So usually I am not one to write these types of posts on my blog, but unfortunately this is a topic that has frustrated me and a few others for the past few days.
For context, the term “waifu” was first used by Kimura-sensei in Azumanga Daioh when Tomo and Osaka, two of the main characters in the series, find a picture of him with a woman and a girl, to which Kimura-sensei responds with “mai waifu”. The word “waifu” soon became an internet meme and is mostly used by anime fans to refer to their favourite female character(s). For example, one of my “waifus”, or favourite female characters, is Megumin from KonoSuba.
The other day on Twitter, however, I came across a post by someone who claimed that the word “waifu” was “racist” and “misogynistic” and that it sounded “the same as everyone who ever replaced all the Ls with Rs in a sentence to ‘sound Japanese'”.
Naturally, a lot of people got upset with the post…
…to which the poster responded with nothing more than obnoxious and ignorant comments.
To which all I can say is…
Now the main problem I have is that this is nothing more than someone trying to force their agenda onto something for the sake of getting a reaction out of people. I mean, it’s one thing to make a claim on something and have the sources to prove your point (as well as be open to debate with those who don’t agree with you in a respectable manner), but it’s another to make an empty claim that something is “racist” or “misogynistic” without having proof to support you. It also doesn’t help your cause when you actively block or belittle others who don’t agree with what you are saying just to boost your ego.
For many anime fans (like myself), anime can act as a form of escapism from real world problems and issues that we may be experiencing in our respective lives. To take this even further, one can also argue that anime has the potential to tackle and address real-life issues through its stories and subject matter. And for the most part, the anime community felt like one, big happy family at one point in time. These days, however, the anime community feels very divided, especially with the case of “elitist” fans and situations like the one above. It’s a real shame, though, as what was once considered a safe haven for me has now turned toxic and seems to only act as an extension to the problems I already face on a daily basis.
For me, I find waifu to be a completely harmless word. While most memes include stuff like “your waifu is trash” or something along those lines, for the most part it is harmless fun and banter amongst fans (granted, there have been extreme cases of fans taking the “waifu” concept a bit too far). It forms part of the “otaku jargon”, if you will. In any sort of fandom, you’re going to find your favourite character(s) and while I would argue that female anime characters are mostly more memorable than male characters (especially in romance/harem shows), you’re going to find yourself attached to one or more of these characters because they have something that draws you to them. Going back to my Megumin example, one of the reasons why she’s my favourite character in KonoSuba is because of her feisty personality. Obviously, you’re going to get those who like a certain character (both men and women) because of their looks and body, but then again, who hasn’t done that before?
I really don’t like getting worked up or talking about stuff like this, hence why I usually don’t get involved when these things happen, but it just got to a point where I couldn’t keep quiet about it any longer and I had to get it off my chest somehow. So now, fellow readers, I open the floor up to you about this topic. Do you think “waifu” is a “racist” and “misogynistic” term like the poster says, or do you also believe that the word is completely harmless and not belittling to Japanese people and women? Let me know your thoughts!