It’s time to stop gatekeeping

Xenia Kobori, R3 Op ed Editor

With the rise of social media, and especially the increasing popularity of TikTok, it is easy to share just about anything online. While this easy accessibility to content has proved to have positive effects, it has also created a sense of competition among many online users. This effort to stop the general public from liking or identifying with a specific subject is a phenomenon called gatekeeping. 

Gatekeeping has become common in the social atmosphere of the internet and serves as a way to guilt-trip users. While usually attached to music and artists, gatekeeping has now spread to other areas as well. If you share a certain item of clothing, do your hair in an interesting way, or even show a makeup look, internet users will be quick to provide their feedback. They might love what you shared so much they adopt it themselves, or they might beg you to keep your content off the internet so whatever you posted stays niche. 

This response stems from the fear that the thing one likes will become mainstream. Gatekeepers believe that by someone posting a song, brand, or trend, it will attract attention and garner a greater public interest, “ruining” the content at hand. This creates a hostile internet environment for users who just want to share something they enjoy. 

On the internet, where feedback can vary greatly, it may be hard to navigate the expectations of its users. So here’s my advice: don’t pay gatekeepers any mind. If following a trend, listening to music, or merely posting more popular content makes you happy, you should do what you want. 

Now for the gatekeepers, here’s my message to you. If you truly like an artist, a brand, or a person, you should be happy that the thing or person you claim to care so deeply about is receiving attention. Similarly, more people knowing about the person or thing you enjoy creates more content from them, allowing for the formation of an active community where you can praise what you like so much.

Gatekeepers, don’t be that person online or in real life that hates on people based on their interests. Let people enjoy what they want, and if a person enjoys the same thing as you, that should elicit a positive response. Shared interests can be a way to get many different groups of people together. Let’s support people, not create a negative social environment.