View Full Version : differences in communities

06-02-2006, 11:11 AM
While most of us old dinosaurs ( Karisu included LOL) keep trying to explain that we see cosplay as just one more part of overall science fiction costuming, not some new alien thing we should be afraid of, there are certain differences that are always coming up.
I was wondering if some of our new cosplay frineds could speak on the topic of always using nicknames instead of real names.
I used Gravely here, just to fit in, and people in the haunt industry know me as that so it's no big deal.
But I never introduce myself as that, Gravely is a character I play and I don't expect to be called that unless I am dressed as that.
so here's a few thought for you to comment on.

Cosplay is full of young fans, many ( mostly?)female. Do they need name protection for all the creepy stalkers out there.

at general SF cons, you sign the release forms to take care of legal stuff. You must sign your real legal name. You can of course have the MC call you anything you want, but the legalities of it say that you've already given use of your name, which is why parents muct sign for kids.
Ricky is not tecnically my legal first name. I get introduced as that, but I must sign stuff otherwise. I guess listing me as Ricky on awards and on awards lists works because I've created the reason all know me as that.

Karisu- are we to call you that in public all the time?
is that who we send a christmas card too? You call hubby digiman on the boards here, but we all were introduced to him by his real name.

PLEASE, I'm not complaining or singleing people out, just trying. as my daughter would say, to embrace the culture.
When Saeto ( on cosplay) got introduced to all the CC costumers she wanted to meet it was by her given real name, and that's how they all know her.

Is there a seperate email handle/name deal, and then publically we use real names?

Karisu mentioned protection in the internet age. Are there more problems than just the sexual harrasement ( at any age) that cosplayers have dealt with , that we have avoided in genral costuming ( not speaking for general fandom)

Gravely, Ricky, who's real name is Alec LOL

06-02-2006, 12:47 PM
I think it's a combination of things..

-On the internet, you can more or less use any name that you want to. More of the 'fun identity' part. And if you don't like your legal name, what better time to train the world to something new :) (For those wondering, no Dany isn't my real last name. It's part of it, but not the entirety).

-Using a name that isn't your legal one is a bit more private and reduces the dangers that can be associated with that. The world, cosplay and otherwise, is full of weirdos, and not always the good kind.

-Grandis (aka Catherine) brought up in the Anime 101 panel that a fair amount of Asian cosplayers go by aliases because they want to keep a clear line of distinction between their normal and hobby lives. There are certain aspects that over there are considered in the same fashion as fetish stuff, and thus they are far more reserved about it. I'm not sure how much that plays in -here-, but hey...worth mentioning.

I think with me, I tend to see the online name first, and then end up using that name to match to the person. As a result, after a while I have a harder time calling someone by another name. It just becomes habit to think of Karisu as Karisu, for example, than her real name. I have on occasion called her by her other name, but not very often as it just feels weird.

Not sure if that makes any sense :)

06-02-2006, 05:15 PM
Clowning and Haunting seem to both also turn people into other names, but it is from the ONE character they do.
So that's why I wondered about cosplay
Many costumers do a costume once and never again, so tagging them with that doesn't work.
I realize there are some cosplayers out there who specialize in one character, so while they might want that name, they also run the risk of there being 20 others out there.

The privacy issue brings us to the one bad apple theory , that cosplayers are spoiled little creeps who will crash your commputers and make life horrible for you if you cross them, so you need a safety buffer identity.
We all know that that is NOT the real community.
but it's sad to see where you folks HAVE had those experiences.

Karisu I don't know if it 'means' something, or is just a cool asain name
Saeto has been explained to me as a female version of a favotite character, and that sounds cool.
Dany, well once Andy Trembley told me your real name was Shmendrick, I understood the change ( okay that's a total lie, but funny)

Me, I am Alec Ritchie Dick scottish name. yup same clan ( Ritchie) as the one that b***h madonna married into. should be hyfen-ated and all, but we lost that somewhere.

Anyway, If I had been Alexander I would have been the 4th. But they shortened it to Alec, and even then, with 4 generations, too confusing, so I have always been called Ricky by friends and family

My Clown name is ARDY from my initials.

