In the past few weeks, I have witnessed a lot of bullying and name-calling shaming people who play or enjoy video games. It’s true that people tend to judge people depending on tastes and their hobbies such as people who like Anime since it’s a niche medium. Because of this, people who are not familiar with it will likely hold an ignorant, distorted or uninformed view on it and generalize them to a certain stereotype or label.
When I was a child, I have been bullied, especially during the 6th grade. While some of it has to deal with my race because there weren’t many Asians in the school I attended besides my sister and myself, they also bullied me because I liked Pokémon since other students mostly focused on playing sports or other interests. During that time, I didn’t have many friends, thus I spent most of my time playing with my Gameboy Color alone during recess. It’s not until I got to 7th grade when I started making more friends. Even so, I kept most of my interests to myself until I got to college where I met people who are more open-minded and even have an interest in video games and/or Anime. Since then, I never experienced any instance of bullying.
So, why people tend to bully or look down at people who enjoy anime and/or video games? I think one is the reasons besides not being perceived as “cool” is that people don’t understand these mediums and therefore prejudge it or label people who enjoy them. We see instances of this in Ore no Imouto and especially Nogizaka Haruka with the female protagonists (Kirino and Haruka) since they loved Anime and Otaku subculture. However, they were afraid to share their passion for it since they didn’t want their reputation ruined, lose any friends or have their parents find out. Eventually, their father finds out about it and quickly disapproves their hobbies by deeming their interests as disgusting and perverted without seeing the whole picture. It’s not until they were convinced otherwise that they changed their mind and accepted it. I think this is especially true in real life since there are some instances where a person who has a dislike towards a certain hobby or interest tries it for themselves through a recommendation or out of curiosity and finds out that they actually enjoy it. Even so, I think the peer pressure to be considered cool in a group is also a contributing factor on why people prejudge a hobby or interest even if they don’t mean it so that they won’t feel excluded.
As mentioned in one of my editorials, I shared my thoughts on why people tend to look down at Otakus and gamers. Society tend to negatively view people who enjoy these types of media because of the bad behavior from a small minority. For instance, Otakus in the 90s were harshly shamed because Miyazaki Tsutomu, who murdered 4 girls and he happened to enjoy anime and slasher films. As a result, media called him an “Otaku murderer,” stirring a moral panic against people who enjoy Anime or is into Otaku subculture. We are seeing the same with video games as the mainstream media uses them as a scapegoat every time a shooting occurs. Now, video games are also being blamed for promoting sexism against women when there is not enough scientific proof that it causes such behavior (same can be said about video games causing violence).
It’s understandable why the media tend to scapegoat a certain group of people for liking a certain hobby as a convenient target. At the same time, it’s harmful, ignorant and belittling. When I saw the stream of meaningless articles titled “Gamers are Over” (which is not true) and people opposed to video games calling gamers hateful things like terrorists, MRA (men’s rights activist), misgynerds, racist, “worse than ISIS” or any childish name-calling you can come up with, it reminds me of playground bullying in grade school. We also see similar behavior from people who are not interested in Anime calling Anime fans as weeaboos (people who are overly obsessed with Japan), perverts, nerds, manchild, etc.
While I won’t focus on the topic of sexism since it’s a very thorny issue that I do not want to cover any further (although I do support gender equality and humanism), I feel that these bully tactics does not only make the people who are instigating it look foolish, they are basically harassing all the innocent people who are minding their own business just because of a few bad apples. The sad truth is, there is always going to be fans in the fan dumb that will misbehave and ruin it for everyone. Even so, it’s not an excuse to create a moral panic and belittle a group of innocent people who enjoys a certain hobby just because of one’s misbehavior or you don’t agree with someone on an issue.
In the end, Yumeka brings up a very important point when she shared her experiences of being bullied for liking Anime. She states, “I like individuals, but not people so much.” I do agree with that belief since I believe that fans should enjoy what they like without the fear of being judged as long they are not causing harm to others. I think people should respect their hobbies or interests even if they do not approve or have different tastes. I know that there is going to be peer-pressure to be cool and popular, especially in grade school, which has an impact on self-confidence. You shouldn’t let it bother you. Despite recent events, I still think bullying is becoming less of a problem as video games and Anime (along with Otaku subculture in Japan) becomes popular enough to enter the mainstream.
With that, have you any experiences of being bullied just because you like Anime, Manga, otaku subculture and/or video games? If so, how do you deal with it? Also, what are your feelings on the mainstream media scapegoating video games, Anime, or a certain group of people who enjoy a certain hobby?
