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Thecommander236
topic
11:59:15 PM Jul 20th 2013
I'm starting to think Mr. Tatsuya is out of his depth concerning the rights of artificial intelligent robots. Being intelligent should give you common rights as humans, but should NOT give you the right to assault people. I mean, I blame the layout and short narrative style of four panel a day comics because of the inherent lack of story it can tell in such a short time and I agree that Baby Blue exaggerating the story was unjustified (in my opinion because it UNDERMINED the seriousness of the situation). I mean I don't think he should try tackling that without, say, an college length essay to explain it, because I certainly don't get the point he is trying to make. I know the man is no fool or idiot and I can rightly think that he could NOT be that simplistic about something (the rights of AI's) that the world's greatest minds debate about.
EchoingSilence
06:43:02 AM Aug 6th 2013
One of the things I find important with sentient machines is to have them question things. You know, what is life? What is right and wrong? Do androids dream of electric sheep?
PurpleAlert
topic
02:24:41 AM May 5th 2013
From the Anvilicious entry: The strips before it make it clear that she is expecting such a reaction. The author may consider her a helpless victim. But she is as much a victim as a kid who throws rocks at a hornet's nest.

Yep. Because being prepared for an assault and refusing to be driven out of a place she has every right to be means that she deserves to be assaulted. That right there, is the reason Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
SevenDeadPineTrees
06:24:11 AM May 5th 2013
edited by 216.99.32.42
So. Here we have a comic whose prime controversy is rooted in its feminist message, whose detractors accuse it of being unfairly maligned against men.

Am I the only one darkly amused by the irony, here? The above is essentially rape apology (if you happened to have missed the boat on what "victim blaming" usually refers to and how it parallels to this strip, please take five minutes out of your day and educate yourself) and makes that apology by likening men to insects.

The logic at work here isn't new. It's a rape culture narrative, and one of the most pervasive.

We can't blame the audience for reacting violently to hearing a woman say things. They can't help themselves. They are violent, stupid animals with no self control, and if a woman wants to say things, she has to speak as softly and gently as possible, as if to a squalling toddler on the verge of meltdown. But if she doesn't alter her behavior to avoid tipping the bubbling cauldron of neanderthal violence, they will attack her, and it will be her own fault for not mollifying them. It is her responsibility to prioritize the comfort of men, because men are spoiled, stupid children who don't know any better.

What this means, and why this should absolutely offend every man who reads it, is that it asserts that you, as a man, are a constant, unavoidable threat. It asserts that you, as a man, are a mindless, angry, hate-filled obstacle that must be negotiated. It asserts that if you, as a man, attack a woman who hasn't altered the way she talks, the way she dresses, where she goes, what she does, how she does it, who she does it with, when she does it, what she drinks, and what she eats, so as not to offend you, then you cannot be held responsible for what you do to her, because as a man, you cannot help but react with violence and cruelty.

Patriarchy, people. It hurts everyone.

Pvblivs
03:40:05 PM May 8th 2013
Deliberately being hostile to an audience and knowing in advance how the audience will react to such hostility rules out victimhood.

Basically, since her "conversion," Monique has been systematically attacking the audience (presumably because they had the audacity to enjoy her old act.) Unsurprisingly, the audience has not reacted favorably.

I don't know where Seven Dead Pine Trees comes up with the idea of "rape apology." This is clearly a public reaction to a public display. It works as an analogy to certain public reactions to feminist marches, meetings, and protests. The actual reactions are YouTube videos and blogposts. But, like the tomatoes in the strip, the only injury they entail is to the feminists' pride. And feminists do whine about the "public humiliation." And they do say that anyone who suggests they brought the humiliation on themselves is a "victim blamer."

Seven Dead Pine Trees is a good example of feminism. Claims it's about "rape apology." Claims there is a pervasive "rape culture." But it is all a red herring. The reason that these terms work so well for feminists is because nobody endorses rape, ever.

The audience has taken offense to Monique's repeated attacks (and, yes, thrown back some attacks of their own.) This gets the feminist translation of "We can't blame the audience for reacting violently to hearing a woman say things. They can't help themselves. They are violent, stupid animals with no self control, and if a woman wants to say things, she has to speak as softly and gently as possible, as if to a squalling toddler on the verge of meltdown." It's a fictional narrative that feminists spin, much like "patriarchy theory."