06-02-2006, 05:55 PM
Dany, well once Andy Trembley told me your real name was Shmendrick, I understood the change ( okay that's a total lie, but funny).

I have to kick Andy's butt. KIDDING!

The privacy issue brings us to the one bad apple theory , that cosplayers are spoiled little creeps who will crash your commputers and make life horrible for you if you cross them, so you need a safety buffer identity.

Of course, 'creepy people' are all over, not just in the community :)

As for Karisu's name? She gave an explanation for it once...I believe it had something to do with how the Japanese pronouce things.......

06-02-2006, 06:46 PM
For me, I prefer using a cosplay alias for anime conventions (haven't been to costume-con *yet*), mostly for privacy issues. My name is very unique (hyphenated), and a google search will bring up a mini-history of my life since I've gone to college. I prefer to not have my cosplay activities associated with it online. Its too easy to bring up an electronic search.

If cons want to know my name for legal/accounting purposes (or using a cc to register), I'm totally fine with providing it. But for badges and interpersonal interactions, I'd prefer to be known as Parasaur. I even asked the Katsucon cosplay coordinators to change my real name to my alias when they posted the award winners online. Especially for cosplay.com- why would anyone one here care who **** ***** is, when they know me as Parasaurolophus?

My cautiousness goes both ways- not just to keep my coworkers from googling me and finding cosplay websites, but also from creepy guys who like my pictures being able to track me down. And with all of my cautiousness, I still get nagged from my mom about internet safety. ^_^

My attachment to my alias springs mostly from cosplay.com. If I just went to conventions, I'd probably just use my first name to identify myself. Now, however, I have a unique id tag that can follow my cosplay persona throughout the internet. So I have a specific cosplay-only email address, and I write on con boards as Parasaur. It allows a degree of anonymity, but also personalization, so people can still recognize me. A trademark for my costumes, if you will. Thats mostly why I introduce myself as my alias- for me, its the identification of the costumes I make, and I feel wierd when providing my real name in conversation.

On a side note, this isn't limited to just cosplay. I have also known girls (in non-cosplay areas) who specifically don't want their names used on benign websites (organization lists, etc) because they do not want to be traced by their stalkers. We're talking guys who went to prison for violating restraining orders here.

Edit: and to make my post EVEN LONGER! I found Karisu-Sama's post on why she choose her screen name (http://forums.cosplay.com/showpost.php?p=38827&postcount=50).

06-02-2006, 07:01 PM
Wow. I think it's tremendoulsy sad that you folks have to take these precautions. I wonder if we would have had the same problems if the technology had existed when Costuming started revving up in the 1980s.....

06-02-2006, 08:17 PM
Please bear with me, this is gonna be a long answer. :)

The reason for the use of Cosplay/stage aliases in the Cosplay community will, of course, vary by user.

It's likely that many choose aliases simply because it has become community convention to do so. Another possibility is that younger people in the community tend to have grown up with roleplaying / videogames, where they create character name aliases for game personas. The cosplay hobby is often seen as sort of a live action roleplay extension of game culture. Also, most younger people have grown up with the Internet, and online forum culture usually favors the use of unique usernames, which people then become commonly known by even into real-life situations.

Some Western cosplayers choose Cosplay aliases because Japanese cosplayers typically use them, although I wonder how many Westerners are aware that this use in Japan stems from the view of cosplay as heretically non-conformist. Even serious hobby-costumers in Japan are typically lumped in the cutural mindset with those who dress up for "sex fetish" purposes, so the last thing even a serious Japanese cosplayer needs is word getting back to their employers and aquaintances about what will most likely be seen (even erroneously) as highly questionable behavior.

In the privacy realm, it's an extention of the same mentality that uses a PO box for incoming commercial mail, has unlisted phone numbers, and blocks "caller ID". This is often a concern of people who have acquired some sort of community "celebrity" status for their cosplay work - while they may appreciate attention related to cosplay events, they do not want to be contacted in their private lives by tons of "fans" they do not even know who may want to get to know them or continually badger them for "how did you make that?" and so forth. (It definitely happens!)