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9 Comments… read them or add your own.
“In the past few weeks, I have witnessed a lot of bullying and name-calling shaming people who play or enjoy video games.”
I’m not quire sure on the exact details either, but I think this is because of the recent “Quinnspiracy” incident.
I personally think it’s wrong to judge a medium and it’s entire fandom just because of certain individuals within it. While there are indeed someone who would actually cause harm, there are a lot of individuals within the fandom that won’t cause harm and just simply like the medium as it is. In that sense, I really like Yumeka’s “I like individuals, but not people so much.”
I admit that I have been following the events unfold for weeks now and I don’t really care about what was Zoe Quinn doing. What is more important is the harassment of people who play video games and gaming journalism sites attacking their audience to achieve an agenda while throwing everyone in the bus. There is a movement called Gamergate surrounding this issue, but I didn’t mention it because I do not want to get involved. Besides, I don’t go to any of the mainstream gaming sites since I’m more interested in Japanese games and they don’t really cover any news on them.
I agree that it’s wrong to judge a medium or fandom. Like I said earlier, it shouldn’t get judged because of one individual or a small faction. The same can be said about social movements. While I won’t go into details, there are some radicals in the movement that highjack it to become something else, away from the original intensions.
” In the past few weeks, I have witnessed a lot of bullying and name-calling shaming people who play or enjoy video games. ”
” While I won’t focus on the topic of sexism since it’s a very thorny issue that I do not want to cover any further (although I do support gender equality and humanism), ”
I’m not sure recent incident on video game community could be considered separately from the sexism issue.
You could argue that “pro-gamer”/”serious-gamer” also practicing bullying and name calling against its internal minority : female gamer / female game designer.
bullying is bad, being bullied minority don’t excuse people to bully others.
^ I’d say it’s the other way around. Any gamer that calls out thou-shall-not-be-named on her BS and the internet going out of its way to censor such discussions (what is the point if the topic’s, as they say, “pointless”?) is being called misogynistic whether they are male or female, and thou-shall-not-be-named sent her squadron of SJWs to bully an imageboard for depressed males w/ social anxiety to begin with (that really just want to be left alone) so I question who the true bullies are in that situation. Yes there are actually misogynists on the other side, but there are a ton of misandrists on the opposing too (tangent: lol misandrist got caught in spellcheck while misogyny is apparently the only valid word out of the two, thx firefox), and the overall concern is completely valid. There are tons of people who are absolutely uninterested in video games and have nothing to do with them calling out “gamers” (as a whole) as being an army of misogynists. The western gaming industry has been plagued with that kind of noise for quite some time, and people are understandably sick of it.
As for the main topic at hand, overall, chikorita157 had a point (that all of his examples, including the situation with gamers, are pretty much “high school bullying in post-high school life”) and I agree with it. It’s somewhat sickening that even so-called adults feel the need to shoehorn individuals into cliques for the sole purpose of attacking their hobbies, and people need to learn how to respect others even if their interests don’t coincide with theirs. In contrast, I’ve grew up within a mixed group of Hispanics and Asians (though I still experienced racism, that says a lot) that enjoyed the things I liked including anime during high school, though I was picked on for other reasons (or rather, non-reasons: kids are cruel) in middle school and elementary school. Still, I have noticed a lot of bigotry towards people with my hobby (anime/manga/Japanese stuff) and also video games. With buzzwords like “weaboo” (I think I’ll get into why the usage of this word is stupid on my own blog eventually) flying around, it gets rather irritating. Why am I a lesser person for liking Japanese culture as opposed to, say, a person loving Mexican culture? Why is it bad to be fanatic about anything other than sports? Sure, the really obsessive, socially-awkward anime fans are rather cringeworthy to me, but that goes the same for anyone that’s too obsessive with anything. There are sports fans that are obnoxious as hell.
From what I’ve noticed… the SJW shitstorm in the gaming fandom right now (well, SJWs in general) and “that guy” who unironically likes calling anyone who has the slightest interest in Japanese entertainment a “weaboo” are either leftover bullies from high school that never grew up or victims of bullying at a young age that feel the need to get back at everyone by becoming the bully whilst victimizing themselves (espcially the shitstorm in the gaming fandom). Suffice to say, the latter are like bad villains from bad anime plots. Sure, it’s terrible that they were bullied before – like, I can understand how much it sucks to experience bigotry because you didn’t indentify with the sex you were given, were homosexual, etc – but that doesn’t give them self-entitlement and the right to be jerks to other people. Just my two cents.
