Owning The “Weeb” Label

So Many Weebs shirt at Anime NYC

So at Anime NYC, I found a shirt that made me both laugh and cringe at the same time. As you can see, this kind of shirt does generate a bunch of reactions.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a lot more fans owning the term “weeaboo” and making it as a symbol of self-empowerment. This was especially true on places like Twitch, where not every video game streamer was into anime or otaku culture for that matter. I saw a lot of FeelsWeebMan, Weebs (insert positive/negative Twitch emote), etc. I remember when one notable fighting game personality talked about one of his favorite anime series on stream, the host then asked “Yo, where my fellow weebs at?” I also have friends who tell kids “Stay strong, little weeb” or try to figure out ways to explain things in the form of questions like “How do I tell my grandma that I’m going to a weeb convention!?”

I was reminded of what I wrote about Japanophiles many years ago and since then, I noticed how much fans have started to be proud of their “weeb”-ness despite its negative tone.

To tell you the truth, I started calling myself a weeb for fun over the past couple of years. My otaku friends were using it in ways to make jokes about their love for all things anime. I wonder if they used that humor to cope with whatever insecurities they have. Labels of any kind are powerful. They aren’t necessarily good or bad. It’s what you make of them that defines what they morally represent.

So I decided to get the shirt at Anime NYC after much temptation and the fact that I didn’t get to buy anything (yet) due to helping out Anime for Humanity at …continue reading