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Why I Banned Kink-shaming On This Blog

kakegurui

A couple of months ago, I made a new addition to my blog’s commenting policy: No kink-shaming. This was because of the discussion around a blog post regarding slavery-themed web novels. I thought that one commenter went over the line by insulting fans of such web novels and describing them in a pathologising way. It’s an attitude I’ve seen before on the internet, although it was the first time I had to deal with it on my obscure little blog.

Even so, I thought I had better put the foot down and communicate that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable. People don’t often realise when they are shaming others for their fictional tastes until it is pointed out to them. It can be a subconscious act, performed without even realising the negative effects it can have on others. So I gave a warning to the commenter and put a reminder on the post itself regarding the commenting policy.

I was reminded of this incident earlier today when I saw a tweet from someone who said they didn’t want to be accused of “racism, sexism, pedophilia, etc.” because of their taste in anime. It’s not a completely unreasonable fear. Twitter is rife with stories about artists being harassed by fans for drawing “objectionable” art and people just generally being awful to each other. People often tell me how they feel uncomfortable admitting that they like a certain type of anime, like ecchi or lolicon, out of worry that they’ll be judged negatively for it. Having seen this kind of behaviour for myself, I can sympathise.

However, when it comes to solving this problem, I’m at a loss.

Mentally, I file “shaming others for their tastes in fictional media” in the same category as other rude and jerkish behaviours that are sadly all too common in this world. You can lay down rules against it in your own friendship circles and communities, like I do on my this blog, but you can only control the behaviour of others to a certain degree. Beyond that, the only thing you can really do is avoid judgmental people – or at the very least, don’t take their words seriously.

For me, that’s enough. I don’t like to dwell on the rudeness of strangers because it would only make me miserable about the state of the world. Even moreso when it comes to strangers on the internet. I know that there are people who are dismissive towards anime fans, or fans of certain types of anime, but I don’t think of it is a problem that can be easily solved. Certainly it’s not a problem that can be solved through “gatekeeping,” as the tweet I linked earlier was alluding to.

To cut a long story short, the writer of the tweet was advocating – or at least explaining – that gatekeepers in anime do so out of necessity to prevent bullying by outsiders (or “normies”) who judge others negatively for their tastes. Putting aside whether the ends justify the means, this isn’t really an effective tactic at all, since in practice it just results in the so-called “gatekeepers” complaining about people they don’t like rather than restricting access to anime in any meaningful way. But the discontent felt by these folks is weaponised online time and time again in the form of harassment campaigns and general internet unpleasantness that makes nobody happy in the end.

I feel… a little saddened when I think about it. Because there are a lot of people who feel as if they are being unfairly judged for their tastes. They share stories about people who get bashed for liking the wrong anime. And the more they share these stories, the more it seems like a massive, pervasive problem rather than something that can be dealt with on a personal level.

Then there are the influencers and content creators who prey on those fears by constantly stoking the flames of controversy. The anime world recently had a high-profile case where dubbing companies ended their relationship with a voice actor alleged to be a sex pest, and a YouTuber raised US$250,000 to fund a revenge lawsuit that ultimately went nowhere. Despite having no connection to anime before this case, this YouTuber managed to raise so much money because he framed the issue into a fight against “cancel culture” – an online environment where anyone’s life can be ruined by the pettiest of sins.

I object to this kind of emotional manipulation for the sake of exposure and monetary gain. Perhaps the audience of that YouTuber won’t acknowledge that their fears are being exploited and channeled into an unhealthy outlet, but that’s how it looks to those on the outside.

Like I said earlier in this post, I can’t control the behaviours of others. But if there is anyone reading this who has felt that the world is unfair, or that others are unnecessarily judgmental towards them because of their tastes in fiction, then I want you to know that you’re free to love whatever you want. Your tastes in fiction don’t mirror your real-life values, so don’t let anyone shame you for that. It’s through your actions and words that you should ultimately be judged by.

It’s because of this belief of mine that “no kink-shaming” is one of the rules of this blog. I strongly suggest other sites and community leaders who share my ideals to make an explicit rule out of it too, to assure people that they’re in an judgment-free environment.

For a long time, I thought, “Isn’t it a given that kink-shaming is wrong?” so I thought that there wasn’t a need to actually go out of my way to state this… but I think, now more than ever, it’s really important to make it clear that one’s taste in fiction deserves no negative judgment. Perhaps it may be controversial of me to say this, but I believe that even fans of lolicon deserve this benefit of the doubt. I draw the line at real-life child pornography, as the creation of such content is inherently abusive and exploitative towards children, but as far as cartoons go, I believe that shaming people for whatever they like is a misguided way of addressing real-life problems of sexual abuse.