With everything being said, great post, and it relates what’s been on my mind for a while now, especially with that massive shitstorm in the western gaming industry/fandom/journalism right now.
I too do not agree with any of the points that are made over the said video series that says that games inherently cause sexist behavior. I have actually watched videos that debunked all these claims (thunderf00t does a pretty good job countering all these claims that the so called SJW and people opposed to video games makes and yet, he gets harassed by those said people and they even suspended his Twitter account. There are other videos that also debunked/criticize some of her claims from other female gamers.). But considering the sad state the western gaming industry is in with people slandering video games with claims that are not scientifically proven, I been focusing primarily on Japanese games where there is no such movement to inject political correctness into its heart.
But I do agree that adults should respect people’s hobbies. I don’t think it’s right to judge someone just because someone is interested in a different culture. As you mentioned, it seems that there is a double standard since it’s alright to like mexican culture, but not Japanese (or in that matter other Asian cultures like Chinese or Korean) and one gets called a weirdo because of it. I do feel that the stark differences between western and eastern culture plays a big part in it, but I think people should respect other people’s cultures or interest in foreign media even if it’s different.
Aside from that, the reason I avoided using the term SJW (Social Justice Warrior) is because it would make my post seem more like a rant than a rational editorial. Of course, I want to use the term to describe such people like the person who wrote the baseless “Gamers are over” post, but I don’t want to end up being a target and possibly get hacked. Regardless, I find these people crazy and therefore, I tend to not waste my energy on them and ignore them.
Edit: Even this recently published video (published today) disprove the points of said video series and video game opponents – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MxqSwzFy5w
I don’t necessarily agree for the fact that there are women that work in the gaming industry (although its male dominated similar to the Anime industry) and that there are female gamers (my little sister plays similar types of games I play although she also plays Nintendo although she did play Assassin’s Creed once). However, I believe that the gaming industry has a diverse demographics and it’s not an exclusive boy’s club. Everyone is free to make video games and play them.
While I won’t go into any detail since Mikoto covered most of the points I am going to say (will reply later), bullying, harassing and sending death threats is not ethical and that kind of behavior should be called out. However, saying that all gamers are instigating this kind of behavior is not true and its a small minority. From the past week, I have seen people opposed to gamers saying more misandric remarks than the other side saying misogynic things. It’s not okay to say either in my opinion. Also, a double standard should not exist either.
Like I mentioned earlier, a whole fandom or medium should not be judged just because of misbehavior from a small minority of a group. As said earlier in one of the editorials I wrote about sexism in gaming that both genders are portrayed stereotypically. If one finds it offensive, just vote with your wallet and don’t buy the game. Nobody is forcing one to play it. Like with all media, art should not be censored just because a small minority finds some aspect offensive. The creator should be able to make the game however he/she wants it to be regardless of what kinds of themes the creator decides to put on it as long it’s not done to blatantly offend people. Games like with all media should be judged on it’s merit and quality, not on political correctness.
Your experience in middle school sounds similar to mine XD I think bullying happens in some form or other in all middle and high schools since that’s the age kids are struggling with their identities, succumbing to peer pressure, and take issue with those who are different. But yeah, once you reach early adulthood in college, pretty much everyone is over that.
Saying things like “all gamers are this way” or “all fans of moe anime are that way” is just another form of stereotyping and being prejudice. Things like anime and games are fiction-based hobbies that don’t necessarily have any correlation with how a person behaves in the real world. There’s always the possibility that they do, but that doesn’t happen nearly enough to paint a whole group of people that way. It just comes down to what I said in my recent post that, ultimately, a person’s actions are what count, not their anime or game of preference.
Thanks for the mention by the way 🙂
I feel that when politics and ideologies gets involved with what media is considered acceptable or not, it gets really nasty rather than with stereotypes. I have been following the firestorm in the gaming community and not participating in it and it’s a disaster, more so than labeling, slandering and stereotyping. Both sides (although a minority) are really misbehaving by leaking personal information, trying to ruin people’s livelihoods by trying to get their employer to fire them, engaging in denial of service attacks, etc. Normally, bad behavior from a certain group paints a bad picture from them as you said, but this is nasty, a reason why I won’t take a side and just stay on the sidelines.
But aside from that, I plan on writing a version of this post in Japanese since I started Advanced Japanese grammar. Like Intermediate, it seems that there is not much difference since most of it is expressions, except that the text book has really little English besides the grammar explanations. It’s a reason I started studying more Kanji (hopefully I will get near to 2000 by the end of this year).
I have no mercy for people who bully those who like whatever they want.