It’s official. Any potential U.S. economy collapse in 2014 or 2015, or perhaps even a nasty U.S. stock market crash, can be blamed on anime and cosplay. This is about the time we need to beam down George Takei to utter his famous line, “Ooh my…”
In a related report by The Inquisitr, the so-called “Fat Cosplayers” Facebook community page has taken fat shaming to a new nerdy level by criticizing overweight women dress up as their favorite anime characters. The New York Comic Con has also drawn a lot of attention to the “Cosplay Is Not Consent” group, although what most cosplayers seem to be remembering most is how all of their weapons are being confiscated at the door.
For the otaku among us, this business news is probably going to generate many an eye roll, but economic blogger James Pethokoukis really does have a thing against “neets.”
“Two decades of stagnation after the collapse of the 1980s real-estate and stock bubbles — combined with labor laws making it tough to fire older workers — have relegated vast numbers of Japanese young adults to low-paying, temporary contract jobs. Many find themselves living with their parents well into their twenties and beyond, unmarried and childless,” Pethokoukis writes for The Week. “After all, it’s not that these young adults in Japan are resisting becoming productive members of the economy — it’s that there just aren’t enough opportunities for them. So an increasingly large number of them spend an increasingly large amount of time living in make-believe fantasy worlds, pretending they are someone else, somewhere else. This is a very bad thing for the Japanese economy.”
Pethokoukis then goes on to note how the Great Recession has greatly increased unemployment in younger adults and even those lucky enough to find jobs find themselves make far less cash even when adjusted for inflation. He then goes on to suggest the potential for a U.S. economy collapse or a U.S. stock market crash is somehow connected to the desire for cosplay.
“When you’re disillusioned with the reality of your early adult life, dressing up like Doctor Who starts looking better and better. It’s not to say that all or even most cosplay aficionados are struggling to find work. It’s only to say that any rise in people fleeing reality for fantasy suggests problems with our reality.”
This perception problem is then translated into the idea that Americans are going to suffer through a neet generation “whose careers are stuck in neutral, coping with dead-end jobs and listless prospects.” If you’re not an otaku, neet stands for “Not in Education, Employment, or Training,”and it’s implied that neets are using fantasy to make themselves feel like a hero when reality may not match up.
Criticizing cosplay is not limited to economist writers. Even the wife of a Star Wars artist is claiming cosplay is having a negative effect on business.
“I have slowly come realize that in this selfie-obsessed, Instagram Era, COSPLAY is the new focus of these conventions–seeing and being seen, like some giant masquerade party. Conventions are no longer shows about commerce, product launches, and celebrating the people who created this genre in the first place…. The hard-working artists and creators who are the very foundation of this industry…the reason there even is an industry….those creatives who have busted their asses and spent money they perhaps didn’t have to spare in order to be there exhibiting for–and accessible to–the fans…have been reduced to being the background wallpaper against which the cosplayers pose in their selfies.”
Of course, that’s a long way from saying cosplayers are an indirect signal that the U.S. economy will tank, and io9 writer Rob Brocken had some harsh words for Pethokoukis.
“If our economy is driving people to escape from reality, then perhaps television, movies, sports, books, alcohol, drugs, and videogames might be somewhat more recognizable factors than cosplayers. And if that’s the case, then I also have to wonder if maybe — just maybe — this desire to escape is true of people of all ages who are being f***ed over by the lacks of jobs and job growth, people struggling to find jobs and to hold them, who resent their lack of advancement, or more likely their lack of anything resembling job security. For instance, perhaps people in the 30s, 40s and, although I know is sounds completely unbelievable, but maybe even people in their 50s or older might also want to escape their sh*tty reality by going to see a godd**n movie.”
Instead of giving my opinion on the matter, I’ll explain who those people are in the above cosplay photo. They happen to be productive members of society who are my relatives. Far from being neets, they have jobs as a school teacher, hair stylist, and writer. Cosplay pretty much runs in the family. Just ask Elsa, a certified occupational therapist.