So far in this course, we have explored popular culture through the lenses of history, the humanities, and the natural and applied sciences. In this module, you will wrap up your draft of Final Project Part One with Milestone Four, and the social sciences lens is the last piece of the puzzle. Look back over the topics you chose to discuss in previous discussions, select one, and reexamine it now through the social sciences. In your initial post, address the following:
- Describe or summarize your previous topic.
- How has your understanding been affected by the social sciences lens?
- How does the social sciences lens support the lens you previously used?
Topic: For this module’s discussion, research a recent science news event that has occurred in the last six months. The event should come from a well-known news source, such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, NPR, PBS, BBC, National Geographic, The New York Times, and so on. Post a link to the news story, and in your initial post, identify the following:
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In responding to your peers, provide feedback on their topic analysis and describe the value of the social sciences lens for understanding popular culture.
Reply 1: G’niquah Armstrong
The previous post I would like to use is discussion 5, when I reviewed how the 9/11 lights interfere with birds migration pattern. In the article, it dived into the affects the lights have on the birds like starvation and exhaustion. The study showed that over 160,000 birds are endangered during their migration path during this ceremony. The article also discussed they have created groups and volunteers to look for birds and capture them, then giving a 20 minute break once 1,000 birds are caught to have the birds continue their migration path.
My understanding of the social sciences lens helped me become aware of the affects people have on global issues. The social sciences lens showed me how humans can affect the environment and we can raise awareness to current issues. The social science lens supports the previously used humanities lens by both displaying the effects we have on the environment.
In week 4 I discussed Cosplaying through the humanities lens. It was an area of popular culture that I had some basic knowledge. Thankfully, after spending that week with one of my co-workers who happens to be engulfed in the cosplay world that I learned quite about the art of cosplay. For those who are unfamiliar with this subculture, cosplay means to costume playcharacters from either fictional characters or even real-life people. The short version of describing cosplay is that it is a type of performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories that were hand made by the participants to represent a specific character or idea. From what I have learned, people participate in cosplaying for many reasons. It can be because they are expressing their interest in that particular character they are recreating to resemble. Some do it because of the challenge of creating the costumes, and some do it as a way of earning income. However, for this week’s discussion, I will dive into cosplaying through the social sciences lens.
I had the luxury of learning a great deal about cosplaying thanks to a co-worker who has been involved in cosplaying for the past 15 years. After learning about the history about cosplay (as I mentioned in my initial post) and what drives people to do it, I decided to go in a little deeper. My co-worker who goes by Miss K. gave me some more insight about cosplaying and I was very intrigued for the most part. You see when I first saw people in cosplay back in the 1990s, I thought it was a fad or a way for young people to be childish. After all most of the characters were from video games, comic books, and nerdy characters in general. I was somewhat confused when I saw that women where dressing as men and vice versa. So, I thought, “ok, is cosplaying another form of cross-dressing?!” That was then and now I have a more respectful understanding of cosplaying. When I told Miss K. about that story, she slapped me in the back of the head for laughing. This is where I learned more about cosplaying through the social sciences lens, firsthand.
Miss K. started off by saying, “Tae, for most cosplayers, the object is self-expression through interpretation. Here lets take it one step further. A cosplayer will make numerous attempts to become a character just like a film actor tries to be the character they are playing in their film. Cosplayers work tireless to make their costumes perfect. I mean perfect as in the wig, the make-up, the props, the fabric, and every little detail in between to look flawless like the character they are trying to become. It is a costly and very time consuming when it comes to cosplaying so you will see many cosplayers spend endless hours, days, weeks, even months educating themselves in fine-tuning their craft. Their craft can be in many areas other than just sewing or cutting fabrics. Many take up other crafts such as sculpture, painting, metal work, fashion design and many other art forms to make their costumes as exactly as the character is portrayed in the comic books, video games, tv shows and etc.” She added that, “Please do not think that cosplaying is a way to show off your costume making skills. It is much more than just make-up, crazy hairstyles, and all the other aesthetics. Keep in mind that once a cosplayers puts on their costume that they become that character. You see Tae, making the character is only half the battle, cosplayers have to adopt the mannerisms, body language, even the voice of the characters they portray. That is the challenge and the beauty of cosplaying. Take me for example, when I put anyone of my costumes on, I instantly feel and act like the character who wears this costume from the comic books, video games or wherever I got the character. Act as if. Many cosplayers enjoy that part the most because it’s a way to escape reality and go into another reality even if it’s a fantasy. I love slapping on my costumes, get into character, meet up with my fellow cosplayers at conventions and we always pose for photos with other cosplayers and our endearing fans. A lot of us cosplayers gather to conventions to view all the other costumes so we can give each other the well-deserved compliments for all of our hard work. We always share some tips, participate in some contests, have all sorts of fun and of course show off my own costumes/creations. Its like Planet Fitness, its a judgement free zone. I hardly hear other cosplayers talk bad about other cosplayers. Its a very tight knit community of cosplayers. There is a lot of camaraderie. That is why I always meet new cosplayers at these conventions and learn a wealth of additional knowledge. I maintain these friendships with other cosplayers through online forums, social media accounts, and just play text and calls almost every day.”
I spent probably two different days this week talking to Miss K. about cosplaying but you can see that I learned a great wealth of knowledge about cosplaying. My first post I learned some areas of social sciences such as the history and geography of cosplaying but this week I learned even more areas of the social sciences especially in the psychological and sociological areas of cosplaying. I pretty much something new about cosplaying almost every time I run into Miss K now. It was something I never cared for when I first met Miss K 5 years ago but its growing on me. I plan on going to the next convention with Miss K. sometime next month but no, I will never go as far as creating or wearing a costume at that convention. Thanks for reading.
Tae Chin Hong Peters