Gatekeeping: the solution to a growing problem
Although this does come across as a bit melodramatic, it is quite necessary given that whenever something reaches mainstream recognition, it usually finds itself in danger. The danger comes from more people and entities being made aware of these once obscure and taboo things. Remember when being into geekery was social suicide? Now it is trendy.
The issue is this, when one acknowledges that newfound popularity brings problems. Problems such as; sudden concerns over supposed problematic behavior and content, demands made to change all this or that – without consideration for what finds itself undergoing possible change, the consequences of this, nor those with actual interest and investment, and the likelihood of ruination.
Immediately, one understands that gatekeeping is in fact necessary for the sake of fandoms and the industries they wholeheartedly support.
You shall not pass!
Gandalf once said, “You shall not pass!” This iconic and well-memed line, if argued well enough can relate to gatekeeping.
According to Google’s dictionary, it is the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something. Gandalf, for this discussion, represents the stance that fandoms and industries should have adopted once they found themselves subject to mainstream popularity. As the lowering of standards and expectations that popularity brings, for example, the term “fan” lost its meaning long ago after its usage shifted from being selective to broad. The consequence was then that an individual became a “fan” merely by saying so, rather than possessing real investment and interest in something. Additionally, it has led to industries listening to these so-called new fans, many uninformed critics, and provocateurs instead of their dedicated fans, genuine critics, and so on. Hence, we see a decline in quality of many beloved franchises such as; Star Wars, Mortal Kombat, Marvel, and so on.
Guilds have standards, so should we!
With that out of the way, we need to address the counterarguments made against gatekeeping. First, it is an act of blocking people from participating in entertainment mediums, interests and/or hobbies, and industries. The argument is utterly false, given that gatekeeping is an act of limiting access to something; this is a demand for standards from potential fans, critiques, and industry workers as the lack of this activity has led to severe infighting, outfighting, and quality decline.
Finally, the act of gatekeeping dissuades individuals and entities from participating in something. The issue here is that the counterargument is true, however, it fails to discuss why this happens; which is unsurprising. As admitting that the immediate recourse of action on the part of those that seek to enter these spaces is brought about by them having no willingness to develop an interest and invest time in something would undermine the argument. Therefore, dissuasion occurs because people and entities are unwilling to meet standards.
End of the road
In conclusion, it turns out tha gatekeeping is necessary and requires immediate implementation for several reasons. First, it enables terms that identify individuals and groups to have meaning by avoiding dilution. Second, it demands that standards be set and met to ensure that fandoms remain wholesome, industries intact, and so on. Finally, it ensures that ideas regardless of them coming to fruition or not are respected and avoid unfair criticism, unwarranted changes, and so on.