I’ve just entered the Bleach fandom these last few months, new to tumblr and excited to see how many people shared the love of characters that I did. Or what I shipped. What I really didn’t expect was the amount of hate, and degradation of a lot of the female characters, especially Orihime.
It was completely shocking. Using words as “bitch”, “whore”, “slut”, “stupid” as ways to describe her character——-and not just an aspect of it, but as if she were those words. As we all know the definition of a whore, is a prostitute. The definition of a slut is someone who has many casual sexual partners. The definition of stupid means slow, dimwitted, lacking intelligence/ common sense.
Orihime is none of these things. Never has she been in a relationship (that we know of anyway). Never has she ever intentionally seduced men, nor try to persuade them to her bed. (Although the way that Kubo over sexualizes her, and her well endowed assets can be a different topic someday). We ALL know that she’s ranked as one of the best students by merit, which totally opposes the supposed ideal that she’s stupid. Yes, admittedly she can let her imagination run wild. But mostly, that aspect of her is more adorable than something a “stupid” person would do.
A lot of this hate is misogynistic (which means to reflect a hatred/ dislike for women). A lot of the “feminist” stances taken on this character are superficial, shallow and baseless. As a feminist myself, the true meaning of being a feminist is “appreciating/ encompassing all types of women while providing that women should have the same rights, and opportunities as men”. There are different types of people, different types of women. That’s part of what makes the world so great. But also, there are different types of strength.
A lot of the strength that we see in Bleach is one of outright strength. Strong, exceptional fighters, able to take care of themselves and others. Able to hold their own in a fight, and trust that their comrade’s will feel the same way.
The great, and fantastic contrast about Orihime is that she upholds strength of heart, and mind. She is deeply empathetic, often shedding tears for other people rather herself. Which brings around the point that she is selfless, often disregarding herself for the sake of others——a quality that is plainly said, admirable. The fact that she doesn’t make excuses, confronts her fears head on and looks forward in life is extremely amazing. Having to be brought up in an emotionally/ physical abusive home at a young age before her brother took her away and raised her, is nearly traumatizing. The death of her brother——the most important man in her life——must have been, or was probably the most difficult tragedy she had to deal with. But she remained optimistic, dealing with life in an hopeful perspective.
I could go on and on, about even more great qualities about her, but nonetheless she is a strong character. Her strength is often overlooked, undermined, defined as “useless” (regarding her powers, which in any sense is a baseless argument. Her “healing”/ rejection is miraculous.)
And the fact that she’s beautiful really shouldn’t be a catalyst for hate. Having heard that she’s “overrated”, “completely unrealistic”, setting “unreal standards”. Well excuse me, but ALL of the women of Bleach are beautiful in their own ways, many of them heavily endowed as well (i.e: Rangiku). Yes, Kubo does often allude to the fact that her beauty is somewhat transcendent, attractive to many men, and acknowledged by many men. Which shouldn’t be a big deal. But that’s only a facet of who she is. She isn’t hungry for attention of men, nor is she necessarily wanting it.
It’s one thing to dislike a character, which is totally okay. Not everyone is going to like someone and that’s perfectly natural. What is not okay is constantly bashing a character, degrading them, putting them in a narrow-minded ideal and restating countless times how horrible they are. You’d think one would try to promote a character they adored, rather than waste their time on someone’s who’s "just a whore". Hm.
She is an important character in Bleach. Irreplaceable, and valued by a lot of the characters. I would daresay she’s intrinsic to Bleach. I honestly don’t understand why she gets so much hate.
The arguments of anti- orihime are often driven by slut-shaming (which doesn’t even make sense in regard to who she is as a character). Stating and complaining that she said Kurosaki-kun too much (which is understandable. But. At the same time, this was a girl who was kidnapped, emotionally abused and had to watch the man she loves die——barely able to do anything. Her mind was so obviously traumatized, that coherency was barely an option anymore). And finally, the constant reinstatement of how utterly “useless she is”. Well then. All I can say is that I greatly disagree. She has her flaws——every character does—-but her other qualities are wonderful.
She’s not the same Orihime that she was in the beginning. However wonderful then, she is fully capable of taking care of herself and protecting others now. She is still soft-hearted, deeply in touch with her emotions and the emotions of others, but she is progressive. She sees parts of her that she wants to improve and she strives for bettering herself. She has done it.
Coming to a close, all I can say is that I love Orihime. I love many of the women of Bleach. And the magnanimous amount of hate that she gets…..it’s honestly sad.
i’m just gonna slow clap this out cause this was so well written :’)