My comment about weeaboos from Captain Awkward letter #715

Content warnings for this one: weeaboos, racism and fetishisation towards Japanese people. Sexual harrassment. Sex mentions.

I made a comment on Captain Awkward a few days back on this post: http://captainawkward.com/2015/06/15/715-i-am-not-here-for-your-talk-of-boys/#comments which could probably do with some clarification. Basically I’m doing this because the thread is closed, also it would definitely be a derail so as the Cap always says, I’ll talk about it on my own blog. Plus someone might click in. I think someone already did as I don’t usually get any views.

What the original question was about was a lesbian woman who was fed up with her straight female friends constantly TMI-ing about the details of their PIV sex, click into the link for a more in depth read but basically it turned into ‘I’m straight and I’m not like that’ for some reason which was a shame. No one needs that dynamic. However a few times reading the letter by weeaboo alarm dinged because 1. the LW mentioned their friends’ Japanese-themed interests that they won’t stop talking about more than once, and 2. weeaboos, as a whole, are not great at not being boundary violating assholes. The parts of the letter in question were these:

I do not care about that stuff or the entire, 20 minute plot description of the anime episode you just watched, where it’s really cute/funny when main male character sneaks up behind female characters and grabs their boobs.

it’s all stuff like the latest japanese dating sim they’ve found, and how hot the (disturbingly, rapey) plot lines are and dick in general’

Basically, the LW’s friends are either having Real Sex ™ that involves a penis going into a vagina and they are really into talking about how much it hurts and why, or they are talking about anime, and sometimes sexual things that happen in anime It really interested me how the LW found both these things of equal importance to talk about, and I think I know why. I’ve Been There And Done That. 😐

I mention a bit of this in my comment, which you can see on the thread, but basically I used to be a weeaboo when I was about 13-14. And so did R, my abusive best friend as introduced in other posts, who pretty much started the whole thing, what with having a high-speed connection and pretty much unlimited internet time. We discovered anime boys were really cute and effeminate, also a short slide to yaoi down from there and also porn fanfiction involving said anime boys. The trouble is, being young teens, we thought this was really cool and mature and wouldn’t stop talking about it, especially R, loudly and around others to try and seem hardcore or something. (e didn’t do it around our friendship group because we didn’t have one, but we totally would have if we had.) The LW’s friends, who I imagine as being late teens and maybe at a stretch early 20s, remind me of this: the immaturity factor of being totally unable to enjoy anime or even porn fiction without making sure everyone knew about it.

Also, this line: ‘[my friends] try and show me nude pictures of dudes they’ve drawn‘ Hmmmm….anime dudes? Just a hunch. I did that too. R wanted pictures of nude anime characters which I would draw…reluctantly. R once gave me £5 to do this because I didn’t want to. I have no idea if these nude pictures are of anime dudes though so it’s really just an aside, but it seems like a possibility given the context. Especially as a lot of anime fans in West love to use an anime drawing style.By the way, the reason I left the ‘and dick in general’ part of the above quote on is because I don’t consider it irrelevant to the hotness of whatever dating sim this is. These women are talking about this hot dating sim that they like, which probably includes animated men they find hot.

A reply to my comment talked about how giving a 20 minute summary of an anime episode is no different from doing the same with a Game of Thrones episode which…fair enough. That’s true. But the kind of obsession to talk about a show for 20 minutes with no regard of how interested this person you’re talking to is certainly reminds me of anime (and, again, this is JUST me and what I’ve experienced) and of R. R would go through fandoms that would become his whole life for a while, and then he’d move onto the next one. We used to follow each other’s deviantart accounts and one time I posted a picture I’d drawn of a boy with a fish (not anime-style) and R commented something like ‘Omg he looks like [Naruto character] SQUEE NARUTO!!!!’ He didn’t look anything like that character, literally the only connection was the fish, because this character was a shark man or something. R knew I didn’t know who the character was, but when R was into a fandom he would find a way to relate it to EVERYTHING.

I’m sorry about all this personal history. What I’m trying to get across is that I associate weeabooism (the end result of an obsession with specifically Japanese media) with lack of boundaries, including around sex. When I wrote the comment, I was especially thinking about that. And yes, relating to one of the replies, a weeaboo can be of any race, it means, among other things, an outsider’s obsession with Japanese stuff. I’m white (fyi R is not, but not Japanese) and I may have overstepped with my comment on the thread, especially if I was talking over people who are actually Japanese. I hadn’t seen anyone bring up the connection between lack of boundaries and weeabooism yet and thought it was relevant to the thread.