Security is another reason, though, and incidentally, is MY primary concern.

Context is everything. I do not normally expect that signing my legal name to a registration form or even a credit card bill will result in having that information plastered up in public on the Internet for literally everyone in the entire world (with Internet access) to see. In a business situation or even as a byline on technical papers, my regular name will be used. In a more contained and informal "genre-hobby" venue (such as a con party) I might introduce myself to individuals by my regular name as well, because that is in the context of more intimate and "safe" circumstances.

With anything related to my Internet presence, however, such as being introduced to the audience-at-large at an Anime convention, the preferred use of my "stage" name provides for more than just recognition. It helps protect and preserve my non-community life as a separate identity.

In this day and age, it is devastatingly easy for anyone on the Internet to acquire tons of personal details on individuals with just a basic knowledge of a legal name and hometown. (I practically live on the Internet, and I know how to do this if I wanted to.) Not being associated with one's legal name (at least in obvious ways) on the Internet is one more level of inconvenience between a person and would-be stalkers (not just identity thieves, though they use these methods too.) As a parent, I had to make a safety decision early on whether I would keep my kids' photos or their legal names off the internet, and given the ubiquitious nature of Cosplay photography, it is obviously easier to do the latter.

We often get threads posted on Cosplay.com by people who met someone at a con and want the help of our random users to supply more information on contacting this person - these threads we shut down immediately, for people's safety, and to ensure Cosplay.com cannot be legally accused of abetting stalkers / potential stalkers. Many of our members are legal minors. (There have been some rather upsetting stories of cosplayers being stalked by people who decided they were "rabid fans", and possibly confused the cosplayer with the fictional character they tend to portray.)

For someone in a somewhat more high-profile position in the (absolutely mega-huge) Cosplay community, such as the staff of Cosplay.com, there are some real safety concerns involved. Sometimes the staff must make decisions or take action that can draw the ire of some real loose (and potentially dangerous) cannons in the community. We follow a policy that threats made against anyone must be taken seriously. (Please see Private Message for details that do not need to be made public here.)

I have not just myself, but my minor children to protect (and at that time I also had a foster child.) The last thing I care to do is to provide any information to aid hate-group stalkers in pursuing any sort of possible "vendetta" - on anyone.

As far as how to address people, it's by individual preference. "Karisu" - yeah, if I'm being addressed in public at a genre event, particularly at an Anime con, that's what I would prefer. However, in private or on Holiday cards you can address me any way you are comfortably used to. Lots of my friends met through cosplay still call me "Karisu", which is also convenient when I am in a room with other people who share my otherwise fairly common mundane nick-handle (like Saeto, incidentally.) :)

"Karisu" is indeed a "Nipponification" of my real name. The facetious "-sama" is the equivalent of calling myself "Her Ladyship Karisu", facetious because in Japanese one NEVER applies any honorific when speaking of oneself - it was a nickname once insisted upon by my niece. :)

06-02-2006, 08:36 PM
Yeah- Karisu-sama (and I think she deserves the honorific) said everything I was trying to say. With the increasing number of blogs and friend networks, Myspace being the most visible right now, personal information is exploding on the web. And there are a lot of anonymous creeps out there, cosplay and non-cosplay alike. Its just common sense not to put your full information on the web in this day and age. While young women tend to be targets, it can happen to anyone. I think the media does focus on some extreme cases, but it pays to be careful.

As for cosplay and professionalism, I think there still is a slight stigma for cosplay in american communities too, though being different is generally more tolerated here than in Japan. Sometimes when trying to decribe the whole Japan-animation costuming concept, I often get "so its like you're a furry, right?' >_< I really try to stress the _costuming_ aspect of this hobby.

06-03-2006, 08:21 AM
I often get "so its like you're a furry, right?' >_< I really try to stress the _costuming_ aspect of this hobby.

Eh. It's human nature to try to pigeonhole people. If they can't, they get uncomfortable.

06-03-2006, 01:59 PM
I think a lot of my motivation at first was embarrasment. At the time I started moving into reproduction costuming I was in the military, and I didn't want my coworkers and officer bosses to be able to find me in a google search. I liked the privacy of telling people I made and wore corsets and costumes on my own terms.

