Yay! Fandom Friday is back! This time we’re going to explore five geeky expressions, only my friends would understand. To be fair, choosing only five geeky expressions is pretty hard since I use more than just five. Sometimes I forget who I have in front of me, and I speak in Greek to my friends. Because it was so hard to choose, I decided to feature those geeky expressions I use the most.
1. He’s such a Life-ruiner!
I know, I’m an evil creature: I write an expression and use a gif with another one. I won’t excuse my naughty behavior. When I say that some character is a life-ruiner is good, believe me. It’s true. It means that the character is so perfect that he ruins your life in the most amazing way. In fact, so much so, that you can end up with an ovaries explosion. It isn’t bad, but amazingly good. When someone is so perfect that ruins your life and makes your ovaries explode, it means that you fancy that person to the bone. [Whoever invented the explosion expression has my deepest respect. And nope, it has no puns.]
Today is the World Anthropology Day, according to the American Anthropological Association (aka AAA). What better way to celebrate it than exploring the art of geek observation? Anthropologists observe what people do, why they do it, how they do it, and even when they do it. To explore a culture is to explore humanity. But can only anthropologists engage in the art of observation? Can we, as observed beings, also become the ones who observe?
Usually, the ones observing what’s going on are anthropologists. They watch, interact and take part into the object of study. But can we, as geeks, do the same? We have the idea that Anthropologists are either “Indiana Jones” or like dull academic creatures. However, we, geeks, can be anthropologists too.
“We are Groot” is a strong statement. The first movie of Guardians of the Galaxy presents us a plant as a Superhero: Groot. He spends most of the film stating “I am Groot.” However, by the end of it, he finally says “we are Groot.” It might look like a weak sentence but it hides a powerful feeling: that connection makes us better, regardless of who we are.
Think about the movie: an Earthling, a green humanoid assassin, an alien with few brains, a lab rat that talks, and a tree safe the Galaxy. And they do so as a team: through their connection to each other. These heroes couldn’t be more different from each other, and more diverse. They begin their quest openly hating each other, but they soon learn that those differences are but illusions.
Geek Anthropology is back! We’re going to explore the ins and outs of geek language. Humans rely on language as a means of communication. Most anthropologists tend to agree that language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols that we use to encode our experiences of the world.
The study of language from a cultural point isn’t new. Anthropologists have been geeking about language since the beginning since language is easy to observe and study in detail. It seems that all began with Sir William Jones (1746-94), who studied Sanskrit in India. He found out that Sanskrit had several similarities to classical Greek, Latin, and other modern European languages. And this was amazing since it pointed to a common origin.
Today in Geek Anthropology we’ll take a look at the definition of Geek Culture. But before that, we need to take a look at what culture might be. In simple terms, culture refers to learned sets of ideas and behaviors that we acquire as members of a particular society. During the early 20th century anthropologists defined differences based on biology. However, this was dangerous since stereotypes, prejudices and racism would kick in. Fortunately, an anthropologist called Franz Boas (1858-1942) influenced fellow anthropologists to take a look at anthropology from a different angle: culture. They would gather information about social learning differences instead of biological racial differences.
Geek Anthropology is for every fan interested in taking a look beyond what fandom offers. We can define anthropology as the study of human nature, human society, and the human past. Thus, we can define geek anthropology as the study of geek life, geek cultures, and the geek past. We can do it taking a look at what geeks do on a daily basis. Fandom is a good way to do so. But, we can also take a look at their creations. This includes comics, books, shows, and movies. In essence: pop culture.
Anthropologists tend to have a holistic view of the field, trying to fit together every single aspect of human life. Geek Anthropology would do the same but with all things geek.
Superhero fashion is mainly made by the Superheroes themselves; we can see them sewing their suits. This activity connects them with cosplayers, but, do we see Superheroes in the same light when they sew or construct their suits? For many years, sewing has been an activity attached to feminine roles. Thus, women have been seen as more suited to sewing than men have. That’s why we might see Spider-Man complaining about having to sew his own suit again and again in the comics. But, do we see all Superheroes under the same light? Has Cosplay changed our views on what gender roles are attached to sewing? Think about Spider-Man trying to make his suit, and then think about Ironman. What are the images that pop into your head? Who is cool? Who is having trouble and no choice but doing the sewing because no one must know who he is?
What is acceptable or unacceptable for male audiences has changed through time. Even if the number of male cosplayers has grown, we still have the act of sewing attached to a particular gender role. A needle and some cloth seem to dictate that a woman is involved in the activity while steel and computers seem to dictate that a man is to participate in that activity.
Superhero fashion can have more meaning when we take a look to its striptease. When Superheroes put off their civilian clothes and put on their spandex, they’re doing more than just changing their clothing. Even if it seems odd, Superman and Anthropologists share the same ideas when choosing their clothes. But how so? Superman, like many other Superheroes, lives in a fight negotiating the relationship between two different identities: Clark Kent and Superman. This struggle defines the Superhero as much as his costume. In fact, his civilian clothes and his civilian identity define him just as much. Having a dual identity asks from the Superhero to have two different closets: civilian and super, ordinary and extraordinary.
When Superman dresses up in his civilian clothes, what he is doing is doing a role, much like an actor. In his civilian clothes he is also doing another super important thing: putting himself apart from his super self, the Superhero. When Superman dresses in any of his suits, civilian or super, he is performing for an audience. In one, he has the role of what he thinks humans are: sloppy and clumsy. Because let’s face it, Clark is quite silly. But when he is Superman, he acts for the people in a selfless way. In both roles, he has an audience.
Welcome to another installment of lessons on Geek Anthropology. We’re going to talk about shippers this time. As you recall, the Shipper is a fan who is more interested in relationships of the characters she/he loves than the canon stories within the fandom. These fans can ship any combination. Characters might be from different fandoms, the same fandom, or they can ship themselves with the chosen favorite character. Some people might argue that shippers are less of a fan just because they might be focussing all their passion in the ships they like the most. However, shippers are as valid fans as any other fans. So, why do shippers tend to be seen as less than others? Why might a particular fandom roll the eyes when shippers start to swoon?
Today our lessons on Geek Anthropology topic is all about what happens when Superhero fashion makes you feel super. It’s not the same walking around with a plain tee than rocking around a Spider-Gwen one. So, what happens when a fan cosplays or wears an outfit that resembles that of their loved Superhero? As you know, I’ve recently had a nervous breakdown. To have more energy and feel better, I’ve been rocking around everyday cosplay fashion items that are into my wardrobe: Captain Marvel’s sweater, Captain America Sweater, Spider-Gwen cardigan and tee, and tons of cool tees. Every time I feel down I tend to dress up into the items that resemble the most the uniforms that my favorite Superheroes wear. But why? What does the Superhero costume have that makes me feel stronger than I am? What does the Superhero costume give me that makes me keep on going despite the doctor assuring me that I should be hibernating? Does Superhero fashion give us Superpowers?