Peirson-Smith, Anne. "Fashioning the Fantastical Self: An Examination of the Cosplay Dress-up Phenomenon in Southeast Asia." Fashion Theory 17.(2013): 77–111.
Added by: joachim (4/18/21, 4:20 PM) Last edited by: joachim (4/18/21, 4:26 PM)
|Resource type: Journal Article
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: PeirsonSmith2013
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Keywords: Animation, Asia, Cosplay, Fandom, Identity, Japan, Manga, Mask
Collection: Fashion Theory
This article will examine the practice of Cosplay—the trend for young adults in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia to dress up in themed costumes assuming the personae of characters from Japanese comic books (manga) and animated cartoons (anime), video games, and pop music bands—as a means of exploring the motivations behind this activity. Social interaction theory and approaches to performativity and dramatism will be used to closely examine the complexities that construct this rapidly globalizing phenomenon from the player's own perspectives. In doing so, it will question why dress is used as a catalyst for escaping the boundaries of self and acquiring multiple identities.The article will discuss the outcomes of an ethnographic study where interviews were conducted with a selection of Cosplayers in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo who regularly dress in a range of costumes in public places and at organized themed events. Research questions included: what it means for Cosplay participants to assume another persona; what motivates them to dress up; how they decide to choose a particular character; whether it is a form of creative expression, rebellion, or secret or overt expressions of self; why and how they employ dress to pursue a particular fantasy; and the role of gender socialization in this type of costuming.Findings suggest that dressing up as a Cosplayer is multi-vocal experience representing varying motivations including the reaffirmation of identity, the escape from a known reality—in an attempt to recapture a “cute” childhood innocence, and the visible, often mediated, adherence to a defined and reassuring subcultural collective in the Asian context.