Webcomic Sinfest Discussion

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07:55:24 PM Jul 21st 2015
The forum is so hard to join...
09:18:49 AM Apr 8th 2014
YMMV Discussion

I'm not sure if this really has to do with anything, but...

I actually don't see why people are against Tat's point of view so much. :O

Maybe it's because despite the dramatic/tragic or heartwarming moments despite all of the comedy, it still seems to be a comedy overall so it's hard to take his feminist views seriously, but I like the webcomic a lot still. o.O

Heck, I even made an album of about 150 or so favorite strips out of the 15 years or so it's run, and I have to say I fairly like the new strips more than the old ones. It's genuinely more interesting now, even it supposedly "Tastes like Diabetes" every now and then. XD

Heck, I even read the past few week's forum boards on the Sinfest site and I can't say I'm pleased by the fans. :p

I don't know, maybe I agree with him because I'm part Japanese? Heh...
07:07:28 AM Jul 7th 2014
It's less his view and more what he has done with the strip. The biggest reason is that the characters were derailed from how they were. They started out humorous caraictures before developing into more complex and well-rounded people. They have now been de-railed into 2-D characters but it's not even humorous anymore. The second reason has to do with the shift in tone. Sinfest has always struck to be like a lite version of South Park. It didn't take itself seriously and jabbed at alot of things. As the series matured, it grew lighter and softer and it wasn't a bad thing by any means. The strip became more enjoyable and things more complex. Even during the liberal political trips, they were still mildly funny. Now, we have the strips rarely be humorous with the 'heroic' characters not being likeable and the strip being very preachy of second-wave feminism (or possibly a twisted parody of it). Lastly, it's Tat himself. Any critisim, valuable or otherwise, is shrugged with accusations of being sexist and so on. He's mocked this and the audience being loyal despite the distaste in direction in the strip.

Overall, he has let his view influence his writing for the worse, he is failing to accept legitimate criticism and the strip is overall not that pleasant to read anymore.
01:43:06 PM Jan 22nd 2014
Would Crackfic apply to this strip: http://sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4257

In it, Baby Blue is putting the moves on Jesus, and Seymour denounces it as "SO not canon!"
02:23:35 PM Jan 22nd 2014
... eh, doesn't strike me as crack-ey.
07:34:17 PM Apr 9th 2014
Why not? It's Jesus and a devil girl, which are practically two opposites coming together, and the love is supposed to be considered forbidden. XD

It may not be all that crazy, but I think it makes sense that it could count as Crack Shipping. ^^;

Why, is there a trope for that and you think this example belongs there as an in-universe thing?

Well, maybe it does. :p
06:15:10 AM Jan 5th 2014
How can we best characterize the 1/05/14 comic? Why Am I Ticking? for Weaponized Fembot, and Heroic Sacrifice for Cool Old Guy "2013"? (Knowing Weapon F's about to go boom, he soars up into the skies on the Reaper's floating ride with her. When the timer's up, out come fireworks in 2013's Dying Momentof Awesome.)
06:14:11 PM Nov 16th 2013
Anyone notice that there has been problems with the website?
11:42:31 AM Nov 17th 2013
Yeah, I was wondering too. Maybe whatever real-life problem Tat had or has have finaly caught up with him. I'm kinda sad that the archive is gone too, though.
08:14:44 AM Jun 23rd 2014
edited by
The website isn't down; it just got restructured. The archives are now located at http://sinfest.net/archiveb.php.
01:07:14 PM Nov 3rd 2013
The lines in panels 8-9 of today's strip, particularly "X is best Y", seem to be a reference to something, but I can't tell what. Any theories?
07:37:31 PM Apr 9th 2014
You mean the reference to a nerd like Milton referencing himself as handsome and cool and hot girls should date him?

That sort of sounds familiar too... hmm...

Maybe Garfield with someone like Jon? o.O

I don't know. ^^;
06:02:12 AM Jun 13th 2013
Anyone else greatly disturbed by the concept of thongs for tweens? (Kids 10-12 years of age...)
01:00:36 PM Nov 3rd 2013
It's probably supposed to be disturbing, but by way of wordplay. Apparently, tween can mean either "ages 8-12" or "twentysomething"
09:08:12 AM Apr 8th 2014
Well, Absinthe is a devil girl. Even a cute girl like her probably has a good reason for saying something along those lines.

I wonder how in the world someone as nice as her even got a job working for the devil booth?

Apparently, the devil at least finds her butt jiggling to be adequate. :p
06:26:42 PM Jun 1st 2013
I want to add an example of this webcomic (which is by far my favourite one) for the page of Four Temperament ensemble, and maybe Four philosophy ensemble, because i think the characters correspond very much to the temperaments description For the main cast: Slick as the plegmathic since he is calm and laid-back and doesnt get mad easily, and for the philosophy i see him as a cynic seeing his views of the world and conversations with God Monique is choleric ,very passionate, a tsundere..., and for the philosophy, she was the optimist (before xanthe changed her view to Cynic) judging by the comics "i tame you" "no one evers gonna change my mood" and many others (like the one she fights her sickness) Criminy... i dont know but he seems melancholic or leukine to me, but im pretty sure he has shown he is the realist when it comes to philosophy Squig is very much the sanguine, friendly, extroverted, fun loving, and since he is a slacker and doesnt react much, he could be an apathetic too. (note that im not sure if the examples fit them) for the divine beings (just the philosophy)

Buddha as the optimistic The Devil/Big Evil as the Cynic Jesus as the realist The Dragon and God as the Apathetic

And philosophy too but for the feminists:

Nana (yes, im counting her) : Optimistic Xanthe and purple feminist: Cynics Curly: Realist Tess: mildy apathetic Brown feminist: conflcited????

Aaaand back to both temperament and philosophy for the devil girls

Fuchsia: Choleric, passionate and easily angered , for the philosophy ...conflicted Baby blue: Pleghmatci and realist Tangerine: Sangoleric and aṕathetic Absinthe: Sanguine and Optimistic saphire: Melancholic and cynic

09:14:27 AM Apr 8th 2014
This is good, but shouldn't Baby Blue be a Conflicted in a way? I get Fuschia too, but like... let's see here...

Fuschia tried to pick being in love with Criminy over being a devil girl, but for a short time she had post traumatic stress and felt bad for being abused by Seymour. :( I don't quite remember how that got solved out. o.O

And as for Baby Blue... She at least was wondering at first if she follow The Devil's orders and bring Fuschia back to him, kill Criminy, or just let Fuschia be to let her friend be happy...

That comic strip around the end of March 2014 about a week ago was really sad. :(

But yeah, I don't know, I guess the temperaments fit well enough though. :p

So, technically Monique and Fuschia have the same temperament then, huh? Hmm... I can see that. :p
08:11:26 PM May 12th 2013
Been a while since the dragon's been around. That makes me happy.
09:21:11 PM May 13th 2013
Agreed, quite happy to see the dragon again
04:38:26 AM May 5th 2013
The stated reason for cutlisting this is not all all a valid reason for cutting a work.
04:41:23 AM May 5th 2013
Agreed. Just because something changes it's tone to something you don't like isn't a valid reason. Needs to be dropped from the cutlist.
07:07:37 AM May 5th 2013
edited by
If you're worried about everyone repeatedly making inaccurate edits because of how charged it is, maybe that's cause for locking the page, but certainly not cutting it.
06:54:36 PM May 5th 2013
Bad cut reason is bad. Bad troper needs a spanking.
06:56:14 PM May 5th 2013
Even then I disagree with locking it. Unless there are rampant edit wars going on that we don't know about, leave the page be, and just correct any inaccuracies that show up.
08:22:23 PM May 5th 2013
Did some checking out of the situation. As far as I know, here's the scenario:

1. The once relatively united Sin Fest fandom has basically erupted into a civil war between the Xanthe Supporters and Xanthe Haters ever since the Sisterhood arc began.

2. There are some edit wars going on, namely in the YMMV section. Most of the chopping is being done by Xanthe Supporters (also the ones who placed Sin Fest on the cutlist to begin with) with Xanthe Haters trying to rebuild.
08:27:08 PM May 5th 2013
I do think the Xanthe Haters frequently overstate issues or find things where there aren't, getting to Ron the Death Eater levels.

I fully acknowledge she's grating and wish she'd go away, but they go too far with their vitriol.
08:32:07 PM May 5th 2013
edited by
I'd say part of the problem on the Hater side is a dosage of paranoia, due to Xanthe leaving such a terrible taste in their mouths. It is an understandable perspective. Also, Xanthe's case is not being helped by her fan base and Tats. Her fans have a reputation for being very condescending, hostile, and aggressive towards any criticism of her. Tats contributes to this by dedicating strips to personal attacks against critics of both her and her arc.