Whenever someone pretends that "patriarchy" is real, I know nothing he tells me is going to be honest. And this is why anvils get rejected.
Blackjoker
03:05:33 AM May 11th 2013
To be honest, Pvb, I kind of saw the rape apologist argument was being put forward when the comic came out. The idea here is that a lot of people seem to say that if a woman dresses that way, or goes to that place, or anything like that she's somehow culpable. Hell, there were guys in college that talked like that too, I remember seeing posters telling guys not to rape and wondering why it would be needed, then I heard them...I felt the urge to apologize for my gender after that. (That being said, as I mentioned in a post on a different discussion area for sinfest, an issue I have with the sisterhood is that they seem to use the same kind of slut shaming tactics but that's neither here nor there)

I could see the argument that it was a poor means of using the analogy, but... Monique riling up the audience and getting heckled would be something that Slick could probably get away with commenting on, if only because that's a matter of returning fire (so to speak). But when they're throwing things at her, even if they are just tomatoes, they're escalating. It's still a form of assault even if it isn't necessarily a physically damaging one.
Pvblivs
07:20:22 PM May 11th 2013
I've seen the posters telling men not to rape. But the only place I have heard anyone make any of the excuses is in works of fiction (e.g. television programs trying to draw attention to "rape culture.") Even so, I expect that people do give advice for things that can help prevent such an event, much as you might advise someone to shut his front door and lock it to avoid being robbed. It's not that you condone robbery in any way or are a "robbery apologist." You just know that certain actions make it less likely.

I will grant that the audiences reaction was escalating. That is how we get so many fights on so many levels. But there is no way to take Monique's action as anything other than deliberately instigating. That's why it doesn't fit for a rape argument. As for "Slick being able to get away with commenting on," he should have been able to comment on the events as presented. I see no reason why she would accept a comment on a heckling either.
Blackjoker
05:19:23 PM May 12th 2013
What I mean is that if they were just heckling she probably would have rolled her eyes, or at least shown better at it. I actually have heard guys say that there are women who 'shouldn't dress that way' or are responsible for what happens to them. The problem is these guys were saying it totally seriously and these were people in a college, people one would think would be at least somewhat educated. Also I would say that your robbery argument is a pretty specious comparison to rape.
Pvblivs
08:05:15 PM May 12th 2013
A flat declaration of "speciousness" does not impress me. In fact, it suggests to me that you find the comparison inconvenient. After all, we all take precautions against robbery. It doesn't mean that we condone the crime. And it doesn't mean that we are "victim blaming." We just recognize that there are bad guys and that certain precautions are sensible. Reaching a conclusion you don't like does not make an argument specious.
Blackjoker
10:37:16 PM May 12th 2013
Alright, I will explain why it's valid then. For one thing the severity of the crime is far different, theft doesn't leave people with flashbacks and ptsd. For another, there aren't people that go around saying "Well look at how they left their windows open, they were just asking to be robbed." When you say that a woman shouldn't have dressed that way you are saying in essence that she is somehow responsible for her own rape. You are compounding the trauma and blaming her. More importantly, a common tactic for legal defense is to slime the rape victim, not to mention that due to stressors and cultural stigma many women who are raped are afraid to come forward in the first place. Theft isn't stigmatized and if you're on the stand at trial you aren't likely to be told that maybe you actually gave the person the things and regret it so are choosing to accuse them of theft. Nor is your personal life going to be dragged through the mud and blind accusations thrown.
Pvblivs
05:31:46 PM May 13th 2013
The severity of the crime is, indeed different. But that doesn't make pointing out sensible precautions any more victim blaming. If you go around leaving your front door open, day after day, you will get people saying that you are asking to be robbed. But people don't leave their front doors open for this very reason. Some activities are an invitation to trouble. Pointing this out and advising against taking such actions is not victim blaming.

I read your response to me and it just sounds like you're saying "rape is a traumatic experience, so women should be encouraged to do things that make it more like and never given advice on how to prevent it." Well, no. I'm still not impressed. I still think you just find the comparison inconvenient and you call it "specious" because you don't like the conclusion.
Blackjoker
09:20:03 PM May 13th 2013
Rape isn't about sexuality, it's about domination and power. It's not an act of lust, it's essentially an act of violence. Ok, let's try this a little differently, am I asking to be beaten up because of a haircut that I have? And would you claim that a woman is responsible for being attacked because she isn't hiding in her home covered up in a burkha? You'd say that I'm strawmanning you, but the fact is that when people try to say what a woman should do to prevent rape...well if you're going to say that then what exactly do you think would stop it? Not to mention that you're also ignoring the cultural biases that we have, you saw the trauma but ignored the rest. At this point I don't think you genuinely want to have a conversation. I really hope I'm wrong but that's the position that I'm getting.
Pvblivs
09:55:05 AM May 15th 2013
Black Joker:

I didn't say anything about what rape was or wasn't about. I said there are things that make it more or less likely. No one approves of the rapist, ever. But then, the only connection that rape has with the strips mentioned is that feminists think women should be immune to all adverse consequences of their actions.

