Love this response. The wrestling comparison came up for me as well, although I imagine that it's healthier being a VTuber since there are very clear barriers between the persona and the person.
I also like what you said about a persona giving more space to be genuine. It's difficult of course to tell what's part of a narrative, but there seems to be a theme of VTubers being shy or strange and having difficulty expressing themselves in real life. Pekora is interesting because she constantly talks about how shy she is in real life but on streams she's very expressive and other VTubers comment about how she inhabits her character outside livestreams.
My understanding is that "simp" started out as pimp slang, so profoundly misogynistic is right. Personally, I'm going through a really tough time right now and having a source of fuzzy wholesome content helps a lot. I've never commented on a livestream, but part of being live means they can interact with their audience and a lot of them will ask the chat what they had for breakfast or how they're doing or whatever. Some people genuinely don't have anyone checking in on them, so although it's not a replacement by any means having that support probably stops a few people from going over the edge. That's valuable.