The purpose for this survey is to prove that people in the group I'm studying have a different world view than other people in the world. Well I'm studying a group of cosplayers that I call ‘my cosplayers’. And Cosplayers have many of the same views as regular anime fans. So I had to make questions that differentiate Cosplayers from normal people, from other costumers, and from other types of anime fans. Of course, I can't tell you all that before you took the survey because it would skew the results.
There are some catches. First, I have to use terms that the group I studied uses, and I have to use THE GROUP’S DEFINITIONS OF THESE TERMS. Technically, people who fit into my group will have the same definitions for such terms. But this gets sticky because my cosplayers call themselves fangirls and I know that many cosplayers would not want to be associated with that term. So I had to make more questions to catch people who have different responses to words. For example, I ask if you relate better to fans. Some people automatically assume I mean raving fangirls or drooling fanboys and say no. So to catch these people, I ask are your friends fans. And if you say all of them are, then I can put another tally for people who relate better to fans. Of course, if all the other questions make it sound like you don't relate to fans at all, then I uncheck that.
So now I'll go through the questions one by one and talk about them.
What is your gender?
Apparently all anyone in my class cares about is gender. It's like the hot topic of anthropology. Argh.. I could care less about gender. It's personality that counts! But my class would have my head if I didn't ask.. And dude.. like every book I read about Fandom relates everythin to gender and sex. What is it with the world these days? Can't we grow up and move on to somegthing more fun?
I handed the survey out to a class of Japanese students, since they would most likely be familiar with the terms used on the survey. Most of them were male. And just about everyone had to make SOME kind of joke answer to the question. "Undecided" "Don't know yet" "Both" "I can't tell" It amuses me. Even one of my teachers had to make a joke about it. It reminds me of working at GameStop. Every time someone didn't want a bag they'd say, "No bag. Save a plastic tree." And they'd laugh 'cause they thought that was pretty damn clever of them to say. Little did they know that the previous five people in line had said the exact same thing. So I'd laugh, but because they didn't know the truth, not because the 'plastic tree' thing was funny. I love people.
Do you consider yourself a 'fan' of something?
I asked this to basically to differentiate people who don’t get excited about anything whatsoever. Some people I know have a sort of, "If you aren't being apathetic, then you aren't being realistic!” view of life. And also, there are people out there who think that it's a sin to get excited about anything that's not religion. So this is differentiating those people, too.
Soo. . . then it struck me as odd that people I knew who were fans of stuff were saying no to this! Eep, I wish I could have just told everyone the reason behind the question in the first place. After I sent my redone survey with a loose definition of fan, people responded more positively to this.
It was also interesting how people had to specifically point out that they were NOT anime fans sometimes, and give a list of other things that they were fans of.
Do you feel that you relate better to people who are fans in comparison to general people?
This is first, to catch people who answer the first question wrong, and then second, because I have this theory that cosplayers relate better to fans than to the average guy on the street. I was thinking about something related the other day.. What do normal people do with all their time? I spend all my free time drawing, writing, and RPing. My cosplayers spend all their free time translating albums and videos and manga and things into English. So what do normal people do? I came up with some stuff.. Watching TV, going hiking, going to parties... That's all I could think of. It sound pretty boring to me. I wouldn't be able to relate to someone who didn't understand my motivation to sit inside my room all day drawing and writing and RPing. So that's another reason why I asked this, and also the bonus about interests at the end.
Oh and by the way, the definition of 'fan' that I'm allowed to go off is this: "A fan who cosplays is someone who can sympathize with characters."
Are your friends fans?
I used the answers to all of these three questions to determine whether a person is a fan or not, so that I could report it in my research. There was actually a problem with this question that I fixed too late so not as many people got to see it. The choices I originally gave for answers were (mostly/some/a few/none) because I figured no one was going to pick ‘all’ as an answer. But then, those people who didn’t want to pick the highest choice had to settle for ‘some’ which I translate as meaning “The people I get along with aren’t really that into things.” When in reality, probably most of their friends are fans, and they do only really get along with excited people, but just didn’t want to pick the highest of all choices. So I added in ‘all’ as an option later, and got more of those people picking ‘mostly’. But none of this data was really all that relevant.
Do you watch anime at all?
I just want to know if the respondent watches anime or not.. I don’t care what kind or when or why. I want to know if this person has anime in their life, or not.
Do you find yourself able to sympathize and relate to charcters in. . .
This is one of the conclusions I drew from hanging around my cosplay group. There are two different types of anime fans, the kind who relate to characters and the kind who don’t. Since part of my cosplayer’s definition of ‘fan’ includes being able to relate to character, this is a huge part of my research. Go here to look at my theory on this.
I feel unable to relate to the lifestyle of the average person of your same gender.