And my analogy to robbery still works. Locking your door doesn't stop burglars completely. It just makes it less likely. It becomes a talk of what are reasonable and prudent measures. But it's getting to the point that, if you suggest locking the front door to a woman, you'll get accused of "victim blaming."

As for your example, if a man is beaten up for a given style of hair, no one bats an eye when he is told that it is his own fault. And I can assure you that that happens. And I would be willing to bet that you would join in. It is "acceptable" to criticize a man's actions. And it is not considered "victim blaming."
Thecommander236
10:30:19 AM May 15th 2013
You guys almost done?
PurpleAlert
topic
08:47:51 AM May 3rd 2013
edited by 216.99.32.44
Double Standard:

  • Double Standard: This comic shows glasses that "translate" what men say without context to the writer's life. This should be impossible (Rule of Funny aside), so apparently women can judge men as much as they want, but the reverse idea has shot down by the feminists a few times.
    • There has never been a case where a female's thoughts are "translated". Until there is, and it shows female thoughts being no different between the translated and untranslated versions, there is no double standard.

    • This comic seems to imply that women feel miserable and worthless because men make them feel that way, while men feel miserable and worthless because they inherently are.

No, it doesn't. The strip before this one shows Slick feeling bad about himself because Monique rejected him when he was trying to help her and he doesn't know why she did.

Again, no. Carefully note the difference between Slick's and the girl's dialogue balloons. His are SPOKEN WORDS, hers are THOUGHTS; that's not a double standard, although it's rather pointedly gendering right and wrong behavior. He harasses a woman at a crosswalk and becomes enraged at her for being uncomfortable; she doesn't say anything out loud, she just observes without comment. I'm pretty sure no one in the comic has ever said it's not okay to look or have thoughts, but it's seriously not cool to just bark out meat-market appraisals as you walk past people. Unless you're talking about her saying "Ew" when she sees a pig, in public, reading a porno mag, which still doesn't fit the double standard, because she's disgusted with his gross behavior, not his appearance.

None of these are double standards: the first only presents half of the necessary presentation, the second is factually incorrect, and the third ignores the deliberate contrast between the two examples.
TheAlbinoPrimid
topic
12:58:11 AM May 3rd 2013
Okay, so question: would the Sisterhood arc be considered Seasonal Rot, or has it been going on long enough that we can consider it a full blown Dork Age? I really want to lean towards the latter, because it has a lot going for it (Adding an entire team of scrappies, putting characters like God and the Dragon on a bus, characters like Monique and the Devil getting rapid recharacterization, the comic turning into a soapbox for Tats, etcetera etcetera...), but I don't quite know if there's enough hindsight for it. What do you guys think?
PurpleAlert
02:44:13 AM May 3rd 2013
It can't be a Dork Age until it moves on to something else (A work's Dork Age is always past-tense, we're still in this one). Seasonal Rot is closer. I don't think either one strictly applies yet just because we're still in the middle of a lot of storylines, but if it's got to be one or the other, that's the one I'd go with.
Thecommander236
topic
10:51:06 PM Mar 5th 2013
I'm really sorry, but can I just say something else. In this comic: http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4564

Just a few criticisms here. I'm not trying not to be nasty, but there are that is silly.

1. Why yell "patriarchy" accusingly out of no where when you come on stage? Anyone in that room can misinterpret that as a criticism?

