Challenges to Otaku Culture: Body Shaming

This is an entry of a 5-part series on the threats to the cohesiveness and health of the Otaku community.

Top Five Challenges to Otaku Culture:

  1. Bullying of Adolescent Otaku
  2. Deletion of Racial Differences 
  3. Body Shaming
  4. Reinforcement of Anti-Social Behaviors and Social Withdrawal: NEETs, Boomerangs, and Shut-in Hikikomori 
  5. Misogyny and Madonna-Whore Complexes 

Body Shaming

While non-whites are absent from anime to reflect the norm in Japan, so too is the depiction of body weight in Japanese media. While 33% of adult Americans are obese, only 5% of Japanese are. The visual media of Japan reflects a healthier and thinner populace. Among young American Otaku cosplayers, this means that many feel inadequate to emulate their favorite characters if they are not physically fit. At in-person events like cons, body shaming is publicly frowned upon. However, with the internet’s mask of anonymity, weight-related insults, as well as racial slurs, are thrown about with abandon. Among more mature cosplayers, self-doubt evaporates as they accept their bodies, have healthy self-image, and understand completely that characters in anime/manga/videogames do not have realistic proportions, as part of Japanese style features super long legs and extremely large eyes. Fantastical expectations for one’s body do not apply to a cosplayer who has a healthy mindset, but younger Otaku are targeted and impacted by ridiculous and needlessly demeaning comments.