FFXIV Community Discusses Weeaboos, Ignores Racism

On May 15th, 2017, Reddit user fogged2 submitted a post to r/ffxiv entitled “Culture Shock,” addressing negative Final Fantasy XIV experiences they have had with players called “weeaboos.” “I don’t...
weeaboos

On May 15th, 2017, Reddit user fogged2 submitted a post to r/ffxiv entitled “Culture Shock,” addressing negative Final Fantasy XIV experiences they have had with players called “weeaboos.”

“I don’t mind people lightly perpetuating Japanese Culture/Pop Culture,” claims fogged2, “but this weird social ecosystem of baby talk, arbitrary lol’s, XD’s, etc etc is just slowly chipping away at my nerves.”

Fogged2 lists a creative example of this talk in transcript form, featuring “Waifu Kun has logged in” as a hypothetical FC message and “*licks Waifu Kun*” as a hypothetical response from a player named “Socially Awkwardsama.” The example, littered with emoticons and cutesy inflections, serves as fogged2’s catalyst for his confusion.

“For a while I thought they were kids,” fogged2 says. “But I’ve had the experience of logging into discord only to hear voices deeper than mine who act like this in chat.” The opinionated Redditor asked for second opinions on these weeaboo experiences, wondering if there was anything they could do to deflect these game-breaking incidents, or if they were, in their words, “just being too cynical.”

The most upvoted responses are similar in sentiment, especially criticizing fogged2’s overbearing tone. “Yeah you’re definitely too cynical,” Redditor The_Chosen_Undead responds in their post. “I don’t behave that way either but getting upset at people doing 😛 and XD or ‘lol’ and such really make you look like some miserable ‘no fun allowed’ guy.”

CarrieRofLight carries the point slightly further, citing Western misinterpretations of Japanese culture – and the proliferation of those interpretations throughout the internet – as a cause of these aggressions. “[The ‘weeb’ mentality] is not just limited to weebs and the same goes to most things in this world viewed by a foreigner that turns into something artificial,” they note.

Others are quick to mention that, in the words of Thrashinuva, fogged2’s rant “has nothing to do with Japan.” The weeaboo mentality fogged2 criticizes has no direct correlation with emoticons or the overconsumption of cuteness – and even fogged2 agrees, reminiscing on particular teens’ Icanhazcheezburger phases.

As UrbanDictionary’s top definition for the formal version of the term describes, “a “weeaboo” is “a non japanese person who basically denounces their own culture and calls themselves japanese [sic].” Even though a non-Japanese person can “like the culture, watch anime, speak the language and respect a culture,” those that take it too far by exocitizing those acts are making “complete asses of themselves.”

FFXIV

The most downvoted comments, however, call out an important point from the above definition: the racism underlying most “weebs.” Redditor usagizero bluntly comments that “honestly, people who use the term weeb are more cringe inducing to me” – a notion that carries weight in other controversial comments. Redditor you_cant_banme, with a current comment rating of -4, says that “[weeaboos] think they’re glorifying Japanese culture with their shitty imitations, but they’re really just embodying lazy stereotypes in an overly overt fashion…”.

The racism behind the weeaboo construct has been documented in analyses, personal experiences, and discursive responses throughout the blogosphere for a few years now, making fogged2’s submission to r/ffxiv a surprising one for a few reasons. Firstly, what may seem like innocuous linguistic preference has obvious roots in cultural appropriation and fetishization that causes real-world harm. The blame, however, is not simply on the “weeaboos”; the sensationalized comedy of fogged2’s submission only normalizes the idea that weeaboo identity is something to laugh at, rather than something to criticize from socio-political perspectives. As evidenced by the post’s top comments, stating that “it’s just a game, don’t take it seriously” is more digestible for the community than noting the problematic effects of such actions. Reactions to fogged2 demonstrate that their original post was silly and overblown: however, comments striving to move past the hilarity of this flippant reaction and uncover the actual effects of racist behavior are downvoted for their attempts.

While fogged2’s submission may be funny for its dramatic flair and characterization of weeaboos, the post’s questions and subsequent responses showcase the FFXIV community’s inattentive nature towards the racist construct as a whole. Comments calling out the problematic connotations of the term and its effects have even been actively downvoted. The next time a submission about a sensitive issue arises in the subreddit, hopefully more involved discussion will take place.

 

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Final Fantasy XIVMMORPGNews

A queer theorist by day and theorycrafter by night, Alec spends most of his time playing Final Fantasy XIV and being Balmung's most discursive, elusive dragoon. When he doesn't have his head stuck in a Sara Ahmed text, he's probably knee-deep in a Party Finder PUG, writing an art history paper about The Quicksand, mapping out The Wind Waker's high seas, or all of the above at once. Find his windswept rambles on Twitter @knightofwinds.
14 Comments on this post.
  • Rynn
    16 May 2017 at 4:21 pm
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    Usually weebs are people who think they know everything about the Japanese culture just by being obsessed with anime, etc. If someone acts that pompous I’m going to call them a weeb.

