Point/counterpoint: Is Gatekeeping reasonable?


Illustration by Sophia Meytin

Many gatekeepers tend to ask newer fans to name three songs in order to show how much they actually listen to an artist. This causes mild annoyance to casual fans.

by Tissa Amaira

Gatekeeping (n.) – the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something.

Music, books, movies; you name it, somebody probably gatekeeps it. In general, people hate gatekeeping. Who wants an annoying fan pestering them about a lead singer’s dead dog’s name? It’s irritating and really invasive.

However, beyond the stereotypes, gatekeeping is not necessarily bad.

For one, it preserves the authenticity of the creator’s work. Once something gets popular beyond the circle of the intended audience, sometimes the work becomes commercialized and franchised. The work may begin to lose its original intended meaning. For example, the strawberry cow trend on Tiktok took a song about the struggles of a WOC and completely changed it into a quirky song for pink cows.

Additionally, gatekeeping can create a safe space for the people within the community. A lot of newer people tend not to realize that actions they deem okay in other settings may not be within the space that they are trying to enter. Although most are informed about this, some people simply don’t care.

When people gatekeep, this isn’t a problem since people within the community genuinely care and respect the artist and their people.

Gatekeeping is annoying, but sometimes, it is necessary.

by Nour Faragallah

The age-old myth: you are wearing a punk rock band shirt. Someone comes up to you and asks you to name three songs. They say that you are not a real fan and are only wearing the shirt because it looks pretty.

This is gatekeeping.

It is mainly done because many have superiority complexes that are stimulated by harassing others. Sometimes the passion someone has for an artist is so ingrained in that person’s identity that they feel a constant need to protect them.

This has gotten ridiculous. I have heard the most absurd reasons for gatekeeping.

“You are not a real Marvel fan if you never read the comics.”

“You were born in 2005, you can’t be a real One Direction fan.”

“How do you not know Beyonce’s middle name? Aren’t you a fan?”

This behavior discourages people to like new things because not loving that thing when it first came out makes them a “fake fan.” This is beyond weird because if someone loves something so much, they should be happy that more people in the mainstream are enjoying it.

Moral of the story: let people enjoy new things without constant judgement. The world already feels judgemental regarding who we are sometimes, so uplift those with similar interests rather than making them feel unwelcome.