Criticisms of "Do Fans of Cartoon Porn Stars Hate (Real) Women?"


This was originally an email sent to Emma Grey Ellis of WIRED about her February 2020 opinion piece "Do Fans of Cartoon Porn Stars Hate (Real) Women?" (read it on the Wayback machine) I originally came across it while casually reading Melody's Wikipedia page. The subject of the article is about VTuber Projekt Melody and her possibly partially misogynistic fanbase. I felt the article was overly negative, painted Melody and her fans in a bad light (I'm a member of the Science Team, myself), and didn't care about its responsibility of being one of the mainstream's first introductions, and so I wrote her an email; it's included at the footer of the article. Sadly, it seems that her WIRED email no longer works and WIRED's editor still hasn't forwarded it to her, but I was pretty proud of what I wrote, so I'll put it here.

To refresh your memory: DISCLAIMER: I am male, I am left-leaning, I do not use 4chan, and I am a fan of Projekt Melody, even though I don't watch her explicit streams. I still believe the following points are valid despite my biases.

Though her creators are loath to admit it, the Melody character is, of course, a fiction.

and I was given no other option, despite requests to speak to an actual human

The sex part is obvious, but she is also more insistent about her real fakeness, her digital sentience.

Even though Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewett have always been available for comment since the beginning of their virtual band Gorillaz, they've always tried to maintain the illusion of the band's fictional members being in our world through having said characters interact with real people through talk shows, interviews, and Reddit AMAs; having their real-life collaborators become part of the band's storyline; and hiding the live band during their early tours. Fans and music critics have applauded Albarn and Hewett for going out of their way to make the Gorillaz feel like they're here; if you were to write an article about the band tomorrow, would you share the same criticisms as you did with Melody?

After making a few scant comments, Digitrevx seems to be developing a strategy of never really starting. For all the futurism of their products, the people behind the virtual avatars seem to deliberately eschew digital norms.

You never really explain why this irks you nor why this is even a bad thing? Is it wrong that a group of animated characters represent M&M's and Mars Inc. as a whole instead of Grant F. Reid?

It’s transgressive

features girls with tails and hooves having sex with tentacle monsters

It’s also hypersexualized

For an isolated man or teenage boy, especially one who feels rejected by and unattractive to living women, hentai is a thrill.

Some of those men seem to harbor such ill-will toward women that they’d rather masturbate to a glitchy cartoon than try to talk to one.

Is live-action pornography incapable of being transgressive, fantastical, or hypersexualized? I would argue that it is the first and latter 90% of the time and the second about 30-40% of the time. If then, animated pornography isn't all that different from the norm, what is the point? To paint it in a worse light? That may not be your intention, but it certainly comes across that way. I get the feeling that you don't like porn in general, and I would understand why you for the reasons you silently give in your piece. If you answer one question in this email, answer this one: Do you wish porn didn't exist? If porn could never go away, what about it would you want to change? Finally, your views surrounding porn very much come from a heterosexual perspective; do your opinions on porn and how it is a "product of the male gaze" still apply to lesbian and especially gay porn?

I know that there are people who genuinely do use porn in general as a way to cope with their inability to make meaningful relationships with other people and that it is likely very unhealthy. But, you write in such a way that even though you do leave constantly leave disclaimers through the use of adjectives, "some," and "nobody," you paint all fans of Projekt Melody as male, socially isolated freaks of nature that voted for Trump in 2016 and might shoot up your son's school someday; I believe that does Melody and the community she's trying to cultivate a disservice.

I get the vibe that this is an opinion piece, even though it isn't labeled as such (your site does have an "Opinion" topic:; this article definitely is the product of a left-leaning female who harshly dislikes porn. What I'm disappointed in is that you don't openly show and explain your biases to the reader, which would make your writing significantly less negative and make it seem like you hate that Melody even exists. As Wired is a mainstream publication, this very much could've been a reader's first introduction to the VTuber community, and because of how you wrote your article, likely their last. I just feel as if you used the creation of something legitimately interesting to rattle off about how pornography sucks and how it's rotting the minds of our youth, turning them into mass murderers. I hope that when you write an opinion piece again for Wired, you take into account your biases, openly share them with your reader, take the opportunity to question them, and play devil's advocate a little bit. I think there's a time and place for an über-negative article, but I feel it was a bit unnecessary for this topic. I look forward to a possible reply.

From one writer to another,

Kyle Williams