Wait! Just hear me out. The phrase “Your Fun is Wrong” is something I first heard on a show called Critical Role. It was meant as a light hearted joke about the level of hate and anger thrown about in various fandom circles. Watching shows on and writing for a site like Viewster made me think more in depth about this idea. I think we can all understand being a passionate fan of something and if you are an anime fan then I’m sure you know what it feels like to have a favorite character or show. Whether it is something classified as ‘nerdy’ like anime or accepted as ‘cool’ like sports, we all know what it feels like to attach our emotions to something bigger than ourselves.
In my book, the kid who memorizes sport statistics is just as dedicated as the kid who memorized the name of every Pokemon. However, there is a growing trend that disrupts all fandom. It is the idea that the thing you’re a fan of ( your ‘fun’) is somehow more valid or legitimate than someone else’s. Why do some of us feel the need to put down someone else’s favorite team or favorite show? Psychologists call it ‘rankism.’ It’s a way of asserting superiority over an individual or a group of people by making them feel weaker or less than. It’s basically building yourself up by breaking others down… It spreads like a virus. Someone puts you or the thing you love down and so many of us respond by doing the same to somebody else.
There has been progress in some areas of fandom discrimination. If you look up words like ‘nerd’ in the dictionary, you’ll see that it is listed as the same as being dull or a ‘bore’. In recent years however, words like that have undergone a dramatic change. Today, being a nerd is seen as being deeply knowledgeable on a topic or intensely devoted to a subject. We have raised the idea of being a nerd to a position of respect. The ongoing problem is that many people still feel the need to put others down in order to build themselves up even within the various nerd communities. The internet and social media is filled with words of hate and derision for every comments section or message board. The truth is that knocking someone else down does not build you up and, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone, everyone’s ‘fun’ is just as legitimate as yours. Bringing more darkness into the world only makes it harder for all of us to see each other. So, I guess my point is that we shouldn’t let the rankism of others infect us.
If you’re an anime fan then go ahead and love anime, but when you meet someone who loves something else; don’t be afraid to look for what makes that thing fun too.