It’s important to be clear about this and make firm distinctions because I really hate to see self-serving influencers and perpetrators of hate speech exploit other people’s insecurities by making out that embracing hatred and spite is the only way that you can be accepted for who you are. This is not just the attitude I hold towards my blog, but in how I choose to live life in general. Let’s strive to be excellent to each other.

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Posted on October 6, 2019, in Editorials and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. You’re a good person 😁

  2. It’s rare to find someone so good as you in this world. There need to be more people as pure and accepting as Frog-kun.

  3. Long, incoherent rambling ahead.

    Now, speaking of the act of kinkshaming as an example of dealing with people I just utterly dislike, while I’m the first to spit on furries or whatever, I have found a very helpful rule for myself to not deal with them so I can keep my thoughts to myself: By not dealing with them. It’s that simple.

    twitter is a very helpful platform wherein you have very good control of who to interact with. Some might say this creates an echochamber but people will always find ways to create those so I’d argue it’s a nice way to follow whoever you want to follow and filter out the rest that doesn’t make the cut. It’s a luxury one might argue, one that can’t be applied to real life. And I choose to do the filtering because why would I want to get angry over the ESS JAY DOUBLEYOUS all the time when that’s mentally taxing and incredibly unproductive?

    Other than that, do I really HAVE to tell others that they or their interests are shit when I think so and am not personally hurt by whatever they are interested in? Hey, look, you’re an SAO fan and I am anything but yet still follow you on twitter dot com, I sure do wonder how that works out in a day and age of tribalism and personal belief systems that must be forced on others. I used to be the angry guy getting mad at others watching the seasonal ecchi stuff while good anime ended up flopping but what did that achieve at the end of the day? Me being mad, that’s all. Don’t waste your time like that over such petty things. It might sound laughable but constantly hating everyone and everything is probably bad for your mental health.

    I absolutely do think that anime fandom these days has a problem with an influx of fans who want parts of a fandom or the medium gone – you’ve mentioned the artists getting harrassed on twitter and so on. Your post in one way or another thematically at least touches upon the gatekeeping thing as of late. But do I follow these people or observe their disagreeable actions on a regular basis so I can hate them really good? No. Because I choose to spend my freetime through better means. For instance, lately, I’ve gotten into the MahoIku franchise and it’s good and I like it! That’s much more fun than being mad!

    Herein lies one of the problems with social media: It spreads garbage and inclines us to react to it. If I choose to observe these lunatics who want this and that banned, cancelled and gone on a regular basis through following other accounts doing just that, I would end up going crazy out of anger myself and start seeing culture wars everywhere. It’s not unlike the political tribalism ever since 2016 and it’s really hard to find someone on anitwitter not leaning either to the left or right and being really vocal about it as if the fate of the world depended on it. YouTube and the likes accelerate this – let’s be honest, these videos like “LIBERAL SNOWFLAKE GETS DESTROYED BY FACTS AND LOGIC – MAJOR BREAKDOWN!” and “THIS IS HOW DUMB TRUMP VOTERS ARE, SUPPORTING BERNIE’S POLICIES WHEN TOLD THEY ARE TRUMP’S” just add fuel to the fire. And the same can be applied to anitwitter reaction to other parts of anitwitter in anger.

    But actually, it’s just ourselves adding the fuel. There’s the other side and the other side sucks, is barely human even. We have subjected ourselves to the daily five minute hate out of our own volition. About people liking or disliking things online.

    Maybe we shouldn’t let our free time and online presence be dominated by our sheer determination to find and hate people we don’t like but just avoid them like reasonable human beings should. And I am not one to just say “GUYS STOP BEING MAD LOVE AND PEACE OKAY?” because that’s shallow nonsense and ignores any points made. But some people _choose_ to be mad as if it’s an addiction. Heck, maybe it is and that can’t be good for you.

    Not that there’s never a good cause to fight for what you deem right but when you shit on someone liking or disliking Shield Hero or whatever, I don’t think there’s much of a fight in the first place.

    • I nodded along to a lot of those. lol did you know that I used to follow your blog in like… 2013, but was intimidated by you at the time. Maybe it’s because I was more insecure about my tastes back then but nowadays I don’t care what you think of the anime I like.

      There was a reason why I didn’t specifically mention “left” or “right” wing politics in this post, and that’s because the cycle of manufactured social media outrage hurts everyone who gets too wrapped up in it. I see it happen to people around me, some of whom I value quite a lot as friends, and I don’t really know how to shake them out of it. Even when they’re aware that the social media algorithms are feeding them waves of toxic bullshit to wade through every time they look at their feed, finding that self-control to actually moderate what they see can be really hard. Heck, for all my preaching even I can’t help but be drawn to internet drama too sometimes. It’s hard to look away from a trainwreck.

