One of the terms that I hear thrown around the otakusphere is “broken”, as it applies to fans of gender situations outside of the norm, like traps and such. And one of the things I’ve been wondering is why exactly is that the word used in that way, since the usage sounds strange enough that it seems sort of wrong. But I see it so much in blogs like Derailed by Darry (where the head likes posting things that apparently most consider off the wall), and the spread of popularity in things like traps and genderbends (thank you Shin) seem to be making it commonplace. So, influenced partly at how serious things seem to have gotten on this recent post of Kurogane’s, I decided to ask on IRC what “broken” really means for fun, for silliness and for science(!), managing to get some people to respond to the query. Props to Komidol, Xephfyre (Ci in this transcript), and Lupus (it’s not you). </shameless pimping>
<TheBigN> sat: What does it mean to be broken, really? 😛
<Ci> when 99.99% of your hentai collection is comprised of pillar phallic penises and gore?
<Ci> oh wait you mean blogs >_>
<TheBigN> The term is tossed about so much on, say, Derailed by Darry.
<TheBigN> But still I don’t understand.
<TheBigN> What’s actually “broken?”
<TheBigN> Our sense of gender and it’s roles?
<Ci> over 9000?
<Komidol> Broken has a greater definition than that TheBigN
<Ci> Well, tell that to the legions of the genderbent
<Ci> Like Hayate Genderbent
<Ci> Nagi as a shouta
<TheBigN> Komidol: Explain?
<TheBigN> Maybe I should post that as a question.
<Komidol> I think in an incredibly simple definition, Broken is….Normal > Weird > Broken. There’s a certain ‘norm’ people create within being weird, and broken shatters that.
<Komidol> Good, you can say we were discussing it and link to my blog ^^
<TheBigN> I wouldn’t say that “broken” is the right word if it means “more than weird” or “too weird”.
<Lupus-sol> I think it just meant you’re no longer functioning as a normal human being
<Lupus-sol> literally broken
<Komidol> Or the non-existant definition of human that society has put down.
<TheBigN> And then we get into what’s arbitrarily defined as “normal”.
<TheBigN> Komidol: Explain that?
<Komidol> Society…has set a “norm”. Of course, it’s impossible to define what is actually “normal”, philosophically. But in general, being part of the community we are in, it’s seen as “abnormal”. In the Otaku community, we see alot of abnormal things. But there are somethings most hardcore otaku’s can look at, and be like what the hell. When you get to the point where you actually enjoy that…
<Komidol> …what the hell, whatever it may be, and seek it or create it and spread it, you are “broken”
<TheBigN> So could you simplify that to be “broken” = weird to otaku in their sense of normal?
<Komidol> I think there’s more to it than that.
<Komidol> And it’s one of those things better shown with pictures than words.
<Lupus-sol> except that it’s no longer weird for otakus to like traps – or so I assume from the increasing popularity of those characters
<Komidol> But that’s a simple definition, yes.
<Komidol> That might be an explanation of why gender bending got so popular.
<Komidol> When you’re given an otaku community, these are people who seek being weird. So you’re always going to get people trying to break the limit.
<Ci> No, I just think everyone got tired of the monotony and went nuts.
<TheBigN> I think by denoting people who like that as “broken”, you’re still delineating between “this is what normal otaku think” and “this is what otaku who like traps think”. 😛
<NovaJinx> gais wats goin on
<Ci> thus spawning luluko, kyonko
<Komidol> Ci that explains Kyonko, not really luluko.
<Ci> why are you even debating genderbending in the first place
<TheBigN> Jinx: Being silly.
<TheBigN> Well, not debating, but more like me trying to understand what “broken” means.
<Komidol> I think we all understand what it means, but more trying to put into words.
So the term isn’t an amorphous blob like what I think moé or GAR can be, but it does seem more complicated than I would think it should be. Does anyone else this this sorta consensus works? Is there a better definition? No-one’s losing an eye over it. 😛