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Costumes, identity, and performance: Cosplay and the empowered public speaker

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This Barrett, the Honors College senior thesis connects the experiences of cosplay with public speaking confidence. “Cosplay, abbreviated from the word ‘costume play,’ is a performance art in which the

This Barrett, the Honors College senior thesis connects the experiences of cosplay with public speaking confidence. “Cosplay, abbreviated from the word ‘costume play,’ is a performance art in which the participant masquerades as a character from a selected film, television, video game, or comic book” (Gn, 2011, p. 583). The ability to “cosplay” in front of other relies on performing in front of an audience much like public speaking. When students speak with confidence, students will know their ideas are being expressed with conviction and assurance. Having the ability to speak professionally and publicly, is a highly valued skill in the workforce and key to success in all types of employment. Communication skills are frequently a top factor in determining whether a college student will obtain employment (Beebe & Beebe, 2006, p. 275-276). Despite their different definitions, there are multiple connections between cosplay and public speaking. This thesis explores the connection between peer support and belief in one’s self in both cosplay and public speaking. Now those who have direct support become self-reliant and confident as a result of these connections. This projects highlights Goffman’s identity theory, the Pygmalion effect, theories of fashion and identity, role-play, narrative paradigm, dramatism, and non-verbal communication, and explores how cosplay can contribute to the formation of one’s public speaking persona. The issue of anxiety is also included in the conversation as it is central to both cosplay and public speaking. Ultimately, this thesis explores the questions: Can cosplay help students become empowered public speakers?

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Date Created
  • 2016-05