These expensive headphones come with a controversial Waifus
In almost every niche online community, there are two types of people: those who like porn related to their obscure interests and those who don’t.
Let’s talk about the predictable ending of Gotham Knights
With earphone lovers, especially those who appreciate high-performance in-ear monitors (IEMs) made in China or chi-fi, the war is less carnal, since the languid anime girls decorating the box art are presented more as muses than fodder obvious sex. But, despite everything, it continues.
Although IEM girls are generally not explicit, they are sexualized, or at least romanticized, by the people who buy them. Helmet fans will sometimes refer to these anime girls who are, usually, original artwork made exclusively for a particular IEM, and not existing anime franchise characters modified for marketing as mascots. But, more frequently, they speak of it in terms of waifu, the manga-follower shorthand for an attractive, vaguely Asian woman.
What apparently makes IEM waifu girls material is the fact that they look like children. They’re often slender, with ethereal baby faces or real puffy schoolgirl uniforms, as in the case of Moondrops $360 Blessing 2 Twilighta collaboration with a popular headphone reviewer Crinacle. Sometimes they only decorate the IEM box, like the snowy-haired girl staring from Tanchjims $40 OLAand sometimes they seem meant to personify a product soul, like Moondrops’ infamous Instagram post of a girl in ripped stockings covered in inum, yogurt?
Yogurt poured on the helmet, said a tranlocation of post now deletedimplying that the blushing girl is actually a Moondrop helmet, covered in yogurt.
Do they want people to fuck headphones? Fans I’ve spoken to don’t seem to think it’s that deep.
Don’t think too much about anime girls
I did not know [anime girls on IEM box art] was trending until i heard about it [the company] moon drop and how Westerners thought it was unusual, headphone fan M tells me on the Reddit chat. I live in Asia, so cartoons aren’t really rare or unusual. I think it gives products and brands a sense of personality.
Or, if it’s not personality, then at least a bit of sweet, memorable sex appeal that you wouldn’t normally associate with tech, like the way a beer buzz helps you excite to sit on your couch and eat bugles.
[IEM anime girls help] attract more consumers, says Jeremiah, another helmet fan on Reddit. And sometimes it makes the EMP more recognizable. For example, if you see a ponytailed girl with glasses, you instantly know it’s the Blessing 2 Dusk.
But even those who appreciate IEM girls have their limits. As someone who loves watching anime, I appreciate the trend if the box art is tastefully done, u/nopunterino tells me. But sometimes I think manufacturers can go too far.
I could [not even be able to order an] IEM I’m interested in the fear that my roommate or parent will open my box and see a bunny girl in an inappropriate position, says Jeremiah.
Both referenced SeeAudios’ collaboration with an audiophile reviewer Z ReviewsTHE $100which has two girls wearing bunny ears on the box, their mouths hanging open as they smash remarkably spherical breasts together in a hugas an example of a brand that pushes its anime girls too far.
And we can never forget the Moondrop yogurt incident, says u/nopunterino.
Most people I spoke to were blasé about IEM girls (and they are indeed EMP girls on-ear headphones made in china are mass appeal itemsnot nerd bait like IEMs, and their design is extremely clinical). But it’s clear that some audiophiles have a bigger allegiance to them than they’d like to admit, and they’re especially willing to defend companies that go overboard.
I need to analyze anime girls
Going through the several enthusiasts, why does this happen? chatting on r/headset for a few minutes will lead you to proofs. Those who are confused by all the childish breasts and mouths seem afraid that their opinion will be unpopular before they even voice it, wondering as delicately as a deer dodges a hunter, At the risk of being burned at the stake. Or, more recently and to the point, What’s wrong with IEMs and anime girls?
For what? Where did it start? u/brubby3179, who started this last thread, begged users. I have never seen that with the ears.
I’m newer to the hi-fi headphone scene so I didn’t start noticing this until early 2021 when I started watching headphone reviews on YouTube, u/brubby3179 tells me, or so two weeks after his thread inspired nearly 200 contention comments so divisive, r/headphones moderators locked the comments. Some interesting comments in this thread, and even more interesting is how vehemently some of these guys defend the waifus box.
Aside from some vague theories about crossovers between headphone enthusiasts, anime fans, and techies with money to burn, no one could provide a concrete answer as to why the IEM anime girls were ubiquitous. Moondrop, the company most frequently cited as popularizing them, also did not respond in time for publication.
But, though they’re fuzzy on why, the defenders are sure they’d like to keep the girls around.
Sounds like harmless fun to me, said one user. It doesn’t make me want the product, but it’s not meant to please me. It seems strange to ask about this. Hmm. IEM Tony Soprano doesn’t want people asking questions. Suspicious.
Why the hate!!!!?? Leave me my waifu. I need waifu yogurt! another user wrote repeatedly, more frantically each time. I need waifu moondrop yogurt? Please make me buy 10 pieces. Lol.
Lol. Personally I like some IEM girls including Moondrops box art for the $20 Chu, a stoic figure with ashy bangs and crystal clear eyes. These less obscene designs resemble patron saints or zodiac signs for techies, offering an oddly mystical way to imagine your headphones. Personifying them gives them a heart, and I think it could encourage the preservation and care of things that are good for the environment, your wallet, and your satisfaction.
Even so, I wish the beautiful IEM art wasn’t limited to girls, or more waifus to be literally objectified and thrown away. Although many fans suggest that Asian culture makes their waifu different from local misogyny, IEM sex art is much like the racy memorabilia you find rusting at gas stations across the United States.
Like breast-shaped salt shakers or Florida keychains, many of which are documented by feminist artist Portia Munson in his silently overwhelming designsIEM girls encourage men to think of women as pocket ornaments, just something to keep around the house.
These objects appear at first to be a humorous and mildly shocking anomaly, showing the commodification of women’s bodies into tchotchkes, says Munsons’ website, but, accumulated together, the sheer quantity speaks to deeper issues surrounding society’s view on women as accessories.
I’d like to see IEM girls more clearly valued for who advocates say they are, their collection and artistry, being part of a more vibrant box art practice that expands to include men anime, or landscapes, or fantasy creatures, or literally anything else. I miss feeling like women are being used to sell tech, but they’re not welcome.