Seems the YMMV page also has problems with users (namely Xanthe Supporters) removing things because they disagree with the opinion. There seem to be two prime offenders (one of which was responsible for the attempted cutlist). Recently tried to use Natter as a justification, even though there was no "conversation" but rather explaning why it counts.
07:52:35 AM May 4th 2013
I'm not touching today's BDSM comic with a 12 foot pole...
03:44:36 PM Jan 14th 2013
01:25:18 PM Jan 20th 2013
Charon is the ferryman who brings the souls of the dead across the river Styx. If you've ever heard of the tradition where people put coins on the eyes of dead people, it's meant to pay him the fare for the boat ride.
01:47:46 PM Jan 25th 2013
Oh, right. The Grim Reaper and Greek mythology. Strikes me as odd, but given that it's Sinfest... Makes sense. Thanks.
03:56:06 AM Oct 7th 2012
I kind of want to analyze the whole thing with Trike Girl/The Sisterhood in this, comments are appreciated as I'd like other perspectives here. I've been reading the comic for quite a while and the whole sisterhood arc has been...odd for me. I need to stress from the beginning that all that's written here are my assumptions and opinions, I could be very wrong about intentions and welcome debate. What bothers me about her isn't that she's a 'feminazi' or anything like that because I don't think she is really, but what she actually seems like is something closer to what the negative stereotype of a feminist would be. She tends to be fairly hostile towards most of the male characters and while she wasn't the one at the 'turn in your porn' booth they were part of the same group and the idea of 'sex negative' etc. did seem to link to that.

The thing about the character is well, that she almost isn't a character. She's an entity. What I mean is this, reading the comics I can hear a voice for Slick, for Monique, for Squig, for Seymour, for the Devil, Fushia, Criminy, Blue, God the Devil and Jesus, I can hear one for Lil'E and Pebbles/Tangerine/whatever we want to call her. For the Trike Girl (sometimes called glossy on the forums) I don't really know what her voice is. Not because she doesn't speak but because..well she doesn't seem to have a personality per se. We see her acting and being acted on, but I can't say that she really has a personality. Her tone is flat, she ends up feeling cardboard, all the action sequences and her various grand victories don't really change the fact that she feels like a homonculus amidst real people.

The problem I think is that he seems to have pushed heavily for the big directional change around when he introduced her, at least introduced her to the degree she's here now I don't remember when we saw her and others trying to 'feminize' Seymour. Her first action is to call Slick out for his ogling and wolf whistle, and when Slick tried to defend himself she cuts him off with 'No Mansplaining' which for one sounded pretty damn rude and for another...well it was kind of weird. Since that point she basically caused massive shakeups among the cast, mostly in Monique but also in changing the dynamics for the devil.

The bit with Monique bothered me as well, but for different reasons, she gives Monique 'the pill' and suddenly she sees the patriarchy matrix. The idea itself actually was kind of intriguing and some of the developments he did with it since were pretty good. But there were a couple issues again, Monique changing her style (the new haircut, clothing, etc) was a bit jarring, but then again she had been more or less the same for a long period so it might have been more that than a reaction against what the change was. But as several people pointed out in earlier strips Seymour demonized Monique for dressing the way she did saying she did the devils work, etc. He was shown to be narrow minded and wrong, whereas apparently Trike girl saying that Monique was a collaborator with the patriarchy, well that's right and accurate.

Getting back to what I said before, I think Tatsuya had been playing with the idea of this story for a while now, during the 2008 election he got a bit more overtly political and maybe this was a bigger part of it. The problem was that for better and worse I think the feminist arc, and the ideas he's trying to communicate, end up being tied to Trike Girl, and that makes a problem. If Trike Girl is shown to be wrong, overzealous, etc. then I think there's this fear that the message or idea would be discredited too. I have a similar problem when you see people making arguments against them and it either gets dismissed as 'mansplaining' or in the case where Squig was arguing with the 'get rid of your porn' guy and brought up relevant things like the first amendment (in which obscenity cases have been thrown against more than just what would be seen as pornographic), what one would constitute porn as (given that a nude painting like Turkish Bath could either be seen as pornographic or an artwork), etc. you end up with him being said to be 'bloviating' and essentially just making excuses. This kind of thinking shows a 'I am right, you are wrong, and you are stupid for thinking this' mindset, and I kind of wonder if that's coming through on Trike Girl and some of the other feminist arcs.

I need to say that I don't think Trike Girl is a mary sue exactly, but I do think that she's a case of a decent idea very poorly executed. She was supposed to help bring in the new arc, give him a new character that he could use to explore some of the other characters with and maybe provide avenues for growth. Instead...she ends up being the head or at least face for the sisterhood movement that battles the devil and the patriarchy and she is shown as this nigh unbeatable badass. She stares down the devil, is sought out when another world needs heroes or justice, she can outfly and outfight the devilcorp drones...and she gets complimented on how badass she is by the gay gentlemen that before this was, I believe, complimenting Slick on his hot dog eating technique a ways back.

A lot of Tatsuyas stuff on the patriarchy ended up with some decent parts in it, the dudebro factory was pretty good. Not to mention that some of the stuff exploring the patriarchy as the subconscious messages of society, even exploring how that affected both genders was pretty interesting. He even did a strip where he apparently tried to say that he was divorcing himself from his old work, or maybe trying to make up for it...and if that's the case then I have to hope that this is him being unused to trying more overt message story arcs.

I guess part of why this bothers me so much thinking on it now is that before the sisterhood mega arc we had a LARGE number of character development parts. We still see some of them during the sisterhood arc. We saw Slick trapped in hell and regain his will to live because of his friends, we saw Criminy dig his way into hell to rescue Fuschia. And maybe more than that, we saw Fushia hold the hands of the damned souls and try to give them peace, we saw Squig explore and adventure. Hell, one thing that I am enjoying is the stuff with Lil'E and the rediscovery of self...or growth to something new. But again, I can't tell you Trike Girls fundamental character, I can't even tell you that I think she necessarily HAS one.

It feels like Tatsuya very much wants the people reading the strip to like her, or at least think she's cool, so we see the big action sequences and the commentary from other characters. I don't know, there are also other issues I have with the patriarchy arc in general but this is more a discussion and analysis on trike girl. I apologize for the rambling, and any thoughts would help.

01:57:05 PM Jan 20th 2013
edited by PurpleAlert
The thing to remember about Glossy/Trike Girl is that she wasn't introduced to settle in nicely with the rest of the cast. Tatsuya wanted to make major changes with the way he presents his material, and Trike Girl was his vehicle to make that happen. Complaining that she doesn't fit in and is the center of so much change is like complaining that water is wet. That is what she was made to do. I'm not sure why Tatsuya is still giving her as much focus as he is, but the Trike Girl dead horse has been flogged into ribbons by now; I'm gonna try to keep this brief.

Regarding the "No Mansplaining" thing, I get the impression that you've never been mansplained at (correct me if I'm wrong, by all means!). Cutting someone off before they do it is the only way to stop it. Think about it, what else would Slick have done? Because he certainly isn't going to stop and say, 'You know, you're right, I don't have the right to openly pass judgment on a woman according to how sexually attractive I think she is!'. The only thing he could have responded with would be things like "It's a compliment, what's your problem?" Yes, it's rude, but it's necessary if you want to stop that kind of behavior... and that is, for good or evil, what Glossy wants to do. I don't know why people look at Glossy and can't see where her fundamental character is, because that IS her fundamental character: she's made her brand of feminism her work, and she is a workaholic, with little or no social graces because she's so dedicated to protecting and uplifting women and girls that she won't compromise her presentation in order to get her message across to men: in other words, she is a strongly-motivated, but densely flawed, third-wave feminist. Glossy has tons of personality, but she's a one-trick pony, and she rarely has serious dialogue.

Same goes for Squig at the porn booth. Squig brings up the First Amendment and the right of the individual to decide for themselves what is and isn't obscene, but none of those things addresses Curly's point: porn harms. Nothing about the First Amendment will change the fact that pornography causes harm, but Squig can make those excuses because he's only concerned with his own enjoyment of porn, not the effect that porn has on society.

That's all I got.


No, nevermind, I got one more.