2. Monique is famous in this world for her art. What happens when a star suddenly does something drastic that no one saw coming? What happens when you favorite star starts joins scientology? Or an actress suddenly joins PETA? Now, I'm not calling the Sisterhood evil. Really, but this is a group that, two days ago, had a member upload a program in the fembots that made them crazy and (possibly) homicidal (I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and consider that maybe demons are immortal like angels). Or imagine if the Beatles suddenly got on stage dressed as punk rocksters (no one has to point out that they were punk rockstars before they became famous). Or if Ozzy Ozbourne got on stage with a suit and tie and wear them non-ironically? Then sang about how the polar bears are dying in soft rock? (I would be confused and pissed and polar bears are my favorite animals!) No Crazy Train at all that night. Of course people are pissed. Even if some of the guys are literally woman haters, a lot of them are probably just upset that she

3. sold-out and became tame,

4. is now insulting every guy by calling them misogynist because they dared to be turned on when she WILLINGLY shook her ass at them,

5. and finally, what usually happens when a celebrity spazs out and insults an entire group of people? People are going to be offended. People are going to Face Palm and say things like "she had a public melt-down? How embarrassing!", "she's not helping by screaming at people like she's crazy!", "hey, let's go pretend to be sexist to troll her!", "wah?! she saying all men are sexist? I'm not!", "my husband/boyfriend is shy and the sweetest guy ever. We are equal and she just lumped him with sexists", "hey, ladies! Monique is protesting. We need to get our act together. Harry, help us trash this store. Use the trash can. The guy who owns it is sexist." (the last one is the least likely, but that has happened. Martin Luther King assassination, anyone?) You know that's true. People WILL misinterpret it. People WILL criticize it. People WILL troll her. People WILL call her an over-reacting spaz. And she throws fuel on the fire by just yelling randomly at fans instead of, you know, going on a talk show to explain the sudden change and outburst and tell the world that the Devil IS LITERALLY CONTROLLING THEM. He does INFOMERCIALS asking for souls! Why are people so clueless about this? Why doesn't point out that you can go out with friends, drink, smoke, have sex once a week or two and NOT have to attempt selling your soul away?

6. Finally: Then to get back to the point: doesn't ANYONE find it suspicious that the Devil is a man, sexist, and encouraging men to do the same? Really? Really? No one can put two and two together and realize that he is trying to screw them over in the most non-subtle way possible. This is a world where God gets out a sock puppet of you and has daily sass battles with a dragon. I would PAY to watch that, but all you have to do is set up a chair. Why are people even going to clubs 24/7 when you can watch God verbal spar with another god and it's a DRAGON GOD! That's AWESOME! Are these people morons.

I looking way too much into this, but jeez man, seriously? Seriously?

The funny thing is that I still read it because the absurdity is hilarious and there are a lot of good strips in there, but a lot of people are exhausted by this whole feminist arc. When a member of the Sisterhood literally committed an act of terror, I could do nothing but sigh, facepalm, and shake my head. Who is he helping by saying that feminists are terrorists? Who I ask you?
PurpleAlert
10:21:31 PM May 2nd 2013
1. Because it's performance art. Monique's always been shouting stuff on the stage. 3. She sold out? How, exactly? By deciding she doesn't want to shake her ass to appeal to pervs, she's a sellout? 4. No, she's calling them misogynist because when she doesn't shake her ass, they throw food at her and tell her to shut up. 5. "Patriarchy", stated on its own, is not an insult. Calling attention to the existence of something is not an insult to anyone, and the only people who could take offense to its mention are people who either know they're part of the problem, but don't want to accept the responsibility for it, or are so ignorant of the problem that they don't want anything to interrupt their regularly scheduled programming. Racists don't like to hear about racism being bad, sexists don't like to hear about sexism being bad. 6. What's your point? Everybody knows the Devil is an asshole, it's not like you're yelling at the TV for the horror movie bimbo not to run up a flight of stairs.
Thecommander236
11:57:58 PM May 2nd 2013
1. Performance art? She literally did that just to have people throw tomatoes at her. There's nothing artistic about yelling "racist" in the street if you aren't even going to bother to a rhyme or a song on it. That's what she does. She writes poems and sings and doing that contributed to neither of those artistic forms. She was just trying to piss people off so she could hit them with a tomato.

3. Point conceded. She isn't making profits from changing her style. In the real world, doing that would give her more appeal to the older generations (besides the rock guys) and more tame crowd, but Ishida world doesn't have those elements really.

4. She yelled it at everyone. Basically she is accusing everyone. There were probably guys there who weren't misogynist. From their point of view, what does it look like if you are in that crowd and someone yells "sexist" at everyone in the room?

