Waifu is a term that been around since 2002, but based on search traffic came into widespread consciousness in 2012. Currently on Google, the emerging and disconnected word Waifu has 9,890,000 hits, which is high for this type. I didn't know what it was until this post was born (Mar 2017)
The definition of Waifu:
- A fictional character from non-live-action visual media (typically an anime, manga, or video game) that one is attracted to and considers a significant other. (wiktionary)
Trying understand the inter-relationships and impact of the Waifu meme thinking is very challenging as it cuts right to the heart of many aspects of living, coping and revolutionary thought.
It is interesting to note the analogous terms Guyfu, Gaifu, and Manfu result in less than 2000 hits on Goggle related the the male version of a Waifu for women. There is a term "Husbando" which has 1.4 million hits but much of these hits are actually Waifus and Husbando also sometimes refers to actual husband in Spanish. Women simply have much less interest in such a thing. Examples of male versions of Waifus are seen on websites dedicated to the the male Mass Effect character Garrus Vakarian. However as many male players role-play females, some of these pages may have been created by a man roleplaying being Garrus's Waifu. By all the romantic Garrus fan art it seems he is a fairly popular "guyfu", but it seems for both sexes.
Here are some aspects of this puzzle:
Waifu is a revolt against sex and the opposite sex. This sentiment has be summed up in one post I read while researching the Waifu meme. The post stated "Why be with a 3D pig, when you can be with a 2D waifu?". Revolutionary thought is seldom pretty and even less often a sound vehicle for change, but this captures the essence of this revolt. Another way to express this sentiment is "You can keep it" which basically says "Yes, as a women what you are and have is compelling, but you are worth neither winning over or having".
This mentality is sad but its foundations lay in that: Women are valued for what they are, and men for what they do. After the Women's revolution it has become even more unfavorable: Women are valued for what they are and do, and most men are worthless. A search for "adorable blond" in quotes generates 61,800,000 hits. A search for Waifu gives almost 10,000,000. Women did not give up their sexual power after the revolution, and cannot give up their primary sexual power, carrying children. However, with the advent of convenient effective birth control, women en mass were offered the opportunity to give up much of the power associated with desire and sexual behavior and most did not. Without doubt, some women have come to fear or hate their sexual power but even then, the advantages of being attractive and desired are difficult to give up. Just like men, women have abused their sexual power and continue to abuse their sexual power, and what we have currently is a very shaky truce based on opposition.
The overall message is that the vast majority of men (and women) are not getting a partner they even remotely want and find compatible. Many adapt and pretend and I would guess that suppression of this feeling in both the single and married is one of the root causes of depression and suicide. It is easy to say that these men have foolish and unrealistic expectations. This is certainly true but it does not cover all the disappointment seen. Men will please women because women have intrinsic value until that is gone. Women don't give pleasure because men are intrinsically worthless, so women favour giving pleasure as part of when men do something worthwhile for them, or in acquiring men who they think can do something worthwhile.
It is easy to blame women for this, but men were equal partners in this. Men have terribly abused their sexual power and continue to do so. Any women with the innate desire to please men were and are used, exploited and discarded or are labelled as sluts. Only the lucky few who partnered and became subservient to those few desirable men could safely express their innate desire to please men. Men set up a system where the only way women with a pleasing mindset could survive is if they became slaves, and even being a slave wasn't a guarantee of good treatment . So men destroyed the very traits they desired in women, just as women have destroyed those in men.
Side by Side Comparison: Waifu and an Actual Female Partner
A sex is such a emotionally charged subject. It is probably better to use a simpler comparison first. In Nov 2011 Bethesda released the computer RPG game Skyrim. It is a simulated 3D world expressed in 2D and audio. It is still a popular game 6 years after release, and this is quite rare.
So why would anybody play a 2D/simulated3D game from 2011 that is missing sex (despite desperate and partially successful modding efforts to put it in), and the senses of taste, touch and smell. The simple answer is that the fake 2D/3D plus audio world of Skyrim is far far superior to many people's actual 3D life, if it was reduced to 2D/simulated3D. People are willing give up their other senses and actual reality to spend their free time in simulated 3D RPG world.
