? Or is it not because we dress up for different reasons? And if so what do you see are the things that make Mermaiding different from Cosplay?

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Rebela Hunter
03-26-2017, 12:44 AM
I have a lot of knowledge in this field, as I am a Furry, Cosplayer, and mermaid!

So, what cosplaying's definition reads is: "the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime."
When you are a mermaid in your tail -er, merman - you are dressing up, yes, but it doesn't fit under cosplay. Your "character" is not found in a book, movie, video game, etc. and it is for your own personal use. Cosplaying usually has very rigid rules on how-to's and you need to look exactly like the character for public appearances.
Also, cosplaying is primarily done to show off your amazing outfit to other people. It's mostly ONLY done at public appearances like Cons!
Furries are technically cosplayers because they mimic a character that is not themselves, but what they wish themselves to be. Most draw their character, put them in comics and books, and even get plushies of them and use them like a companion to themselves.

Mermaids, of the other hand, literally go with the flow. They slap on a tail and do whatever feels natural to themselves. It's more like expressing YOURSELF than MIMICKING another character fro someone else's heart or imagination. You're more in-tune with your natural self, per say.
Mermaiding can be done alone, in 'pods', at meet-ups and Cons, parties, you name it! It's waaaay more personalized than cosplaying and doesn't always have to be shared with the outside world to be appreciated.

I hope that helps! :)

03-26-2017, 12:49 AM
It's an interesting question. Personally, I consider Cosplay and Costume Preforming different things, though it's a fine line between the two. At Ren Faire, I'm dressing up as a character not from a game, movie, comic or show, but as a character I made up.

Personally I consider cosplay to be more of dressing up as a specific character from a specific thing, or an OC from a pre-existing universe, while preforming or costuming is slightly different. You make your own world, your own character, your own story. When I'm cosplaying, I try to act as the character, or pose as the character would, no matter how spine-twisting or unpractical it may be!

For me I'd consider it not exactly 'costume roleplaying', but more of preforming. Roleplaying in most cases comes from acting out a character from a pre-existing place, while I personally categorize preforming as roleplaying, but in your own world, that people can have different interpretations of.

Similar to Fursuiting in the Furry Fandom, we are performers, acting out our character in our own universe. We aren't exactly cosplayers, since its our own characters and from our own universe, it's as much of a activity or hobby as scuba diving or bicycling in that regard too, at least for me. I put on an act to entertain kids, seniors and groups into thinking I'm a 5 foot tall energetic canine. I consider mermaiding the same thing.

It's a VERY fine line, to sum it up. XD

03-26-2017, 02:08 AM
I don't view it as cosplay. I just view it as a different type of swimsuit with a fin built right in. There were speedo swimsuit that was banned because it increased the performance in the person. Simply put us putting on a tail is no different from that. It's just a tool for swimming. It just happen to make us feel natural and at home in the water :)

Mermaid Fenicia
03-26-2017, 04:19 AM
I just combine the too, I sometimes cosplay as a mermaid like Ariel, Athena (her mother), Coco From mermaid Melody Pichi Pitchi Pitch and Misty from Pokemon ;)

03-26-2017, 05:04 AM
Nah, I'd personally separate it as well. Similar in some ways, sure, but I like to think that there's a pretty definitely boundary as well. Of course, they can easily cross, if cosplaying a mermaid/man character or something of the sort.

But all in all, I feel there's a separation. Or at least, in most cases, since you can sort of boil it down to intent and content alike. Cosplay is generally for fun and most commonly for conventions and fan-gatherings as a sort of fandom related social activity (though sometimes people break into 'cosplay modelling' and the like.)

Merfolking seems to be much more about a shared love of a rather broader thing. Mers, the ocean, etc... and seems far more about that simple love of it for the sake of it, and sharing that with each other and the public, etc. (though again, that's also subject to variation from person to person).

I'm not sure if that makes much sense, but yeah. Both are awesome, but I do see them as different.

03-26-2017, 07:34 AM
I would say mermaiding is cosplaying essentially; you are costuming to become something else. It doesn't need swimming for example to be a mermaid, you can still be one on land.
Although I guess unlike cosplay, generally people are dressing as their own characters. That's the only difference I would personally consider.

I can see why some would feel calling it cosplay might be insulting, as mermaiding means a lot to so many people, but cosplay means a lot to people as well, and is a big part of self expression and socialising, so I don't have a problem with the comparison

Aquos Savar
03-27-2017, 12:09 AM
I am a mer, cosplayer and avid photographer. I've worked on these 3 areas.

Cosplaying is the activity of "Becoming someone else" by the use of similar wear as the characters being portrayed. This may include wielding weapons, extra equipment aside from clothing, or any special accesories or facepaint, body paint, full latex suits, etc. It is becoming someone else.

Mermaiding is different. It still involves the use of extra clothing (Tails), but most of the time, it is not the act of becoming someone else, but rather a different side of you. There are some exceptions, like people who cosplay as merfolk. Mermaiding also involves the use of any body of water, which differentiates from cosplaying, which involves dry-land areas.

And as a photographer that had to take photos of multiples cosplayers here in my town, and some mers who came from far, the pictures you take are really different and help you give you a scope on how different both groups are. Cosplayers usually just stay with their character's poses and movesets, while mers are more unique and create their own, as they're themselves, and not another character. Just like furries, they're not being someone else, they're being their other personas.

03-27-2017, 03:54 PM
personally I think it's it's whole own genre! I never really see it as cosplay. I mean if people work as clowns are they cosplaying? they're wearing a costume too.

03-28-2017, 06:06 AM
personally I think it's it's whole own genre! I never really see it as cosplay. I mean if people work as clowns are they cosplaying? they're wearing a costume too.

I'd agree with this too! The most familiar cosplay we are used to seeing is super heroes or anime characters but it's all under the same umbrella. Dressing up as something or someone :P To me, anyway

Mermaid Fenicia
03-28-2017, 02:34 PM
cosplay = cos (= costume) + play (= playing) so it's acting what you wear at that moment ;)

Merman Andrew
04-02-2017, 12:50 AM
Thanks for all your responses everyone! You all confirmed what I had thought and was unable to put succinctly into words. I particularly like the idea that Mermaiding is really about expressing who you are as a person rather than putting on a costume to play a role! I resonate with this!

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