5. So true, so why yell it at people you don't know? If you are yelling that the country is run through a patriarchy, you are implying that men have most of the power. If you are implying men have most of the power, you are implying that woman don't have an equal share of power for some reason. If you are angry when you yell patriarchy and are a woman who has reason to feel oppressed, then you are saying that reason is that at least some men are sexist. If you are angrily yelling it at everyone in the room, you are implying that everyone in there deserves to have it yelled at them.

6. Oh hell yes I am. When I'm watching Toby from Toby Games failing at video games, I sometimes yell at the computer that isn't that hard if you focus. I make posts on youtube saying what I noticed. Yesterday there was a news report of a dude who was protesting. He said that all women who dress provocatively deserve rape. I had to ask my TV and the people in the room, "are you fucking kidding me?" This isn't fantasy. We are talking about what you would do IN-UNIVERSE. If you lived in a world where the Devil LITERALLY walks among you, wouldn't you go out and protest when he is making commercials to sell your soul like it was some old gold jewelry? Each and everyone of those characters aren't like the horror movie girl (bimbo has negative connotations) in-universe. I think there should be at least one character in-universe there to say, "that's the Devil, he is trying to !@#$ you over. There's God arguing with a !@#$ing dragon. Go get a chair."

Oh and the definition of Patriarchy according to wikipedia is: "Patriarchy (rule by fathers) is a social system in which the male is the primary authority figure central to social organization and the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property, and where fathers hold authority over women and children. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination. Many patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage."

Feminist theory: "Most forms of feminism characterize patriarchy as an unjust social system that is oppressive to women. As feminist and political theorist Carole Pateman writes, 'The patriarchal construction of the difference between masculinity and femininity is the political difference between freedom and subjection.' In feminist theory the concept of patriarchy often includes all the social mechanisms that reproduce and exert male dominance over women. Feminist theory typically characterizes patriarchy as a social construction, which can be overcome by revealing and critically analyzing its manifestations."

Modern Jungian theory: "In this analysis patriarchy may be seen as an expression of a stunted, immature form of masculinity and thus as attack on masculinity in its fullness as well as on femininity in its fullness."

So what's that all mean? Monique claimed that the USA is based on the subjugation of women and that men have all the power. Since she is a known feminist then we give by the feminist theory that the system is therefore unjust (one kick in the groin for patriots), that the problem extends to the people who are part of that system, who have to be men, and her anger is directed at everyone in the room (one slap to the face for every male in that room), and that she is attacking both masculinity (through the Jungian theory) as a cause of the problem and femininity as a sign of weakness. Why would people think that Monique now thinks of femininity as a weakness? Because she got rid of her feminine clothing which isn't a problem if you're not yelling "patriarchy" every where which through Jungian theory means masculinity is evil (one slap for men, another for tom boys) and that femininity is evil (one slap for women, another for men in touch with their feminine side).

Finally, patriarchy according to the above definition is that men are in control of the children. Last time I checked, that isn't true here as the courts are biased towards MEN in custody trials and women usually end up with the kid regardless of real worth. Not only is that anti-patriarchal, it's sexist against men, so yelling "patriarchy" implies an absolute exists when it really doesn't. It's more complicated than that which is why Monique should be EXPLAINING what she means in an interview. Oh, and one more slap to the good men who lost their custody battles.
PurpleAlert
02:36:14 AM May 3rd 2013
edited by 216.99.32.44
1. Her audience is a bunch of jerks who refuse to leave her shows, and throw tomatoes at her for not fulfilling her end of the imaginary contract that says they are entitled to see her ass onstage; the tomato-flinging WAS the performance. Using your example, yelling "Racist!" isn't the same thing as yelling "Racism." "Patriarchy" is not "misogynist", "sexist", "chauvinist", "patriarch", or any number of accusatory epithets. It's a concept, no more, no less.

4. Nothing, if you're confident that you're not sexist and therefore she isn't talking about you.

5. See above. That is an awful lot of if-then conditions to apply to a stage show, not to mention that kind of implies she doesn't have the right to be provocative during her own performances. She isn't shouting Patriarchy because the audience deserves to have it shouted in their faces, she's shouting Patriarchy because she wants the audience to hear her, but she already knows they won't. THAT is why it is a performance art piece, she doesn't need to sing or dance or entertain to make a point, and it is okay to be provocative without employing dat ass to make it stick.

6. She stated, clearly, one word: Patriarchy. It is a noun. She was not accusing anyone of anything. She is not claiming that the USA is doing or not doing anything. Patriarchy. Period. You read it as an accusation because you want to, but there's nothing about her stance, the punctuation used in her speech, or anything, written or drawn, to give that impression outside the viewer's own mind.

