The masculinization of dressing-up

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‘Dressing-up’ has often been seen as a gendered activity. In particular, costuming – the design and creation of costumes – has been viewed as a female pursuit. However, contemporary events and artefacts, particularly those related to fandom, frame dressing-up in contexts that are more acceptable to male audiences. Via cosplay, historical re-enactment, and the personalization of characters in online games such as World of Warcraft, a new generation of men are becoming more engaged with costume. This article will identify contemporary influences on the perception of the wearing and construction of costume, particularly with regards to costume as an expression of masculine ideals. It will discuss the costume as a marker of hypermasculinity, authority or preparedness, and identify how traditionally feminine domestic spaces and activities have been coopted by a new generation of males. It will present domestic activities such as sewing as rights-of-passage on the path towards masculinity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-155
JournalClothing Cultures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • cosplay
  • costume design
  • reenactment
  • masquerade
  • sewing
  • fan-studies
  • masculinity
  • domesticity


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