Well, I in general am not bothered by cosplaying. Come on, even in such a small country as Finland, there are maybe 3 or 4 1-2 days anime conventions a year. And personally, I get to visit only 1 or 2 of them. So me and a few of my friends are going to cosplay this year, for the first time.
(I'm going to be Tetra from Zelda Wind Waker, cause well.. it was easy enough, and I have a blond long hair of my own.
I don't see why people think this as a dumb hobby. It's meant to be just for fun. I mean, the fun of creating the costume and then you get a few days off when you get to be a totally different person from your everyday normal life.. it's great. It's not like they're overly obsessed with anime characters, they just like to have some fun without being their same old selves all the time.
Of course, I have to agree with one thing here: The look-alike. Cosplaying Edward Elric with a brown hair? Gosh, that kinda sucks. When you're going to cosplay something, preferably try to choose a character that FITS for you. Not only someone that's your favourite. And let's say, generally "large" people who cosplay a character with small bikinis isn't really a beautiful sight, either. >_> No offense.
And yes, the gender. I was thinking of cosplaying Ed once (my hair totally would fit for that- besides I'm SHORT. XD ) But, I'm female, so.. it just didn't feel the right thing to do. If someone can pull it off nicely, then go ahead! But let's say you have big breasts and female curves that clearly show, cosplaying a male character isn't the smartest thing to do in my opinion.
(not saying I have any of those.. but.. I'm STLL a bit shy to cosplay a male character. >_>)
But yeah.. it's hard to make an exact copy of a character, so I personally can manage with most of these things.
Cosplaying in conventions is just fan past-time hobby. The time used with the costume and then showing it off must feel great. But, if someone were to walk around with their costume in the city ALL THE TIME, well.. that would be a bit disturbing, I guess. D:
..but what I'm trying to say here, please do not think them as sad nerds, but rather a group of people who just want to have some fun. No one has ever said actors in teathers to be idiots, have they?
Sure, not all the costumes are all that top-notch, but hey, the exact looks isn't all that important for everyone. Besides, isn't it great when you actually find someone who looks just like the character? These rare gems are really fun to find.
Sorry, long post.