Earlier this week, Show, the vocalist of A9 and DIAWOLF, made a joking comment towards one of his members, which was unacceptable and toxic. However, there were many people who seemed to excuse it all simply because of their admiration for him. As we aim to help society progress and move forward, we need to be mindful of our words and actions, and also bring these issues into light.
In this article, TBP aims to bring everyone’s attention to the influence that celebrities have (in this case, Show) on social media platforms, and why it’s important to speak up
Technology and Social Media
Technology is constantly advancing, along with social media. While there have been numerous benefits, including business and marketing, it has also opened up a whole new can of worms, with the trickiest being none other than dealing with the mindsets and views of individuals. Our evolving methods of communication now allows us to reach a wider audience compared to the past. Before, only the people around you would hear your thoughts and what you had to say about any given topic. But on the internet, a person from the other side of the world could be reading what you have posted on any website, social media outlet, or personal blogs.
Why Should We Call Out Celebrities?
Keeping in mind that anyone’s social reach is increased online, I want to turn your attention to those with influence over large groups of people. In this case, celebrities. Not long ago, we had to deal with Logan Paul’s ignorance about Aokigahara and general behaviour in Japan, who has since tried to redeem himself. This isn’t the first incident where the actions of a celebrity were toxic and in the wrong, but it certainly won’t be the last. If we choose to ignore the actions of celebrities because we admire them, we are promoting toxic attitudes within our society. Calling someone out is not an action of hate and resentment, but comes from a place of being informed and knowing that their words or actions are wrong.
Which brings me to the main issue.
Last night, Show wrote a tweet aimed at another member in his band jokingly.
RT @Nao_A9: おはようございます（╹◡╹）
— Show A9 DW (@SW_A9) January 29, 2018
Nao: Good morning!（╹◡╹）
Today I have a personal announcement to make‼️
I’m probably the one who’s most excited(´⊙ω⊙`)
Show: Maybe you’re getting a sex change for real☺️
To give some background to the situation, it seems that fans were playing around with a mobile app that beautified the members to looking like women. After seeing this, their guitarist Hiroto also jumped on board. Nao’s version seemed to be a hit amongst people to the point that he changed his twitter profile picture to the edited version.
However, what may seem to be a playful joke from Show is actually not acceptable, and he needs to be called out on it. A simple comment like this can hurt multitudes in the LGBTIQ+ community, especially those who are transgender, or even non-binary. This may simply come down to awareness and knowledge. But, it is not excusable on any level. It is up to people around him and fans to point out where he has gone wrong. In the very least, people need to engage in discussion as to why we need to be mindful of our words.
Why Is This Wrong?
Even with no malicious intent, we all need to be aware of what we say. In this case, Show most likely didn’t think twice about what he said, but that’s exactly where the problem starts.
The way we all think is a byproduct of our social construct as we progress through society. In Japan, LGBTIQ+ issues seem to hang in a weird space. While it’s acceptable for male entertainers in genres such as kabuki or visual kei to dress as women, the actualization of any LGBTQI+ issues are often looked down upon. This is a social construct, and not the opinion of the individual. Younger generations tend to be more open and accepting, but education in these areas needs to continue.
Show is an example of only one person who says things like this mindlessly. Although we can’t change everyone at once, it’s a good idea to start educating those who are unaware to begin with.
Who Is This Hurting?
Anyone who has been, or is close to anyone who has had to deal with the pain and issues of transition are affected by comments like these. Gender is a social construct, and more often than not, many confuse gender with biological sex. Furthermore, there seems to be misunderstanding that one cannot be comfortable in their sexuality while dressed as the opposing gender. In this particular case, Nao is comfortable enough in his own skin to see an alternate version of himself.
Show’s comment also touches on another issue. The idea that Nao was comfortable as presenting an image of himself as female on social media, despite identifying as male, is one that displays great acceptance of oneself, gender and sexuality. However, there is an underlying sentiment from Show’s comment that undermines this. Although we can say the intent wasn’t there, it is a mockery of genderfluidity, but also to those who struggled with reaching the point of wanting to transition.
This Isn’t The First Time
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only time that Show has tweeted something toxic. Late September last year, he commented on Tora’s weight in regards to a tweet a fan sent him.
— Show A9 DW (@SW_A9) September 28, 2017
Fan: What do you think of Tora’s appearance from this era?😶 [photo]
Show: It’s better if he loses weight after all…
There are several issues wrong with this one tweet. Sadly, this isn’t the only instance. Show also jokingly commented in their fortune tour goods that of the reasons that A9 may disband in future is because Tora put on too much weight. [source]
Unhealthy Body Image
Unfortunately, physical appearance, especially regarding weight, is a constant issue. This does not only occur in Japan, but in Asia generally. It is considered undesirable and unattractive to be of a larger stature and the expected norm is roughly XXS-S sizes in Westernised countries. This applies to both men and women, and can drive many to unhealthy lifestyles just to keep up their image.
Tora’s Personal Battle With Weight
It has been mentioned in past interviews that Tora has struggled with his weight since his teenage years. It reached the point where he took drastic measures, which included taking excessive laxatives and eating very little. Ultimately, landed himself in the hospital where he was diagnosed with anorexia.
During his early years with A9, he donned a much slimmer figure, which in hindsight did not look healthy considering his height and stature. However, he is still affected by the image expectations in Japan and is currently on a diet.
Show is well aware of this issue. The two have been in bands together since the days of GIVUSS and work together in both A9 and DIAWOLF. The fact that he commented on his friend’s weight, and perpetrated the idea that Tora needs to lose weight (with the implication of him being fat) signifies a toxic relationship. He is not providing Tora support in this area, which comes off as ironic as the two have a reputation for being best friends in the group.
Affecting More Than Just Tora
Comments on weight affect more than the person it is directed at. Anyone struggling with their weight and eating disorders can be triggered. Show’s tweet comes off as judgmental, superficial, and unsupportive.
Moreover, this can also make A9 and DIAWOLF fans, especially those from overseas, very self-conscious about attending lives and in-store events. For many fans, it is already an anxious experience to meet their idols. To have added stress about whether one will be judged on their appearance takes the enjoyment away from the opportunity.
What Can We Do?
Open this discussion with friends and loved ones. If you are a fan of Show or his band, take the time to educate him as to why he needs to be more mindful of what he writes on social media. We already have Donald Trump recklessly tweeting whatever is on his mind. That’s behaviour we would like to discourage and start pointing out to people that we must think about what we say.
For comparison, with the rise of #metoo and #timesup on social media, many would agree that it is unacceptable to joke about rape or sexual favours in order for a woman to obtain her desired professional position. Although this is a very different issue from what we have discussed here, the premise remains the same. Jokes that come from an uninformed space are never funny, nor acceptable.
What Will You Do?
At the end of the day, we can only change the world one person at a time, starting with ourselves. We can all start with our own education first, then create discussions amongst our peers. Eventually, it will spread like a butterfly effect. It all comes down to us first, and how willing we are to open our minds to become more understanding of the world around us.