Read Time: 7 minutes
So, this has been on my mind for quite some time now. This whole gatekeeping business within the anime community. Lately, I’ve been seeing an unsurprisingly large amount men accusing women, black women specifically, of being “fake” anime fans. Like…
A girl can’t tweet about liking an anime show without someone coming out the woodworks saying “name x amount of characters” or “name this character’s superpowers.” And it really just made me wonder, what constitutes as a real anime fan???
I like an anime, I may tweet about it, look up the fandom, buy things related to the show. Ship a couple. I’m a fan. What else more would I need to prove to you? Please remove your lower jaw from my nuts.
I seen a tweet literally just last night, saying how some new anime fans tend to buy shirts of their favorite anime. As opposed to a long time anime watcher, as if they have to tell the whole world they watch anime. This tweet was clearly alluding to Meg Thee Stallion (aka my wife).
She has made it very clear that she likes and watches anime. And yes, she does occasionally pay homage to some of her favorite anime characters. That’s what fans do right?
The thing that bothered me about the tweet, is that it came off as a little condescending. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone buying a shirt, that displays their favorite anime character. Whether they’re new to anime or a long time watcher, so what? I don’t care if you’ve been watching anime for 1 day or 10 years, if you’re a fan then you’re a fan. I’m not sure where people get these special badges from, that allow them to determine who can be apart of the anime community and who can’t. And it’s always men, who have been watching anime for years. Why is there a hierarchy, and what do you personally gain from gatekeeping?
And what’s crazy is there’s multiple divisions within the anime community. People try clown new anime watchers, people who watch mainstream anime and then women in general, who happen to watch mainstream anime. What is wrong with mainstream anime in the first place? It’s popular and people wanna watch it, is that such a bad thing?
Could you imagine watching an anime that no one else watches? Or having no one to talk to about that anime because it’s not “mainstream”? There is nothing wrong with watching mainstream anime. If anything, you have way more opinions, outtakes, character and episode analysis, etc, etc. And the most important thing is, you have more people to talk to! Why do people get flack for watching mainstream anime, it makes no sense. Some of y’all need to just go ahead and put your clown shoes on.
Y’all be trying to make up these rules as to who’s a real fan and who isn’t based on the anime they watch, and how long they been watching, and in the process, y’all be looking goofy as hell.
Gatekeeping in general is just mad tacky, and really, I think some of y’all are delusional in your reasoning, behind why you do it. Women do not watch anime to impress men. I repeat, women do not watch anime, to impress men. Maybe we watch it…because we genuinely like it. Maybe we watch it….because it makes us feel good?
Why do I have to prove to anyone, especially a man, that I’m a fan of a show? And why do men think it’s actually okay to “test” us to see if we watch a show or not? That is just so ugly to me. And it’s what bothers me the most about the anime community. It’s male dominated and it’s like I’m always inadvertently trying to prove I’m a fan. Or guys try to mansplain a show to me because they feel like I’m not a real fan.
Why do we, as women, have to jump through fire lit hoops to prove we like a show as much as men? It’s literally not a competition, but yet some guys seems to think it is. Pure delusion. And it’s not what the anime community is about. It’s literally about bringing people together, a safe space to talk about our favorite shows and characters. Somehow, gatekeepers have turned it into something completely opposite.
Being a black girl, I really had no one to talk to about anime growing up. All I had was my twin brother. When I got to college, I learned my school had a animanga club, but it had been discontinued. Fortunately, I was still able to meet other black girls who watched anime or read manga. And it still, is the greatest feeling ever, when I meet more black girls who read/watch the same shows as me, or listens to the same music from anime.
It’s very dispiriting, when I see tweets from men who accuse us of watching anime to impress them or that we’re fake fans. Who on this Beyoncé given earth is watching anime for a crusty boy’s attention?
I literally talk to more girls about anime than I do guys. Know why? Because no girl has ever tried to test me in my knowledge of a show, or make me feel inadequate because I don’t know a specific detail from a show. It doesn’t feel like a competition when I’m talking about my favorite character or anime, like it sometimes does with guys. And of course, not all guys gate-keep, but some do like to mansplain, which to me might as well be a form of gatekeeping. I watched the same fucking episodes as you did. If I wanted you go give me a breakdown of the episode I would have literally asked. Mansplaining episodes to me, just makes me not even want to discuss the anime with you anymore.
Men who do stuff like that within the anime community, are specifically why I decided to start this blog. For the most part, it’s so much more fun fangirling over shows with other girls than it is with guys.
Being black and being a girl, I already face enough hardships without someone trying to exclude me from yet another community, that’s not even rightfully theirs. Which is why I always encourage my fellow women, black and non black to never be afraid to speak up when the crusty’s are gatekeeping. We have every right to be apart of this community just as they do. And literally none of them have the power, to decide on who’s a fan and who’s not. Its okay to like a mainstream anime, its okay if you don’t know all the characters in Naruto or Bleach. Sis, don’t nobody care what these men be thinking. Period.
Let me know y’alls thoughts down below and how you feel about the ashy’s gatekeeping in the community. Lastly, follow ya girl on twitta @BlerdyOtaku————->https://twitter.com/BlerdyOtaku