I think the Trike Girl hate comes from the fact that other characters don't get to argue against her in any significant way. And there's a reason for that: there is no argument against her, except the kind of bullshit that feminism often comes up against in real life. That's why the arguments that people WOULD be having with her appear in the form of the Patriarchy Matrix.

People don't like Trike Girl because she's the vehicle for Tatsuya's changes; the idea that Sinfest used to be much, much more sexist never crosses people's minds, and it certainly never crosses their minds that sexism, in the author's mind, is bad. Trike Girl is a champion of women for women, but that's a character flaw for her; we don't see her doing anything but her job (and she's very unique in the cast because she HAS one).

But look a little closer at the changes that are taking place in Trike Girl's wake without her actually being involved: the dichotomy of Slick versus Sleaze, for instance, and Slick's nightmarish journey into the mirror world. That has nothing to do with Trike Girl, but Tats' gradual migration away from the early days of the comic (where Monique and Slick are both equally egregious sexist caricatures) to evolve the world of Sinfest into something more mature (where Monique is learning to value things about herself other than her ass, Slick is learning that his behavior has warped his inner self, and they're both learning that the way they treat the opposite sex is wrong). Trike Girl's cold-fury feminism is never treated as the right approach, it's treated as the only approach that works. Glossy got through to Monique, who's gotten through to Fuchsia and her little fangirl, but Curly hasn't reached anyone yet (that I can recall, anyway).
09:25:00 PM Jan 26th 2013
To answer the first point, no I have never been 'mansplained' to, I had never even heard of the word before that comic. I tried looking it up and it only confused the matter further, Slick didn't seem to be condescending or trying to assert dominance over Xanthe. I had actually thought at first that she was supposed to be some kind of feminist caricature, a kind of counterpart to Seymour with his religious zealotry. Instead she gets treated as being universally right, and is constantly complimented and cheered on by various support characters.

The problem is that if it's the 'only approach that works' then it would have to be the right approach by default which is again part of the problem. I get that she might not have been meant to mesh with the main cast, but as it's going it feels like she's kind of dominating things, or at least is a major source of radical character shifts, to the point where were this a fanfic she'd be called a black hole sue.

I also have a problem with the whole porn harms thing, at least in terms of assuming facts not in evidence. The idea that pornography is inherently bad and harmful always bothered me in part because it seems like a good way to make people ashamed of sexuality which is a good method of oppression and guilt that helps religion strangle society. I get that Tatsuya is trying to grow and distance himself from his work, the thing is that you can see those changes in the evolution of the stories and the way the characers act and interact, it almost seems to be more that he's doing this as a kind of overcompensation.

I would also point out that if he wants to go after sacred cows and all that, why not have Xanthe (as we now know her name) confront God over the patriarchal aspects of religion. Faiths that shackle women, treat them as inferior, why not actually confront that stuff instead of say her treating Seymour in a way that's rather similar to how Seymour treated Fuschia, in a similar scenario too where both (Seymour and Fuschia respectively) were undergoing character growth. Seymours actions were more severe, yes, but again part of the problem is that in the comics Xanthe is shown to always be right.

It isn't even that she takes the right positions, it's that it almost feels like reality shifts to make her correct, or at least the positions that she and the sisterhood stand for. The pornocutioner thing was another good example, I actually know a few people in very loving S&M relationships, committed and loving, but the comic seemed to try to equate that to snuff films and torture porn. It felt like a lot of the religious hysteria stuff against various types of music during the 50s-60s.

I'm willing to admit that maybe I am wrong in this or that I'm biased. But as I said, this is kind of a problem that I see with it.
09:47:14 PM Jan 28th 2013
edited by PurpleAlert
Mansplaining is the art of explaining something in a condescending way, usually to someone who already knows what they're talking about. Either sex can do it, but it's called mansplaining because it's essentially a means of dominating another person in conversation. The word tends to get used in feminist circles to describe men who, when told their behavior is inappropriate, make excuses for why it totally isn't. If you've ever heard the phrase "rape apology", that's the extreme end of what mansplaining is.

I do want to point something out, though: yes, Xanthe is treated as right because she is right. Reality does not shift to make her correct, outside of the actual meta-reality of Tats' new approach. She thinks women should be equal to men and not be subject to the indoctrination of the Patriarchy, which does exist, and is evil. What is there to argue about that? She isn't out to oppress anyone, she's out to liberate women. She is thus far the only character besides the two angels whose goals are both positive and focus on a large number of characters, she just happens to be much more strongly motivated than they are.

Yes, porn is harmful. That is not a matter for debate, it's a fact, and you can look up words like "pornification" for a better explanation than I'm about to give. It's not because sex is bad, but because pornography, which relies solely on sex to sell its properties and licenses, informs a lot of marketing decisions for things that have nothing to do with sex (or shouldn't), and it centers on using women's bodies essentially as advertising. Porn Harms, but for a character like Slick, the only way he can imagine porn harming anyone (because he likes porn, it doesn't affect him negatively in any way, so of course it couldn't be harmful at all) is through the Pornocutioner. It's caricature, since it's the Sisterhood, even if they make the cartoony caricature jokes, their cause is inarguably right (and it is, because gender equality is only bad if you're a complete neanderthal.. or if you're accustomed to your own gender having all the power and extending that power to you and don't want to see that change) and somehow that means they're not funny and everything they say and do has to be taken as gospel and dissected.

I am so sick of this argument, because it's impossible to please anyone when it comes to the Sisterhood (unless you're already a feminist; everyone I know who's ever read Rape Culture 101 loves it). When she was a fundie caricature (like Seymour) denying cookies to and slapping the hands of male characters, she was a misandrist hypocrite; now that she focuses solely on building up women, she's a Black Hole Sue. And the irony of it all is that this exact discussion has been had against real feminists for the exact same bullshit reasons.

10:33:16 PM Jan 29th 2013
Core problems with Xanthe's existance in this strip (the type of name one would expect a Mary Sue to have):

1. Flat Character. Her one and only thing in this strip is radical feminism (the authors of the books she gave Criminy are VERY radical), making her a one dimensional character. Zero character development. I've seen more three dimensional characterization out of the 3rd Edition Necron Codex. That rendition is notorious for being one of the most boring, 1D bits of story and fluff in any game.

2. Humor black hole. Xanthe embodies the bogus dichotemy between empowered and fun. The idea that it is impossible for a woman to be both empowered and fun/funny is full of shit. Mion Sonozaki certainly serves as proof that the argument is inherently false. Xanthe also represents that "it's forbidden to play gender rights as anything but uber serious", which again, for any reasonably competent writer is hog wash. There is nothing wrong with trying to educate people about gender issues via the use of comedy. Seriously, watch the "Working Girl" episode of Dinosaurs. It is a hilarious satire of "The Patriarchy" that depicts "The Patriarchy" as an idiotic "good ol boys club" that spews a bunch of crap out of their mouths.

If it were me, I'd take the comedy approach South Park style, with loads of impartial but acid-tongued satire directed at idiots, radicals, and d-bags on BOTH sides, with the Only Sane Man stuck in the middle with a sensical moderate view. Then bring out the "troll face" as said butt-hurt targets squirm and writhe.
09:22:43 AM Jan 30th 2013
1. Character development takes time. Xanthe hasn't had any plots of her own yet, she's just been the face of the Sisterhood. How long did it take her to even get a name, as opposed to say, how long it took Monique and Slick to show signs of being anything deeper than what they appeared at face value?

2. Sinfest is not just a humor comic anymore. FFS, how long is it going to take you people to realize that? He doesn't think feminism and patriarchy are funny, therefore in his comic, they are not, and again, it's impossible to have an impartial view of a debate when one side is clearly evil and the other side is reactionary to it. The people who bitch and moan about how Tats doesn't criticize feminism don't seem to realize that feminism is inarguably a good thing. Where is the downside to gender equality? Why is it wrong to encourage women to value themselves outside of their sexuality? Why is it wrong to show men that using women for status is hollow and ultimately damaging to themselves? The Patriarchy/Sisterhood plot has been forcing the cogs of every other character's development to move where they might otherwise have been stagnant, and that is also good. Just because it isn't funny doesn't mean it's bad. You are old enough to understand the moral of a story without having to be entertained with a puppet show first.

It's nice that you think you can do it better, but if you can, it's time to shut up about how much Xanthe sucks, and to put your artwork where your mouth is. Tats is under no obligation to please anybody; if you don't like the changes he's made, feel free to move on, or at least come up with new material that isn't the tone argument.
01:30:16 PM Jan 30th 2013
I agree with gender equality being a good thing, I agree that the gender constructs can hurt us more than harm us. I disagree with the idea of porn harming universally but I am willing to concede your point on pornification IE using sex to sell concepts and ideas and thus reinforcing a patriarchal system. I do wonder though, as said before, when Glossy is going to say attack religion for locking these ideas into people as well and claiming a divine mandate for them.