Nowadays I'm out of the military, in college, and under much less pressure to comform, both from my community and myself. I keep my pseudonym, however, because it's now a recognition thing. In the corsetry communities especially Aurora Celeste is recognized, and going into a teaching panel by saying "I'm Aurora Celeste" gets me more respect from the class than using my real name. Since I'm only 25, and usually teaching costume panels in front of a crowd with an average age that's 10 years older than me, I take what bolstering of confidence I can get. People may not be judging my skills based on my age, and I don't judge other costumers based on how old they are, but it's really hard to apply the same standards when judging yourself; I always feel like stopping halfway through and going "Bah, what do I know, nevermind what I said, go find a good teacher and ask them".

06-04-2006, 05:10 PM
I do agree with most of what I have read in this thread. I am brand new to the community and to costuming in general; even though Dany is somewhat making it a much speedier process by teaching me so much and making me avoid many newbee mistakes I would otherwise certainly make. I have huge respect for both communities as I have seen how incredibly beautiful things will spring from sheer passion for the character on top of skill and talent. No matter what the costume is about, the thing that truly comes across is the deep connection with the person wearing it as I do believe nobody would be doing this without the love for the craft and the characters: historical, sci-fi, anime and furries... I have seen amazing things in all genres. Different people will have different concepts and skills but, as the Castlevania entry demonstrated, they can also come together and truly make it happen.

06-04-2006, 07:56 PM
I just use "Eleryth" as an internet handle. It's easy to find my online stuff that way, but I try to keep my real name out of it just because. Sometimes my friends refer to me by first name, but I'd not post my last name out there (although it is a common name, having google searched it and not finding myself...that was just the name, though).

EDIT: Oh, and Eleryth doesn't mean anything. I just made it up, and it's rather "elfin" (I think my brain contracted "elbereth" from Tolkien and changed the spelling). I thought about using the 'elvish' for my name (based on meaning), but I didn't like how it sounded as it wasn't girly enough (arture or oture, I think).

I don't mind people I've met or people I feel I know using my real name, just not online. For example, when meeting all you people at CC25, I'll most likely introduce myself as, "*****, also known as Eleryth online" so that I can be identified since hardly anyone there will know who I am by sight (or maybe not even by name). In person, though, no one ever calls me Eleryth or derivations thereof (although online I've been called Elle and Ryth [which I sometimes use instead of Eleryth]).

I guess it all boils down to a privacy issue. Although I wouldn't mind my real name being used on something like the CC gallery, should pics of me ever make it up there (though it might be just first name and initial or something).

Sometimes when I meet people with a common name, I use their cosplay name if it's not too odd (and if they don't protest). For example, I've met Supremeronin (cosplayer in Tokyo), but his first name is really common, so I just call him Ronin to differentiate. He doesn't seem to mind. ^^;

06-04-2006, 08:51 PM
Heh...I use Oselle almost everywhere online, livejournal being the exception (and only because it was already taken there, and I didn't feel like adding numbers or characters). Why do I use that instead of my real name? Privacy for one, as several others have mentioned, also because it's faster and easier to type out, and because I just got into the habit back in the days of dial-up BBS's and I've never really gotten out of it.

Once I've met a person, I almost always sign messages with my real name. Just a more personal touch I guess...my full name isn't very common, but I figure if I'm communicating with a person about something remotely important, the least I can do is use my first name.

06-05-2006, 06:45 PM
I'm very old school and rarely concern myself with alias. My job isn't really a consideration, nor is Sandy's. Everyone there knows what we do.

We did have a guy that was a body in some of our presentations, though, that did need special care. He was military at the time and his job was classified. While we could use his real name, his face wasn't supposed to be seen. So we always had to make sure his face was hidden by makeup or a mask.


06-05-2006, 07:02 PM
Oh, yeah, "Karisu" also happens to mean "bottlebrush tree flower". ^^

07-17-2006, 02:17 PM
At first, I used Grandis to keep my professional self separate from my cosplay self, especially when I was a high school teacher, and the hobby might look a little iffy to people. (conservative parents? Not sure who I mean there)

Since becoming a college prof, I sort of use my real name and my stage name interchangeably. My boss thinks that my hobby is kewl, but the Japanese people I do business with wouldn't! Still, it's easy for them to go look me up and see that I do this hobby if they want to, especially online, so I guess I'm not all that secret.

