Selfie project… and cosplay

Here is a link to my final paper (on Google Docs)

Link to the selfies A-F


In the last part of my paper, I attempted to explore the relationship between cosplay and self.

Cosplay is a performance art (Wikipedia says so, so it must be true).

But seriously… cosplay is closely linked to theatre and role-playing; by taking on the appearance and mannerisms of another, the cosplayer represents the character but also brings part of themselves into it, too. Whether it’s a steampunk version of the Joker, or an excruciatingly detailed, could-replace-orlando-bloom remake of Legolas’ costume and armor, cosplayers bring their own artistic choices into their work and performance. Which is what makes every cosplay unique (and awesome).

Anyway, here’s some more cosplay selfies for fun:

(The last one isn’t a selfie, my dad took the picture, but it’s the final version of the costume in the 3rd pic)

  1. Harvey “Two-Face” Dent from The Dark Knight (Batman movie)
  2. Cecil Baldwin from Welcome to Night Vale (an awesome and free podcast)
  3. Mei Ling from Metal Gear Solid (a video game)
  4. Same as 3
Selfie project… and cosplay

Consent in meming

I stumbled across this buzzfeed post ( on Facebook last week — well actually, I saw a link to a Buzzfeed quiz declaring “which mom are you,” and a link to the follow-up(?) article. Originally I saw this “tag yourself” meme on Tumblr, and honestly I didn’t think much of it – there was a wealth of “tag yourself” posts going around and this seemed as normal as any other.

I read one of the mom’s blog posts ( — also linked in the Buzzfeed article. And she does raise several good points about copyright and image use, as well as stereotyping -“This meme is insulting and it’s using images of women without their permission. These are ACTUAL moms who are a lot more than the single-dimensional punchlines portrayed here.” She emphasized that the image was used without permission – it was stealing, essentially.

A user claiming to be the original creator of the meme commented on the mom’s blog ( and apologized. The comment thread continued on for a while, and the creator eventually said a final goodbye, insisting that the mom should just chill and wait for the post to fade away. The original tumblr post has been deleted, however.

Anyway, enough with summarizing. The mom condemned this kind of image stealing, even if it was for a somewhat innocuous purpose. However, as the creator pointed out, it’s way too late to delete every copy of that post. File all the DCMA takedowns you want, but the post has already spread so far and wide (all over Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, probably more) that it would be impossible to remove every single copy.

So, how can we prevent large-scale infringement like this? *Can* we prevent it at all? Why is it considered “okay” to swipe images from a Google search to use in memes, avatars, science presentations, desktop wallpapers? (I could try thinking of more examples but you get the idea). Also, one of the commenters on the thread threatened to dox (reveal and spread private information of the target) the creator of the post – “You are NOT anonymous either. Someone with even a moderate amount of skill can find your real identity, where you live, where you go to school, your social media accounts, etc. If we weren’t nice people who recognize that you are just a child, you would learn the meaning of the Internet term “dox” the hard way.” (direct link here). That’s not an acceptable response to image-stealing either.

In general, something rankled me about their responses, but maybe I was just annoyed about all the “this is what’s wrong with kids these days!” sentiment throughout the comment threads. Grown adults swipe pictures from Google Images all the time too…

Another aspect to this copyright stuff is protections of “fair use.” Generally, using copyrighted material for commentary/criticism or parody is fair use. “Transformative” use can also be considered fair use (like the mashups we’ve seen in class), but that’s pretty open to interpretation (and lawsuits). The “tag yourself as a suburban mom” meme was supposed to be a funny remix of the original “tag yourself” meme, so could it fall under parody or “transformative” use? And if it’s fair use, then the creator doesn’t need to ask for permission to use copyrighted content – so the mom’s argument that the creator never asked permission from her would be moot. Thorny questions…

Remember, anything you put on the internet will be seen by others… stay safe, kids. ❤

Consent in meming

So many selfies…

So I came upon this image on my dashboard, and I’m not sure if the OP was being serious or ironic (I’m not sure what the user I reblogged it from thought of it either, for that matter…). But here’s my 2 cents on it-

My first impression was that this image stinks of elitism – the original creator ( …?) is clearly trying to show how shallow these girls are being while they’re taking selfies, instead of focusing on more important things like… discovering your true self? Pondering the big, deep questions of life? How to make glowy stuff come out from your head?

