Webcomic Teahouse Discussion

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09:13:28 PM Sep 12th 2013
Putting here all the "Unfortunate Implications" bits from the YMMV page that were just really a discussion about consent and rape. Feel free to discuss them here since this won't clot the YMMV page with personal interpretations and personal opinions:

As par the course of a story set in a brothel, the issue of consent and personal agency comes into play. Although the terms of it are ambiguous, the comic itself and the Axis formspring confirms that the courtesans are actual sex slaves that are owned like property by the brothel. They have titles that can be bought and sold, they are branded on the feet, are generally not allowed to refuse a client, can have their rooms and possessions taken at any time, and need permission to leave the Teahouse. This essentially means that they are all incapable of consent, since they can't say no to sex, which puts all of the relationships and shipping in a very morally grey area, and while some of them (namely, Axis) have chosen the career for themselves and desire little else, there are bound to be many more with few other opportunities or even the benefit of a superficial ability to choose another path. The comic has yet to further address this moral complication except to add tension between Xanthe and Linneus.
  • As the story goes so far, some of the female characters seem to be filling the typical role of a woman being an obstacle between two men that's common in yaoi stories. So far Lilith, Gloria, and Yvette exist to fulfil these roles, even though they actually want to be with the men in question, are betrothed/married to them, or are carrying their child. And despite the fact that these women are nice people or have justifiable reasons to be hostile to the gay pairings, the fandom still likes to call them evil, manipulative bitches. And since some of the pairings have been confirmed by Word of God, this means that these women will be either heartbroken or screwed over by the men they care about or have to associate with.
  • The former description of Linneus on the cast page said "He's practically a woman. He wants to have millions of Atros' babies".
  • Reed's OCD being treated as a character quirk that makes him seem snobby, instead of a crippling mental disorder. Alternatively, calling a highly perfectionist personality and some degree of germophobia OCD.
  • Mercutio was formerly described on the cast as "gross", and then "really gross". The most he is is kinky, which is implied to be the reason for that description. His kinkiness is also used as a threat to keep Axis in line.
  • Linneus and Atros' relationship: Linneus was owned by Atros' family and is in every aspect a sex slave; Atros treats him like an object when not treating him like dirt: Linneus still harbours some sort of affection towards him. This mess is played as romantic, and sympathy is spinned for both Atros (who, as said, is being a dick towards Linneus, and also sleeping with whores who aren't able to turn him down due to a) slavery and b) nowhere else to go, behind the back of his pregnant wife) and Linneus (who raises little protest for how Atros treats him and still seems to love him, despite everything).
  • After people pointed out the Monochrome Casting, the writers put in a black background character who was also a servant. Then people pointed that out; so the authors realised a "we're not racist, the Teahouse world just doesn't have that many black people" blog post, which also included a "there's also an Asian servant" for added effect...
  • Once more with the Base Breaker flavour, does Axis and Rhys' relationship, a major storyline, consist of little else than Rhys raping Axis and mocking him about it? Or is Axis, the WOG-confirmed insatiable by-his-choice sex worker, refusing to admit that he's crushing hard over the snide bastard?
    • The artists make it very clear in their FAQ that no rape or domestic abuse feature in Teahouse, which begs the question if Axis shouting that he doesn't want to have Rhys as Rhys forces him to, attempts to fight him back and is overpowered, tied down, forced to have sex with Rhys against his will and Rhys mocks him about having an orgasm after isn't rape - what is it and is this really a stable relationship?

12:50:12 PM Mar 11th 2013
edited by peccantis
Edits needing longer edit reasons, for this time:

  • removing Artist Licence Biology — the creators chose the sole for the brands specifically because that's where the brands aren't forever (IIRC—think I saw this in an Emirain comment somewhere in the depths of the webcomic comment system), and nothing in the work implies the brands are supposed to not need renewing
  • removing Blondes Are Evil — there are two blonde characters, one is a cold bitch (Or Is She?) and one a distant, if concerned bodyguard (Or Is She?). No trend so far.
  • * Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Word of God says it's set in not-Victorian England and not-Earth, but Christianity is present so... —> someone please explain where the Christianity is seen (I remember no such thing), or simply just copy the above italics and restore it to the page with a link to the evidence

11:29:02 AM Apr 15th 2013
Axis wears a cross necklace and there's a one seen on a building. Added it back.
12:29:02 PM Apr 17th 2013
Crosses can be purely decorative as well. I'd hesitate calling a piece of jewelery and a minor detail in a distant background building proof of RL-style Christianity existing in Ivore.
05:20:59 PM Apr 19th 2013
It's impossible to claim that one of the most well known real life religious symbols is there as a coincidence. Considering how it's used in ways used in real life it's natural to presume it represents the same thing. If the artists didn't want people coming to this conclusion they wouldn't use it in such a way.
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