So what is so compelling about Skyrim? For many it is the freedom to commit acts of violence and thievery to level up to do more lucrative acts of thievery and violence. But what need is this really fulfilling? For many it is the desire to be skilled enough, powerful enough, and rich enough to be good enough for the woman they desire. They are killing and stealing to be good enough for their unconscious Waifu. They may also be proving themselves to their male friends, to again increase social standing for their unconscious Waifu
If violence and thievery aren't your thing, what else is compelling about Skyrim? For much of the human male population the 2D/virtual3D of Skyrim is far more beautiful than their actual 3D world translated to 2D. Skyrim is a created world designed by a conscious mind to be attractive and compelling. On good hardware it is, and is far more beautiful than much of the world accessible to many men. Yes there are real places more beautiful, but men need to compete financially and logistically for the luxury of being there. The real world was sculpted by chaotic and semi-chaotic natural processes, plants, animals and us. We have ruined much of it. The overall result is that some parts are compelling and the rest less so. Skyrim was designed to be beautiful everywhere.
Like Skyrim, Waifus are custom designed to appeal to innate male needs, wants and desires. Real women are not even designed. The physical aspects of actual human females are the product of chaotic and semi-chaotic processes, group selection and evolution by natural selection. The competition and selection processes tends to focus desire onto less than 5% of the population. This is true for both men and women. Those desired 5% are unavailable to more than 95% of the male population.
Another compelling aspect of Skyrim is that very few parts of this virtual world are owned, and the gameworld is not subject to the severe limitations of our physical bodies. If you looked out your window, chances are that every square meter is owned and controlled by someone who is not you. Even the parks are owned and controlled by the state, which you would quickly find out if you tried to live there. Provincial and National parks have the illusion of freedom from ownership, but you must pay for every day there and there are rules. Rates can be higher than hotels. Skyrim gives you the freedom to discover and be in a place that is un-owned and free from the most of the constraints of living, including the most restrictive, maintaining energy and water balance.
Waifus are also unowned, and for many men disposable The overwhelming majority of women men would find desirable are owned. None involved would call it that, but looking at the dynamic, "owned" is the right word. Desirable women are owned by their boyfriends and husbands, and sometimes by parents protecting or leveraging the investment in their daughters. Almost all men eventually come up against this wall, and men and women will defend and limit access to women they don't even own. They are protecting their interest in a potential partner, and anyone who has been to a bar has seen this. Women tolerate this pseudo-ownership because when they find a man with the qualities they value they want to own them in every sense of the word. They will without a thought violate their man's privacy, and feel this is their absolute right, whether is it snooping their electronic devices, searching through their credit card charges, or using a cell phone as a leash. Women want to control their property and defend their property rights. This dynamic is so powerful that even when women knowingly engage in an affair with a desirable married man, they will engage in all the previously described defense behaviors and exhibit intense jealousy toward the actual wife. This is the primary reason extramarital relationships of all kinds fail. All these are just symptoms of a much deeper failure ...... relationships are founded and grounded in opposition.
When the relationships of desirable women become unfavorable, they often have the next relationship already lined up. This means that desirable women are mostly owned and when they do move there is a very short window of opportunity unless you want to be the overlapping boyfriend. The seemingly obvious answer is to avoid desirable women, and many men do just that, but almost all women exhibit this behavior more or less.
Waifus are also free from the constraints of reality. Interacting with women sooner or later results in a conscious or unconscious model of how women who are accessible to you "are". When this model reaches critical mass, men come to the realization that accessible women cannot or will not even remotely resemble what they desire. In much of North America, relatively few women even make the physical effort to keep a body shape guaranteed to be attractive to the opposite sex. Guaranteed. Men can work to have a analogous body shape, but the results in terms of being chosen by women of choice are far from guaranteed. Some women invest a huge amount of effort being the best they can be, but many do not partly because as women they don't need to to get what they value. Some don't because they have their own unconscious male Waifus that they know they can never have in real life. Due to the way social systems design and happen, less than 5% of men have the physical, social and monetary measure of success that make them desirable. Like men, they are hostages to their unconscious Waifus, which are sometimes called "PH = perfect husband" or "649 husbands" (649 is a lottery in Canada) . These perfect husbands are no more real than Waifus, except if a woman has a comparable value to make males of choice consider them "perfect wives".
The choice then is to accept the women in your sphere of social accessibility as they are, change your desires, adopt a conscious or unconscious Waifu or opt out altogether. The complete freedom of Waifus is compelling especially if you have the gift/curse of mental simulation of real experiences (fantasy). With imagination seeded by real experiences, mental simulation of both social and sexual situations can be far far more compelling than those which could possibly happen in actual reality. Men have been socially and sexually fantasizing to their conscious and unconscious Waifus eons before term Waifu came into consciousness.