Of course, shaming teenage girls for having fun is nothing new. Think about the worst stereotypes of “teenage girls,” and then think about what those stereotypes would be like if they were about adults/men instead.

Teenage fangirls obsessing over the latest boyband(s) are seen as frivolous and immature, while male adults obsessing over their favorite sport team(s) are seen as passionate and loyal. (Also, the Beatles, originally considered shallow pop music, owe their popularity to their teenage audiences, who buy concert tickets and merch, and passionately cheer, and spread the word to their friends. And yet, some bands even complain about how many of their fans are “just” teen girls…how ungrateful.)

Teenage girls taking selfies is seen as narcissistic and vain, while some of our most famous portraits (the Mona Lisa, commissioned portraits of royalty/rich people, etc.) are basically expensive painted selfies. Not to mention rich people commissioning statues of themselves.

Maybe the pictures the girls are taking aren’t exactly serious or thoughtful, but they’re having fun with their friends while also celebrating the fact that they’re attending that event (a sports game?). And they’re still interacting with other humans (i.e. their friends), so I doubt they’re always obsessed with their phones/themselves.

Of course, it’s unhealthy not to take time for self-reflection or meditation, especially for teenagers who are still trying to figure out their place in the world. But we don’t have to be pondering the meaning of life for every moment of the day. If there’s one thing people need to know about themselves, it’s that they are a beautiful human being… so go ahead and take that selfie.

Bonus: GoT selfies?!



So many selfies…

Asexuality: the first ‘internet orientation’ 

“Asexuality has been called the first ‘Internet orientation’ because so many people discover asexuality and connect with the community online, but there’s also a strong network of meet-up groups in different cities.”

The term “internet orientation” sounds interesting – many (if not most?) people first learn about asexuality online. Sexual attraction is a very personal thing – it’s difficult to talk about why you’re attracted to certain people and not others, or even not at all. Perhaps it’s also a product of our culture – specifically, advertisers selling products by using sex, because (apparently) everyone wants it. As a result, asexuals often feel “broken” or “wrong” because they’re not interested in sex or romance, or they’re not attracted to someone they’re “supposed” to be attracted to. Not to mention the classic line “you just haven’t found the right person yet.”

It’s not too difficult to find examples of gay, lesbian, or transgender individuals throughout history, but how often will you find someone who’s asexual? With the internet’s capability to spread information and connect people from around the world, it becomes much easier to find people who share similar interests and qualities. It helps people find others like them.

I don’t really have much else to say that would be relevant to gender/media, but the term “internet orientation” really stuck with me.

Asexuality: the first ‘internet orientation’

Hillary vs. Bernie — “Men have made Hillary’s choices, and far worse, on repeat, for all of our history, to little fanfare.”

Reading this piece reminded me of our class discussions on the Superbowl ads – what if we switched the race/gender of the characters? How would that impact the message?

In our last class, we talked about Hillary embracing her identity as a woman, and if gender was a good reason to elect a candidate for the President of the United States. In an equal world, no, but there are so many people who will NOT vote for her simply because of her gender, using statements like “a woman’s place in the home” and “a woman is too emotional to be a leader” and “what if she gets her period???????”

Yes, Hillary has made many “wrong” decisions, voted for the “wrong” bills, supported the “wrong” people – but so have many, many male politicians, and they still get elected. Hillary was playing the “any-means-necessary game” of politics, as the author describes it. I definitely identify with the author’s conflicted feelings about the candidates – Hillary is the female Presidential candidate with the best chance to make it to the White House… but Bernie’s platform really speaks to a lot of Americans, especially millenials and working class people.

“I never spoke about the Democratic candidates because it was so hard for me to reconcile not that I preferred Bernie but that my heart was broken for this woman I do not yearn to vote for. My heart was broken because even if we play by all the rules the boys set up, the boys demonize us for playing by the rules. Even if we fight for decades to have a spot, ultimately everybody decides, ‘Nah, thanks anyway, we’re going with the old white guy again.'”

Perhaps if there was a different Democratic rival candidate, Hillary would have a better chance of being nominated. I really want to support a female candidate, especially one as greatly qualified as Hillary. And Bernie has very radical policies, at a time when much of the voting population is sick of the same-old politics. And Bernie didn’t “play the politics game,” stuck to his principles throughout his political career, and now has a very real chance of making the nomination.

Who will win the Democratic nom? Only time will tell…


Hillary vs. Bernie