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The Wonder Women: Understanding Feminism in Cosplay Performance

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Date Issued:
2019
Abstract/Description:
Feminism conjures divisive and at times conflicting thoughts and feelings in the current political climate in the United States. For some, Wonder Woman is a feminist icon, for her devotion to truth, justice, and equality. In recent years, Wonder Woman has become successful in the film industry, and this is reflected by the growing community of cosplayers at comic book conventions. In this study, I examine gender performativity, gender identity, and feminism from the perspective of cosplayers of Wonder Woman. I collected ethnographic data using participant observation and semi-structured interviews with cosplayers at comic book conventions in Florida, Georgia, and Washington, about their experiences in their Wonder Woman costumes. I found that many cosplayers identified with Wonder Woman both in their own personalities and as a feminist icon, and many view Wonder Woman as a larger role model to all people, not just women and girls. The narratives in this study also show cosplay as a form of escapism. Finally, I found that Wonder Woman empowers cosplayers at the individual level but can be envisioned as a force at a wider social level. I conclude that Wonder Woman is an important and iconic figure for understanding the dynamics of culture in the United States. In the era of #MeToo and TimesUp, Wonder Woman is a character that defies normative boundaries of gendered expectations.
Title: The Wonder Women: Understanding Feminism in Cosplay Performance.
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Name(s): Grissom, Amber, Author
Mishtal, Joanna, Committee Chair
Reyes-Foster, Beatriz, Committee Member
Harris, Shana, Committee Member
Tollefson, Kristina, Committee Member
Falu, Nessette, Committee Member
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2019
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Feminism conjures divisive and at times conflicting thoughts and feelings in the current political climate in the United States. For some, Wonder Woman is a feminist icon, for her devotion to truth, justice, and equality. In recent years, Wonder Woman has become successful in the film industry, and this is reflected by the growing community of cosplayers at comic book conventions. In this study, I examine gender performativity, gender identity, and feminism from the perspective of cosplayers of Wonder Woman. I collected ethnographic data using participant observation and semi-structured interviews with cosplayers at comic book conventions in Florida, Georgia, and Washington, about their experiences in their Wonder Woman costumes. I found that many cosplayers identified with Wonder Woman both in their own personalities and as a feminist icon, and many view Wonder Woman as a larger role model to all people, not just women and girls. The narratives in this study also show cosplay as a form of escapism. Finally, I found that Wonder Woman empowers cosplayers at the individual level but can be envisioned as a force at a wider social level. I conclude that Wonder Woman is an important and iconic figure for understanding the dynamics of culture in the United States. In the era of #MeToo and TimesUp, Wonder Woman is a character that defies normative boundaries of gendered expectations.
Identifier: CFE0007641 (IID), ucf:52515 (fedora)
Note(s): 2019-08-01
M.A.
Sciences, Anthropology
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): Wonder Woman -- cosplay -- performance -- costumed performance -- feminism -- feminist icon -- gender anthropology -- gender studies -- feminist ethnography -- gender performativity
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0007641
Restrictions on Access: public 2019-08-15
Host Institution: UCF

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