This has a little more to do with the idea of a 'geek' or 'nerd'. I'm wondering if my cosplayers fit the classic idea that nerds and geeks don't fit in. All the literature says that such people are outcastes and get beat up in school. The literature is also from the 1980s. And says that only boys read comics.
Have you ever had someone start a conversation with you because of something the person saw you wearing?
Have you ever started a conversation with someone because of something you saw that person wearing?
These go hand in hand. Basically, some people use clothing to state that they are part of a certain group. If you love FLCL (see question 8) you might wear a T shirt with the characters on it. But you also might wear it in order to attract other people with similar interests. So this is making comparisons between these types of people. The reason there are two questions is because some people are too shy to start conversations and other people don’t cosplay or wear T-shirts. I realized after I got my results that this doesn’t really count as a valid question because people could be answering certain ways for a number of reasons.
How far would you go to show your appreciation or admiration of a perso, celebrity, or character?
This is a big question to catch all cosplayers and differentiate them from non-cosplayers. And also a check for people who don't want to admit being cosplayers.
Would you do any of the above to show your appreciation for a movie, game, comic, artist, show, or writer?
I asked this because I realized that most of the reason I still cosplay is so I can send pictures to the creator of the manga to say, "I love your work!" It's not so much that I like the characters as I like to think I'm doing him a favor by advertising his work. So this will differentiate between cosplayers who cosplay for different reasons. Or not just cosplayers, but people who wear T shirts, etc.. Like I proudly wear my GameStop T shirt because I like being affiliated with the company, not because I necessarily think gamers are cool or anything.
Do you role play?
So my class thinks that cosplaying has something to do with escapism and RP. I didn't want to ask this question at all, but I have to or my class will yell at me. I'm hoping to prove them otherwise.
And then, I get some guy asking me, "RPing.. What kind of RPing?" I say, "Any kind. If you want to specify, just write it in there." ANd he goes, "Okay but like.. I mean there are different kinds." I say, "Any kind at all! D&D, internet based, anything but RPGs." And he says, "Okay so does like.. Role playing in the bedroom count?"
Unfortunantly, the answer to that question is ‘yes’ and it’s partially in How someone interprets the survey that determines whether they’re in the ‘in’ group or ‘out’ group of cosplaying.
Do you consider yourself an artist?
I asked this because I consider cosplayers artists, but I wanted to know if they consider themselves artists. Or if artists tend to cosplay more often or less often than non-artists.
For anyone else, the question didn't really matter. Although I found out a thing or two about people I didn’t think were artists being artists, and people who do art every day saying that they aren’t artists. You guys are so particular about your labels!
Do you like crafting with your hands?
I was thinking.. Well I don't like to sew much, but I cosplay, and most of my costumes are made out of things I make using materials other than cloth. So I don't want to discriminate against other cosplayers who don't like sewing. So I asked this to catch these sorts of people if they otherwise matched as being cosplayers.
Only then I ended up getting people who don't think they are artists, who tell me they like to sew and make pottery and other crafts with their hands. Okaaaayyy... You crazy cyborg people who are afraid of labels! What the hell is an artist anyway that no one wants to be one...
Do you like to sew?
Just about everyone answered this honestly! I was so happy.
You’d be surprised at how many people like to sew! About 60 percent of all people like doing it, male and female alike. Which leaves 40 percent of cosplayers who don’t like to sew, and 60 percent of sewing anime fans who don’t cosplay. Interesting!!
I handed out my survey to another random class I’m in. One of the girls in the class said to this question, “Why would anyone want to?” And yet she was sitting next to a guy who said he likes to sew a lot.
Do you feel that it is rare for someone to share your interests?
Another theory I have.. Cosplayers have to resort to things like going to conventions and cosplaying in order to meet people who share similar interests.
An interesting response I got to this question was, "Agree, but that's not necessarily bad." As if I’d said it was a bad thing or something. It amuses me the things people read into my questions! Stuff I would never even think about!
Is it rare for people among the general public to have your same interests?
It amused me that people would say no to question 13 but yes to question 13.5. I thought they were redundant, but I guess not. I only made up question 13.5 because people were answering 13 dishonestly. So this was all very interesting. I ended up not being able to use either of these questions in my research.
Do you get excited when you find someone who thinks like you?
I'm surprised by how many people said ‘no’ and ‘neutral’ to this!
You apathetic crazy cyborgs!
And then one person said, “Who wouldn’t say yes to this?” Well the answer is.. a lot of people!
Have you ever met someone you relate to by going to some kind of convention or event?
This is pretty self explanatory.. Most hard core cosplayers answer yes to this.
An event or convention is a valid medium for finding friends.
My theory - cosplayers similar to those in my group will say yes, others will say no or have varied responses. But I think my groups were too small for me to be able to represent any of this.
The internet is a valid medium for finding friends.
I originally thought the question would have biased results since many people who took this only know me via a relationship we've created over the internet. But actually, results were varied among all groups of people. There really was no general consensus among people who cosplayed or regular people.
