There’s a survey going around about being an anime fan, and I wanna talk about it a bit. However, in the interest of being cordial, I want to point out that this survey specifically asks its takers not to talk to people about it, as this may influence answers. So if you haven’t taken it, go here first: https://texasamcommerceed.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_ai3…
Hopefully the rest of this comes after a break. If not, well, this post will get edited. In any event...
First of all, I’m glad people are actually taking the time to do serious surveys about anime at big-name universities. I’m serious about this one. I’m really happy someone cares enough to try. I’m used to being ridiculed and/or ignored for being a nerd, so it’s great to see not only exposure but apparent interest in the situation and well-being of myself and others like me. (I say apparent because, as with anything else on the internet, there’s always the possibility this whole thing is an elaborate troll. I’m going to proceed under the assumption this isn’t the case here.)
However, in order to address any issue, it has to be tackled as its own beast. This is the first and possibly biggest problem I have with the thing: you could easily substitute “homosexual” or perhaps “furry” wherever it says the words “anime fan” and it would make more sense as a whole. I almost think this is what actually happened, that someone went Oh, this is a good survey. I can do a find and replace operation and use it for my own research topic! I’m especially leery of questions like: “Being an anime fan is a genetically hardcoded thing that a person cannot change.” (This is paraphrased.) What? No, really. What? “I can stop being an anime fan anytime.” Are... are we alcoholics? Is that how they see us in this study?
Those types of questions are also interspersed with something possibly even more disconcerting. “Anime fans have lower power/status than non-anime fans.” “The power disparity between anime fans and non anime fans is justified.” Whoa, hold up. Are we at war with the riajuus? This is Otaku War III shit right here. If this isn’t a copypaste from a survey about gay rights, then I need to go check and see if some senator or something has started submitting major bills to outlaw anime. A bunch of this survey had me feeling like either I’d missed some major news event recently that’s devouring all the media I don’t watch, or that the creator(s) of the survey are completely out of touch with the thing they’re trying to study.
After a bunch of incredibly depressing questions about self-worth, the survey takes a complete change to jump into its final section, which deals specifically with bullying and discrimination at various age brackets. Again, this is just as easily applicable to gender/sexuality debates, and is also depressing for those of us who got beaten up for being nerds. But even though this section felt more applicable than much of the rest, it still felt like the demographic it claimed to be investigating was a bonus.
I’m still not super sure that the whole thing isn’t a troll, and I’d really like to believe it isn’t, but if this is the level of effort and expertise that gets put into studying it, we might not really be that much better off for having such a study. I’m trying really hard to be positive about the whole thing, and I’d really like to see a second study written specifically for anime/otaku, but this one is... just not up to snuff. Please, please, please try again, guys.