I’m no Stranger to Controversy
Whether it’s Goblin Slayer or Uzaki-chan, there seems to be no shortage of controversy when it comes to the anime community. Hell, even outside of it the internet always seems to have something it’s worked up over. Navigating these kinds of topics can be a bit of a challenge, but I’d like to share my perspective on how to approach them. This is the first article in a weekly series called, #Controversed, as part of an event I’m sponsoring with Moya of The Moyatorium. More information will be provided at the end of the article.
Caught up in Controversies
Given that anime is what I tend to cover most often, we’ll restrict the conversation to said community, but my approach and thoughts on this topic extend to anything really. In the past I have written about several controversies that have bothered me within the anime community. Most notably is my Fire Force & Fanservice article, one of the few times where I addressed a controversy in full as opposed to passing.
To catch folks up to speed who may not be in the know, the whole ordeal centered around fanservice in the Fire Force anime, specifically when it came to Tamaki, a female character who finds herself in sexually compromised situations frequently within the anime. One side argued that this was nothing to be concerned over while others found it to be intrusive to the viewing experience given the anime is a shonen action show.
Of course, I had my own thoughts which you can read, but rehashing this material isn’t what I want to focus on in this article. Instead, I want to discuss my approach to discussing any topic of contention, whether it be this, loli art, or anything else.
Whenever I tackle a more sensitive subject I do my best to explain the situation, giving it context for anyone who may be out of the loop, but there’s an additional benefit to this as it clarifies my understanding of the controversy as well. Giving the reader this information upfront leaves little room for misunderstanding when presenting your ideas as it will be clear where, and how, you arrived to that position. However, this isn’t the only thing that needs to be kept in mind.
No matter your stance, people are going to disagree with you. There’s no if-ands-or-buts about it. This is why you also need to consider how you present your side of things, which leads me to what I consider to be the most important point: balance.
I always try to present multiple viewpoints to the topic I am discussing, trying my best to understand why someone might disagree with my opinion. I express how I could sympathize with those ideas where I genuinely do, while simultaneously offering ways to debunk that thinking. It boils down to respecting the other viewpoints and entertaining them within reason.
For example, in my Fire Force article I am clearly passionate about what I’m saying, even a little heated, but I go out of my way to ensure the following:
- I never call the other side names or say that their way of thinking is wholly invalid. I disagree often, but on a few points I even agree with my “opposition”.
- I present the facts as such, offering examples to back up claims I make but I also make it crystal clear when I am expressing an opinion. I never take an authoritative/hostile position in expressing my viewpoint.
- I focus on understanding instead of “winning” the argument.
Number three is probably where a lot of people trip up. It’s really easy to want to prove you are right and have folks agree with you, but the reality is that you aren’t likely to change anyone’s mind. It’s one of those things to do with psychology and bias, we all hate being wrong! Still, by simply asking for understanding, and not focusing on changing another person’s mind, you can help to move the conversation in a more positive direction.
As a result, I’d say that I’m not a very controversial figure despite the amount of “controversial” media and topics I’ve covered over the years. Even comparing myself to other people in the same space who have caught considerable flak for similar statements, I really have to say it comes down to the presentation of said ideas.
By and large, I think most of the “controversies” are pretty dumb. Generally, let folks enjoy what they like as long as it isn’t hurting anyone. However, there are times where you really need to speak your mind, and that’s totally OK! Just remember to think carefully about your position and present your ideas equitably, if you do that, you should be just fine.
That’s it for this first issue of #Controversed. It’s a short introduction to the idea of discussing controversy and my thoughts on it. Hopefully you found it helpful, or at least gave you something to think about the next time you want to tackle such a topic.
What is #Controversed?
Before we close out this week’s topics, let me introduce to you #Contorversed!
Each week Moya will be providing prompts and information related to discussing controversy for any topic, not just anime. She’ll be doing this using #Controversed on Twitter, her blog, and within my Discord. By joining you’ll move towards becoming a better writer, have fun conversations with other community members, and share ideas on how to deal with controversy in general.
I highly recommend joining my Discord for the discussion as that’s where I’m going to focus most of my efforts, but you’ll also see things as indicated above in the other spots. So no matter what, you’ll be able to participate in whatever way is most comfortable for you. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please let myself or Moya know and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
Thanks for reading folks, I hope to see you in the next one! If you want to join this week’s discussion the prompts are:
- What is a controversy in the (anime/manga/other) community that bothers you, and why?
- What do you think of controversies? Do you consider yourself or your blog controversial to any degree?
Remember to use the hashtag and tag us if you post them! If you are in my Discord, submit them under the submissions tab as well. Finally, if you want to support my work here please consider a donation by clicking either of the buttons below.