Anime 101 – The Trappings Of A Trap

Bring out your notebooks and gender study degrees, it’s time for some Anime 101!

I’ll mostly be talking about this from the perspective of the male anime fandom (being one myself), but female readers, feel free to chip in!

First, let’s talk about the word “trap”. I am aware of the negative connotations that some perceive the word “trap” as. However, and I am being very clear with this, the term “trap” in modern day is not used in the same, derogatory way it was used back then. Other than 4-chan, there are no other sources for the origin of trap being a derogatory term used against trans male-to-female people, at least as far as my own research has told me. Trap is simply the catch-all term used because you’ve been “tricked” into thinking that a male is actually a female, and I don’t think of that as a negative thing at all.

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Does this look negative to you?

The term “trap” today is used more akin to the Japanese word “otokonoko (男の娘 )” meaning “male girl”. Otokonoko does not refer to transgender people, but instead to androgynous males who can dress up and sometimes even act as females extremely convincingly. Being a trap does not necessarily mean you are gay or identify as a woman, but instead just means a person who looks like a girl with almost no clues left to their actual, masculine gender. Their gender identity has nothing to do with it.

Lily is mistakenly referred by some as a trap when that would be incorrect. She genuinely thinks she’s a girl, and therefore acts as a girl should. Traps are different in that regard, because they don’t identify as women in the same way Lily does, if at all.

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Hideri is the quintessential portrayal of an otokonoko.

Hideri, on the other hand, is the quintessential “trap” or “otokonoko”, because he wasn’t shown to swing one way or the other, he simply enjoys dressing up like a girl and being cute. He’s cool with you using whatever pronouns you want, but he himself still uses “boku” to signify that he still thinks of himself as a boy, though a gay one or not is not clear. However, what is clear is that Hideri enjoys “tricking” people out of playfulness, not malice.

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This, however, is pure justice.

The long and short of it is that trap is simply the English version of otokonoko at this point, and otokonoko doesn’t roll of the tongue for English speakers as other famous Japanese words like “tsundere” do.

In this day and age, many words can and have been used to hurt people, but I genuinely believe trap isn’t one of them, any more than calling an effeminate guy “girly” is an insult. It all lies in intent, not the actual meaning, because the actual meaning of words changes as time goes on. Just look at “literally” turning from “things that actually happened” to being used as a word to emphasize how extreme something is. Did you know “cute” actually came from the word “acute”, which meant sharp-witted?

It’s all about intent and how society views words that gives them the power they do. Some words may never be used again in a positive or even neutral light, but I think trap isn’t one of those.

Now, let’s move onto the infamous question that sparked all this debate. Are traps gay?

Short answer: Yep, and that’s really not a problem. Like, at all.

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“But I thought traps weren’t automatically gay, Lumi?”

Long answer to explain myself: Traps themselves are not automatically gay, they can swing whatever way they choose. People who are fans of traps are the same, they can simply be admirers of the aesthetic in the same way male fashion fans love dresses but aren’t gay (though obviously a lot of them probably are to some capacity.). On the other hand, if you are actually attracted to them sexually, that’s pretty gay, or at they very least, bi.

It’s honestly the silliest argument I’ve ever seen on the internet, and says a lot about how many people aren’t yet comfortable in their own skin to literally fight tooth and nail for the right to be straight, not accepting that if you would willingly be sexually attracted to a male, albeit a very pretty and convincingly “female” male, that makes you a little gay because you still accept the dicc as a part of them.

Heck, the way I see it, everybody has a little gay in them. I don’t mean that as an insult, because out of the 7 billion people on this planet, is it really so impossible for you to see a person of the same gender and think “Wow, this person’s hot” despite your own beliefs. At the end of the day, we can like whoever we want to like, as long as it’s between two consenting people of age. Go crazy, it doesn’t matter, we’re all gonna die on space pods on the way to Mars by 2038 anyway, enjoy it!

As a closing statement, here’s a simple flowchart to serve as an alternative to my short answer.

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Until next time!

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17 thoughts on “Anime 101 – The Trappings Of A Trap

  1. I wouldn’t be so sure about Luka being trans. In the first place, the main, possibly only, reason why he wants to be a girl is because he’s in love with Rintaro but knows that he can’t return his feelings because he’s straight. Other than that, he doesn’t seem to have much issue with being a guy (or a girl).

    The anime muddles that quite a bit (probably for simplicity, like many changes), making his motivations unclear, which makes him seem more unambiguously trans. The original VN, however, is pretty ambiguous about that (aside from his attraction to Rintaro).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. I’m an anime-only watcher, so that might explain why I myself viewed it as such. After some more research on the VN side of things, you might be right! I guess I’ll have to change my example there to either Lily from Zombieland Saga or Shuichi from Wandering Son.

      Thanks for the info!

      Like

  2. I’ve graciously avoided traps for a majority of the animes I’ve seen. Whenever I see one I just don’t think about it much. First time I caught off guard by one was Haku from Naruto XD. Never been part of a argument when determining if a character is a trap since they can get pretty heated, and pretty lengthy for something that seems inconsequential to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had seriously never heard of the word “trap” used in that context until reading this article. Maybe I’m sheltered. Haha! The first thing that came to mind was Peppo from Gankutsuou. He looked very convincing as a woman and he’s voiced by a female in both the dub and sub versions. The main character Albert even thought Peppo was a she until he found out later on to his dismay, so that was a case of a trap character even working in-universe for most other characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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