The other choice is "make yourself better so you can attract the women you desire" but this is deeply rooted in opposition. What is left out is better than what? Better is a relative term compared to the most desirable men and the least desirable men. Television, internet and culture currently actively and with deliberation define what these best and worst men and women are. "The Bachelor" is an example of the former, "My 600 Pound Life" is an example of the latter. Man or women, if you don't fit the expectation, you are ignored. Your only rational choice then is to gravitate to extremes (or pretend to) to attract other extremes.
Another aspect of this comparison would be support. Do real girlfriends support, or do they leave when the relationship gets dis-favorable? Just like men, some do some don't. The deeper question is "Is there a correlation between how much support, attention and investment and man gives to his partner and how likely she will leave if dis-favorable changes happen? The most probable answer is that there is a correlation but it isn't a strong one, and depends as much on the individual woman as the care given to her. This is hard to assess and perhaps one of the prime reasons men opt out of a female partner, as they feel unable to attract and keep a women for whom which care is associated with loyalty. Sadly loyalty is very hard to assess unless it is tested to failure, which is a bad idea, so men are divesting from women based on extrapolation of bad experiences and hearsay. Sadly, we made the the very women we no longer trust and visa versa, and this distrust is expressed through the Waifu meme.
Why don't more women have their own male Waifu meme equivalent?
The physical aspects of women that men dote over, desire, fantasize about and masturbate to are easy to translate to 2D or virtual 3D or just mentally visualize. Women can fantasize over men doing important and valuable actions for them for which they then bestow sexual access, but after it is over they are left unsatisfied and empty, because they get nothing out of it. Men slay the dragon first and then they get the princess. Most men know they can never have their Waifu, but what they want and what they fantasize over are the same thing, so having it even for a little while is compelling. Women use men to indirectly fantasize about what they want and this is far less compelling. Some of the most vehement expressions of female disgust I have seen have come from women describing how they feel about even vanilla male sexual fantasies and the associated actions. Some women are resigned about male fantasy and even see it as an expression of the extent of their sexual power. Others view it as theft and are disgusted by it.
What Does the Future for Men and their Waifus Look Like?
Virtual reality Waifus and artificial intelligence tuned the the innate desires, fears and hopes of men (especially unwanted men) will be a very powerful combination that may be the ultimate in birth control.
Two well crafted mainstream movies have already explored the future of the Waifu, Ex-Machina and Her. They are both don't end well for the men involved. In Ex-Machina a man creates several iterations of a female android in search of his perfect Waifu. She hates him.
I have no doubt that the major hardware and content designers are currently posturing to use VR to deliver Waifus that men will absolutely adore. Even current levels of AI are more than sufficient for this with men who are invested to willfully suspend their belief. Men often aren't all that hard to please. Also, the sum total amount of information flow between couples is considerable but not as much as most would think. For some couples, if one was honest, their relationship could be replaced by a Waifu pillow and a couple of thousand bytes of text delivered appropriately.
Do Men Worshiping their Waifus Remind You of Anything?
It is really easy to be hard and judgmental regarding men (and women) openly and publicly adoring their Waifus. It seems so narcissistic. It seems so insane, men conversing with, eating with, adoring and roleplaying, loving, and sexing their Waifus.
But how many Christian or Buddhist women have pictures or statues of Jesus or a Buddha in their homes? The dynamic is frightfully similar, except hopefully without the sexual component. Men know their Waifus are not real and just enjoy being with their Waifus and fantasizing about doing things with and to them. I have a suspicion that much of these fantasies involve spoiling and pampering their Waifus with such skill and imagination that their Waifus can't help but be hopelessly in love and lust with them. The other men probably take pleasure in torturing Waifus symbolizing women they know they can never have in real life.
When women (and men) adore, worship and serve their religious Waifu, it is usually deeply intertwined with what this kind of Waifu can do. They pray for safety, luck, protection, good fortune, protection from or cures for illness, and of course entry into paradise. Again men are valued for what they do and perhaps not what they are. If they ever really physically embodied a person, Jesus and Buddha probably didn't look like that. Whether they hear your prayers or can converse with people is an open question, but the Waifu meme surely shows they don't need to be adored and invested in.