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Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May14,2024

If you've been hanging around, you've definitely seen this facial expression in a photo at least once. Both eyes rolled upwards, tongue firmly stuck downwards. This facial expression is called ahegao, or ahegao face and has become very popular in recent years. But since then, its probably racist origin has been at the center of numerous tensions. Decryption of the ahegao phenomenon which has its origins in hentai.  

Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

what is ahegao then?

The same ahegao, with the tongue stuck out and the eyes rolled back, has become very popular for a few years now. Several sources agree to say that even if it dates from much longer ago, it is from From 2008 it became trendy with the release of aDoujin(Japanese amateur graphic porn) based on on the ahegao. Since then, many people have taken up the concept, often to ride the trend like the Instagrammer Belle Delphine, who made it her business. Ahegao has also become a symbol of otaku and weeb culture, represented by a series of manga boxes (often hentai) printed on various objects, sweet-shirts , sweater or T-Shirt.

Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

Ahegao in popular culture

Often usedto refer to complete letting go when reaching orgasm, this expression is ;also used in other ways, as a seat, to representa submission of the woman, drooling, tongue out, in front of the object of her desire located in front of her. above her. Although extremely exaggerated, it remains more erotic than pornographic, since no sexual organs are shown.

If I had a penny for every person with an ahegao t-shirt that I came across? today I will have 2 cents, which isn't a lot but it's weird that I have that much

April 1, 2021

Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

origins of L’ Ahegao 

Ifthe sources are difficult to access; obtain and agrave; quantify, we find traces of the ahegao from the 1980s. Many give to the Japanese artist Suehiro Maruo the authorship of of ahegao since his workof erotic horror “The Girl with the Camélias, in which we find traces of Ahegao about a twelve-year-old girl sexually abused by those close to her. The artist was very often acclaimed for the accuracy of his style andthe hardness of his style. with which he describes the horror. Even Moebius, a French artist, recognized his talent.

Suehiro Maruo as for his talent. he draws a lot of inspiration from Yoshitoshi'sMuzan-e. A collection of Japanese works, often paintings or woodcuts dating from the late Edo and Meiji periods. It describes scenes of absurd torture. They are often presented as the first traces of theEro Guro, i.e. erotic-grotesque movement. A form of subversive art that seeks to find eroticism in images of violence and mutilation.

Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

Ahegao: a problematic trend?

And that’s precisely where it is. the problem. For some Internet users, Ahegao would be an integral part of the culture of rape and the fetishism of Asian teenagers. It would be an element of fantasy of the racist West towards Asia. Many young Asian women would find themselves forced to make this face by their partner. Ahegao would reinforce the stereotype of the submissive Asian woman, easily manipulated and who wants/desires punishment or abusive treatment.

Of course, the ahegao in itself does not justify aggression against another person. But the overconsumption of porn, and therefore of hentai is often pointed out. Like any other position, this must be done with the agreement of the spouse. Oh, and a little reminder: porn is not a reflection of reality, it doesn't hurt.

Ahegao, a symbol of sexual liberation 

If ahegao can be a problematic tendency as we have seen above, it can, to a greater extent, be a problematic tendency. the opposite, sometimes being synonymous with sexual liberation. Indeed, it can be perceived as an act of rebellion in the face of violence. a company sometimes too castrating in terms of sexuality. Often criticized for her sexuality “too” unbridled some people see in ahegao a way to abolish taboos and to show that their sexuality is is not shameful. The aheago is thus often represented as a in the world of cosplay in order to provoke and transgress certain rules. 

The influence of celebrities and personalities s on popularity of Ahegao

The ahegao has also been, if not popularized, but at least relayed by others. by certain personalities, particularly from the Internet. We can notably cite Belle Delphine (Mary-Belle Kirschner in real life) who reproduced this gesture from hentai culture on numerous Instagram posts. The TikTok platform, just like Instagram, also has many ahegao fans who do not hesitate to share their content. reproduce this face from hentai to generate likes and comments.

The impact of ahegao on fashion

The ahegao, after having influenced the social networks, has logically extended to other fields, including fashion. Thus, in South Korea, we were able to find an image of the hentai artist Hirame, representing an “ahegao face”, on numerous fashion accessories: handbags, handbags, handbags, handbags, handbags, and handbags. hands, phone cases, cushions… Clothing lines have also appeared, using the same ahegao symbol on t-shirts or sweatshirts. Closer to home, we can cite representations of the hentai Danke Dankei Revolution, insights into clothes sold in Europe. Conversely, the United States seems to have less appreciated this clothing trend since in January 2020, the country banned the wearing of clothing representing ahegao in anime conventions held on American territory.

Ahegao, testimony of a victim of fantasies

We would like to end this article with the testimony of a young Asian Internet user, victim of fantasies around ahegao.

Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

TW (trigger Warning): Ahegao, abuse, pedophilia, rape, child molestation


I keep getting mentioned to explain ahegao and it makes me sick. So here is a thread on how ahegao affects Asian people in the real world and why as soon as I see it it awakens my trauma.

Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

Ahegao has its roots in a Japanese anime that shows a child being raped. There is already lots of thread on it, that's not what I want to talk about today.  This thread is for you to understand why this is harmful.

The fetishization and sexualization of Asian people is deeply rooted. I have suffered it all my life. As a child in school uniform, I was exposed to a lot of pressure. constantly sexualized. I matched the cliché; popular asian schoolgirl video.

The increase in popularity Anime, manga and hentai only accentuated this problem on me as a minor. When I was 15, I started studying. à Being groomed [pedopied] by a man. He was white and racist. He told me he would never want non-white children to protect the race.

Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

He called me his “yellow princess.” He was a big fan of anime, hentai, lolicon and child pornography. He had spoken to me of his desire to give me a lolicon tattoo when I am old enough. This man paedopie and abused me until I was dead. that he goes to prison.

I have no doubt that his obsession with hentai and lolicons played a role. an important role in this sexual abuse. I was her vision of the Asian schoolgirl. Ahegao was not yet popular in China. at the time, but I knew it was that head over there. what he wanted me to do. Because it played on his desire.

Ahegao: behind the meme, a problematic story

So when we say that ahegao is racist, that &ccedil ;it hurts us and sexualizes us, it is not based on about nothing at all. It is based on on facts and this vision hurts us. The fetishization of Asian people leads to our sexual abuse. À our rapes. À what pedophiles attack? us.

And every time you mention me to explain this to you. someone, I remember this abuse. Every time I see a non-Asian person make that face reminds me of that. And I'm constantly reminded that cartoon depictions of Asian people matter bigger than just ourselves

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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