Columns, Opinion

No Sugar, No Cream: Leave my anime alone

I have managed, with much difficulty, to construct a work ethic within myself such that I no longer procrastinate. Procrastination used to make me so worried about finishing assignments that I couldn’t complete my work. Luckily, I reasoned with myself that I could escape anxiety if I did work immediately after having it assigned, without any waiting period whatsoever. I do my homework every weeknight and finish all weekend homework on Friday, so I can have a carefree following two days. I have expelled procrastination from my body. I am invincible. I deserve the breaks I give myself, but it’s clear that not everyone respects that.

Often times, I take my breaks in the middle of social spaces. I feel more comfortable sitting near other people in my alone time. I like to watch television — with my headphones on — and sit next to people who are carrying on conversations. I’m allowed to feel that way. That being said, it seems that people feel like if they can see me, that means they are entitled to a conversation.

At this point in my life, I hold the belief that men think they own everything (Not all men. I know.). It is no secret that many men have entitlement issues, catered to by the patriarchy, from the time they’re born. They are told that their birth means that they deserve everything they want. Men are taught that they’re allowed to take up unreasonable amounts of space, that women should move out of their way, that all the space in the world is their way. These ideals manifest themselves in every part of my life in one way or another — from men not moving on the wrong side of the sidewalk when they are due to, to total strangers believing that I owe them a smile at their obnoxious catcalls. They think they own my time — my free time and time where I am clearly occupied. They think they own my space. But worst of all, they think they own anime.

I have had to endure countless conversations about anime where men have interrupted me to patronize me. They have me pause my show to ask me arbitrary questions, beginning with, “What do YOU know about anime,” being tied together with “Do YOU watch the dubbed version,” and ending with “How do YOU pronounce the name of the show?” I’ve tried to understand and see the good in people “bonding” with me over our shared interests, but I’ve found that there’s rarely a positive when someone takes a headphone out of my ear to speak to me. Men talking about anime are typically sexist on two fronts. First, they assume they have the right to take up minutes of my life to ruthlessly question me about what I’m watching because I’m a woman. Second, they assume that they know more than me about everything because I’m a woman. Both of these assumptions are thoroughly wrong.

Feminism hasn’t been on the forefront of my mind since I was 15 years old, but it circles around in my mind as I realize more and more that men and women are not socialized the same way. Women have to be far more polite, nice and know not to yank people’s headphones out of their ears and force them to interact with them. Women aren’t allowed to be overtly condescending and project, “I think I’m smarter than you” into conversations. Women have to be courteous people. Men are applauded for simply deciding to not be overwhelmingly rude to people in day-to-day life. Men must be taught to treat other people as though they respect them. There must be a change. A quick change. An immediate change would be best.

As for men asking if I’ve ever seen “Fullmetal Alchemist” every time they see me on Hulu, I don’t understand the point. Does trying to find error in my actions make you happy? Do you feel like you won something when you hear me pronounce Japanese words with the wrong cadence (even though you don’t speak Japanese)? I don’t know what you’re looking for when you’re bothering me, but I do know that I can promise you one thing: the Earth would not cease to revolve if you didn’t try to challenge women’s interests all the time.

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