Group Essay——Week 2

Group work

The contextual content of both Gemma Commane’s and Mafalda Stasi’s talk, left our group with curiosity and variety of opinion about the idea of  subculture in today’s society, particularily focusing what immerses a social being into a certain sodality. In quintessence most people associate BDSM with deviance or negative impression, proffesor Commane intended to use participant observtion to deviate away from this stereotypical representation of the new era Kinky fetish and divulge into the BDSM utopia.

“It is argued that gender coherence, consistency, conformity and identity are culturally mandated normative ideals” (Goldner, 2009) A positive outlook on this can be perceived as “ heteronormativity” due to genders conforming to their own values and characteristics for example when a “boy grows up he will marry a girl” thus alluding a gender conformity however society can suggest that it may become a problem when participants go against their own norms and move out of a naturalist setting by adapting values which are not seen as socially acceptable for them, this can be related to geek culture this is because women are moving into a more male dominated subculture and are educating themselves on geek culture “the particular battle at stake is women entering male space and that it change”. Furthermore, according to Chris Barker, “subcultures offer maps of meaning which makes intelligible to its member” it creates and ideal utopian for those participating in that particular social dynamic, as barker suggests subcultures can create a route of escapism for its members and a sense of belonging this is due to their attitudes, values and behavior being mimicked by other participants in the subculture, looking more so at BDSM, the bourgeoisie of today’s society rejects the BDSM cultural phenomenon and perceive it as immoral, however these subcultures have prohibited the hegemonic power from standing in the way of their beliefs and progression for their society, many BDSM clubs have taken in forms of VIP and concealment to protect their subculture and identity.

Commane(2011) and Stasi(2014) both shared the idea of subculture’s acceptance of the “others” in the mainstream culture, being the intention of their behaviour. Gayatri Spivak suggests that othering be “the process by which imperial discourse creates its others”. Stasi notes that the border policy and geek hierarchy have the notion of replicating the act of “othering” and internalized it in the internal hierarchy.(Stasi, 2014) The distinction allows them to submit themselves in the opportunity where they get to be accepted again, perhaps as the “good kind”, by excluding the “unwanted” and “out-of-the-mainstream” in the subculture hierarchy. In addition to the escapism, subculture offers opportunities to “renew” identities by letting participants to commit the “good” behaviour in it. According to Ashcroft et al., they argue that “construction of the other is fundamental to the construction of the Self”(Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin: 1998 171-72). Both speakers support this idea in explaining the self and identity construction in the self/other and good/normal fan binary. Moreover, emotion could also demonstrate the intention of the behaviour. Within the context of Commane’s research, facing those disgrace and misunderstandings from public, sadomasochist tended to alter their feeling and emotion into the world of BDSM with ease as to forget their trauma in the reality. As in the fandom culture, fangirls usually escapes their real life by fantasizing themselves within the subculture and those enjoyments often transforms to an obsession behavior about celebrities and fiction sphere etc.

The differences between good and normal fan were connected with emotion. Fans usually have strong interest to the focal object. They demonstrated their involvement with the area of interest through certain behaviors (attending conventions, posting online, displaying team banners outside their homes, etc.). Participating in these events can create a borrowed sense of self-esteem, it would synchronize to the extent that they would consider themselves to be successful if the focal object succeed. Dr. Jeffrey James describes the process where kids go through when they convert to being sports fans. Only when kids are around 8 or 9 years old, after they’ve developed the skill of concrete operational thinking; they’re capable of developing an emotional, long-term attachment to a sport, team, or particular athlete. Usually kids would first get attached to a particular sport, then to a team, and then to a player. A child’s main influences (socializing agents) throughout this process include their family (father, mother, or an older sibling), media and their personal sports participation (playing with friends, at school or at their local club). Therefore, fans’ behavior related to their growing process and environment, which makes them have an increasingly emotional tendency for their focal object. In terms of good fans, who find a sense of acceptance and belonging through participation, have not been able to have real life experience or engagement, when the shared experience with the focal object were not “lived” by themselves. Those shared experience creates a deep and real emotional investment in it, but has no actual involvement in fans’ real life. Good fan are more likely to hide their real emotional connection when they defend their focal object. It also explains the phenomenon where happy ending always be expected.



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