How to Moe
Jessica C. Michaels
Moe (pronounced “mo-eh”) is a quality in a person/anthropomorphized being that evokes feelings of protectiveness, adoration and general heart-fuzziness in the viewer/people around them. As annoying (and creepy) as it can be to have people fawning over you for your cuteness – even if you’re a magical warrior of supreme evil, dammit – it can be highly exploitable. Here is a quick guide to using that patronizing patriarchal pity to your own advantage.
THE MOE LOOK
The typical moe girl/femme looks kawaii, dainty, stereotypically feminine and is modest to some degree. If you look too boldly sexy, people may assume you have sexual agency and boast some degree of independence. Tareme – the large, sleepy, downward-sloping eye shape – is a common moe feature. This allows for innocent eyelash-batting and for quivering puppy-eyes. You can fake it by applying lots of mascara on your lower lashes and using light-coloured eyeliner on your lower lash line. Avoid dramatic winged eyeliner as this is too tsurime and makes your evil unladylike bitchiness rather obvious. Accompany with lots of blusher, so you look perpetually embarrassed. Corals and bright pinks are suitably bashful colours.
Think back to your school days for hair inspiration. Two afro puffs, box-braid pigtails or bantu knots are adorable hairdos. If you’re more inclined to wigs or weaves, wear yours odango-style or in double-braids. You could use bangs to enhance the hypnotic effect of your tareme. While pink frilly dresses and skirts are the standard when it comes to kawaisa, a tomboyish style can work well, too. If you feel this look will further your agenda, adopt a more rascally, childish style as opposed to dapper masculine sophistication; think less 1980’s Grace Jones and more Bu-Ling/Dennis the Menace. Otherwise Sweet Lolita or schoolgirl meganekko are great disguises.
When trying to fool people you anticipate seeing more often, a mere cosmetic veneer of helplessness won’t suffice. You’ll need to employ moe quirks to maintain that illusion. Fake approachability by adopting a minor socially-acceptable flaw. The dojikko is an easy persona for beginners, as this entails little more than falling down, tripping up and dropping things. Combine this with a few ditzy malapropisms and bubbly giggles and your enemies will scramble to help out poor little you.
You don’t need to lose sight of who you are! Adapt your saccharine sugary sweetness to whatever feels most natural. An introverted evil genius might like to employ a meek and shy persona, while a more outgoing mastermind may prefer a boisterous-yet-adorable bubbliness. Most important is to be polite and nice to everybody – or, conversely, if you choose the cutely-socially-awkward brand of moe, to pretend to struggle with basic social interactions. You could stutter, giggle awkwardly or apologize profusely for minor (premeditated) social gaffes. And smile! You’ll be so kawaii! Nobody will suspect that it is, in fact, you, behind the energy sapping/jewel thievery/world takeover/embezzlement scheme!
**Jessica C. Michaels is a freelance writer and illustrator hailing from Cape Town, South Africa. She enjoys magical girl warriors, cartoon ponies, the colour pink, and smashing patriarchy.**