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Why Internet “Cringe Culture” Is Harmful

Most of us have grown up with a variety of pop culture: favorite cartoons, video games, comics; you name it. In accordance with age comes common genres and ratings that a certain group may have a preference for, with a range of almost any kind of fictional media you could imagine. Living in the twenty-first century, it’s no surprise that virtual communities, commonly known as fandoms, would arise, surrounding the enjoyment of these pieces of media.

Unfortunately, throughout the world of fandoms, specific pieces of media and its fans have become targets of prominent criticism, and often times, outposts of bullying and harassment. Many of these shows, movies and/or games tend to be aimed at younger audiences, and are commonly viewed as not being “socially acceptable” for one to enjoy as they would something aimed toward teens and adults.

As someone who has a tendency to enjoy what might be deemed as “kid’s media,” such as Disney, Pixar, or cartoons in general, it can be difficult, and often nerve-wracking, to openly express my enjoyment of the things that make me happy. Sites like Tumblr or Twitter are filled with a stigma surrounding this type of media, dubbed as “cringe culture.” As harmless at it may seem to poke fun at something, this often brings the idea that it’s ok to harass or taunt those that find true enjoyment in it.

What most people have a hard time realizing is that the majority of these fans are kids and teens, and the idea that they shouldn’t be allowed to harmlessly enjoy something without being bullied for it is an extremely harmful one. Besides that many of these fans may very well be adults, and often animation enthusiasts, everyone has the right to like what they like. Just as much as you would like to enjoy media in peace, they would as well, and acting as if they should feel ashamed is hypocritical, to say the least.

It’s time to let people like what they like, and there should be no exception to that, no matter how “cringe-worthy” it may seem.

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