Further, yes, patriarchy does exist. It's slowly dissolving, but you have to remember that custody laws here (and let's not linger on this, because it has fuck-all to do with Sinfest) that favor custody going to the mother is rooted in the same "traditional" logic that says women are always better suited to childcare and nurturing and men are always better breadwinners. It is still patriarchal bullshit and here, I think, is where people get this idea that patriarchy represents men, period. It doesn't. I'm very impressed that you can copy-paste from the Wikipedia article on Patriarchy and all but Patriarchy, as used in Sinfest, refers to the systematic use of the degradation of women to compel the conformity of men to a damaging set of societal norms. And that harms everyone, including men, and Sinfest has been doing a damned good job of it in places... if you're willing not to take the message personally.

EDIT: I'm gonna go ahead and post this, because this whole "it can't be patriarchy because men lose custody battles" thing has been on my nerves. Patriarchy— real world patriarchy, the social construction, not the abstract Jungian theory or the rule-by-fathers— is damaging to everyone it affects. [1] is a really good place to start.

As to yelling at the TV... have fun yelling, I guess. Tats is doing something different with his comic now, so I figure you'll be at it for awhile.
Pvblivs
03:58:21 PM May 8th 2013
1. Presumably the audience sits through multiple performers at the club — although the notion that people would go to a poor performance just to throw rotten vegetables is nothing new; it was visited in Huckleberry Finn.

4. There are people who go out and accuse everybody. Just because I know I'm innocent when someone is accusing everyone doesn't mean that I should feel confident for not being accused. Indeed, I have greater cause to take offense because I am being accused wrongly.

The feminist version of "patriarchy" has never existed anywhere.
Thecommander236
07:36:14 PM May 8th 2013
1. Okay, I'll give you that, but there is a way better solution than putting up with their crap and even playing their game. She can simply call security. This guys aren't exercising freedom of speech, they're wasting the time and money of a performance bar and creating a mess in a privately owned club that SOMEONE would need to clean (which wastes time, money, and resources). It would be a lot easier and more mature to have the bums thrown out if they're going to act like children.

4. Man, how will people know the difference. I've been called racist before seriously and jokingly and the fact of the matter is I'm not. Either way it ticks me off or makes me laugh because the other person is slandering me without justification and throwing race in my face when I don't care about what race someone is OR the other person is simply making an ass of themselves. Take 2013-05-07 comic, for example. The girls are calling Adam and Jesus sexist (actually kind of justified in Adam's case), but it's a little confusing to me that they are calling the son of God a dudebro when it's the Devil, his opposite, that's the sexist one. (More on that later.)

5. If you paid to listen to music or poems, you want your moneys worth. Imagine Paul Mc Cartney or Ozzy Osbourne walked on stage, said "feminism" and walked off. People would be pissed and AGAIN, she can simply say it, dodge the tomatoes and then have the idiots thrown out instead of spending the next five strips playing dodge ball with rotten fruit. Remember the guy who throw a shoe at George Bush? Whether or not you think he deserved it, the fact of the matter is that guy went to jail. You can't throw things at people when they're giving a speech or if they're on stage. The only way people get away with it is if everyone throws a fake rat onto the ice during a hockey since you can't throw everyone out or figure out who actually threw a rat. In this case though, there's has to be like less than a half dozen to a dozen guys who actually have fruit based on how much is thrown onto the stage.

6. Tone, inflection, and facial expression say a lot and she's clearly angry when she's yelling it.

Custody laws are, now, more based on the fact that men are usually the ones at fault for a crumbling marriage because All Abusers Are Male and All Men Are Perverts. As to men being breadwinners, there's sexism in the job market as females tend to get paid less for a job than a man who is doing the same thing. It's for all three of those reasons, you can't just blame the problem on one small facet. You have to look at the bigger picture.

I'm actually not taking the message personally if you are referring to me. I pissed that Mr. Ishida is doing such a piss poor job at explaining the problem and making the feminists character's look sympathetic. Look at March 17ths strip and May 7ths strip. His feminists characters are not just sexist, they're BLATANTLY sexist. Here's a nice little fact for you, real feminists AREN'T sexists and don't automatically think that all man are assholes until to proven otherwise.

