Who Are You to Judge?

Community member Chase (@starlancerpg) sent us an article where he talks about the various struggles that one might face as an idol fan. If you would like to submit an article to be posted on the site, please use the contact form at the top of the page or contact @Mage77 on Twitter for more details.

This post is a bit different than any you’ll normally see from me, but I felt that this is an issue that all of us (not to stereotype, but especially males) face when we become fans of idols. This may or may not apply to you, but this post is about a lot of what I personally struggle with still today, and a lot of what I’m writing stems from anger and frustration so please bear with me through this.

 

Can you remember the first time you told someone you were an idol fan and they just stared at you in disbelief? They might’ve smirked, made fun of you, even laughed right in your face.

  • “Why are you listening to those underage Japanese girls sing in a language you don’t even understand?”
  • “You do know that only perverted old men listen to this…Jap-Pop or whatever you call it, right?”
  • “Dude, why on earth are you watching videos of girls dancing around in bikinis?”
  • “Okay, cool, I’ll leave you to your little Asian girls and that crap you call music.”

 

We’ve all heard some variation of these statements and I, unfortunately have heard them all. Whether you are in high school, college, or a working or married life; if you ever express your preference towards idol music outwardly, you’ll most likely be confronted with ignorance and derision. The stereotypes that emanate from Japan still exist; Japan is all anime, girls in school uniforms and tentacle monsters. But even setting stereotypes aside, it all boils down to one key issue engulfed in close-mindedness. Who are you to judge?

Whether you’re a guy or a girl, if you live almost anywhere besides Japan, idol fandom groups are literally nonexistent in large numbers. To find people with similar interests, looking up a local group or searching online is the only way to get connected and find tolerance. And once you find them, you’re happy for the acceptance you find, that they welcome you with open arms, because you don’t find much of that outside the walls of the group. Once you go outside the shelter however, that’s where comfort ends and criticism begins.

For guys especially, telling people you’re an idol fan can be tough without others branding you a ‘pervert’, ‘sicko’ or just plain weird. For some reason, girls are allowed to fantasize, obsess and drool over their male models and celebrity figures. This is considered, at the very least normal in today’s society. (By saying this, I’m not discounting girls as having it any easier, this is just my point of view and its not the only one. If you disagree, please feel free to tell me your feelings in the comments.) Girls are allowed to plaster their walls, binders, phone covers, etc with robust male celebrities and its considered completely normal. In fact, this behavior is almost expected of every girl come adolescence.

However, if a guy has just one computer wallpaper of a Japanese model, people assume that this guy is some obsessed otaku with an Asian fetish. Girls are allowed to scream and faint for the members of One Direction, a British boy band, who could technically be classified as a ‘foreign idol group’ but God forbid the man who cheers for Maeda Atsuko. This all culminates in the same burning idea as before: Who dictated that this fandom is wrong? Who dictated that we are perverts, the weirdos of society, because we like idols? Who are you to judge???
 

We’re Here, We Cheer (and buy 1000 copies of their latest single), So Get Used To It

Although this whole article may seem like a rant on how the whole world is against idol fandom, that isn’t the main point. There are many people out there who will be kind and supportive of you no matter what, but alas society in general is quite to the contrary. So the lesson here is a very simple one that the hippies have been upholding since the 60’s: be tolerant. Even if you don’t agree with what someone says or does, don’t tear them down, support them. Be receptive to what they’re saying, you might learn a thing or two, or even become a fan. As idol fans, we all know what its like to be in the minority, so help each other out. Don’t crush a newbie’s spirit on certain forums because they got the bust size of your oshimen wrong, reeducate them and help them along. We were all there once, when we couldn’t even remember if Takahashi Ai’s color was Yellow or Orange or when we used to confuse Takahashi Minami and Oshima Yuko.

Also, be open to new ideas. Even if its not to your liking at first, you may soon warm to it. I’m a perfect example of that. Do you know what I used to be? Up until a year ago, I ridiculed Japanese culture and entertainment. I said that Japan was full of perverts and that Yasushi Akimoto was the world’s most profitable pimp (I still say that, but back then I was serious). I wondered who the hell would ever listen to this crappy, whiny music called J-Pop with all these girls in disgusting bikinis who all looked 13. I laughed at anyone who even watched anime, until my friend introduced me to the music of a little group called AKB48 and a little song called Ponytail to Shushu. Actually, I just checked the date and my browser history and realized that on August 22 last year (I’m writing this on August 21), that was the day I watched the Ponytail to Shushu PV. Fate is kind of funny that way. I became the very thing I used to make fun of, and look at me now.

So I’m going to ask you for the last time, and please tell me if you can answer this question, because I sure as hell can’t: Who are you to judge?

 

Chase
@starlancerpg on Twitter

About NSK

New School Kaidan is a community-focused website for the Japanese idol industry international fan base. Between podcasts, broadcasts, events, and analytic articles, New School Kaidan aims to bring an understanding of idol culture to the masses.

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