Out of the Ghetto

"[The critics] will not have a pigeon-hole neatly labeled for it."
Father Robert Murray, one of J. R. R. Tolkien's mentors, on the latter's magnum opus

Ah, the ghettos of fiction. We're all familiar with them: Cartoons are for kids, (and Comic Books are for slightly older kids,) SpecFic is for nerds, Romance novels (and soaps) are for single women and housewives, Rap is for gangstas, Classical Music is for snobs, New Media, especially Video Games, are for unproductive deviants, Printed works are for people with one foot in the grave, etc.

In short, the medium, and to a lesser extent the genre, define the target audience. Entire classes of works are "pigeonholed" into "target" demographics, and woe unto any fan who happens to fall one day, dollar, chromosome, or lateral inch outside of these appointed bounds. Some works surrender and even embrace these holes, falling into unoriginality and Flanderization, so long as the money keeps rolling in.

Then, you get something which blows away the conventional notions. A work that dares to challenge a genre's or medium's natural order, or even, dare we say it, threatens to expand its demographic! (Even if it's to retain viewers it already had.) If it changes perceptions of the genre as a whole, then it could even be a Genre Turning Point.

Often a work that breaks out of the ghetto (and its fans) will attract its own hatedom due to outsiders rigidly holding the ghetto lines while upholding their personal "definitions" of "True Art"; along with the genre's/medium's "normal" target audience saying that the work makes their (ghetto-compliant/sustaining) favorites "look bad" and/or employing No True Scotsman. In the case of a deviation to a long-running franchise, They Changed It, Now It Sucks often comes into play.

Contrast It's Popular, Now It Sucks, wherein a work/creator who previously challenged established conventions accepts them to grow its fanbase or pocketbook.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Before that, trading card game players were either D&D geeks or 10-year-olds. Yu-Gi-Oh fans attracted their own hatedom for being stereotyped as 10-year-olds, but it's still quite disturbing to see a trading card game where your soul is at stake.

    Comic Books 
  • Comic book fans get a lot of hate. Especially X-Men fans. But 300 was one exception, though 300 fans are generally accused of being gay. Watchmen is possibly a better example.
  • Spider-Man in general. The movies made Spidey into a romantic.


  • If you like romance, you're a desperate housewife. Then came Twilight. Of course, Twilight has its own Squick, especially Breaking Dawn. Yeah, it went right back to the ghetto.
  • Who would want to be seen reading a fantasy novel in public? Grow up, you hopeless nerd. Though Harry Potter and Discworld don't seem to count, even before they were republished with sombre covers to hide your shame.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the first openly erotic novels to break into the mainstream and to be marketed as upmarket populist literature, occupying the top shelves of high street bookshops.

    Live Action TV 

  • White rappers attract only suburban wannabe gangsters...except Eminem.
  • On a more traditional note, Gershwin seemed to have been hit hard with the hate from classical musicians. The majority of classical pianists pretty much refuse to play Gershwins Piano Concerto in F...because apparently it's too much jazz-influenced. Ironically, Ravel and Stravinsky absolutely loved Gershwin's music in their days.

    New Media 

  • Unsuccessful attempt: Political talk radio is a right-wing medium, right? Certainly Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck would have you think so. Meet...pretty much all of Air America. Which failed to compete with Rush and co. and shut down.
    • Incidentally, Limbaugh himself is an (successful) example, taking political-commentary-based radio out of the droning doldrums and into the controversial and popular format it is today.note  Granted, the revocation of The Fairness Doctrine made it possible, but there still had to be a leader for everyone to follow.

    Video Games 
  • Video games are an interesting case, since there are so many ghettoes. First, the "games are for kids" ghetto. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat broke out of that.
  • RPGs were for D&D fans and anime nerds, until Final Fantasy VII came out, as Animesque as it was.
  • Video games were for men and boys, until virtual pets and, a year later, Pokémon. Naturally, Pokémon attracted its own hatedom.
    • Pokémon also fit for popularizing the RPG with children.
  • Likewise with The Sims, which has also been cited as a major influence in getting women into gaming.
  • Building on the above two, the development of "casual games" and the Rhythm Game genre, along with the ability to purchase games on cell phones and iPods, made gaming a co-ed activity.
  • Golden Eye 1997 and Halo broke the FPS out of the domain of the PC enthusiast.
  • World of Warcraft brought the MMORPG into the cultural mainstream.
  • The Wii series of games as well as Nintendo's other Touch Generations games saw the demographic for gaming broaden outside the 18-34 demographic (though it had long existed in younger demographics as well).
  • You absolutely could not sell a normal 2D Platformer as a full retail title on the 7th generation consoles, until New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

    Western Animation