You made some good points and pointed out some flaws in my logic and I'm happy that we had this conversation, but it's a little bit more grey than Mr. Ishida is pointing out. There is no clear line where sexism starts. This 10,000+ of culture and instinct we're fighting and it's a lot more subject than Mr. Ishida's in-your-face altitude to the whole problem. Look at it this way: if you are a woman and you're part of a feminism organization and you're sexist and unwilling to work with men, you already lost half your potential allies as well as women who aren't as dedicated, too extreme, too submissive, or too smart to join an organization whose very policies undermines any chance it has of working by cutting out literally half the population.

Again. Man, I have held out hope that he truly moved on to other things, but he's still putting his foot in his mouth. I wasn't going to mention this, dude, but you're the one who tried to cutlist Sinfest from TV Tropes. Why did you do that?
Thecommander236
topic
12:43:48 PM Feb 25th 2013
Okay listen, I consider myself a feminist an I'm a 20 year-old man. I won't claim to not be slightly perverted and I won't claim that I am 100% perfect or unbiased. I have only recently started reading Sinfest and I have been considering reading it from the beginning. I have even considered sending Tatsuya Ishida a comprehensive message telling why people don't like people don't like the Sisterhood and give him just one suggestion (that there be at least one male character who works with the Sisterhood), but I doubt he will really care what one fan has to say and maybe he'll ignore me or write me off as a misogynist.

I just want to ask, can Curly really be justified in showing the Fembots those images in the 2013-02-24 strip? The comic takes place in America where neither of those practices (witch burns and foot binding) occur at all any more. She drove the bots into such a frenzy that they almost assaulted and/or killed two people. I'm all for free rights, but that sounds more like an act of terrorism instead of passive aggressive resistance...
Peteman
01:27:30 PM Feb 25th 2013
I'm seriously thinking if you tried writing in, he'd at best ignore you and at worst depict you as a strawman.
Thecommander236
03:10:07 PM Feb 25th 2013
edited by Thecommander236
Oh, I don't know. I wouldn't be like, "you suck royal ass and here's why". I would be like, "Mr. Ishida, women are indeed our equals, but how does foot binding have anything to do with American society? Why is porn and prostitution depicted as the highest evils of society? We do not approve of foot binding here, there is porn for everyone from straight women to gays and lesbians, not all porn degrades women (domantrix e.g.), prostitutes, if run by a non-violent pimp, make more money than ones who do not have a pimp, and there are high-class prostitutes who make a couple hundred bucks a date and are treated as equals to the men who hired them." It seems he and/or the Sisterhood are using propaganda and are not addressing the other side of the issue. On top of all that, for every female porn star, how many male porn stars are needed to make those movies? Why is it wrong for females to be in porn and not men? Because men are perverts? That's a double standard.
PurpleAlert
10:08:49 PM May 2nd 2013
Quick rundown:

Yes, Curly is justified in showing those images, they are a part of a long-running, systematic abuse and mutilation of women that serve as a foundation for the current culture of misogyny as depicted in Sinfest. They happened. Just because they don't happen now, it doesn't mean those events are not the roots of what is.

The two fembots almost did something wrong. Meaning, they didn't do anything wrong.

SevenDeadPineTrees
07:00:20 PM May 5th 2013
edited by 216.99.32.44
I can't speak for Mr. Ishida, but for the rest of your hypothetical letter, all you're really doing is helpfully denying the existence of sexism through the narrow lens of male privilege.

Good job, dudebro.

But here, let's break it down:

"What does foot binding have to do with American society?" It has to do with these. Those are what professional dress codes consider appropriate shoes for women: pointed toes, high heels, and minimal support. They force a woman to walk with unnatural posture. Among the long-term effects of wearing heels: bunions, callouses, metatarsalagia (damage to the interior bones of the toes and ball of the foot), arthritis in the knees and ankles, tendonitis, shortening of muscle fibers in the calves, lumbar spine and hip pain, sciatica, and a unique condition called 'pump-bump', where the rigid leather in the back of the shoe rubs against the skin, eventually creating a bony deformity in the heel. And women wear them now for the same reasons women's feet were bound back in the day: to give them a more feminine, attractive walk, and to make their feet more appealing. The definition of beauty may have changed, but that's the only thing that's changed.

And wouldn't you know it? It's already been addressed in the comic.

"There is porn for everyone! And not all of it degrades women!"

