Nichols, Elizabeth Gackstetter: "Playing with identity. Gender, performance and feminine agency in cosplay." In: Continuum 33.2 (2019), S. 270–282.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Nichols2019
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Keywords: Fandom, Gender, Identity, Performance
Women, as producers and consumers, want both to recognize themselves and be seen in fantasy and science fiction genres. When consuming these entertainments, female fans seek and respond to characters that reflect their experience of self and allow for their desire to tell their own, original stories, regardless of assigned, or assumed gender. Women’s assumption of agency in their embrace of characters across the gendered spectrum is particularly visible in the world of cosplay, where women participate in trans-media ‘produsage’ constructing and performing either faithful representations of canonical media characters, or creating new versions of those same figures. Cosplay communities allow for and embrace both crossplay and gender-bent cosplay, practices which allow women the agency to open new doors in representation of gendered identity. This study will examine aspirational fantasy-character identity construction from the perspective of female cosplayers. With a grounding in essential elements of interdisciplinary beauty theory, including the work of Valéry, Etcoff and Butler, as well as the integration of Axel Brun’s concept of produsage (2006), this paper will use personal interviews with cosplayers assigned the female gender at birth to interrogate how fan interaction with producers creates an opportunity for feminine agency.
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