A few days ago, my close friend Vanessa and I entered into an intriguing (almost heated) discussion regarding dating, relationships, and eventually my anime blog, particularly my figure photoshoots! In a nutshell, she was notably concerned about how my figure photos — typically of scantily-clad anime girls — would look to the random or casual blog visitor (especially a Westerner) not familiar with anime and its unique influence in Japanese mainstream culture. While they carry artistic value, she noted that the photoshoots could still be mis-interpreted as “creepy” or “perverted”. Fortunately, she knows me well, and understands that this is a common Western stereotype of anime fans (or otaku). But I admit, she does makes a good point that most visitors don’t know me so well, especially if they might include potential employers or recruiters or yes, even a new non-otaku girlfriend!
Needless to say, I value Vanessa’s opinion very highly. I can still enjoy anime, experiment with anime photoshoots, and blog about it, but I can do so without plastering and magnifying those images throughout my entire website. Consequently, over the last couple days, I’ve reworked my website in several ways. (1) I’ve restricted my anime header images to only a few specific anime sections. (2) I’ve moved the full photoshoots away from my blog posts and into these anime sections, behind a low-level anime login. (3) I’ve also set this anime login to protect any blog access from my website (i.e. front door), while keeping the direct blog address open (i.e. back door). (4) Similarly, I’ve also moved more-sensitive non-anime pages behind a friends-level login.
By implementing these changes, I hope to accommodate not only my otaku friends and acquaintances, but also my non-otaku friends (like Vanessa) who may feel awkward or afraid of forwarding my website to their own friends, and lastly, the random non-otaku stranger who may be a potential new friend. For a non-Japanese citizen residing outside of Japan, does this social sensitivity make me any less of an otaku? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I guess it depends on whether an otaku is supposed to possess any social graces to begin with, haha!