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Don't Like, Don't Look

Don't Like, Don't Look” (嫌なら見るな, Iyanara Miruna), also rendered as “If you don't like it, don't look!”,1) is a retort used on people who criticize or voice their dislike of a work or idea. It's a very weak retort, which is why it's been satirized on Japanese social media for decades.


The statement asserts that criticism wouldn't exist if people didn't see it, but the problem is that it ignores the wide variety of circumstances for seeing it and generally invites hostility, regardless of intent or not, since it does nothing to deescalate a situation. In the worst case scenario, a person who uses this retort comes off as arrogant since “don't look” actually means “don't criticize”, thus invoking said hostility.

Arguments against

It's generally considered bad form to criticize something without looking at it, despite it being a common sight on the internet that's further aided by the bandwagon effect. When you give baseless critique, you'll be asked to actually look at it. However, if you give your critique after looking at it, being told that you didn't have to look when you didn't like it feels bewildering, forming a loop:

「Don't like, don't look!」 →    Criticize w/o looking
       ↑                 ↓
Criticize after looking  ← 「Don't criticize w/o looking!」

Furthermore, there's a wide variety of reasons why somebody may look at something, despite their dislike of it. A handful of possible reasons are shown below, with some being stronger than others:

  • “I just can't stop hating it. It's that bad.”
  • “It's starting to annoy me now.”
  • “Having critique doesn't mean I've lost all interest with it.”
  • “It's doing something I couldn't do.”
  • “I want to keep what I hate beneath me.”
  • “I want to make sure that it won't cause any harm to me.” (Cautionary)
  • “I want to thoroughly eradicate what I dislike.”
  • “As a critic, it's actually my job, first and foremost.”
  • “I couldn't avoid it by my own free will and had to see it since…”
    • “It's a TV commercial. The old man left his TV on!
    • “I'm forced to see the ads on video sites, streaming services, or smartphone gaming apps.”
    • “It's something that my family and/or friends like, yet I don't.”
    • “I muted (blocked) it on Twitter, but it went around this by showing up in the trends.”
  • “I want to judge whether I would like it or not after seeing it.”
  • “I really hate it and my life has been hell after it became an unavoidable, social phenomenon!”

Arguments for

On the other hand, the statement does carry some validity. If a work contains divisive elements (e.g. abuse, depression, gore, homosexuality, horror, mental illness, NTR, rape, violence, etc.) and it sufficiently warns you,2) then it's odd to complain. There's also the belief that hate-watching has an inverse effect, as it can mislead companies into making more of what people hate.

Text artwork

This statement was so commonplace on 2channel, despite it being an anonymous website where people are generally comfortable voicing their own dislikes, that people made AA to satirize the retort. The text artwork depicts a tall character shouting “Don't Like, Don't Look” while they randomly flash their genitalia to someone, regardless of the target's will or what the target's sexuality happens to be.

         / ̄(S)~\  <                      >
       / / ∧ ∧\ \<  DON'T LIKE? DON'T LOOK!  >
       \ \( ゚Д,゚ ) / /<                      >
         \⌒  ⌒ /  ノ Y´`Y´`Y´`Y´`Y´`Y´`Y´`Y´`Y´`Yヽ
          )_人_ ノ
          /    /
      ∧_∧ ■□ (    ))
     (   ; )■□  ̄ ̄ヽ
   γ⌒   ⌒ヽ  ̄ ̄ノ  ノ
 ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄|
            ∧_∧    <   DON'T LIKE?
          , -(´Д`# )- 、 、 <  DON'T LOOK!
          /          )  YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
        ./ λ     / /
        .〈  〈 〉   / / "
       .゛ ヽ ヽ∧∧/ /〃        ______
X⌒X⌒X⌒ ./\ つと ノ \ X⌒X⌒X⌒ll 二二 l 二二 lll
i二二i二二i/  / し J  \ \二i二二i /__/__/ll
      〈  〈(( .~ l )) 〉  〉    ll,== ll, ==ll,"ll
       \ \ し^J  / /
       ヾ \ \  / /
         (⌒  ) ( ⌒)
   (  Don't like, don't look...  )
   ∧_∧ O
   ( ; ゚Д゚)o
   /    ヽ
   |     /⌒ヽ ⌒ヽ       _______________
   | |    / v  | ∧_∧   /I took the trouble to see you today, \
   | |   / |  |(     ) < but your body, is seriously disgusting!|
  / |l.     |  |⊂    )、_\I don't understand who'd like this! /
⊂とノヽ __人  l、(__つつ__)  ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄


  • “Don't Like, Don't Look” can also be translated as “Don't Like, Don't Watch”, but it wouldn't exactly work for print media like books, magazines, manga, and newspapers.
  • Compare it to statements like “Don't like it? Quit!” (嫌なら辞めろ, Iyanara Yamero) and “If you don't feel like it, then go home.” (やる気がないなら帰れ, Yaruki ga nainara kaere).
  • In the Chinese language, it's often rendered as “Don't Like, Don't Enter” (不喜勿入, Bùxǐ Wùrù).
The phrase may be rendered as “If you don't like it, then don't look at it”, “If you don't like it, don't look at it”, “If you don't like it, then don't look”, “If you don't like it, don't look”, etc.
With the internet, there are community-driven resources like Does The Dog Die where people report if certain media potentially contains discomforting, problematic elements.
don_t_like_don_t_look.txt · Last modified: 2023-12-17 12:59:48 by