Animal Crossing: New Horizons players appear to be quite divided on one part of the new winter update, as it allowed for a more inclusive range of hairstyles.
On November 19, Nintendo enabled the game’s winter update. Excitement has revolved around new hip reactions that will let them sit on the ground, do workouts and yoga, like many have seen their villagers do on their islands.
The content refresh also includes six new hairstyles: afro, afro puffs, cornrows, buzz cut with faded sides, voluminous curls, and even a bald look. New additions have been a welcome change for people of color playing the game, who wanted to see themselves represented.
Previous versions of the game came under fire for a lack of representation. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, some players were forced to play around with the tan feature to give their characters their actual skin tone.
While New Horizons finally represents a far wider variety of skin tones, players felt that not enough had been done for representation and even created a petition in August asking for more inclusive hairstyles.
The campaign ended in victory, but the update has actually been dividing the community on Twitter. A debate has erupted as to whether it can be deemed cultural appropriation if white players use some of the new hairstyles.
It all began on the day after the update launched when user stardewleaf tweeted an image of a white in-game character with what they called “Space buns”. It has sparked a huge debate with many people taking offense that a white user was using a hairstyle added to represent people of color.
One user responded: “They’re not space buns, they’re afro puffs made for POC”, while another explained why people had taken offense, adding: “The reason people are p**sed off is because we don’t really have a lot of hair options that represent us in Animal Crossing, and you do. Then you specifically choose that one, despite what you others pick from.”
Imma be calm about this 1. Those are afro puffs not space buns 2. The reason people are passed off is because we don’t really have a lot of hair options that represent us in animal crossing, and you do. Then you specifically choose that one despite that you others to pick from.
— Aiko Hibiki (@AikoHibiki) November 21, 2020
Another person defended the style, saying: “As a white person with curly hair, these could in fact be what a white girl’s bun looks like. They’re both afro puffs and buns, games are games.”
As a white person with curly hair, these could in fact be what a white girls bun looks like. They’re both afro puffs and buns, games are games. Not to be taken setting
— 🍁🍄Cutie Kai🍄🍁 (@KaiNoKimi) November 21, 2020
Several other people commented that they felt the debate as a whole was ridiculous and trivial: “No one who gets mad at another person enjoying a hairstyle in a video game is worth listening to.”
Cool hair! Keep enjoying the things you enjoy. All these people screaming at you in here, fuck em. Fuck all of em. No one who gets mad at another person enjoying a hair style in a video game is worth listening to. Don’t let woke bullies put ya down. They’re just sad losers. 👍👍
— Sophia Narwitz (@SophNar0747) November 21, 2020
The original tweet now has more than 5,000 responses and the number still continues to grow.
In general terms, the decision to have additional hairstyles and more representation incorporated into the Animal Crossing world has been a popular move.