Do you wanna be a Weeaboo?

Anime Central, the Midwest’s largest Anime Convention, is coming this weekend and I am unbelievably excited to attend. This is my third year and as a “Con veteran”, I have learned what is considered appropriate “Con” etiquette. How you dress around and how you speak with other anime fans will portray your social capital within the anime community.

This:

weeaboo_chan_by_tachola-d5pe2l8(Thank you tachola.deviantart.com)

This is not good for social capital. This is a Weeaboo, an obnoxious anime fan who is constantly expressing their love of all things anime (and may not actually know much) and attempting to code switch by excessively using Japanese words. This is not seen as an acceptable practice and a Weeaboo is often the butt of a joke.

This concept reminds me of Bourdieu’s work. He looked at social fields, wanting to know how society decided what was appropriate behavior and what was not. So at an anime convention with a great deal of the anime being Japanese-based, using “kawaii” or “-san” jokingly or using the term because no other term suffices would be considered okay, but using it all of the time becomes unacceptable. “We all know you’re not Japanese, so stop pretending you are.” It’s offensive, really. There’s a line.

There is social capital present, another concept of Bourdieu. The best cosplayers and veteran con-goers have the best social capital, with Weeaboos at the opposite of the spectrum. The cosplayers who are known by name have major social capital and people will “follow” their work on social media. Some fans will travel from afar to see them in person. There is a balance between what is considered awesome and what is overdoing it. This, of course, could definitely create social inequalities and creates differences in social power. It could change what is acceptable Con behavior and what is not! The whole social field surrounding anime conventions could change!

Maybe the Weeaboos will overrun the Con world and become the norm. The concept and definition of a Weeaboo could change and it quite possibly could in the future. The term “otaku”, for example has changed. In its truest form, it means to describe a “creepy guy who lives in his mom’s basement”. However, in the current anime world, “otaku” is used to describe someone who is inside all day because they’re watching anime. At anime conventions, it is okay to be an “otaku”. So maybe the Weeaboo thing will eventually change and that term will be used as something that is considered good, and because social fields and social capital are not physical entities, their fluidity is totally possible. Every year Anime Central does change. Every year Anime Central has new anime fans and cosplayers of new anime that came out within the last year. What is acceptable Con etiquette could easily change.

Weeaboo is the new black?

 

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Thoughts on Mead

Many criticized Margaret Mead’s work by saying it was “too flowery” or that she was only reporting the details that she wanted. Now, of course, I was not there so I could not testify whether she omitted details or if maybe she was seeing something that others had not. Mead’s analysis on the social and gender roles of the Arapesh caused some drama. She reported that males and females held similar roles and were both important. To our culture at the time, it was fairly clear that males had roles that females couldn’t do and the same went vice versa. Ethnocentrism wouldn’t be a surprising product of this news. We naturally compare something foreign to ourselves in order to try to understand and, unfortunately, this can often lead to irritation and feelings of superiority.

I can also understand why the way Mead wrote bothered other anthropologists, however, her more-casual approach made her work more inviting to the general public. I would think this would be beneficial to anthropology because it would get their research “out there”. What is the research and data collected worth if no one knows about it? Non-academic individuals probably don’t seek out Anthropological journals in their free time so when you write your results in terms the general public can understand, everyone will benefit. She knew that in order to change how her society thought, she was going to have to write to themImage

Mead worked hard, probably much harder than any male anthropologist would ever have to. Her work will always be influential and will always be criticized because of its pioneering qualities. As a professional, she’s a hero and definitely someone to look up to. She helped bring anthropology to normal, everyday people. That effort is truly important because if we can educate ourselves, we can better ourselves and grasp the idea of what it truly means to be human.

 

 

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Eye Contact: A Breeching Experiment

Eye Contact: A Breeching Experiment

“It’s not polite to stare.” is a fairly common phrase we hear. It makes people feel uncomfortable. But why? Why do we have to feel uncomfortable that someone is ACTUALLY paying close attention to what we’re saying? Don’t we think it’s rude if they don’t look at us when we were talking?
Trying not keep eye contact in conversation is a subconscious thing now. If someone is talking to me, I look away every few seconds without asking why and never wondering why no one ever asked if I was thinking about something else instead of the person in front of me.
These thoughts have been around for awhile and when I read about breeching experiments in Sears & Cairns book (Chpt. 4) I realized what an awesome experiment constant eye-contact would be! We have assumptions on what is appropriate to do in a conversation and what is not.
I stared (hardcore) at my sister while she was explaining an assignment to me. Initially she hadn’t noticed because she had been looking away periodically as she was talking. However, while I responded to her, her breaks in eye contact became much more frequent and lasted longer. Finally she asked what I had been looking at, touching her face and glancing behind her. She looked a bit out of sorts. I asked her if “this” (referring to the staring) was weird. She shrugged and simply said, “It’s not polite to stare.”
Later I had asked her why the staring was weird. It made her self-conscious but she wasn’t exactly sure why. She had never put much thought into because it was just something she (and many other people, she noted) had always done.
“Unexamined assumptions~!”