      If there’s one difference between the “left” and the “right” that’s worth mentioning in this context, it’s that left-wing activists at least have offline support groups and activities they can do to turn some of their anger into positive change. Not everyone takes that option – there are a lot of people that just confine themselves online slacktivism in an unhealthy way – but the infrastructure is there. The so-called “anime right-wingers”, though, most of them don’t even really identify with the old men conservative politicians. They’re apathetic when it comes to real-world politics, and their only outlet is the internet.

      I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, except to say that sometimes, people are just assholes on the internet and they don’t have to represent an evil across all of society. It’s kind of a relief to acknowledge this.

      • As an anime right winger I must say I agree that the internet is the only place where I do voice my views on certain matters due to them being a minority view in real world politics whereas there are plenty of large mainstream left-wing organizations with the funds for activism wherever I go. The reason for this is that the “old men conservative” at least here in Britain appear to be too left-wing for me to genuinely support them in any capacity and I imagine that the same is true of many others on my side.

        A slight criticism though not meant with any spite, if your intent was not to bring in right-left politics perhaps it would have been better not to bring up the Vic Mignota case as that seems to be a very right-left issue. My views on that case are completely different from yours but I will keep as to why to myself because you don’t want this to be a right/left issue.

        • Point taken. I’ll try to explain why I brought up the Mignogna case as an example. To me, it was a very recent and memorable case where social media and YouTube blew the issue way out of proportion, and it’s my opinion that certain folks got scammed out of their money. It felt like some folks were invested in keeping others in a perpetual state of outrage in order to get money and clicks. And the way they were able to do this was by framing the issue as a broader “culture war” problem; in other words, by turning it into a left-right issue.

          I mention that kind of thing because I want others to recognise when others are riling you up. And then you’ll be able to keep a clear head. This happens on both sides of politics, and it’s the people you agree with who can make you the most mad because they’ll keep telling you about the people you both dislike.

          As for my opinion on the actual allegations against Mignogna, it doesn’t matter at all in this discussion so I didn’t mention it. Regardless of your own beliefs regarding Migogna’s guilt or innocence, perhaps you may also agree that Mignogna’s financial supporters were short-changed, and that his legal team did not deliver on their promises.

  4. dude still working on his blog
    I feel like the doctor who found that one germ who escaped dettol

  5. Anime is not intended as a moral guide for living a life.

    Some anime sexualize children and most anime with children don’t contain a believable child. This stuff makes me grit my teeth. But I’m not going to rain on someone’s parade because they love Kaleid Liner or Flip Flappers.

    It is no different than watching a typical shoot-em-up. The ridiculous level of ultraviolence in games and movies today doesn’t make the people who watch them violent. It is just fiction and most people understand that fiction is generally not a guide for how to live life. It may even provide an outlet where watching artificial violence reduces violent actions in unstable people. They can work their frustrations out harmlessly by watching John Wyck tear apart the bad guys.

    Ultimately, any kind of “fill-in-the-blank shaming” is a form of bullying.

    [MOD: Soap boxing part of the comment was removed.]

    • A few days ago, when you first submitted your comment, I removed the last two paragraphs of it, and I thought I’d explain why I did so for transparency.

      Your comment was railing against “SJWs” and their attempts at “thought policing”, and I want to keep culture wars out of this blog. The first reason is that it’s a tangent from your (extremely valid) main point, but the second and bigger reason is that if I tolerated such comments on my blog, I would be creating an unwelcoming environment for minorities, especially those who are politically conscious.

      Think about what happens when you criticise “SJWs” without also making it clear that you do not tolerate hate speech against minorities, or that you’re sympathetic to any concerns expressed by minorities. It gives off the impression that the community is only okay with minorities as long as they do not speak up about any casual bigotry expressed by others that hurt them. My blog’s commenting policy also forbids hate speech against people on their basis of their identities, and I feel that I would be going against those ideals if I created an environment where minorities feel that they’ll be shouted down or harassed if they criticise hate speech.

      Let’s criticise the actions of those who kink-shame without minimising the very real concerns of those who are discriminated against on the basis of their identities. Minorities – and those who speak up in favour of minorities – are not the enemies here.

      On this blog, everyone is welcome and won’t be judged, regardless of their media tastes, identities, religious beliefs, or backgrounds. I appreciate your comment, and if you choose to continue commenting on this blog, please keep this ethos in mind.