You may well want to think about the Japanese anonymity factor when you head for Worldcon 2007. In Japan, this thing we do is a fetish. Really.


07-24-2006, 09:30 PM
I've been using online aliases since I first got online back in the days of Compuserve; it's just a privacy thing. And since the cosplay community is overwhelmingly online, it's a natural extension for most of us. It's not cosplay specific; I'm Sarcasm-hime everywhere else too, pretty much.

07-27-2006, 10:17 AM
I've also been using aliases online since my first online account many years ago. I've used many through the years but never concidered using one at anime conventions until I had a stalker at Otakon last year who kept trying to read my badge but could read my handwriting fortunantly. After that point I have been using RaDragon76 as my cosplay handle on badges and my first name only for masquarade/award purposes since my last name is not a common one. I know conventions need to have real name information from you but, for security sake, I prefer that the info goes no farther than registration.

01-23-2007, 12:02 PM
I mostly use my real first name, but sometimes use my pagan name- which is just the old Irish spelling of my first name. My coworkers know all about my costuming and being an anime/manga fan. I'm an assistant librarian at a public library and we have all kinds of geeks working here.;) . My desk is decorated with pictures of my favorite fictional couples from anime, manga, American superhero comics, Sci-fi and Fantasy TV shows and movies. Coworkers know me as an "expert" on Japanese history and culture (subjects I've been facinated with since I was around 7 or 8 years old- I've read most of the classical Japanese lit and poetry that has been translated into English and read some of the poetry in the original Japanese. (I have some minimal reading ability in Japanese- 100+ kanji.) I'm also well versed on costume history, both the west and Japan, with some knowledge of ancient Egyptian and Chinese as well. My coworkers have seen pictures of my costumes, even seen me sew on parts of costumes during lunch breaks.

02-24-2007, 08:18 AM
I've never seen a need to hide my real name because of my hobbies. When I started out, both costuming and internetting, it was during the "wild wild west" days of the internet in the late 70s and early 80s. Pretty much the only person who used an online alias that point was Moriarty, the comic book reviews guy. (That should take SOME of you way, way back. :)

My name has been associated with my Japanese translations since the early 80s, and for that reason I have more incentive to keep using it at cons and online. "Oh, yeah! That costumer chick who translates!" I get that a lot. Whether you think my fan translating activities made me famous or merely notorious, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

I'm also a Big Girl who can take care of herself, online and off. I once had a real (in-person, on-campus) stalker, and believe me, there's nothing about online "stalking" that even vaguely resembles it. (People online can't hit you.) I'm not even sure what the big deal is about getting an email or two that you don't want, or having somebody ogle pictures that somebody else put online *with your permission.* Learning to bitch-slap people like that is an important life skill, especially for women.

- C Sue Shambaugh
See? Look! A real name!! :D

02-28-2007, 02:49 AM
Wow, coming into this thread awhile after it started. But I'll answer too, just because.

I feel Karisu summed up best (and yes, I call her by her real name now too, because I feel I know her well enough to do so, but usually only in private conversation) ^^ , but here's my eleven cents worth:

When I first joined cosplay.com, I picked a name (which happens to be an anime related name because I felt kind of like I was supposed to) because everyone else had an alias too. It just seemed like what you did, and therefore, I did it too.

Now I use it as a measure of privacy between myself and those who don't know me. Someone mentioned suprise at needed this measure, but the average age of the people on this site (and in the anime cosplay fandom in general) are much younger than the average sci-fi goer. (I fit into the later catagory, but don't tell anyone) :) With that lower age level comes a lower maturity level (unfortunately), and as Karisu mentioned, things get a little hairy at times with silly highschool vendettas, arguements, etc. that it's best the two people (or more) involved, really know as little about the other as possible for safety reasons. Amazingly enough, people do stalk in the community, and no one wants to be at the recieving end.

