Bocchi’s Polarizing Rise To Fame Is An Alarming Step Backwards For Online Interactions

314

A 15 year-old kid using a character that many consider to be amongst the worst in the game going against one of the best players in the world? Most of the time, this kind of match would only be viewed by the fans of the pro player, or the morbidly curious; that’s just how it is. But this match, with over one hundred thousand views, is different; the rare time a massive underdog defies all the odds and clutches out the win.

For most players, this kind of victory would bring forth heaps of praise, and even the skeptics who would call it a fluke would concede the memorable moment in and of itself. But for Bocchi, the 15 year-old girl who defeated Smash Bros. legend Ally, it’s brought on a large amount of fame; and unfortunately, most of it has been negative.

The overnight success that comes from getting a huge win like this can’t really be prepared for; a player will garner thousands of new followers on Twitter, and the many different content creators around the web will be sure to ride the wave, further increasing the player’s exposure. You thought the initial set of Ally vs. Bocchi did numbers? ZeRo’s video breaking down their match is closing in on half a million views.

With so many people seemingly being at your doorstep, you’re bound to run into a few jerks and trolls that sour the mood. “That’s just how it is” is a common phrase towards this apparently inevitability. “That’s life,” a wonderful way to address a situation without ever having to work towards meaningful change.

Well, maybe it’s time to shake that apathy.

Bocchi recently took to Twitter to announce she would be quitting the platform and either quitting or competing under a new name in an attempt to escape the mass vitriol she’s been getting online since her historic win. One notable tweet had her implying that the win, in hindsight, wasn’t worth the hate received.

Imagine wishing you could go back in time and undo a great accomplishment from one of your favorite passions because of, well, “that’s just how it is.”

Shake the apathy.

It wasn’t just Twitter randoms who were tossing shade, but established members of local communities that were taking next to unrelated events and using them to take shots at Bocchi.

Ignoring the fact that:

  1. Puppeh already had some recognition for his Sheik from the Smash 4 days, having been featured on VGBootCamp many times.
  2. Bocchi’s fame wasn’t overnight, it was a combination of her win, and the word of mouth spread by the community and other content creators. Puppeh’s wins were the same weekend as that tweet. Give it some time, and Puppeh will get the recognition he deserves
  3. Isabelle is widely considered to be a bottom tier character that few people play (such as GOML 2019, where they couldn’t even find one player to fill out this list.) It’s going to draw attention when an Isabelle defeats a world-class player, whereas Pokemon Trainer has had a few successful players make waves with the character.

Goblin then goes on to refer to Bocchi’s quick rise to fame as partly a product of “pity handicaps of being a girl,” as if being a girl suddenly grants you a secret ticket to insta-fame the second you do anything even slightly noteworthy. The truth is that both Puppeh and Bocchi accomplished things that mean different things to different people, and just because you think one is more important than the other doesn’t make it so; that’s just how it is. And if Bocchi being a girl had anything to do with her gaining recognition, it’s likely because so few women even partake in competitive gaming, let alone gain success at it (for reference, only one woman made the Panda Global Rankings 100, that being SuperGirlKels at 100th.) Takes such as Goblin’s help to keep successful female players as exceptions rather than the norm.

This case is another testament to just how dangerous online interactions are. Social media combines popularity and anonymity into a very disturbing combination, where many people prefer to partake in pissing contests at the expense of other people’s feelings or well-being. When it came to the YouTuber Etika, there were people doubting if he had mental health issues, or accusing him of some sort of promotional stunt. Even when it became apparent that something horrible had happened, there were tweets making memes and posting “edgy” jokes, all to garner a few likes and shares. Imagine getting to the point that people care more about recognition and self-validation than the well-being of others; then realize we’re already there.

“That’s just how it is” is a cop out way of seeing horrible things being said and happening around you, and passively doing nothing to stop them. If that’s just how it is, then change it.