I didn’t expect to defend Kim Kardashian in my lifetime. But here we are.
Last week, Kim took to Twitter to show off some Yeezy Season 7 looks. (If you’re not quite sure what that is, you’re not alone. YEEZY is her husband Kanye’s fashion line, divided into “seasons.” Season 7 is coming next.) Fans mentioned that the images had an anime vibe, and Kim confirmed that that was her “inspo,” and that she’s obsessed with anime.
I am obsessed with anime. That was legit my inspo https://t.co/l3wVdwGyeN
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) February 28, 2018
This didn’t go well.
The Superiority Of Otaku?
Fandom has a problem. And by that I mean we have several problems, but we’re covering one for now. And that is: we believe that a combination of our taste and the flak we take for it makes us superior.
Some fans are bullied for being fans, and others turned to fandom as an escape from bullying. Either way, we are largely familiar with being mocked and put down. And even though we tend to corner the market on entertainment at the moment, we’re still not fully free of the mockery. So there’s a mentality of “paying one’s dues” or being the right type of person to be a proper fan.
What’s a proper fan? In the modern mindset, someone who watches the “right things.” If they’re watching afternoon dubs or the “easy-to-get” stuff, or the “bad” stuff, that’s not an anime fan. That’s someone trying to LOOK like an anime fan.
….Well, two points on that. Point One, there are a lot cheaper and more reliable ways to try to look “cool”. And point two, the world has pretty much decided how it feels about Kim Kardashian, so there’s not much point in her trying to earn Geek Points.
But More Importantly…
Kids can see you.
And frankly, it doesn’t matter who you’re calling an embarrassment. Simply by saying there are certain people who shouldn’t be anime fans, or that there’s a wrong way to do it, you’re making a shady statement.
We’re in a generation where children can see everything we do more clearly than ever. And as fandom becomes a more global force — one that can be used to do amazing things — we owe it to young fans to not teach them that there are false gateways or aptitude tests to take. Or that “certain people” shouldn’t be fans. Because today it’s a random celebrity, but tomorrow it’s a little kid who isn’t watching “the right” show or doesn’t look quite like everyone else.
A celeb you don’t like liking at anime isn’t the end of the world. It doesn’t matter which shows she watches. It doesn’t matter if she likes it “your way.” No one is the arbiter of True Fandom. Being a fan means liking something, and anything further is creating a secret special club. And I can’t speak for all fans, but I never asked to be in your secret club.
We all belong. Yes, even Kim Kardashian.