Can you speak any Japanese?
I thought people who spoke Japanese would be more inclined to like anime, but not a whole lot of anyone likes anime. Maybe all the anime fans are the ones who realize up front that Japanese is a difficult language and never try.
I find myself wishing a character were real.
Obviously, this was asking for a very devoted character fan.
Note how I didn't say anime, I said character. Some people totally went off on a tangent about how they definitely weren’t a crazy anime fanatic, and how stupid such people are, when that wasn't what I was asking about at all.
Would you date a character if he or she were real?
Another question asking for a very devoted character fan. Results were pretty as expected for this one.
Do you make comparisons between made up characters and real life people or situations?
In this one I'm trying to ask if you take fiction seriously or not. If you answer yes, but only to take fun of people, then I count that as a no. I think cosplayers are more willing to take fiction seriously than other groups of people. In my results, that was generally true.
Do you make up new stories about characters from movies/anime.
This is another thing my class asked.. They assume all cosplayers are going to be fantasizing about being in shows and making self-insertion fanfics and things like that. I want to prove to them that no, these are not the kind of people I'm studying! And the results coincide with this.
Do you care more about actors or directors?
Here's another question I kept getting 'yes' and 'no' answers to! Did you miss the "or"?
I've been noticing that the group I've been studying cares way more about voice actors than who made the actual show. So I just asked htis out of curiosity. Are most people this way, or is it just my group in particular? Are character-oriented people more likely to care about actors?
My results weren’t strong enough to support this either way, but I’m still curious.
Is the word Fangirl or Fanboy a negative or positive label?
This is the only one of two questions that have anything to do with labeling people!
Only three people answered that the label was positive.
Do you remember an author's name more often or less often than a character's name?
I probably should have taken this out when I changed the survey. I remember I had three questions, one about actors, one about voice actors, and one about authors. The idea was to decipher if character oriented people were more drawn to characters and actors than writers and directors. But.. Oh well. And most people answered "both" to this anyway.
Now that I think about it.. I can never remember character names, but usually authors stick with me.. But I'm very, VERY character oriented.
How old are you?
Another question I have to ask for the class's sake. I really don't personally care. If for some reason the school wanted to publish my research, they’d have to verify that everyone involved is over 18. I guess no one’ll be publishing my work anytime soon.
Have you cosplayed?
Pretty self explanatory. I got two people who lied to me on this one, but I knew they were lying so it was okay.
I liked hearing all the stories people decided to tell me here! Even non-cosplayers had to tell me all about their halloween costumes, or about how they did their hair like some character in high school. Fun!
Do you enjoy anime and/or manga?
Some people watch it but just because it’s there, not because they enjoy it terribly. So I had to ask. The best response I got was from someone who said it exists in her sphere, but she isn’t really into it. That’s a very nice answer. It’s not defensive, it’s accepting, and truthful, and points out that she’s not going to get listed in my ‘anime fans’ group. I encourage others to use this phrasing!
29. Do you consider yourself a geek/dork/nerd?
This was funny!
Just about EVERYONE said yes to this!!
Some people it was obvious they were going to say yes.
But some people’s attitudes were like:
"I hate fans, I don't support anything, I don't go to conventions, I get along with normal people, I'm totally normal in all ways, I'm not a loser, I'm not obsessive, I don't want anything to do with characters, don't label me as anything, I refuse to answer certian questions because you might be labeling me, and.... Oh yes, of course I'm a nerd!!"
Why??? I don't get it!
Its "cool" to be a nerd, but it's "un-cool" to like anime?
30. extra credit!
Only one person made a joke about getting graded on this. I'm impressed!
The reason I asked this was originally for curiosity, and then after I rewrote the survey, I changed it a bit so that it could check for people who were dishonest to other questions.
Some of the results here are incredibly interesting. Like people going out of their way to hate everything Japanese. Or people who took the time to describe why they hate or like each one. Or the amount of people who only hate sports out of that whole list! I'm starting to wonder if no one actually hates anything, they just hate the people associated with it. Like Dating sims, some people seemed to dislike those for that reason. Same with manga and RPGs.
Some people got confused a lot looking at all these terms they didn’t understand. *giggle* I would have just assumed if someone didn’t understand, they wouldn’t mark it, but I had some people bringing their survey to me and asking for explanations on everything.
FPS means First-Person Shooter. The point is, if you’re “in” on FPS, you’ll know that, and if you’re not, you won’t. If I have to explain it to you, then that’s cheating!
Same goes to other parts of the survey.
RPG means Role Playing Game and is referring to platform gaming, like Final Fantasy and Suikoden and things like that.
A Dating Sim is similar to a “choose your own adventure” story, only, involving dating characters in the game.
Funny story about survey results
Survey Question Analysis
My final paper
The ability to Relate to Characters
Zip file of presentation
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