Elitism and Gatekeeping is something that has plagued hobbies for years whether it is Gunpla, Warhammer, comics, games, and so on. It’s unavoidable, annoying, and can easily drive a new hobbyist out.
Let’s just break down some things beforehand.
What are elitism and gatekeeping?
Elitism can be boiled down to having an attitude of a person who regards themselves as better than others. I’m not saying that skilled hobbyists are elite, a lot are very nice folk who want to help their hobbies expand. I’m saying that the people who think of themselves as better than everyone and offer little or nothing to the hobby themselves besides toxicity. For example:
Peron A: I snapped this kit up, isn’t it cool?
Person B: Are you going to paint it?
Person A: No, I like it like that, and I can’t really afford the stuff to paint it right now.
Person B: Why buy a model if you aren’t putting the effort into building and painting them? You should put more into a build as I do. Only two out of seven of my kits are OOB, the rest are primed and painted.
(This is loosely based on interactions I’ve witnessed in the hobby)
Gatekeeping can often go hand in hand with elitism. It’s when a person or group creates often unrealistic standards or rationale as to why someone cannot join their group or hobby. It’s usually the excuse “This is why ____ shouldn’t be allowed in our hobby they’re ruining it”.
I was creeping around the internet when I found out people actually had a problem with OOB (out-of-box) builds not being true scale modeling, issues pertaining to sexism, and a few other distasteful things that just oozes elitism/gatekeeping.
I disagree with…
I disagree with the notion that OOB gunpla is not scale modeling. Gunpla kits have a scale on their box. It’s a model. Thus, the scale model. It’s not like a tank model where it needs paint due to being off colors rather than the plastic and other details.
I can understand OOB builds not being someone’s flavor, it’s not mine. I can’t stand a naked unpainted kit. That’s my feelings though. It’s not an opinion I need to shove down someone’s throat and make them feel inferior about themselves.
Not everyone can afford a paint setup or have room for them. I didn’t for a long while. Some just can’t simply afford the time to do so.
This just spews elitism AND classism. Why are these even needed? It’s ridiculous.
I did end up reaching out to social media to gauge some opinions and the majority seemed to agree:
If you build the scale model you are a scale model maker. As a parent and worker I don’t always have time to paint every detail or add decals and top coat.@AegisChariot
Snapping or glueing cannot define scale modeling. If it reproduces an object – real or imaginary- with certain accuracy and precision it should be considered a scale model. Of course you can improve the output with skills and effort for a vast difference in quality.@Notype
If you’ve built a scale model kit, you have a scale model kit and you’ve done a scale modeling. Any “you must meet X standard of effort” take is both exclusionary and self aggrandizing@Wizardschooldropout
Gatekeeping is terrible
Gatekeeping is terrible
I was brought into a Facebook gunpla group incident one day that really pissed me off.
I had posted my PG unicorn and I was met with comments of “well this is better than the guy who ruined his“. The poster had used sharpies to try and do a Basquiat-inspired MGEX Unicorn. I actually really enjoyed how it looks but this guy was getting comment after comment. Very rude and honestly immature responses (granted, that’s common with Facebook groups but that’s for another day).
“This is why some people don“t belong in this hobby”
Why? Why do people who step out of the norm suddenly don’t belong in it? They aren’t being toxic and producing an unhealthy hobby environment just by doing something different. It’s been an issue that I have dealt with in the past. It honestly is a little deflating when you’re just trying to be yourself and you get a reaction like that.
Just like sexism. I’ve seen a large amount of sexism in Warhammer. People complaining that “women are ruining Warhammer ”. If anything, they’re ruining Warhammer for women. I follow a lovely lady who paints Warhammer 40k and sees this behavior all the time. There’s just an overabundance of this. Commenting on how she’s ruining Warhammer and she’s only popular because she’s a woman with breasts (another incredibly infuriating thing).
She’s known because of her painting skills and her marketing skills (which is something a lot of folks struggle with).
The same can be said with Gunpla. Million and one instances of sexism. I have received so many penis pictures while being in this hobby, it’s just cringeworthy.
This is why folks don’t do it
These behaviors will only push out new people from playing Warhammer or building gunpla. Who wants to participate in a “community” that acts like this? I know I don’t. Younger kids and new hobbyists can get scared off and that does not help a hobby survive. It can also be draining for people who just like to do something like snap-building or funky stuff. It’s meant for everyone to enjoy.
This is why I try to be as welcoming as I can to new people. Ignoring and excluding people for no good reason other than because you want to feel superior is stupid. Plain and simple. Embrace people and let the hobby grow and develop.
What do you guys thing about elitism and gatekeeping in the hobby? Have any experiences with it? Drop a comment.
Have a happy Thursday!
4 thoughts on “Elitism and Gatekeeping: Thoughts and Rambles”
Facebook hobby groups do seem to just attract ALL the toxicity…
And for: “if you can’t dedicate time and resources to get equipment and skill, you should consider a different hobby.”
F**KING WAHT? …They may want to dedicate their time and resources to a dictionary, lol.
“Definition of hobby (Entry 2 of 2)
: a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation”
Thanks Miriam Webster!
“This is why shouldn’t be allowed in our hobby they’re ruining it”.
Sorry, it was too easy to switch the noun in their mantra like this, however productive it isn’t.
Ok, negativity/rant over, this stuff does boil my blood.
Thank you so much for sharing your words and perspective on it! I know one of the things that adds to the frustration of experiencing this community killer, is not being able to communicate it at all. This was a really good right up.
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and I don’t know how to wordpress… Causing one of my sentences to just become nonsense 😀
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The one time I tried sharing my enthusiasm for one of my hobbies in college I got the dreaded “Cool story Bro” haven’t shared much since then.