Mainstream society is pretty disturbed by the idea of owning a dakimakura., and using 2D love as an emotional surrogate. And sure, some social problems might be there, even if it’s more a symptom than a cause. But there are a lot of things society considers completely normal that, upon reflection, sound just as problematic. For example, what about owning a pet for companionship? I’d rather use a 2D character than enslave a living, feeling being for my emotional needs.
This thought came to me from an old married couple I know. They’ve been together 50 years now and their marriage is, basically, loveless. A few years back, the wife got a pet cat…and these days, she’s actually said she loves it more than her husband. She even talks to it, and imagines it has more intelligent and emotional agency than a cat could ever have. Of course, this is an extreme case, but even people with dakimakura don’t think their pillows can actually comprehend human language. Just like with a dakimakura, it’s a self-serving relationship, where an object is invested with imagined qualities. But pets, unlike a dakimakura, are not objects.
I’ve always considered the idea of owning pets a bit odd. People enslave living beings for life, purely for the sake of their amusement or emotional fulfillment. Since it’s a self-serving relationship, a lot of pets end up under-stimulated, neglected, or outright abandoned. That cat from before is an outside cat, but now he’s always kept in the house so he doesn’t run away. A dakimakura, of course, doesn’t care if it sits in the closet all day while you’re at work. But when people get pets, some animals will end up the same situation. Not all, and maybe not many, but far more than should be. Still, society will give your dakimakura a disgusted look, and won’t bat their eyes at owning a pet. But if you’re easing your loneliness through some surrogate, isn’t owning a dakimakura a much less selfish, and possibly more ethical, way?
* Of course, the situation is different if you’re adopting a pet from a shelter…which you absolutely should if you are getting a pet. Though shelters are becoming more popular than stores/breeders, there are still over 5 million pets entering shelters every year. In shelters, 5 out of 10 dogs and 7 out of 10 cats are killed because there’s not enough people to adopt them. (ASPCA)
** By the way, the dakimakura in the opening image are my own. Class, right?