The trouble was, I didn’t actually say that. My comment started saying ‘your friends sound like weeaboos’. But the trouble is online a lot of people use weeaboo as a positive descriptor for themselves and don’t associate it with racism or fetishisation (more about that in a minute). So I wanted to make it clear I meant this as a negative thing, but also not derail the thread, especially as it was LW’s friends and not herself who sounded weebish. What happened was something I realise now could be taking in two different ways: ‘[being a weeaboo is] Not cool, especially when it crosses over with JAPANESE SEXXX, clearly the most sexy sex of all time. It sounds kinda fetishy.’ The ‘JAPANESE SEXXX’ with 3 x’s, which is the ‘most sexy sex of all time’ was mean to be how an overblown weeaboo might see it, especially as a lot of white Westerners specifically have weird ideas about the forms rape culture might take on in Japan specifically because of rape references in Japanese media. I really don’t think we need any more white people writing long essays about sexuality in Japan, a culture they weren’t raised in and find fascinating for unknown reasons. Anyway, the trouble is snark doesn’t read online (as the Cap herself has said many times) and it in fact looked, to at least one person, like I was saying I actually found Japanese sex to be the sexiest sex of all time, because it’s literally what I wrote. So yeah…I can totally see it. I’m so sorry to anyone I offended with that one. 😐

Also at first I thought the ‘it sounds kinda fetishy’ part would only sound like it mean to refer to weeaboos fetishizing Japanese culture, but now I realise it could also sound like I’m talking about Japanese people for enjoying dating sims with rapey parts. So, sorry for that as well. I definitely don’t think that but it certainly wasn’t clear.

Now for a bit about being a weeaboo being racist- I think a lot of white Westerners, including myself until a few years ago and many years after I stopped being a weeaboo myself, don’t realise the harm the attitude and actions of weeaboos cause. After all, a lot of the ways Japan is thought of in the West is positive in a warped kind of way (beautiful, demure women! Cartoons that are for adults and sometimes have bloody violence and sexual references, SO not like Western cartoons!) or that is intended to be funny (Japan is SO WEIRD, oh you, Japan, with your weirdness! OMG look at this badly translated English phrase on a Japanese person’s shirt!). Also Japan is a developed country and has a huge media output. I think a lot of people think of it as fair game because of this. For a long time I didn’t understand how damaging weeaboos and fetishizing of Japan could be. Oh, I knew weeaboos were horribly annoying and associated them very strongly with lack of boundaries because of the above, and I read blogs that made fun of them like it was hilarious, but I didn’t think they were racist. It wasn’t till I began reading the amazing tumblr This is Not Japan ( http://thisisnotjapan.tumblr.com/ ) about 2 and a half years ago that I began to realise how wrong I’d been. This blog has been going strong, with a dedicated team of mods, for years. I’d recommend starting with the FAQ, and the tags linked at the top of it, because of how vast a resource it is. The blog talks about both Japanese people in Japan, and in the diaspora. Weeaboos do go to Japan but the blog talks a lot about their particular effect on those in the Japanese diaspora, not just by fetishising and sexual harrassment (!! really common) but by taking up space and eventually taking over Japanese cultural events. For example, filling Japanese clubs in schools and universities and overtaking them and turning them into anime and fandom clubs, when they should actually be for Japanese people looking to find solidarity and talk about their experiences. Also weeaboos attending Japanese cultural events outside of Japan (and maybe in Japan too but I wouldn’t know) in cosplay…clearly a major issue of disrespect for those cultures but heyyyy, Japan is fair game right? They’d love it, right? Yuck. Also, the number of white people who go to Japan and write blogs or even books about their ‘culture shock’ is astounding, trying to make sociological studies or just for a cheap laugh. I freely admit I read some of them, like I laughed at Danny Wallace’s Japanese trip in Yes Man, like how he ended up in a ninja-themed restaurant and couldn’t fit in the shower in his hotel. But yeah….this is a real thing. It’s messed up. White ex-pats to Japan are also infamous for pretending to have experienced ‘racism’ while there.

Once again, I’m sorry, and I am freely open to being contradicted by Japanese people. This is something I pretty much basically learned from Japanese people’s writing which I was able to read for free on the web. Thank you to those writers who taught me out of my crappy tenancies.

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