There has been a lot of fierce debate going on about this particular subject (which is pretty rediculous in my eyes considering how many male cosplayers there are out there!)and Meagan Marie has been there with well written arguments on the side of cosplayers who do this as a hobby because of their love of the characters, not for male attention.
While there might be some who do it for getting male attention, I don't think this idea would represent the majority of female cosplayers as to why they do it. Now as someone who is not a cosplayer (though attempting my first in May) I see many do it for reasons such as:
- Escapism: Jumping into the shoes of someone else. May choose to game for this reason too. - Love of characters from their favourite games, anime or TV series etc and wanting to be a part of it. - Love of specific costume design. They may or may not know the characters too well, but love the designs of their outfits etc or may be told they look alike to a character. - Test their crafting skills. Whether a big or small project it's a great test of putting together items or making things from scratch which is creative, fun (and sometimes frustrating) and quite rewarding. Having spoken with Meagan last year she was talking about how she has done classes and learned new skills such as leatherworking and put those skills to the test with unique costume design. Many like her take a basic style and make it their own (loved her Steampunk Lara so much). - Because it is fun. As kids we loved to dress up, so why not have fun as an adult doing the same.
There are likely many individual and personal reasons for doing it, but these are what I think of when I see cosplayers and how I picture the reasons for choice of doing it.