I've recently started using my first name only for masquerade competitions. (I usually check with my group and we make a decision whether to go with first names or aliases). Probably because I've started to feel a little silly giving my psuedonym all the time. Not sure why I feel that way, but that's beside the point.

Lastly, (hello long post - thanks for bearing with me) over the weekend, there was a NY Times article that came out that had interviews of some cosplayers at Yaoi Con from last October. The article gave first and last names, ages, and even cities of residence along with job descriptions for most of the people they mentioned in the article itself. More than one of the people mentioned was very upset that so much personal information was given out, and one wondered why the psuedonym she had specifically given them to use was well, not used, and her personal information given out instead. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding between the interviewer and the cosplayers. Hard to say. However, the whole article was rather ridiculous and didn't paint cosplayers in the best light. Of course, that's completely another subject. So I'll stop now! : )

03-01-2007, 03:55 PM
It's unfortunate one has to resort to aliases. I suppose it's a sign of the times we live in with the ease of technology to find out more about people. But I also think just because the cosplay community is so big, there is a larger number of immature creeps in keeping with a normal percentage in any population. Or am I mistaken?

04-11-2007, 07:31 PM
Personally, and I'm probably re-etterating something that's been said a million times, but I go by my C.com handle (or rather, a nickname derived from it) at anime conventions. I think it's largely a matter of preference and privacy.

Now, I haven't been to Costume Con (yet. It's not near me until 09, apparently, ^.^), but I'm absolutely sure that when I go, I'll use my actual name. It's just easier for me to go up to folks at something like Otakon or the like and introduce myself as Runi-chan than to explain how to pronounce/spell/whatever my actual name.

Anime conventions also attract a far younger crowd than something like a multi-track convention would, so there's a tendency, at least for me, to be more concerned about who has my name/info. Besides, folks can always track you down on the 'net and..well. I'd rather not have that happen.

The younger crowd also means more of a tendency to go by a nickname. There's more of a 'this is so fun I'll be doing it for a little while and then stopping later" phase vibe from the 'cosplay' that folks pull off at anime conventions. The teen/preteen audience has skyrocketed in size, which means there's less of a feeling of genuine love for making the costumes as there is for the costumes just being fun to wear around.
Just...sort of a less professional feeling all around, save when you go and participate in the Hall Contests/Masquerades.

I think, too, that some of the folks who just start out take a look at you folks who have been at this for...a long time, (^.^)
and either are psyched that if they work hard, one day they might be able to make things like that, or turn the other way and run.
(And I think the younger teens have this thing about adults over 25 wearing costumes around.)

I've always loved drama and stage, so why not make costumes? I've made mostly anime based stuff for the past three years, but as I grow older and my skills develop, I feel more confident about working on historical or sci-fi outfits.
Some 'cosplayers' really are just that; focused soley on costuming from anime/asian videogames/manga/etc.

It is a sad thing that we assume we have to go by nicknames because the world isn't safe to even give out your name freely. But it happens.

01-03-2008, 04:57 PM
My reasons were a little diferent then everyone else seems to have. Being on the outside of social groups, the fringe, I didn't have a whole lot of friends, and when going to a con at 9 or 10 or what have you and finding out that I, who had never had one, could chose a nick name, because that was oh so cool, did so. My badge name became the name everyone knew me as. Then when people wanted to know my real name, being a very mature 13, I thought it was so much fun to not tell them and make people call me by my nick name.

Later I started RolePlaying online, and thats when the security and privacy issues started to come up. Particularly when doing intimate rp online, their are people out there who can't seperate game from reality. So I used a fake name (KIT) if people instisted on using something other then my AOL screen name.

For a lot of people it also just flows from that, we have screen names from back in the AOL days or nicks for our online accounts, and this is the name people we meet online assosiate with us because they see it and adress it on a regular basis.

I did start using my real name again when I was running my business, though most peoples still called me Kit, and still do. People who knew me 10 years ago call me Wolf.

Sometimes the name changes when we change. Now that I'm in AZ, I'll probably start putting Wyld on my badge, the bratling part can stay off.. to many easy jokes. LOL