As for forced development...with Squig I'm not seeing much of it and for Slick..it almost seems like it reset him. Slick was showing growth and advancement before the arc started but then it seemed to get either sidetracked or pushed backwards for him to make that ground again.

Also, I will make the comment that I thank you for trying to answer my questions and giving me some perspective.
02:02:55 PM Jan 30th 2013
1. The point is that 1.5 years is plenty of time for Character Development. Xanthe within that copious amount of time has had zero development.

2. What the argument summary seems to boil down to is "If you don't like Xanthe and the Sisterhood, then you oppose gender rights, thus are a chauvinist." Classic "Strawman" tactic.

"You are old enough to understand the moral of a story without having to be entertained with a puppet show first." is an adhoc insulting the intelligence of the opposing side.

Also, what is the point of satire? Simple. "The objective of satire is to EXPOSE and MOCK something that is wrong for the purpose of making the viewer think and BRING CHANGE to the problem." Your argument misses out on a fundamental truth. "Well written comedy can be a very effective method of making the viewer think about the important issues" South Park and its style of comedy serves as evidence of this truth.

"Tone Argument" may be a logic fallacy, but it DOES present a valid point. "Being abrasive and obnoxious about it is a poor tactic for persuasion." Tone argument is arguably a central component of why the Knight Templar and Well-Intentioned Extremist are seen as bad guys, despite whatever legitimately noble causes they might serve. This is VERY important for a topic such as important as gender rights.

Why would I have the moderate voice Only Sane Man as the hero and mock the radi-fems/d-bags like I would mock "The Patriarchy"? It is NOT about oppressing gender rights. Quite the opposite actually. "The point of mocking the radi-fems is because the truly wise know that Knight Templar and Well-Intentioned Extremist types are bad. Their extreme agenda inevitably tarnishes the good name of the cause and alienates people from your point of view, no matter how noble (albiet with a really bad approach) their intentions are." That is one of but many reasons why I can't stand that little Mary Sue.
02:45:51 PM Jan 30th 2013
1. She also hasn't had any strips that focus solely on her outside her role as a Sisterhood operative; the amount of time she's been in the comic isn't the same as the amount of appearances she's had, or the amount of time her focus has been on her as a character. Again, she's a vehicle for change, not a fully-fleshed out character yet, and complaining that she's a Mary Sue isn't a fair judgment.

2. Nice try, but no. Xanthe and the Sisterhood are not feminism as a philsophy/political movement, but thus far, the only consistent argument against Xanthe is that she isn't fun, therefore, she's a flat Mary Sue and the comic would be better off without her. She isn't fun because she's the face of feminism in Sinfest, and the author doesn't think feminism is something to laugh at; yes, humor is good for getting messages across, but not when it makes you laugh at the thing you're supposed to sympathize with. I admit that Tats' approach right now is just preaching to the choir, but enough people laugh at feminism in the real world as it is; I, for one, will take what I can get, and appreciate that he's trying to get his comic to take a step toward the more serious and dramatic instead of continuing to hurt his own creative expression just to please people who will not be happy with anything he does unless he goes back to having Monique ask thought provoking questions like "My ass?".

As to your ideas, you're just shooting for another fallacy, this time, the Golden Mean. But again: put up, or shut up. Either make that comic so we can all see how much better you are at expressing the merits of moderate feminism, or stop telling us about how awesome it would be.
05:43:18 PM Jan 30th 2013
Ah, so we finally see the core to the argument defending Xanthe and her brand of condescending, judgemental, attack dog feminism. "Attacking radical feminism is equivilant to attacking ALL feminism". Seems like hypocritical logic backed by the Double Standard, and I can prove it.

Seymour is an obvious jab at radical Christianity. Does he represent ALL Christianity or is he in any way INTENDED to represent all Christians. Hell no, and its obvious to the reader that he is fringe, thus it is okay to laugh at him and attack him.

Xanthe is obviously a VERY radical feminist. For some reason, hating on her is equal to attacking ALL feminism despite her being just as radical in her viewpoints as Seymour is regarding his viewpoints. This Double Standard shows itself when Seymour is depicted as going after Nique for her style of dress doing the Devil's work and when Xanthe goes after Nique for doing the Patriarchy's work. Keep in mind that the Devil runs the Patriarchy. What this means is that Seymour is wrong and Xanthe is right.....EVEN WHEN THEY'RE SAYING THE EXACT SAME THING.

In regards to humor, How does mocking radical feminism as being detremental in a work that's objective is to promote gender equality equal to making ALL feminism unsympathetic?

Then there's the issue of how Tats depicts feminism. So far, its been "radical feminism or the highway" with ZERO moderate voice around.

As for the "put up or shut up" comment. I don't need to. The historical record and previous works serve as my evidence for this approach being effective at persuasion and likable to the viewer. In addition, the historical record is absolutely full of cases of noble and just causes being bastardized and having their good name smeared by extremist supporters.

Even as a serious piece, The Sisterhood fails. I've read works that depict chauvanistic behaviour as clearly wrong with chauvanists as being either assholes or just stupid. One character in the story is a woman who tries to use the Patriarchal system to gain power by manipulating the life of her male son in order to gain headship of the family name. Looking back at it, she realizes that this is equally wrong and feels intense guilt/regret over both it and the manipulation of her son. The tragic irony of it all was that this woman was actually by far the most competent member of the family thus deserving of the headship by virtue of merit. The moral of this plot line: "Sexism is wrong, manipulating a sexist system for personal gain is equally wrong, and a meritocratic view on life is best". This is important as meritocracy inherently lends itself to the concept of gender equality and moderate feminism.

The kicker to this example above: this is a murder mystery novel (written by one of the grand masters of the genre), making the above plot line a minor piece of the plot via character development. Kind of ironic how a work that isn't even trying to make gender issues a primary point does a much better job of advocating feminism and gender equality than The Sisterhood and their brand of feminism.
06:26:28 AM Feb 1st 2013
I wish you'd actually read any of what I had to say.

Xanthe and the Sisterhood are the face of feminism in Sinfest. It is what he has chosen, in his work, which he has every right to do. If you have a problem with radical feminism, sure it sounds bad, but that is not the argument that anyone makes. It is that Xanthe isn't fun. Radical feminism is, well, radical, but that doesn't make it wrong. Third-wave feminism happened because the system was so fucked up that the people who wanted change were angry to the point of wanting to revolutionize; that, more than anything, is what Xanthe represents. You and I have the benefit of being part of a generation that has South Park as an example, but at least as far as feminism goes, the world of Sinfest is drastically behind, and doesn't operate on the same principles and logic that the real world does anyway. Insisting that you, enlightened as you must be, could do it better (which you would, if someone hadn't done it before you) by espousing a moderate viewpoint, does not matter. What South Park does, and what any other body of fiction does, has no bearing on Sinfest or its setting, but that's not relevant either, because you specifically began that statement with if it were me.

Further, the bit about Seymour and Xanthe saying the same thing but Xanthe being right and Seymour being wrong, I'm pretty sure Seymour made that comment before the Sisterhood was properly introduced, and definitely before the Devil was shown to be the head of the Patriarchy, but that's mostly irrelevant, because Xanthe and Seymour are both right, because Monique eventually comes to the same conclusion: she really was exploiting her sexuality to get attention, and she really did condemn the men she tempted to Hell. It is not a Double Standard if they're both right for different reasons without each negating the other's reasons, which is exactly what happened.

07:36:42 AM Feb 1st 2013
edited by Peteman
I think a major problem is that if the world of Sinfest is so backward that they have to resort to this extremism as the only means of affecting change, then we as the viewers lose a common ground. We don't live in that world where that attitude is necessary (or at least, we don't believe we live in such a world). So we're forced to watch a conflict that many don't connect with, which requires an attitude that many of us in real life are uncomfortable with because of the extremism, and it's taking over a work that previously mocked people for such extremism.

Combined with the excessive preachiness, how they never actually give her a personality beyond "Radical Feminism", and how she can take up half a week of strips for months at a time when there are better developed, more interesting characters this storyline is either taking time away from or intruding obnoxiously, it creates a situation where the viewers say the Eight Deadly Words whenever this storyline pops up, some bordering on Rooting for the Empire because we're so sick of the heavy-handed preaching.

