Anime, Acceptance & The Cancer That Is Gatekeeping: Opinion

This past week has been filled with hot internet takes, but the one surrounding gatekeeping should come without dispute: if you like something, you're a fan. Full stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200, period, end of story. It doesn't matter what level you like something at, nobody should be telling people how to enjoy things, and even worse, that they can't enjoy it or be part of the greater community who does unless you do things their way. Anyone who says otherwise can rightly go **** off in any direction of their choosing.

What is gatekeeping? Quite simply put, it's policing something to keep certain people out. In a fandom context, it's most common amongst men who want to keep their favorite thing a "boys club" and keep girls or other people they deem "unworthy" out of their spaces. First and foremost, if you're thinking, "that's a good thing, I'm doing a service by gatekeeping", you can refer back to the end of my previous paragraph on what you should do to yourself because you are the problem. Not only are all fandoms for everyone, but not everyone within this fandom has to enjoy all the exact same content in the exact same way. This is not negotiable.

My Hero Academia Season 5 Trailer: Thoughts and Expectations (Image: TOHO screencap)
My Hero Academia Season 5 Trailer: Thoughts and Expectations (Image: TOHO screencap)

"Gatekeeping" is trending on Twitter after a whiny wannabe streamer and self-professed anime fan went on a rant about how if you like certain anime series but not others, you're not an anime fan and gatekeeping saves the fandom. Going after fans of Demon Slayer, Naruto, Inuyasha, Bleach, One Piece, Fate, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Gundam, My Hero Academia, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Ghost in The Shell, in particular, is gatekeeping of the worst kind, mostly because the up-and-coming generation is the main audience of some of these titles. And if you enjoy bullying children out of fandom or something they love, there's a special level of hell reserved for you. The *special* Hell…

[Ed. Note: The description offered by the writer was a bit more graphic than we expected- but trust us when we say it involved hot pokers, orifices, and an interesting take on "family fun-time"]

People who watch anime dubbed are anime fans. People who haven't seen every episode can still be fans of the show. Most importantly: if you like something and consider yourself a fan, you're a fan. Full stop, no exceptions. "Fake fans" do not exist. It's perfectly fine not to know every single minutia of something, even something you love.

Toxic fans are slowly pillow-smothering the fandom out of misplaced ownership; if you love it, love it, and let other people love it how they want to as well. People can wear Sailor Moon t-shirts without having seen the complete original Japanese version that's only subtitled; they can also be a fan of Pokemon without playing the card game or watching the series and just playing the mobile game. Learn to accept people for where they're at and how they enjoy things or kindly move on. If you're ever in doubt as to if you should say something, just follow my mother's advice: if you can't say anything nice, keep your damn trap shut, don't be a ****, and let people enjoy things.

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About Eden Arnold

Having spent far too much time in front of the television growing up, Eden has lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in many print publications, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter at @Edenhasopinions
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