The fiery and immediate popularity of Bowsette is nothing short of amazing. She quite literally blew Azur Lane out of the water. Unlike some ultra-niche ecchi or hentai, Bowsette has been widely embraced by fans. That embrace runs the spectrum from your more flauntingly sexual, but still mostly clothed depictions, to fully pornographic versions depicting a variety of vanilla sexuality and niche fetishes. I’ve seen Bowsette cosplay and crossplay at cons and on the interwebs, and not just by professional gravure cosplayers that make their money catering to the latest fetish.
Most depictions of Bowsette have the proportions of a mythological fertility goddess, the appeal of which goes back many thousands of years. However, while it is fair to say the hypersexual woman is appealing because she always has been, I think it is just a bit too reductionist to say we’re just repeating tried and true sexual art, and the only thing that’s changed since the stone age is the medium. So, let’s go a little deeper.
Nostalgia certainly has been a powerful force of late. The large amount of media presenting nostalgic views of the 80’s could certainly be a strong influence. After all, Mario is a product of the 80’s.
Another possibility is backlash against Anita Sarkeesian. Regardless of your thoughts on her or her opinions, she has a powerful influence on the gaming community. To apply this line of thought, the popularity of Bowsette would have to be interpreted along the lines that the original cartoon depicting her presents the idea that a man in a hypersexualized woman’s body is a better partner than the woman (Peach) rejecting both Mario and Bowser. Though, I expect the adoration for Bowsette would be far more limited if it was simply Anita’s detractors championing the voluptuous koopa mama.
The utter randomness of it all could certainly be a contributing factor. Bowser is probably one of the least sexual game bosses of all time, so applying hyper-sexuality where there was effectively none is just clever in an utterly dumbfounding way. Rule 34 struck hard.
How far have we come?
Look back to 2016 when Shad and Alexa probed Overwatch porn specifically, and video game porn more generally. While the amount of content was equally high, the prevailing opinion was that the appreciation was far less open than we are seeing with Bowsette. This openness is only to our benefit in my opinion. Sexual nuance and degrees of openness vary across cultures, but perhaps the overall trend is towards greater acceptance. America in particular is notorious for nonsensical prudishness about sexuality, though that very puritanical veil has created a massive porn industry catering to our pent-up desires.
Sadly, Tara and Sayako are still stuck in the niche closet, but perhaps not for too much longer. Bowsette has been depicted as a dickgirl, so maybe she’ll help bring them cock-first between the legs of a more sexually receptive public.
As always, escapism is a welcome refuge from the world. Let’s face it, 2018 is a pretty crazy time. Bowsette is an unashamed and welcoming sexual display linking the magic of our youthful memories with the needs of our adult bodies. Such arousing nectar is a powerful comfort when we are surrounded by both real and imagined horrors.