As an alternate example to the above, I snark on Dominic Deegan. One of the more Anvilicious parts of that webcomic is "bigotry is bad". It comes up fairly frequently, the bigots are often one-dimensional bullies at best, genocidal demonic megalomaniacs at worst. Meanwhile, the victims of bigotry are often bland, or are one-dimensional, or do things that make you wonder if the bigotry they get is deserved despite the comic's tacit approval for what they do, or at least the author would eventually realize that what he wrote was offensive and would backpedal to put the blame on someone else. This culminates with Warlord Damaske, a guy that makes Colonel Quaritch from Avatar look restrained, be one of the more popular people among the snarkers, while the orcs, the noble race of persecuted victims, just get nonstop venom save for that one guy who told the eponymous hero of the webcomic to piss off. While the message "bigotry is bad" is not a bad message, if you present it so badly that the viewers start rooting for the strawman bad guys, you've screwed up.
06:46:51 PM Feb 1st 2013

This, a thousand times this.

Xanthe is preachy, yes, because she was built to preach. That's not good, but she's not responsible for the downfall of the comic, either, and her values have merit.

I think it's very natural to be upset when confronted with the deeper and more sinister roots of sexism in Western Culture (again, Rape Culture 101; if you haven't Googled it yet, do it now), especially if you're the type of person who recognizes that they are the proverbial single drop that doesn't blame itself for the flood. I think that's what Tatsuya is working through, and what we're witnessing is very personal.

I think it's also very likely that we're going to see Xanthe get some degree of comeuppance in the future, once Sinfest has had time to move past the need for the third wave and moves into the fourth wave.
07:43:35 AM Feb 2nd 2013

If you need to know what mansplaining looks like, you pretty much don't have to look any further than magnum12; discussing a particular character in a webcomic, upon his introduction to the discussion, becomes immediately centered on how much better he knows the subject than the author whose work is being discussed, and how much better he would totally be at expressing it, except that he's so familiar with so many other, better works that he doesn't have to support his own claims.
06:46:21 PM Feb 2nd 2013
^^ Funny you should mention 4th wave. I can say that a good chunk of its ideals make sense. The idea of fighting sexism by combating BOTH sides of the problem (an inclusive method rather than an exclusive methos) really strikes a chord, especially since 3rd wavers are capable of being quite sexist themselves. When one thinks about it, a peaceful, cordial dialogue between the sexes does seem to be the most sensical approach. The idea of fighting male sterotypes is Older than You Think. I'd say the first major work that challenges male sterotypes is Fist of the North Star, which is likely the first work that openly states that it's okay for a dude to cry. The protagonist cries a lot, yet he is considered one of the manliest people in all of fiction. Mr. T (yet another really manly dude) also said something about the subject. Forget when though.

It does specifically say something about opposing domestic violence. While I do agree with that, I find it redundant, but ONLY because that's something that any sensible, decent person should be intrinsically opposed to in the first place. IIRC, the original code of Chivalry says something about domestic violence being both evil and dishonorable.

Of course I disagree on some things, such as it being okay for dudes to wear make up, but that's because I despise make up in general, on BOTH genders as a symbol of vanity.

Looking at it, perhaps the reason I'm much more agreeable to 4th wave than 3rd wave is because it feels like a South Park style approach to feminism based on how they both like to attack idiocy on BOTH sides of the equation. As such, I would not mind a 4th wave feminist character in Sinfest.

Taking a mental note regarding the polarizing effect of the Sisterhood arc, what strikes me as interesting is that most of the hate is focused on Xanthe, NOT on Curly or Granny, and I think I know why. Curly seems like a pretty reasonable individual (compared to Xanthe anyway) based on her interactions with Squig. Her approach also appears to more surgical, trying to take out the "synapse creature" aspects of the Patriarchy while avoiding the "thralls" (perhaps believing them to be unwitting dupes rather than actively malicious). Granny.... is governed by Rule of Cool and made of awesome so she seems to get a pass for some reason.
08:58:01 PM Feb 2nd 2013
Purple Alert, I kind of doubt that we'll see any comeuppance etc. for Xanthe if only because Tats view seems to be that she is only to be praised, hence the random comments on her badassery and the alien appearing saying they need justice or heroes. I actually would like to see a bit of work done about religion in general on the sexism angle on this instead of just aiming at say Seymour since for one thing he was showing signs of reform (I liked dancing Seymour, so sue me) but the other is that the zealots are working verbatim from their holy books. I get that Tatsuya might not see that as a big issue, but if he wants to confront issues that is one worth going after too.

I'll also admit that sometimes the discomfort or anger might be the whole idea of maybe realizing that you're part of the problem, that isn't pleasant and that can be part of the reaction. But some of it is this too, I don't always agree with his positions but he was usually really good about at least making the arguments compelling through satire, even if I disagreed I could still find something compelling in it, a few times actually sitting down to rethink my view. The problem is that most of the ones using Xanthe are more a person waving their finger at the audience, this got better so I might just chalk it up to him either having to find his feet after the sudden turn in design/intention or wanting to do a lot quickly and thinking explaining textually would be faster.

I also kind of want to look at the earlier thing mentioned where in essence both Seymour and Xanthe were right that Monique was wrong for dressing how she was. This is kind of my opposition to the porn thing too because the idea seems to border on the 'slut shaming' concept. Essentially it says that a woman that dresses 'that way' is somehow to blame for what happens to her, and with the way it was done with Xanthe it was that any woman dressing like that was somehow responsible for ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE being mistreated or viewed just as objects for sex. I don't think that that was the intention given Tatsuyas other work but it's the view that I got and again, I might just be grossly misinterpreting it.

As a side note, I actually started hearing a voice for Xanthe after her bike got destroyed, as she stood over it, calling it her baby. The argument with the devilco guy was somewhat par for the course but it..I dunno felt different. To be honest even if we saw her interacting with some people in a mildly conversational way it might help, but I think some of the problem could be that she's at current she seems to be viewed by a lot of people or at least the irked ones as little more than a mobile soapbox.
01:22:49 AM Feb 9th 2013
I don't think it's fair to look at the opposition of pornography and call it slut-shaming. Context is everything: Monique really did send men to Hell. She flaunted her body specifically to tempt men, and it worked; she's not to blame for what happened to her, she's to blame for what happened to them. The reader might interpret that as a slut-shaming metaphor, but the world of Sinfest is exaggerated and full of (naturally) cartoonish hyperbole. There's also the one Devil Girl who's actually a stripper (I forget her name), where she looks down on the men she strips for, even when she's literally on her knees to scoop up the money from the dance floor. Whether the reader agrees or not, Tats sees the flaunting of women's bodies to be denigrating to the viewer and the flaunter both.

Xanthe isn't a fully developed character yet. She's a badass and she's full of third-wave feminist charm, but taken in context, she's actually a first wave feminist, because she's the first active one the world of Sinfest has ever really seen. Of course she's over the top and militant, she's functionally fighting alone. One of the things that everybody seems to ignore is the fact that the Sisterhood has other sisters: Xanthe's cause is radical feminist, Curly's is anti-porn, and the mechanic just seems to like to build stuff. Tats does seem to like Xanthe very much, but he's not oblivious to other ideas of feminism, and I do think that Xanthe does have a personality that we just haven't seen yet.

04:00:00 AM Feb 21st 2013
I'll give it that she might have personality we haven't seen yet, I'm more saying that I would LIKE to see it. The other problem is this, Sinfest might the world of cartoonish hyperbole but that also makes it hard to discuss real world issues. To put it another way, I doubt that a lot of what Tat is bringing up is meant to focus on stuff in comic, at least given his overt divorcing of himself from work and apparent mini-rants against certain types of posts in strip form. I'm not saying that Tat can't produce comics like that, or that he somehow doesn't have a right to do so. But there are times where his logic seems to be off in the message he's trying for or he's taking a good logical message and saying it in a way that turns the person recieving it off.

I'd also point out that I have issue with saying, "Well, it's Moniques fault all those guys were in hell." They made their choices, should she have some blame, arguably if only for doing the booth babe thing for that (if unintentionally) but they're responsible for their own actions too. The problem is also that Xanthes comments near the beginning of the whole partiarchy thing, Monique is apparently a collaborator in part or in whole because of how she dressed etc. That does seem a lot like slut shaming to me, and it seems like Xanthe is doing a good job of reinforcing aspects of the patriarchy like the whole madonna/whore complex you find in most conservative religions (at least in my expperience).

