I feel like I've addressed this already.. Inspired by the cosplay.com thread titled "dumb/funny/weird cosplay myths and stereotypes" I've decided to compile and respond to the most interesting or commonly heard ones.
These stereotypes are not to be taken seriously. They apply differently to all people, and my answers are just that, my answers. Not mine and my cosplay groups, not the entire cosplay community's, just mine.
• "Cosplayers cannot have a normal social life."
I personally can. I can hold a normal conversation and interact with people who have no interest in anime without trying to "convert" them. I go out with friends to the movies, the mall, theme parks, and beaches and you wouldn't be able to distinguish me from anyone else there. Yes, I do think about cosplay a lot more than others (specially when a con is near), but I can think and talk about other things too.
• "Cosplayers never have boyfriends or girlfriends, or are not suitable boyfriend or girlfriend material."
I have a boyfriend. Many cosplayers I talk to have boyfriends or girlfriends, even fiances, husbands, or wives. And, yes, we probably cosplay together. I also did not meet my boyfriend through cosplaying, at a convention, or online.
• "If you cosplay, you must have other stereotypically 'nerdy' hobbies like band, theater, Dungeons & Dragons, or Star Trek."
I somewhat agree with this one, on a couple of different fronts. First of all, I personally love theater and Star Trek, and theater ties heavily into cosplay. Theater and cosplay both often include acting, costume construction, and set or prop building. On the other side of this, my boyfriend's favorite part about cosplaying is the acting. While neither of us constantly act in-character, on occasions we do or even perform skits. Star Trek and D&D have nothing to do with it other than I like Star Trek and my boyfriend likes Dungeons & Dragons, both of which can be written off as purely conincidence.
• "Cosplayers are all devil-worshippers."
No. Just no. I have never once heard someone say "Cosplay (or anime) has turned me into a/an [insert religion here]." Honestly, I have picked up certain ways of thinking from both cosplay and anime, but I pick them up everywhere, and it's never been "I think that because [character] thinks that," it's always "I never thought of that, but I sort of agree."
• "All cosplayers have poor hygiene, are unhealthy & acne-ridden, and live in their mother's basements."
I'm unhealthy because of a medical condition I caught in the hospital when I was born, thanks, asshole. I have acne because I'm a teenager, I live with my mom for the same reason. Hygiene is a debatable issue. While I have decent hygiene, I've enough "con-funk" to suggest that others do not. I'm going to assume they're just too caught up in the convention to shower, and have a lovely aroma the rest of the time. Yup.
• "Cosplayers are mentally unstable and think that they are an anime character."
I have never thought I was an anime character. Sure, I've wanted to be an anime character... When I was twelve (okay, maybe thirteen)... As I said above, I'm fairly normal. And I don't have to make anime references every other sentence either.
• "Cosplayers are 'weeaboos', want to be Japanese, and use random Japanese words and phrases whenever they can."
I hate, hate, hate the term "weeaboo." On top of being insulting, it's hypocritical. "You're a weeaboo because you use random Japanese words." Isn't that what you just did..? Anyway, Yeah, I did that. When I was thirteen, and even then, not so much. I don't want to be Japanese, and I never have. I think people who do don't understand the Japanese culture at all. In most Asian cultures, Western people are considered "beautiful." So for a Westerner to want to be beautiful like a Japanese person, who is in turn trying to be beautiful like a Western person, is just silly.
• "Cosplayers are all immature."
Depends on your definition of "immature" really. You could argue that we are closer to a fantasy world than most adult, regardless of our age, something that younger kids normally do, so technically "immature." However, I'm pretty sure it's said to mean "inconsiderate, even though we should know better." In which case, yeah, I used to be like that, but that was actually before I started taking cosplay more seriously. I've run into too many immature cosplayers myself, so I can very easily understand why people would think all cosplayers were, but I can assure you we're not.
• "Cosplayers must love hentai, and their costumes are part of some sick sexual fetish and they want to dry hump everything they see."
Nope, wrong again. It's not too far-fetched to assume that cosplayers use their costumes in their, ahem, personal life, but it's absolutely insane to assume that they want everyone and everything involved in said personal life, and that just because they're in costume means they're horny. On the same note, hentai is a personal preference and varies from person to person.
• "Only certain ethnicities can cosplay well."
The internet plays a huge part perpetuating this stereotype. What you consider a "good" cosplay is a personal preference, and while it's obviously wrong to assume that all Japanese cosplayers are good and everyone else is bad, some people just don't know. The best we can do is correct them.