Post Reply Fujoshi or Otaku?
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Posted 10/28/16 , edited 10/28/16
“Fujoshi.” I have seen this word thrown around quite a bit regarding women in the anime fandom. When I look for the common definition, I get one of two things. One, a narrow term that is only used for women who enjoy and indulge in the Yaoi and BL aspect of anime. They like anime, but typically only anime that cater to their BL needs, anime such as Ouran High School Host Club, Black Butler, and a more recent example, Free!, to name a few. The second definition opens the gate a little bit wider, and states that fujoshi can mean anyone who is female who enjoys anime, manga and its respective culture around it.
A Manga called "My Girlfriend's a Geek!" is one of the first manga I owned, and offers one interpretation of Fujoshi. The basic premise of the Manga is that a boy named Taiga meets a girl named Yuiko in the warehouse he has found himself working at. He falls head over heels for her and decides to ask her out, but just as she goes to say “yes”, she mentions that she is not only an otaku, but a specific type of otaku, called a “Fujoshi.” He still wants to go out with her anyway, not really knowing the definition of the word, only to find himself later thrust into a world of BL gushing, fanfiction writing, and just overall otaku strangeness that us, the readers, have come to know and love. Unfortunately, The first volume of "My Girlfriend's a Geek!" isn’t a whole lot of help in regards to figuring out the difference. Yuiko claims to be a fujoshi, and seems to completely fit the bill for the Yaoi loving fangirl. However, there is a in-between the pages definition box that states its own definition for the term, stating:
“...The term’s range has grown in recent times, and can now apply to women who simply enjoy manga and anime in general.”
So in the manga, Yuiko is a BL loving girl, but the definition states that it can just be any girl who loves anime and manga. So which definition is right? Who do we believe?
My first thoughts in regards to this whole thing is that I honestly haven’t heard the word Fujoshi used a whole lot in the fandom personally. The only place I can think of where I have heard it used other than the manga at hand is to describe the character Erika Karisawa from Durarara!!. She is described both by herself and by others as a fujoshi in both the anime loving sense and the yaoi loving sense. Most female fans of anime (myself included) just call themselves otaku, or female otaku, if needed to specify a certain audience.
The reason I do this is because I feel fujoshi is so strongly associated with being a hardcore fan of Yaoi, which isn’t the type of fan I identify as. I can only assume that this is why other female otaku do this. The best example of this is in the characters of the series Oreimo. Despite being girls who love anime and manga, albeit each having their own favorite niche in the genre, none of them, (at least from what I have seen.) have referred to themselves or each other as fujoshi. It has always been “Female Otaku” or “Otaku Girls”
In the end it really depends on what each person wants to label it, or if “Fujoshi” gains enough popularity and traction to garner its more frequent use. As otaku culture and just geek culture in general is diversifying, maybe this word will gain more traction in the community, and grow into a word used for all female otaku. Or maybe the word will just stick to being a term used for female yaoi fans. The latter seems more likely, as this seems to be the common interpretation at the very least among western fans. Only time will tell…
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