I also wonder why, if this stuff was supposed to be bad, we didn't have Curly ride up to the gay gentleman fantasizing about the devil bouncer. After all, Slick doing similar things was shown as being bad, but the gay fellow doing it was apparently fine. Neither case bothers me really, just saying that Tat seems to be a bit inconsistent.

To be honest I don't know, I like a lot of aspects of the arc, I like a lot of clever things I've seen, but I'm not sure I like the look of some of the directions he's gone. There are times where I wonder if he'd have been better off effectively starting a whole new comic at the rate he's going with some of this to get around some of the baggage stuff. Also, Purple Alert and all others who have been involved in this, thank you, I appreciate having people to discuss this with, even if it's sporadic.
09:11:30 PM Feb 25th 2013
Oh, cool, this discussion started back up. A similar conversation (on YMMV if memory serves) helped me stay with Sinfest through the "worst" of the feminism thing, and it's interesting to see it happen again.

Personally, I'm not sure Tats knows where he stands on the "feminist" thing. Yes, his world is cartoonish and exaggerated, but sometimes he's clearly taking a shot at real-world stuff (like the "third-wave feminism" strips, which don't make a lot of sense considering that Purple Alert is right about Xanthe and co. apparently being the first wave in-universe) and he even attacks readers who complain or sometimes himself. I'm mostly sticking around out of hope that he'll finally either wise up and moderate his commentary or add more dimensions to his portrayal of feminism, because it seems to me like he's taking a very hard-line sex-negative men-are-evil stand IRL but I really think he's too smart to stick with that kind of black-and-white ideology forever.

This latest storyline, though... I can't see it going anywhere good. The whole "male tears" and "misandry doesn't exist" thing sounds a lot like the worst of Tumblr "social justice" coming from 18-year-olds in their first Gender Studies class, especially when the characters involved are Slick (formerly nice guy regressed into "dudebro" caricature to make more political points at the expense of his character development) and Xanthe (extreme radical feminist who has, in fact, occasionally flirted with straight-up misandry or at least serious double standards). Especially since it comes on the heels of the Fembot strips, which were a nice jaunt into ludicrousness that also can be seen as commentary on how women, like the men in the Dudebro Factory strips, can be products of the system in need of assistance (as opposed to the Sisterhood's role as "bringers of absolute truth" or even Nique and mini-Nique's "ignorant but easily enlightened" role, which taken with the Factory and Slick and Squig's regression created a message of "WOMEN RIGHT MEN STUPID" that I hope was just overly-heavy-handed metaphor).
07:48:26 AM Feb 27th 2013
Except I don't see any anti-man commentary in it, I can see some of it being harsh but I don't think it's aimed at being anti-male. Also, Slick was not a 'nice guy' he wasn't a misogynistic prick either but he was fairly sexist but then again both he and Monique were kind of meant to be stereotypes. The male tears thing...I will say I'm ambivalent on it, the idea seems to be that slick was crying crocodile tears, he wasn't mourning the loss of a friend, he was more mourning that his personal needs weren't being met. The misandry call afterwards...I found that pretty funny actually, the idea in this case being that while there can be anti-male comments they aren't as likely to be damaging, especially given that the culture is mostly male supportive, assuming you're the right kind of male anyway (see also the patriarchal action and now brooding movie)

I will admit that I am a bit annoyed at some of what happened to Slick but it's more because it feels like the bomfing forcibly regressed the character, he had made some decent advances, though a lot of those advances were from his interactions with Monique and to a lesser extent Criminy and Squig. The issue is that the bomfed Slick seems to have lost a lot of what was gained and now he just sort of putters around.

The stuff on Xanthe... I probably can't give an argument that I haven't already. I'm hoping that with the benefit of an archive binge or two after this some of the issues will make more sense. It might be apt to call this a kind of rebirthing for the comic and we're dealing with birth pangs, made worse by fans or the comics old direction feeling abandoned or simply trying to reconcile their views.

At it's best the patriarchy arcs make you question your own views, even if you consider yourself pretty progressive you might not notice things because they're so ingrained into the culture and when done well it can shock you awake to see it. It can show that at times you reinforce stereotypes or that your words or behaviors reinforce a bad system. From that view Xanthe being as blunt, rude, what have you as she is represents the idea that enlightenment will be brought even if those enlightened must be dragged kicking and screaming to it.

At its worst times during the same arcs the comic either becomes hard to follow or seems to make the sisterhood into what you'd consider a misogynists caricature of a feminist to be. The comics come across as being a finger wagging lecture to the reader rather than trying to share an idea. Sometimes the idea being given is either done so somewhat clumsily or you end up with some unfortunate implications. It can also take the view that anyone that disagrees with them on any front is a misogynist/lying to themselves/what have you, that probably doesn't help matters either.

Ultimately the comic is Tatsuyas to do with what he wishes, all my complaints or praise mean nothing when he is the one that decides what goes on the website. I will not agree with everything he has written in the patriarchy sections and there are times that I think the sisterhood is doing a better job of reinforcing aspects of the patriarchy than they are at fighting it. Discussing it is hard too, some people dislike the feminist message completely or feel uncomfortable about things brought up, others can have legitimate grievances (for a certain value of legitimate I suppose) and be lumped in with the others and flamed. Reactions in the Sinfest forums and here show that this issue is touchy. Maybe Tats ultimate goal is to get people to discuss and study this stuff, if so fine. I only hope that such a discussion can be made without painting any disagreement as being bad/stupid/etc.
08:04:30 AM Feb 27th 2013
edited by Peteman
I think our grievances about how he's sacrificed character development and interesting stories for an almost nonstop one-note Author Tract that doesn't bother to do anything interesting with itself can be considered "legitimate". I think he needs to make a clean break from Sinfest to create the Sisterhood comic so readers like I used to be don't have to cling to the desperate hope that we'll see the non-Sisterhood characters/plotline at least once in a while.

It wouldn't change if he was talking about the gulf between rich and poor, the environment, or racial/religious bigotry instead of feminism. And if he wants to paint people who complain about how his comic has suffered because of it as being against his cause then I think he's got his head up his rump.
04:47:03 AM Mar 8th 2013
I'm glad to find this discussion to be able to vent a little. I just finished my Archive Binge on this comic, and I must say that, while I really liked most of it, the whole Sisterhood/Patriarchy arc left a bad taste in my mouth, to the point I don't think I will keep checking daily updates of the comic for some time.

What troubles me most about it is that the Feminists from the Sisterhood are presented as unambiguously, Anviliciously, RIGHT. There is no parody, no subtext, just that "WOMEN GOOD, MEN BAD". And this in a comic where men were already largely ridiculed to begin with : Slick is a loser no matter what he does, Squiggley is, well, a pig, the Devil is male, even the Author is occasionnally made fun of, and let's not start with Seymour and Lil'E. More to the point, all those male characters were always bested by Monique (even the Devil could not corrupt her), whose main antagonist was mostly her self doubts (which have disappeared since she joined the Sisterhood). Criminy is one of the only male recurring character to appear in a constantly good light, but this is mainly since his relationship with Fuchsia: before that he was portrayed as extremely clueless with women, shy and a bit cowardly (and one of the latest comics shows Blue discovering his past of unknowingly breaking a woman's heart, which may not bode well for him).

So, in this context, having the Feminists appear and flatly tell all men that they suck feels almost like a Kick Them While They Are Down moment. Not only that, but they also display an amount of invulnerability previously only shown by Buddha or Jesus, who were the only unambiguously Good Guys until now (even more so with Buddha). In a sense, they don't even feel like they belong to the same comic as the other characters - like Batman in a Peanuts cartoon explaining to the characters that they, at least, still have their parents (probably), while shooting the football faster than Lucy can remove it. By contrast, Barackstar may have grated some nerves depending on your political views, but at least he was so over the top in his coolness that you could still choose to take him as a parody. For instance, he appeared as Superman, like the Jesus-as-superhero strips (or Pimpotron, Gaydzilla, etc) - the Feminists were never ever subject to this rather gentle kind of parody.

To sum up, I'm not complaining about the feminist message here - just how it is delivered, especially since I think it was already being present in the comic since its beginning, and in a much more subtle manner. And about perfectly flawless characters in a comic where Jesus could be occasionally gently ridiculed.

