Convergence: Volume 4: Issue 1

From the Student Editor

By Michael Fiorillo

Boys Like Pink & Girls Can Wear Blue: Shifting Paradigms in Fashion, Expression, & Gender Ideals

Abstract Research suggests that themes of identity and gender have always been linked with fashion and expression. Historically, fashion was used to perpetuate stereotypes and stigmas to facilitate the power imbalances established through unfair gender stereotypes. There were clear fashion boundaries separating what was reserved for men and for women. However, we can track changes in the way that fashion has evolved to see how our ideologies about gender roles and identity have shifted (and vice versa). In so doing, we see how fashion has also been used by individuals to subvert and undermine certain gender stereotypes and stigmas. Taking stock of shifts such as these reveals clothes have begun to lose their strict "gendering" and how we continue to develop a freedom to express ourselves. These kinds of shifts further challenge the inequalities that still exist between genders today. And, this flexibility in expression comes with a preview of a society where individuals find themselves more equal. It reveals a budding society where we aren’t bound or limited by outdated and narrow-minded views of harmful gender stereotypes and restrictive gendered fashion. And, it provides an opportunity for much-needed representation, validation, and growth in certain sociocultural aspects of our world.

By Christian Tabet

Corona Crossing

Abstract Corona Crossing is a paper that melds ideas of socio-digital technology with the isolating grasp of COVID-19. The Nintendo Switch game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons released almost at the same time as the quarantine was enforced in Florida. To me and thousands of other individuals, this game became a place of escape from the dreadful reality of the world. It also gave me, a safe window in which I could keep in contact with my friend and even interact with total strangers. In combination with the social news site, Reddit, Animal Crossing became an interesting social experiment that would not have held the same weight if it were not for COVID-19. The unique situation that COVID-19 created, brought the gameplay mechanics and social interactions of the game to a new level. The main gameplay mechanic that benefited from the quarantine was that the real-time clock. The game gave me a social outlet during the start of lock-downs due to COVID-19.

By Tyler Burton

The Pokélife Chose Me: The Hyperreality of Pokémon

Abstract The Pokémon franchise has had a major impact on society since the nineties. As technology has since expanded, so too has the franchise made use of new features into order to bring players closer to their beloved pocket monsters like never before. While many may see this blurring of lines between the real world and cyberspace as a bad thing, I argue that it is in fact a positive in this situation, as the fanbase is able to intentionally abuse this blurred reality in order to live out their childhood dreams and tap into nostalgia unlike any other fanbase before. Examining this intellectual property through the lens of Jean Baudrillard's theories of hyperreality, a state where reality and fiction are blurred, we can see that Pokémon has made extensive use of such a phenomenon in order to both expand their brand as well as well as fulfilling the dreams of their fanbase by bringing them closer to their beloved Pokémon.

By Oliver Lyon

Rhetorical Exchanges in Government: Yoho versus AOC

Abstract The evident shift in American political culture during the Trump presidency has produced various situations where damaging language has been used as an emblem of controversial behavior. Regardless of the issues that have presented themselves, opposing figures have set forth an example of maturity in the face of the aggressive bigotry that has occurred consistently through Trump's four years in office. My work follows a specific encounter between two political representatives that arose in July of 2020. Through scholars such as Krista Ratcliff, Jenny Edbauer, and Kevin Hubbard, I uncover how rhetoric shapes and often represents a group identity as an American society, and how this rhetoric takes its own shape and form as it travels through a rhetorical ecology. My work fills the gap for analysis of the effects of public rhetoric through the close evaluation of rhetorical artifacts within the context of congressional relations.

By Kealani Smith

A Case Study of How Sharing TikToks Creates Social Meaning Among Viewers

Abstract As a TikTok user, I wanted to shed light on how the app is more than just dance videos. It is a place where different interest-based communities thrive. Specifically, I wanted to investigate the invisible participation on the app, or users who do not post themselves but still interact with the communities present. In this piece, I conduct a case study of how users share videos amongst their strong-tie relationships, as defined by Howard Rheingold, as well as investigating how TikTok Videos mediate interaction. Through tracking videos shared amongst three of my friends and myself for four days, I found that TikToks act as a social interface among strong-tie relationships, reaffirming relationship dynamics and shaping communication amongst sharers. By using comments made by us about the videos and by interviewing my friends at the end of the tracking period about their experiences with TikTok, I reached my conclusions.

By Lindsey Wright