I’ve seen it in everything: music; anime; fashion; hair; makeup; you name it, and there’s ridicule. It’s practically inevitable that with an interest comes someone, related to you in some way or not, who finds joy in making fun of yours, thinking that their opinion will somehow affect your outlook on said interest.
And sometimes, it does. When I started liking anime, the stigma surrounding it that everyone who watches it pretends to know everything about Japan turned me off a bit, especially when my friends would make fun of me. Then I realized: why should I care? If this genre of Japanese animation brings me happiness and keeps me sane, why does it matter so much what others think? In reality, I will keep watching anime, and they will go about their business until the topic comes up again.
However, that’s not the case for everyone. Sometimes, it takes such a toll on the interests’ of others, they will stop liking it completely. Granted, most of the time it’s because it’s harmful or offensive, but usually, it’s not. The problem with that is it’s ingrained in our heads to automatically give our opinions to something we don’t like, whether it be food, drinks, animals, etc., if someone likes something you don’t, you’re going to make it known.
As a societal whole, we need to start letting people enjoy things. Let people do what they want. If it doesn’t involve harming themselves or others, being disrespectful or hateful, then why are you trying to stop them from doing that thing? Why does it bother people if girls wear a lot of makeup or like sports? Why does it bother people when boys don’t like sports or want to wear makeup? There is a universal truth that we are all just hypocrites, but shouldn’t it be our duty as humans coexisting to at least try to minimize the damage?
There is a universal truth that we are all just hypocrites, but shouldn’t it be our duty as humans coexisting to at least try to minimize the damage?
My inspiration for this article not only comes from anime but from art majors who receive backlash for pursuing their dream, teenagers with ambitions whose parents don’t approve, and children losing friends because something they like is perceived as “weird”.
As a writer, I can safely say that many have bashed on me for trying to attain a pipe dream, because to them, if you don’t have the potential for a Pulitzer, you might as well give up entirely. Now, I am writing for a magazine and am a published author. This just goes to show that your interests’ and the things you like can take you places, even if others deem it unnatural or a waste of time. Because of something I enjoyed steered my life, I am happier than ever.
The amazing part about the human species is we can literally be any person we want to, no matter what it is. We are not restrained to being one kind of human in one kind of lifestyle. Despite this, when someone is into something, they are hated on and told off just because it makes them happy. If it makes them happy… why are you trying to demonize that and take it away from them? Imagine ranting about your hobby, then finding yourself faced with a friend saying “I can’t believe you like that. It’s so weird.”
If you find yourself doing this exact same thing, stop and ask yourself: “why do I like ruining other peoples’ fun?” and if you can’t think of a legitimate reason, apologize to that person and let them continue finding joy in something they love.
Odds are, you’re not going to be able to change their opinion, but you are going to have a big impact on how they see themselves if they’re into something receiving hate. You might be joking, but they aren’t, and it really just makes you seem like a jerk for making fun of it.
Let people be into what they want. Let them find happiness in the little things bringing them joy. Let them know you support them no matter what they choose to like (as long as it’s not offensive). Find something you like yourself and quit ostracizing those around you. As a stranger or friend, you have influence. Use it wisely.