Friday, July 3, 2020

Disneybounding: A Nerdy Subculture With A Message

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Disney characters are favorites to draw inspiration from for cosplay. It would be amazing to get that perfect shot of you as your favorite Disney character in the ultimate backdrop that is a Disney park! If you’re a grown Disney fan, you might be sad to know there’s a no costume policy for adults at the parks… But you can rejoice in the fact that there is a loophole to the rule: DISNEYBOUNDING. 

I’ll admit that I wish that I had the talent, determination, and dedication it takes to be a legitimate cosplayer. There’s something magical about seeing our favorite characters out in the real world. It’s exciting whether they are accurate representations or ones where creative liberties have been taken.

What Is Disneybounding?

Disneybounding is when you assemble an outfit paying tribute to characters, using regular clothes, color schemes, and accessories. Your ensemble might just pass for a regular, albeit colorful, look out in the real world. At a Disney park, any real fan will probably pick up on your subtle (or not so subtle) tribute. Using regular items right off the rack makes Disneybounding the perfect kind of cosplay for someone like me!

Disneybounding started as a way for adults to pay tribute to their favorite Disney characters at the theme parks, but it has become so much more. It’s not just a loophole to express one’s love for a character at a Disney park anymore. It’s now a way to express individuality in a world where there’s pressure to fit in and follow norms.

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Within Disneybounding there are themes like villains, giving spotlight to underrated characters, all meant to be in good fun. Unfortunately, even the most innocent of acts can receive harsh criticism. A pair of Disney and Disneybound focused content creators have taken on the task of combatting this negativity. Their own experiences with the bullying of their princess loving sons sparked the movement. 

Bounding With A Message

I happened upon this movement within the Instagram Disneybounding community. It’s encouraging boys, men, and anyone who identifies as masculine, to Disneybound as their favorite princesses: #PrincessBoyBounds

One of the incidents that birthed this movement (which launched August 19) was an interaction between two families waiting in line for a ride. A three year old boy, Disneybounding as Elsa (literally dressed in a blue shirt and blue pants) was holding an Elsa doll. He was asked by another boy why he was playing with a doll, as though it were a foreign concept. The offending family also had a daughter dressed as the snow queen. This was exciting to see for a kid who happens to adore the franchise. Sadly, instead of a warm Disney welcome, the toddler was met with looks of disgust and a cold shoulder from the girl and her parents — lucky for our Elsa bounding boy, the cold never bothered him anyway (see what I did there?)

It’s kind of unbelievable that this kind of negativity exists in such a family friendly and happy fandom. 

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Paying tribute to your favorite characters is supposed to be a fun experience. It shouldn’t be limited to same-sex options. We don’t shame girls/women/feminine people for dressing up as masculine characters. Why look down on boys/men/masculine people paying homage to their favorite female characters? 

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The Goal

#PrincessBoyBounds is a call to let people unashamedly like what they like, especially boys who like princesses.

My personal take away has been that boys should be allowed and encouraged to have strong female role models. Especially young boys who are growing up with a new wave of strong Disney princesses like Elsa and Moana. Yes, daughter of the chief qualifies as a princess. As a mom of two boys, that’s a message I can get onboard with.

Although the campaign is in its infancy, it’s definitely something worth taking a look at. Let’s share our love for Disney and Disney characters without judgement.

Avid cosplayer Jimmy Sherfy joining the movement.
He also participated in last year’s #PlayboyPrinces movement in the cosplay community!

Head over to Instagram to check out and support #PrincessBoyBounds (@PrincessBoyBounds) with its creators @thebrokelifeofchrisandjolie, @pidaycosplay, and many other cosplay, Disney, and Disneybound focused accounts. Maybe add your own to the fray! 

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