Then again, maybe this is a very, very subtle meta-parody, and the Feminists are supposed to caricaturise an over the top, Character Derailing, Author Tract.
08:52:37 PM Mar 8th 2013
I keep seeing people say that it says 'men good women bad' and I'm not seeing it in the comic. I might not enjoy all of the comics and I do have some issue with aspects of it but I'm not seeing it to the degree that a lot of you are.
11:33:17 PM Mar 13th 2013
Blackjoker, the 'women good men bad' thing is mostly a matter of interpretation. My main issue is that, while Sinfest portrays women in a much more positive light now, its male characters have been removed from existence, pushed to the background, or used as stand-ins for critics of feminism and/or new Sinfest despite having once been actual, sympathetic characters. I don't know if it was conscious or just a consequence of the strips/arcs he wants to do now, but Tatsuya has suddenly started portraying menó even formerly sympathetic menó in a much more negative light after getting into feminism, and his male leads don't even seem to be "in-character" anymore so every punchline at their expense seems aimed at most guys, or maybe even all guys since the only sympathetic males left are the Author Avatar and an amnesiac half-Devil. It helps to contrast his approach with David Willis' feminist strips in Shortpacked!, where the anti-feminist role is played by a rotating cast of "That Guys" who are clearly just your standard Internet asshole and the other male characters haven't been marginalized or lost depth as the author's worldview evolved.
10:43:15 PM Apr 12th 2013
To be honest, the only thing that ever bothered me about the Sisterhood was the lack of balance they caused. They became so prevalent that other characters such as Jesus, the Dragon, Buddha and God among others were shoved off into the background and kinda narrowing the concepts of the story.

Beyond that, I never had much negative thought on them. We see Xanthe slowly develop into a character beyond simply being this front of an ideal.

What bothers me more is that after-shocks, caused by some of the characters or their choices. Monique's anger at men for their lack of respect toward her is hypocritical, seeing as how she once saw them more or less as playthings and manipulating them using her charms. That doesn't seem like respect. While this isn't the first tme she complained about how they saw her, it seems to be the most prevalent. She went from being a tease to a more-likeable character. She was a vegetarian, she was an activist, we saw more and more depth to her, espionally her insecurities stating she feels she does not contribute meainingfully to the world. However, she has since become more and more of a two dimensional character, her subtle character traits being overshadowed by growing radical feminism and seems to becoming a bit more of a jerk.

The strip has become less identifiable over time as some characters are set back. Slick's BOMF set back his character development and is now more lost than ever in what to do now that he doesn't seem to have a reason to improve himself anymore or has anyone to show him the way (Note the absence of Buddha, Jesus or even the Dragon). Even more so, no one has noticed it, with only Slick slowly catching on what is going on.

Meanwhile, we no longer see Squigley try and improve himself and instead try to argue for the sake of porn. While somewhat funny, it also sets back his characters.

As of right now, I see the world as in limbo. Time will tell if something will hopefully come to stir the pot or at least a change in scenary would be nice.

I have nothing against the feminist messege itself, but it isn't executed as well as it could be.

11:07:25 AM May 2nd 2013
"Men bad, women good"? Seriously?

No, no, Patriarchy bad, equality good.

Here's the thing about privilege (and goddamn do I see a lot of it hovering around the Sinfest fandom): it exists. It's a real thing. And when people who have privilege are suddenly faced with the idea of equality, they don't like it, because it means the unequal balance of power that has been in their favor is slowly shifting away from it. To them, it represents a loss of power and importance, and their new fair share is a lot less than the bigger half that they used to have, and that's where the jokes about Xanthe handing Slick a cookie and 'she misandried me!' come from— attempts to exploit what they perceive as the new rules to hold onto their bigger half while continuing to ignore the reason that the new rules were proposed to begin with.

Case in point: http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4619

Squig claims misandry because a woman saw him reading a porno mag in public and said "Ew". Which she did, because that's fucking gross. She's not judging him for being male, she's judging him because he's choosing to do something disgusting in public.

He cries because he has no idea how to evaluate his own gross behavior, so all he sees is a woman being repulsed by something associated with maleness and male sexuality, so he calls it misandry.

I liked this strip because it's kinda subtle: a woman is walking down the street, looking at a dude she thinks is attractive, but here's the difference between her, and Slick in the next strip: she keeps it to her own damn self. She doesn't leer, she doesn't say anything out loud, she just notes that she likes what she sees and goes on about her day. Slick, on the other hand, makes it his business to inform the woman that he's openly judging her appearance, and he pitches a fit when she clearly feels threatened by how totally okay he is with invading her space. He blames her for not reacting favorably to his being a creep. Her right to go from point A to point B without being graded on her performance never even enters the equation. He sees her fleeing his presence as a challenge to his understood right to sexually harass a stranger; in his mind, she doesn't even have the right to feel threatened. And that is Patriarchy-driven behavior to its rotten dudebro core.

More and more we're getting to see the Patriarchy and how it is a bad thing, and how it brainwashes and demands obedience from men the same way it systematically denigrates women; you don't have to look any further than Criminy to know that men are not evil in this universe. Or Seymour, for that matter; now that he's gotten over being a judgmental zealot.
10:56:19 PM May 2nd 2013
edited by
A problem with equality is entitlement and another is perspective. On the one hand, everyone could be equally screwed over by the Devil or equally be messed with by God. Everyone lives and everyone dies. Everything else is decided by us nutty mortals.

To be honest, with Squig, I thought the reference was more to the fact that he was a pig (since that was usually the problem with him.)

Another thing is the fact that the Sisterhood is a tad naive. Regarding pornography and that, it's a business. How many people are exploited and how many are willing is up to the stats. While people enter it for pleasure or for money, the truth is, it is still a business. It's about money. You don't like the business, you can leave, though some people need the money and in other cases, you can't leave. Guys could be reluctant to enter porn just as much as girls can and girls could enjoy it just as much as guys can. Can the businesses be wrong, of course it can be. At the same time, it could be what the guys might be getting from this, but that is clear as mud as to what it is going on.

Regarding Slick, it could also be the fact that he does look like a demon, regarding the horns and tail. How no one has noticed it is beyond me, especially when the fact is he can do something of a bomf equivalent. While Slick is tyring to figure out what the heck is wrong with him, he doesn't seem to be aware what is with him. Consider Slick's evil side first appearing. Slick politely greets a girl and she sees his reflection acting perversely, along with horns and tail. While it could be metaphorical, there is still the obvious fact that someone's reflection doesn't look like him and it is acting differently from him. While there could be used as a metaphor, we can't try and ignore the first impressions. I mean, being hit by someone is one thing, but when that person has horns and a tail, especially when it looks like they are associated with the Devil, you tend to be afraid.

Regarding the power balance, that depends on how you measure it and how you look it. When it comes to Slick and Monique, Monique usually had an edgewise over Slick. Squig represents the animal part of humanity and doesn't seem to be in this. In the old days, both felt they were entitled to things though it was obviously to hide their insecurities and faults. Things have kinda changed. Slick is more like the older character he was while Monique is the same but in the opposite direction.

The fact is, if you want equality, both parties should not have the right to judge or they both can judge. The guys are somewhat used to being judged (albeit by Monique), this seems to play it up that they are being judged for guys. Yet its played for laighs compared that judging a woman is viewed as wrong. So far, the author hasn't really hit the point of Double Standard as of yet.

Is the Patriarchy bad? Yes. Is the Sisterhood? They have good intentions, but their execution is lacking. People will judge you for whatever it is and can have good and bad consequences. In a prior strip, the chubby woman was being told to lose weight and it is portrayed as bad. While the intention was bad, as in objectfying her, the messege itself wasn't really. How many people with weight problems do you see? We see people get fatter and fatter, which is OBVIOUSLY BAD.

The author constructed a case that the characters are flawed, even if most are in denial or clueless, and the situation is murky. He could also do with not being so anvilicious.

05:11:11 AM May 3rd 2013
I'd just like to point out, as an outsider to Sinfest, that the brand of feminism being pushed here is, at best, an EXTREMELY basic kind of feminism. Outdated by twenty-plus years at the best of times. He's flat-out incorrect when it comes to a lot of things, and has clearly never even heard of major components of modern feminist theory. Intersectionalism, anyone? Sex-positivity? Poststructuralism? Not seeing any of it, and seeing things that blatantly contradict these and other areas of feminist thought. Sinfest obviously has problems with how it says what it says, but what it's saying ain't so hot either. This is pop-feminism at BEST, and it's fucking offensively wrong at worst. Any real feminist theorist from the last two decades would shoot basically every strip full of holes.

Really, guys. I never read Sinfest until now, and I can't comment on the evolution of storylines or quality of the world or evolution of character dynamics or anything, but as someone deep into feminism, this is NOT good stuff, even as an ideological screed. Maybe his heart's in the right place, but woop-de-doo, he's still distributing blatant misinformation.

