My Dress-Up Darling: Embrace Your Individuality

FInding your wonderful in being wierd


Wakana Goto had his passion for painting Hina dolls labelled as “weird” and it impacted him greatly. Since then, he hid his practice away from everyone, striving to be as “normal” as possible. Marin Kitagawa kept her cosplay interests to herself in an attempt to fit in with her more normative classmates.


Conformity has been widely studied in psychology research and is defined as changing your behaviour to align with other people’s behaviours, beliefs, and attitudes in your desired social group. These behaviours that are seen as “normal” for that particular group, however, could be in conflict with what you are comfortable with. Some classic research experiments on conformity include: Jenness’s 1932 Experiment, Sherif’s Autokinetic Effect Experiments, Asch’s Conformity Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment.

Conformity can limit our willingness to explore and even compel us to give up things that bring joy or comfort to us. Someone who enjoys playing video games or the comfort of plushies could face criticism calling them childish, cringey or lame. The truth is, you’re allowed to like what you like! Assuming that your hobby does no harm to anyone, who cares if your peers disagree? Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is and isn’t for you, and what makes you, you.


Here are some ways you can embrace your individuality in your daily life:

1. Look for opportunities to express yourself



It’s important to distinguish between rules and where the opportunities to express yourself are. There are some instances which require you to follow certain protocols such as wearing a school uniform. But there are many other ways to be true to yourself in such a setting; what CCA you join, how you decorate your backpack etc. This is evident in Marin and her classmates wearing the same uniform but having different hairstyles. Even when there are rules, there are always ways you can embrace your individuality.


2. Choose based on YOUR preferences



When considering whether or not to go with the trend, ask yourself questions like:

  • Does this spark joy?
  • Do I feel comfortable?
  • What do I like about it?
  • What do I dislike about it?

No one can nor should make you feel ashamed about the things you like as long as they don’t harm you or someone else. Better yet, seek those who can appreciate and support your interests! Marin and Wakana were that for each other and they were visibly happier as they could freely be themselves!


3. Remember it doesn’t have to be permanent (nor all-encompassing)


While Marin loved cosplay, she didn’t cosplay all the time. She joined her friends in a yukata for the summer festival and has a vibrant wardrobe that still expresses who she is. Don’t be afraid to explore and experiment! You may find joy in something new or even other things that complement your style. Let there be no shame or guilt if you feel that it’s not for you and decide to move on. Some preferences stick with us for a long while or never change. Other times, we may outgrow some things we used to like and embrace the new. We can even revisit some that we’ve moved on from and missed. This is all fluid and up to you!


Here are some Shadee.Care articles on related topics:

IU, breaking stereotypes of yourself and others


Horimiya, you can be you


Charlie Puth, being true to himself


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