OPINION | Don’t judge something without trying it

It feels like everyone has something that they say they don’t like but never tried. For years, I avoided anime. It was something my friends got into, but I swore I would never follow in their footsteps. Anime? That genre where everyone has big eyes and over-the-top expressions? No, thanks.

After I was recently pressured to get a Netflix account for one of my classes, I saw the anime section. What did I have to lose? I clicked on “Sailor Moon: Crystal” because the characters looked somewhat familiar.

Never in my life did I think I would say this, but “Sailor Moon” made me like the genre. It’s full of color, action and girl power. It’s silly, but has serious moments, too. A few episodes in, I was cheering when the main character transformed into her superhero persona.

That got me thinking — if I was neglecting to watch anime all this time because of some misconceptions, how much more have I been missing out on? And how much more are other people missing out on things for the same reasons?

When we dismiss ideas and people because of stereotypes about them, we fail to see the true nature of whatever we are judging. Our opinions also lack credibility because we’re simply relying on other people’s thoughts to make judgements.

An article by Psychology Today suggests that people who judge other people’s behaviors or interests do so because of the false belief that it will make them the “better person.”

“Judging other people has nothing to do with the people who you are judging,” the article says. “Judgmentalism is about safety … you don’t have to worry that you might be the ‘worse’ one.”

According to an article by Imperium, not only does judging experiences or situations hurt us, it hurts others, too: “Stereotypes are harmful and limiting. They put people into boxes, preventing us from truly understanding and connecting with one another. When we rely on stereotypes, we’re denying people the opportunity to express their unique stories and perspectives.”

In the many years before I had watched anime, I was denying the entire genre because of a stereotype. I had no ability to truly understand anime’s unique stories or messages. And I was missing out because of it.

Looking down on a form of media can seem harsh to those who enjoy it. There are people who dedicate their whole lives to watching and enjoying anime, and I was dismissing it without even giving it a chance.

The more we have an open mind and treat ideas and people with kindness, the more likely we will be to try new things, and we will be more well-rounded because of it.

Go out there and try that new kind of food you’ve avoided. Read a new genre of book. Watch anime. If you don’t like it, you have the right to feel that way. If you love it, now you have a wonderful new thing to enjoy.

So, don’t knock it ’till you try it!

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.