You know what I kind of hate? STEREOTYPES. Now, don’t get me wrong, I probably stereotype a bit but have also been stereotyped my whole life. And because I’m a weeb (I didn’t choose the weeb life, the weeb life chose me) that means I have been approached by normies with stereotypes too. So today I just want to kind of talk (rant) about the most annoying one: that all Weebs speak really bad Japanese.
So first off a little background—I am only mad at this stereotype because I speak basic Japanese—bad Japanese in a way (but only because it’s been years since I’ve studied). But when I tell a normie that I speak bad Japanese or only a little Japanese, I get them imagining me only know how to say annoying or basic phrases they have heard from anime in their limited knowledge of the art. And then I figured out why people just assume this and stereotype that Weebs only know limited and bad Japanese (because they’re jerks!), because for some reason, people stereotype Weebs as having learned Japanese from anime.
Yes. You heard that right. Not because of anime, but that they learned Japanese FROM anime. Which is why bad Japanese in this stereotype doesn’t mean getting polite and inpolite form mixed up, but rather only being able to say “omae wa shindeiru” or “hime-sama” “okaeri” “tadaima”, and other generic things you will repeatly hear and associate with anime. I have so many problems with this. First off, making this assumption is incredibly rude to someone who has spent time and effort (and sometimes money) into learning how to speak proper Japanese. It’s also kind of assuming that most weebs are totally cringe worthy and very ita. But like the truth is that while yes, these kind of anime fans exist, they are not the majority. But they are the loudest fans out there (much like what I was saying with the yaoi fandom). Quite honestly though, the Weebs I’ve met who “know japanese” honestly do know it. They have studied or are studying and trying to learn the language in earnest. Not just repeating the same five phrases.
I think that the speaking terrible Japanese stereotype also feeds into the insensitive or “all-knowing” weeb stereotype. Basically this is the stereotype that assumes that weebs just culturally appropriate Japanese stereotypes. Now this I feel complicated on. Because yes. There are a few Weebs (some of which I’ve met) who do believe what they learn in anime is proto-typical behavior and culture. And they do look at it as if it were some sort of cool interesting fad instead of an actual culture. Basically it’s like trying to celebrate girl’s day without knowing the cultural significance behind it. But as many as there are of those “stereotypical” weebs, there are just as many (if not more) who are genuinely interested in learning about the culture and will go out of their way to actually understand.
Part of these stereotypes I believe to have origins in the fact that people who like anime are somehow childish. Herego everything they do is looked at as a lens of the most extreme and I guess unknowledgable. Many stereotypes don’t take into account that people who like anime are actual human beings who can think for themselves and aren’t so one-note. We’re not all that American character from Lucky Star. We have some depth to ourselves and how we think. Give us some damn credit.
All and all, stereotypes aren’t cool. They perpetuate the myth that the fandom is increasingly bizarre. However, the majority of the fandom puts thought and dedication into their words and actions. After all, we’re all trying to live our best animu life.