  6. Someone’s been following the Vilet Mignon situation. I still cannot believe that was allowed to happen.

    I saw the tweet. Personally, it feels like such a strange thing to complain about. When I hear about anime gatekeeping, it had more to do with experience than it did particular genres. It was about who was and who wasn’t a true anime fan. Things like “do you watch literally anything other than shounen” or “do you have at least 300 anime on MAL”. Usual stuff. So when I read that people are gatekeeping them from… liking stuff, it’s unusual.

    There’s potential to have a civil discussion about the impact of certain fetishes on media and culture. You can like these things in fiction and be divorced from it in real life. You can also not like these things in fiction and avoid judging those who like them. But I know, as it always is with Twitter, that no one comes into the conversation planning to play fair.

    I’ve definitely seen people get accused of being pedophiles for liking lolicon media. I’ve also seen people accused of bestiality for liking furry media. Those are of course stupid arguments. You ain’t gonna cut a person’s forearm off because you watched JoJo. You’re not going to glomp a stranger just because you see so many times in- wait, that actually happened. Scratch that. Monkey see does not always lead to monkey do. Yet people cannot help but to slip the slope and to make it personal.

    There’s no solution to alleviating the discourse without a community-wide calculated effort to regulate discussion on Twitter, which is not perfect because that’s basically Reddit, so the only solution I can think of is to just disengage. End the conversation. Block people if you have to. Just because they want to tweet you doesn’t mean you have to read it. I personally don’t like the implication of that, but it’s the most effective way to exit an hopelessly insincere conversation.

    There’s just no need to gaslight themselves into believing there’s a vast political effort to take away their Blu-Rays.

    • @appropriant

      “There’s potential to have a civil discussion about the impact of certain fetishes on media and culture. You can like these things in fiction and be divorced from it in real life. You can also not like these things in fiction and avoid judging those who like them. But I know, as it always is with Twitter, that no one comes into the conversation planning to play fair.”

      This is not twitter so I would like to have that civil discussion and I assure you I will try my best to play fair. If you think I am being insincere please point out where and I will not do so repeatedly. I actually agree with you but I have some doubts so I am going to play the devil’s advocate where I think it is appropriate to try to get rid of those doubts. This is a topic which I find very interesting so I would appreciate it very much if you would reply:

      1. To what extent do you think that kinks are caused/made more extreme by the media people consume?

      2. To what extent do you think that violence against certain minorities like women and children is caused by the kinks that people have?

      I have more questions I would like to ask but I think that I would start by those two.

  7. Kinkshaming in the anime community all comes down to the premise that people act and think mimicking the actions and ideas in fiction. So long as this premise stands unchallenged then there will be no benefit of the doubt and no real presumption of innocence towards those who like certain genres.

    Lolicons are a good example of this. Kinkshamers will say that if the media that people consume makes them who they are then people who consume content sexualizing children may want to sexualize children. If you grant them that people act by mimicking the media then this charge is unanswerable.

    An honest kinkshamer would admit that he causes undue suffering towards people who are into lolicon stuff but not really pedophiles. Seldom do any Kinkshamers admit this but supposing they did they could still say that harm done to lolicons is not as important as the harm that could be potentially caused to children by allowing such kinks to be expressed and spread through media such as manga, anime, LNs etc… If you tell them that it’s not a “either – or” situation and we can both tolerate lolicons and protect the children then they will say that you are trying to keep the cake and eat it too. If you tell them that we need a sense of proportion about the extent to which media cause people to act in a certain way they will say that what you are saying is that we need to tolerate a certain amount of sexual violence against children caused by anime because in the majority of cases it does not lead to violence.

    Basically as long as you grant them that media has ANY effect on behaviour in a certain direction at ANY speed they will immediately go to the route that people unthinkingly just do and assimilate whatever they see in the media progressively more and as they see the same thing. From this they will conclude that people who are into these kind of kinks need to be suppressed lest they spread their tastes and induce more tolerance of sexual violence against children little by little in society. You see, they will say, even if individual lolicons may not be pedophiles they need to stop being lolicons and consuming and promoting lolicon content in case any of them turned into a pedophile.

    A similar case is made against people who are into furry anime characters potentially being induced into acts of bestiality. And so that it is alright to shame furries.

    A similar case is made against people who are into anime with a lot of fan service eventually being induced to treating women inappropriately. And so that it is alright to shame people who are into fan service shows. This is actually the most common form of kinkshaming in the anime community possibly with a tie-in with lolicons.

    In every case the kinkshamers will pit a group with a kink against a minority which could be harmed by that kink not being suppressed, shamed and their content erased from view.

    Of course the real reasons that people are kinkshamers may not be as pure as I have suggested but at any rate I have outlined the reasons that they present when questioned about it. Even if the real reasons may not be as pure that would only mean that they are right for the wrong reason.

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