Sassy header image by @AkiSp4rk
–Disclaimer: This article will contain some NSFW artwork as visual examples. I’ve done what I can to lower the visibility in the images but please be aware of your surroundings if you decide to open the links.
It’s Friday my friends, and we all know what that means! There’s been at least 2-10 artists who have been harassed online by puritans, “activists” or just plain old bullies! What a time to be alive am I right? People being so offended by digital pictures on the internet that they think the only way to properly deal with it is to attack the person who made it online! Beautiful.
But now with my jokes(?) out of the way, it’s time to dive into the subjects of this article. I wanted to highlight some of the bullying that’s been happening to artists on Twitter as part of this vile trend, and give my take on why it’s wrong to harass them over their art. If you don’t happen to know the artists in question that’s fine, this is more about the bullying than them personally so don’t let that deter you.
Jokanhiyou, an artist known for making meme images featuring the character Mokou, was recently dog piled on Twitter for the meme above depicting Mokou as a crusader with the caption “Deus Vult.” Claims of racism, anti-semitism and anti-Islam were thrown at Jokan for this meme. The meme itself doesn’t really depict anything that can be viewed as offensive aside from the phrase itself and the shield. But the biggest issue with these criticisms is that Jokan claimed to not even know what “Deus Vult” meant or about the crusades in general. Jokan claimed to think it was just from a video game or something, and wrote it off as just another meme, because all Jokan does is take peoples suggestions and make them into cute little Mokou memes for fun. Not to mention the fact that people are this upset that someone who is native Chinese doesn’t have knowledge about a singular phrase from European history. Imagine if one day hundreds of people on Twitter called you racist because you didn’t know what the term “churki” meant? This is essentially what happened to Jokan.
Now bare with me for a second because I’m not making an argument that “Ignorance is a valid excuse for problematic behavior.” The issue is that people immediately made the harshest claims they could make over someone not having knowledge of a subject instead of simply informing them of the context and asking them to avoid making it in the future. If you’re trying to start a campfire, you don’t do it by throwing a grenade. But now onto the next case of artist harassment I have to share.
A more recent example of harassment was artist Samemanma, who was called out by a combination of Spanish activists and a collection of various Twitter accounts. Samemanma received heavy criticism for a character depicted in a recent doujin of hers that people claimed looked underage. Now if you spend time in the anime field on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve seen a wave of Tweets decrying loli and loli-like content. People made claims the artists character was a loli in this doujin and as such is pedophilic content. The artist said herself though the character is a college student, and if you actually look at the art it’s more apparent the character is just a petite woman with a more developed body. This isn’t a “5000 year old vampire xD” kind of excuse either, the character just appears smaller in comparison to the male lead. That didn’t stop comments such as these though:
Look I understand that loli is a gross fetish to I assume the majority of people, including me, but if it isn’t illegal and the artist didn’t do anything malicious to create the art itself then just leave them alone. This same argument could be applied to other fandoms as well like the furry fandom. Thinking what someone made is gross is not a pass to harass them. If you want to say you don’t like it, or have actual artistic criticism then that’s fine. Harassment however is not criticism, and I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain that but people continue to surprise me with their thick-headedness on the topic.
Now allow me to touch on a more widely debated subject when it comes to art: race changing. I’m sure that most of us have seen art on social media of some character that we know and someone has decided to swap their skin color or overall look to a different race/color. While it’s an odd thing to do in the eyes of some, it isn’t something that you should attack people over. It’s perfectly valid for people to draw something or someone however they want.
I know some people are going to dislike my stance on that topic but I stand by it. Artists who change a characters skin color have just as much of a right to draw how they want as either of the artists I just posted. It’s either everything is okay or nothing is okay and I’d rather have everything instead of nothing when it comes to art. This goes for ALL race changes too, not just selective forms of change. White to black, black to white, Asian to Hispanic, Hispanic to Arabic, are all equally valid and no one has the right to make you stop. If people want to express themselves that way and they aren’t being demeaning or derogatory about it then that’s perfectly acceptable.
I hope everyone gets the idea, but I’ll reiterate one last time. Just because you don’t like someones art, that doesn’t mean they deserve to be harassed. If you see art somewhere that you don’t like and it isn’t breaking any laws or made with malicious elements, just ignore it. But allow me to put this message in more visual form with the help of artist Sue Mary Rakocy.