What Makes Anime Fans Ashamed of Liking Anime?
I am Not Ashamed to Say I Love Naruto
Reasons Anime Fans May Fear Sharing Their Love of Anime With Others
- Others may think that anime is strange or childish.
- Fans may be insecure about their interests and desire acceptance from peers and society.
- Fans think that the people they associate with do not share the same interest.
- Fans fear that people will make critical judgments about them or the anime they love
- Fans fear bullying and ridicule.
- If anime is not mainstream then many people do not know about anime or understand it.
- People might not take anime seriously.
What Makes Anime Embarrassing to Talk About and My Backstory
My addiction to anime began in July 2012 after a close friend told me about Naruto, one of the biggest and most popular animes. After hearing her enthusiasm regarding the subject I thought I would give it a shot, and sure enough, I was hooked after watching the first episode. My friend was not ashamed to share something she loved with me and did not give any thought to the fact that I could have easily ridiculed her for watching something as "silly" as a cartoon. Luckily for her, I was open minded to the idea of watching anime as a new hobby. Ideally, every anime fan should regard anime as a normal aspect of their life, like my friend, instead of hiding it and feeling ashamed.
After endlessly watching Naruto and Naruto Shippuden I gradually began to watch other anime series to fuel my new craving. At the same time, talking about the subject at school or with my close friends, besides the one who referred me, was something I avoided at all costs. Why? Anime is simply not mainstream in the U.S. and I did not feel comfortable sharing an interest that would exclude me from fitting in with the rest of my friends. None of the friends I interacted with at the time were fans of anime and it made it extremely awkward to talk about something they were not interested in. I felt like they would judge me or tire of my peculiar rambling about my favorite nonexistent characters and anime series. Although I now have friends who similarly love anime, I still struggle to be myself around my non-anime-loving friends. This social struggle likely plagues many more people than me, and for that reason I feel it is important to address this issue.
A major flaw in society is the incessant fear of being rejected by the people we hope to impress. Whether we desire friends, rank or acceptance by peers, the fear of "not being good enough" often prevents us from showing our true feelings, interests, disinterests and overall personalities. The fear of not fitting in with society is a form of bondage, rendering anime fans, or anyone uncomfortable with being themselves, incapable of living their lives comfortably and happily. We care so much about the opinions of others that we conceal a part of ourselves to fit what we see as ideal or acceptable to others. Although not all anime fans feel embarrassed about anime,anybody can relate to the feeling of shame for differing from what society esteems as acceptable..
How to Get Passed an Embarrassment of Anime
As mentioned before, the reason for feeling embarrassed about liking anime stems from the fear of social rejection. This fear has been ingrained into the minds of many, including myself, though we have no personal experiences to drive our terror. For those who have been bullied or teased for their interests, that's a different situation. Despite past experiences, or the lack of, there is always a way to move forward
If we have never tried telling friends and acquaintances about our affinity for anime, why do we expect them with to react negatively? Of course, people may react in an endless number of ways, but how will you know what to expect if you never open your mouth? We cannot live to the fullest by allowing fear and trepidation to rule our lives. If something makes you happy why not share that joy with the people around you? If people truly care about you they will be accepting of who you really are. The people that bring you down or disapprove of your love of anime are people that are not worth your time and effort. True friends would never stop loving you because of your entertainment preferences.
As individuals it is not our responsibility to please others; we must do what makes us feel good about ourselves first before worrying about others. Living happily and comfortably starts with having confidence and self-acceptance. We must be able to accept ourselves before we expect others to accept us for who we are. People are drawn to those with self respect and confidence. We can gain the respect of our peers by accepting who we are and embracing what we love. Naturally, this is easier said than done, but putting in the effort to make a positive change is the first step to a happier life.
Embrace Your Interests and Hobbies
Love Yourself and Respect Yourself
If anime still greatly embarrasses you, learn to love yourself for who you are and learn to accept anime as a part of you if it is something you greatly care for. You may fear being labeled as uncool, geeky, or weird, but at the end of the day why should you sacrifice your individuality to fit in with mainstream society? We are all different and have the right to our own preferences and opinions. Learn to love and respect yourself if you desire to discard your embarrassment and fear of being judged. Others will learn to respect you if you are comfortable being yourself.