  • Edgedy
    16 May 2017 at 5:25 pm
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    I feel it’s relevant to mention the ongoing war on anime currently being promoted by Eve Online’s community. A lot of this is bringing up certain hostile measures against gaming communities like FFXIV.

  • sybil
    16 May 2017 at 5:27 pm
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    i’m more baffled by the fact that the author saw this happening on reddit and thought it was newsworthy in this, the year of our lord, 2017.

    • TARO
      16 May 2017 at 7:44 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Local News King has decreed that this article was not sufficient in this current year, stop the virtual presses

    • Alec
      16 May 2017 at 8:19 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Hey, I can answer this.

      I actually agree with your point that some things aren’t newsworthy. This site in particular, of which I am only a recent member (though a long-time follower), likes to post community news and aggregate forum posts across multiple MMOs. Sometimes this leads to lucrative posts, even in my own opinion. However, I whole-heartedly believe, even without the influence of this site and its quotas, that following the discourses of fandoms and how they talk about issues is extremely important because it allows us to engage further with the issues underlying it – like this one!

      Which leads to the second point: this is about racism. When is racism not newsworthy? This is, by far, the most basic post I could have written on the matter. This doesn’t even go into the entire 300+ comments on said piece of “Reddit news.” And I’m somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t get into the larger topic hidden deep within the comments: the community as a whole! There were a lot of great people commenting on the culture of FFXIV, who’s a part of it, what constitutes culture and even weeaboos, etc. However, the bottom line is that weeaboo mentalities are ALWAYS rooted in some sort of exotification – hence the articles and my analysis at the end of this post. So why wouldn’t we talk about it?

      Your issues with what constitutes “news” and such are perfectly valid! I even agree that sometimes us on this here internet like to pass some silly stuff off as news. However, community discussions are important for self-referential reasons: they allow us to move forward as communities and take accountability for what has been said. That is exactly what I try to do here.

      Tl;dr: racism is racism is racism – and we should absolutely talk about that, on top of, you know, how cool it is that we’re even able to comment on community discussions and discourses.

  • Aniero
    16 May 2017 at 6:13 pm
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    If you like XIV, but hate weeabo nonsense, may I humbly suggest the show I make called Limit Break Radio. We are a podcast exclusively for FFXIV that doesn’t take itself seriously, talks about the game the way normal people talk about the game and aren’t sycophants or cheerleaders for Square-Enix. You might not agree with everything we say, but you’ll never hear us baby talk, say -chan after anything, or have any patience for anyone who would.

    We’re also a call-in show where anyone can call, and you can hear plenty of smart normal people who aren’t enamored with weeaboo idiocy either. So, you’re not alone.

    • Rynn
      17 May 2017 at 3:28 am
      Leave a Reply

      Even Aniero is commenting on the stupidity now. Hiya!

  • Jess
    16 May 2017 at 8:01 pm
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    Can I point out I’ve been playing this came for just over three years and the topic in this “news” article is actually very rare. In the game most people just talk you know like normal people and some people like to be weebs and others are part of the RPG community. Let’s be honest they aren’t hurting anyone with their behaviour with their RPG welcomes and adding -chan after a name, nor is this racist or cultural appropriation. Like people do need to chill and remember it is just a game and guess what in a game and on places like discord you can block people if you don’t like them.

  • Rynn
    17 May 2017 at 3:27 am
    Leave a Reply

    Hahaha calling this racist. Author is a weeb.

  • Nikki_Seven
    17 May 2017 at 3:58 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Racism ISN’T a problem in the FFXIV community, stop trying to invent problems where they’re are none.

    The only exclusionary factor is skill.

    • Nikki_Seven
      17 May 2017 at 3:59 pm
      Leave a Reply

      There*

      Also, fuck this ghetto ass site with no comment edit button. What are you stuck in 1997? FFS

  • Drak
    17 May 2017 at 10:31 pm
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    I like how tumblr is linked as sources in this rag. Cultural appropriation is the dumbest thing leftests came up with yet. Its not racism or anything bad to take from other cultures. What a boring world that would be if we didn’t. Anyone who takes this article seriously is as dumb as the author. Quit making up outrage where there is none.

    • Alec
      18 May 2017 at 12:50 am
      Leave a Reply

      If I provided you other sources about the problems with cultural appropriation, would you read them? Or do you just have a bone to pick with a blogging site whose 50 million users can somehow be homogenized into one side of the “leftist” political spectrum? Tumblr is a platform home to all sorts of ideologies, so your broad gestures make little sense to me. However, I am still willing to seek out academic essays, journal submissions, and other analyses of the topic should you like to learn more.

  • Lamio
    19 May 2017 at 2:52 am
    Leave a Reply

    When I saw “cultural appropriation” it invalided your entire article. Don’t use sjw buzzwords when you’re trying to write an article that you want people to take seriously.

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