There really can't be a defense of this comic from a feminist viewpoint.
11:44:43 AM May 4th 2013
edited by
^ Please summarize those topics in a nut shell.

Seriously, place those arguments in the sinfest site forums. I'd love to see the rabid sister-hood defenders try to counter those and fail. Seems you really know your stuff.

Also, from your perspective, what's your opinion on the Sisterhood as characters and in relation to the cause (in relation to things like claims by many that they're mary sues whether blatent or borderline, extremism, or anything else potentially detremental to their cause etc)?

As per the questions about narrative and stuff, Sin Fest was actually quite entertaining until about September of 2011. After Xanthe Justice (a rather Mary Sueish name IMO) came in, Slick experienced some major character derailment, sliding back on 4 years worth of character development to the point where he has become a strawman. Squig was always into porn and weed, but he used to have hidden courage when pushed. Now he's become a one track character for whom porn is the only aspect of his character, also reduced to a straw man. 5 characters (God, the Dragon, Buddha, and the two angels) three of which were major characters have basically disappeared. Three characters (Criminy, Fushcia, and Blue), one of which was one of the "Main Four, and another being a Breakout Character have been reduced to satellite characters at best.

The sad part of all of this is that it comes on the heels of what was widely considered one the the comic's best arcs; an arc with central themes of redemption.

On a side note, Tats should seriously go play Odin Sphere. That game, namely Oswald serves as a great example of "properly manly men". Anti-heroism aside, he REALLY knows how to treat a lady. Cornelius is also a nice polite fellow.
03:00:49 AM May 11th 2013
I admit, I'm kind of curious if the stuff with the sisterhood watching God is meant to be them serious or not. I have to be honest that there are also times I think Tat might just be messing with the reader.

The feminist comics did show some interesting ideas, and I do like some of what he made during it, what might be helpful though is if the author didn't take any disagreement or argument as a sign of being a misogynist. To be honest that's kind of an issue on the forums too, now I'm guessing it's a side effect of a lot of trolls and douches but it does make it difficult to have any kind of real discussion on it. Might as well be the gun control debates.
08:03:37 AM May 11th 2013
Exactly why I'm not going to go there.
09:12:36 AM Jun 18th 2013
A Sister finally met the Dragon, by the way, and he's portrayed as a wounded beast, harmed by a toxic environment, who can be healed by her touch. This is quite similar to how some feminists describe "toxic/hegemonic masculinity". I'm not holding out hope that if Buddha meets them, he'll be much better. Most likely, they'll be portrayed as "enlightened" already.
04:54:54 AM Jul 8th 2013
Arguably, he was more harmed from being bled from the scythe of Death. It was nice seeing him again. I haven't kept up with the comic, a friend tells me from time to time of anything special is occuring, such as the Dragon returning and the white woman possibly being Lilith (Adam's first wife according to some Biblical contexts.

It's Tats choice what he wants in his work. We have a choice of staying and hoping matters improve or quit reading it.
01:58:09 PM Oct 18th 2013
I kind of see the Sisterhood also as a kind of narrative necessity. Over time, the breadth and scope of what Big D had behind him has vastly expanded over the years. At first he was just sort of an unruly trouble maker, much more 'Loki' than 'Mephisto'. Now, he has legions of devils behind him, unlimited money, fangs DEEP into Uncle Sam, and is just a monolithic power. The other characters could oppose him, of course, and HAVE. But only in discrete battles. Big D is winning the war. The Sisterhood rises up as a counterpoint ORGANIZATION. A banner that fights against him. Having the opposition force be headed up by Jesus, Buddha, or the Dragon would be kind of against their limited intervention policy they've had so far. Of course, we've also grown to understand and (to a degree) sympathise with the Devil, and especially some of his underlings. So we can't have the opposition be completely without fault. So, in keeping with Tats' cynical views, it becomes Gray vs Black morality. As the battle lines get drawn, we can pivot back to following the main characters, but under the overarching conflict of Devil Corp vs the Sisterhood.
01:13:14 PM Aug 3rd 2012

  • Pettanko: Tangerine pre-transformation. May still apply compared to the other devil girls.

Pettanko is not a trope. UsefulNotes.Pettanko is a fanspeak term definition only. The tropes are A-Cup Angst (girl is sensitive about her lack of size) or Petite Pride (girl is proud of her flat-chestedness). Anything else is not a trope. Please return this example to the page under the correct trope if (and only if) it fits one of those two tropes.
11:00:28 PM Feb 13th 2012
Anyone else noticing the Mary Sue tendencies developing with Trike Girl? So far, her score on the test is 23, which is borderline class on original fiction characters.
03:13:38 PM Apr 25th 2012
Yes, come to think of it.
11:04:11 PM Apr 26th 2012
Could you link to the test you used? I found one but she didn't score very high on it. She's not so much a Mary Sue as much as a Creator's Pet.
04:18:51 AM Jan 25th 2013
Trike Girl only scores high if you take her out of context (she's not any more magical than any of the other characters, and her views are presented as being right because her view is that women should not be oppressed by men, and her ignorant naysayers have been characterized as self-centered and ignorant since the beginning of the comic). She's a vehicle for Tats' changes to the comic, but a Mary Sue, she is not.
08:20:58 AM Feb 2nd 2013
For the record, Criminy scores about a 26 if you count the demon book as a magical creature.
10:28:19 PM May 6th 2013
Yeah, but in comparison to what exactly? Not exactly being that when you're comparing to how everyone else is.
06:44:45 AM Dec 1st 2011
Anyone else notice some major changes to Fyoosha's design? That she seems to be shrinking and is less curvy? Going through the archive, early-stage Fyoosha-loves-Crim seems taller and even push-up-biki physics aside she's less curvy. I don't think it's a purposeful art evolution (although even the style just two years ago is different from now) but Fyoosha (and to a lesser extent Baby Blue) looks more like one of the regular cast members now.
11:16:23 AM Dec 22nd 2011
.... and the Devil got taller. Currently he stands taller than all the other characters when originally the height difference between him and Lil' E was similar to Monique and Slick.
10:59:08 PM Feb 13th 2012
could also be Fushia and Blue's more conservative garb influnceing their reduced curviness.
09:20:45 AM Apr 8th 2014
LOL. I noticed that too, especially around the very end of 2007 I think in December, Fuschia looked rather strange and a typical succubus but now she changed a lot. XD

Also, her change seems fairly more recent than I thought compared to the overall comic. o.O
09:43:08 AM Apr 8th 2014
The Sisterhood

I think The Sisterhood thing is getting big, so I decided to make a new one.

This may just be me, but I always figured The Sisterhood are Lawful Neutral.

I guess you could say their technically Lawful Evil Anti-Villains, but... I thought maybe they should be well-intentioned if only for "half of the population" (It's something you can say to the Justice girl from Persona 3 to start her link, that there's half men and woman in the world. :p I think her name started with a C?)

Anyways, I think the reason why the characters sound flat and sound like an entity is because their so stoic and represent a powerful group of females. :p I'm not sure if Tatsuya is supposed to be presenting them as good or evil though, because, well...

1. Tatsuya will always be undeniably male, unless he... gets a sex change? o.O Sorry if that's a weird image but it brings up a good point! XD But as he will always be male despite his recent feminist views, he probably feels a bit self-deprecating about that, maybe. :p

2. There's a strip somewhere where The Sisterhood cuts down stripper poles to build a park. :) Isn't that at least ultimately a heroic thing to do...? And you'll say their a team of villains. :p

3. For better or worse, they also made the friend zone as well as a female zone and for whatever reason THE AUTHOR HIMSELF made a strip about Slick saying Monique is being "Anvillicious" about his views, and now we recently got Devil Slick or whatever collecting her glitter points or something and smiling deviously. o.O (I didn't get that part but it's kind of bothering me. o.O)

Finally, my conclusion I guess would be that, well...

As a webcomic dude, maybe it's hard for Tatsuya to display the more serious parts as serious, especially since he's not a woman himself, he's a man, and being more supportive to woman instead of being a misogynist douchebag is probably still hard for him no matter how many years he's passed.

I mean, apparently, he was or still is a reclusive artist and an introvert, maybe even a hikikomori that doesn't get out much, but at least he has a comic, which I'm assuming he gets paid for if he makes one nearly every single day? o.O

So um, yeah. I guess that's all I have to say really, at least for now.
09:43:28 AM Apr 8th 2014
Oops, I meant add new topic, crap. T_T
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