Why is Otayuri getting so much hate: a possible explanation
Don’t get fooled by my title, also reminder that explanation =/= justification.
I always try to analyze phenomena and their possible causes, that’s the scientist in me I guess. So I started thinking about ant///is and I was like: but why. I just said in a recent post that Otayuri is obviously not the first relationship portrayed in the history of anime with such a (small) age gap, and I found some posts that talk about how some age gaps in older (and even recent) anime are just outrageous (even when one of the parts is a minor), and yet those don’t seem to be getting any hate or discourse.
• The sheer number of fans.
The first probably obvious reason is that Yuri on Ice has a lot more fans than other similar fandoms, and it gained them within a very short time span. It’s getting more and more fans every day, so it’s a mathematical rule that in a huge fandom there will be all sorts of people (it’s like a huge sample group), and some of these are an///is. The bigger the fandom, the more the a///is.
• The particular moment in history in which YOI came out.
It’s no secret that there’s discourse everywhere now, especially on certain types of social media. A lot of discourse is good discourse, but we also need to realize that not all discourse is good discourse. I think this discourse wave has played a huge role in the way an///is have suddenly decided to become active in hating on people over idiotic reasons. It’s like a marketing thing: they saw a discourse niche that was unoccupied and decided to take it over. Regardless of whether your discourse is right or wrong, writing about it is one easy way to increase your follower count, and who ain’t a slut for that.
• The fact that many YOI fans aren’t used to anime and manga content.
This goes together with my next point, but I thought I’d still make it two separate ones. A lot of people who became hardcore YOI fans don’t usually watch anime or read manga (myself included). This without my next point wouldn’t give much info on its own, but keep this in mind because I really think that the majority of an///is fall under this (and the next) category of people.
• The fact that many YOI fans are from the US and aren’t used to content not made in the US.
Listen, I know I’m making a huge assumption here, but I think it’s one that is generally accepted within the fandom: most (if not all) an///is are from the US. It seems obvious to me because the US is one of the few places where (though not even in every state, I think) the age of consent is 18, and all their interactions with us non-an///is seem very US-centric, especially in the way they generally aren’t willing to acknowledge the fact that different countries have different laws and/or traditions and generally a different mindset.
My goal is not to attack the US mentality here, but, again, I feel like what I’m saying is pretty much accepted even by many of my US friends. And what I’m describing is certainly what an///is act like, so I’m just going to keep explaining why I think this is the main issue (and why I think my assumption is generally right).
We’ve seen before how the US (generally speaking) are scared of importing recreational content from other countries and they’d much rather buy the rights to said foreign content and remake it with their own rules to make it more appealing to a US audience (sometimes even inexplicably and with ridiculous and disastrous results). Recent cases of this have been the US buying the rights to the Norwegian teen TV-show Skam and the popular anime Death Note getting remade into a Netflix movie. The US are screaming at the rest of the world: we only want the idea of your content, but we’d rather make it our own than show yours for what it is, never mind that your show reflects what your country is about and how your the customs of your country reflect on your personal (pop) culture. We don’t want your content EXACTLY because it reflects something that might differ from our views, and our viewers won’t like it.
And I guess they never will if you actually don’t show them what the rest of the world looks like.
I went a little bit on a tangent there, but my point is: US audience isn’t used to consuming content that isn’t made in the US. I’m not even talking about language here: TV shows aren’t dubbed or subbed, the US literally remakes them and remakes the content to fit the US views and mentality.
That means that the average US citizen will very likely find anything that is untouched by americanization weird if not completely out of their moral values. Couple this fact with the previous one: many YOI fans aren’t used to any kind of content that isn’t perfected and polished specifically for their tastes.
It’s amazing and it speaks for the quality of YOI that many of them could still get used to a different form of art (anime) and enjoy it and even become hardcore fans (and are now probably getting interested in other anime and manga etc), but out of these amazing people, a (thankfully smaller) group of them still couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact that fans from all over the world, with their own set of morals, ship something that in their minds is controversial (just because of a man-made law that not even every US state follows). They don’t care about what the law in Japan, Russia or Kazakhstan is and they’ve made this loud and clear.
The key to this (like for many other issues) is just one:
There’s little we as a fandom can do in this case, especially we people not living in the US since we always seem to be dismissed. They send us anon hate and if we reply saying that Otayuri is legal in our own country we never hear back from them. There’s not much we can do if they aren’t willing to listen to us.
But all I tried to do here is offer possible reasons why this phenomenon even exists, and maybe by reading this someone will have a brilliant idea on how to fix this. I don’t offer solutions, but understanding why and how something happens is always the key for the next step, whatever the next step might be.