01 Dec Cringe Culture Doesn’t Exist
In this day and age, anything and everything can be considered ‘cringe’. I get it. Some things seem silly or dumb to a lot of folks. Furries, bronies, stans, and those sorts of communities just seem to be constantly under fire for being ‘cringe’. It makes sense – I understand why these communities seem odd. But while I understand the reasoning, I am not a supporter of cringe culture. I happen to find myself to be part of a few apparently ‘cringey’ fandoms, and I don’t think people truly realise how damaging it is to be made fun of so casually on an everyday basis. It’s a terrible thing to be a part of, and frankly, it doesn’t have anything good to contribute to society at large.
It’s just mean-spirited. Making time to tear down people who engage in harmless fun and have ‘strange’ interests is just a douchey, lowlife move. Your interests are not the end-all and be-all of high culture. Taste and interest are entirely subjective. You are not the gatekeeper of what is acceptable and what is not. You have no damn place to give someone a hard time over something they enjoy, because your interests are not inherently better than theirs. Does it bother you that I listen to South Korean music? Does it bother you that I find entertainment and comfort in Minecraft content? Why are you so obsessed with me?
Literally nobody is bothering you. Like, the existence of furries does not force you to participate in that subculture. You don’t have to engage with it at all. If someone is trying to force you into a space you’re uncomfortable with, take it up with that person instead of the entire group they belong to. They’re not representative of everybody, and they’re likely just one bad apple. It is irresponsible to generalise everyone in that community based on one person or experience. Someone, somewhere on the internet, is doing something I don’t like. But I’m not going to go hunt them down and give them hell for it. I’m going to ignore it and go on with my day. Similarly, you don’t have to interact with the communities you find ‘cringey’. For the most part, if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. Because if you’re going to be a negative presence in that community, they very likely don’t want you around them, either. If nobody engages, everybody’s happy. So if you make the conscious decision to insert yourself, then you’re the one initiating, and the problem. People should not bait-and-hate with people they disagree with, because it’s simply rude and a complete waste of time.
There is zero purpose to cringe culture. It adds nothing to society. Even cancel culture, (though it very often gets out of hand), has the added caveat of being a tool to de-platform people who don’t deserve it. It has the power to tear down genuinely horrible people who are actually causing problems (racists, predators, abusers, etc.). But cringe culture is only tearing down folks who have ‘weird’ interests or personalities, by the standards of their attackers, which as I have mentioned before, are no more valid than anybody else’s. If there’s a zoophile (a person who abuses animals) trying to pass themselves off as a furry, then yes, call them out. Be upset about that one person, and how they’re abusing animals – which is both illegal and immoral. But don’t trash on the entire furry community. Like I said before, one bad apple isn’t representative of the entire group. Cringe culture serves only to attack people who have interests or lifestyles that harmlessly differ from the norm. It has an entirely negative effect on society, because literally no part of it is positive.
Speaking from personal experience, cringe culture is literally the reason why I do not speak of my interests anymore. No longer do I openly engage in my hobbies, in fear of being labelled and shamed. This absolutely sucks as I can say with confidence that I am one of the most unproblematic fangirls out there – I keep out of trouble, I respect boundaries and personal taste, and I don’t seek drama or try to push my interests onto others. I keep to myself and do not associate myself with the batch of bad apples. At most, I will have a profile picture or draw innocent fanart of things I enjoy, but even that is enough to trigger a barrage of hate. A few comments that are common in cringe culture that I’ve been called include: “fatherless, freak, go outside and touch grass, he doesn’t know you/he’s not gonna marry you”. It only takes a few seconds to say such things but they weigh on my mind all day. If a person trying to live day-to-day life experiences this kind of harassment, I can only imagine what more open and flamboyant people go through in terms of cringe culture.
Cringe culture is glorified bullying. It’s a crappy thing to participate in, and we need to collectively do away with it. Not with this piece, obviously. I’m not so egotistical and stupid as to think I can kill cringe culture with a single blow, through one opinion piece. But can we just try to put cringe culture in its rightful grave already?