It sickens me how some anime fans treat each other. Whether it’s moé fans hating on fujoshi, people childishly retaliating against moé fans on behalf of fujoshi, or just the general, everyday disdain for moé fans from the Western fanbase, we have the capacity to be remarkably hostile to one another, and it’s doing damage to our community.
Let’s be real: To a lot of people in the anime community, anime is a big part of their lives, and they hold it very dearly. There are plenty of us in the fandom for whom anime was a way to cope with hardship, loneliness, bullying, and a whole host of other unpleasant life experiences. For many of us, anime was there when no one else was. As a result, many of us in the anime fandom have a special connection with the works of media they enjoy.
This isn’t to say that these people can’t handle criticism of the works they enjoy, and this isn’t to say these people are the kind of people who have internalized their preferences to a level that they will lash out at those who don’t share those preferences. These people simply have a sentimental connection to their hobby.
So it angers me when I see anime fans causing other anime fans to feel bad about themselves. Anime fans have the capacity to be remarkably insensitive to one another, especially when it comes to differences in preference. Even some reviewers and critics, both amateur and professional, are guilty of this, disregarding sensitivity to their fellow fans in favor of trash-talking cynicism and negativity when it comes to an anime they don’t like. It’s not enough to give the show the fairest shake they can while producing a negative review. They have to beat the show down, often taking the audience with it.
Negativity is only destructive. It helps no one and only serves to make some people feel good about themselves at the expense of others. It’s a mentality that treats self-esteem like a zero-sum game, where it can only be gained by taking it away from other people. It’s the “eff you, got mine” mentality, where nerds who have “made it,” whether that entails becoming opinion leaders, becoming prolific content creators, or simply getting to the point where they no longer need to struggle with their nerd image (Often due to the things they like being more acceptable by mainstream people) refuse to help other nerds on their way up and, further, hold those trying to make that climb in contempt.
Rather than knocking each other down, we can bring each other up. It’s not hard. It doesn’t require extra work, but it does require compassion and empathy, which I’ve observed to be at a premium in some circles of the fandom. Some amongst our ranks in the anime fandom think berating people for not agreeing with them about a cartoon is more important than being civil to people they should be standing together with.
Tumblrs like Shit Otaku Say or Mad About Free!, which both base themselves around putting people’s ostensibly disagreeable opinions on display for public ridicule, are the problem. There’s a culture of public shaming which gathers itself around a set of opinions and rears its ugly head whenever someone has the audacity to disagree publicly.
We should be better than this to each other. Moé fans shouldn’t hate on fujoshi. Nobody should be calling anyone a pedophile for liking a cartoon or a comic. I shouldn’t have to deal with being labeled a “rape apologist” because I disagreed with someone about a scene in Valvrave the Liberator. It’s not necessary. There’s no need to break each other down like this over cartoons. Many of us already know what it’s like to be bullied. We shouldn’t have to deal with it in the fandom we became a part of to get away from that.