Ah, this is my favorite fallacy. Because not all porn is degrading, then all porn is not degrading! Even taken at its most benevolent, the vast majority of pornography is focused on the display of female bodies for the benefit of an assumed male viewer, who is cast as the voyeur on the other side of the camera's lens. There's is a film theory term coined by Laura Mulvey, and we have it here on TV Tropes: it's called the Male Gaze. And it's prevalent in all forms of visual media, but it gets its most extreme cases in pornography (and comic books, in part because it's not uncommon to find art of female comic book characters that have been traced or referenced from porno stills; Google the name "Greg Land" and "Traces Porn" sometime, it's pretty gross). The fact that there is a special-interest market for non-exploitative, female-friendly porno does not mean that mainstream porn and its ripple effects through more common, everyday things, such as advertising and marketing strategies, do not exist and do not cause harm.

Looks like that one's been done, too.

"Prostitutes, if run by a non-violent pimp, make more money than ones who do not have a pimp, and there are high-class prostitutes who make a couple hundred bucks a date and are treated as equals to the men who hired them."

Ah, my favorite fallacy again. Because not all prostitutes are exploited or abused, then all prostitutes are not exploited or abused!

The scenario you're describing, where a woman willfully exchanges sexual favors for money out of a desire to perform that work, is paid well and is treated with respect by all her clients? It is extremely rare, and can only happen under the most specific of circumstances, all of which begin with the woman in question having access to a higher quality of life, including access to education, health care, and safe working conditions, that what most women ever gain, let alone through prostitution, and she still runs an increased risk of being sexually assaulted by a client or contracting an STD from one. The profile of the high-class-hooker you describe, being held up as a fair and equal representation of what prostitution looks like is nothing but pure, privileged fantasy.

For some perspective: the majority of prostitutes in North America are human trafficking victims, first solicited for sex (both in prostitution and child pornography) between the ages of twelve and fourteen years old. And even under the best circumstances, the illicit sex industry preys heavily on all but it's top-tier starlets to get the best return on its investments. Google "debt bondage" sometime.

Tats has covered that issue, as well.

And here we get to the bottom line. Informally, in feminist spaces, it's called the "What about teh menz!?" argument.

This happens a lot, you are not at all the first person to jump in with the "aren't you being sexist against men, you hypocrites, because you're not talking about how sexism hurts men too?"

The answer is no. We're not.

You, being a holder of privilege, do not get to come into a space that is set aside for the discussion of issues that are not focused on your privileged group, and then demand to be made the focus of attention anyway. We are not upholding double standards, we are not hypocrites, and we are not being sexist, just because, in a feminist space, set aside for feminist issues, men and men's interests do not automatically get top priority.

Click this and read it thoroughly. It will explain more completely than I ever could.

By the way, he did that one too.

Closing statement. Peace.

SevenDeadPineTrees
topic
08:45:37 PM Aug 5th 2012
edited by SevenDeadPineTrees
(Edit: New topic, because dang that got long)

The so-called pornification of Western culture (I'm looking at you, Abercrombie and Fitch) is pervasive enough (and prevalent enough in the Sinfest universe, if the beat club audience is any indication) that "Stop Porn Culture" could very easily be pointing to it.

There's also the matter of Squig literally being kind of a porn addict. Again, he's a pig, and the embodiment of the vice-addicted glutton, so that's to be expected of his character type. But we're not really shown what harm that does; I don't think we've ever gotten any insights as to his desires for anything except to indulge his vices and be a good friend to his bros, assuming there's anything else at all.

This is all so complicated. x_x

Tangentally related:

I removed a bunch of stuff from the YMMV page because I am getting super, super tired of people making really broad-brush statements about how much and exactly why Sinfest sucks now under the heading of really unrelated tropes. I'm a little too annoyed to go back and add those topics here, but I'm happy to discuss them if they come up.
Nerdking
01:10:13 AM Aug 6th 2012
edited by Nerdking
I was never saying that, because Curly went further, "Stop Porn Culture" wasn't referring to the real issue of pornification. I was just saying she should've stopped there, because of the writing/clarity of argument issues that came up for Tats.

EDIT: I suppose you're right that Squig personally has an unhealthy attachment to porn, but I don't think Curly knows that, and wouldn't it technically make him a sex addict that just can't get any? Excessive/compulsive masturbation is on the list of symptoms, after all.

I didn't notice what you edited, which probably means you did a good job of only removing the truly misaimed tropes. If we're going to talk about the page, though, I feel like the Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped entry is... I'm not really sure how to put this. On the one hand, I'm sure it's talking about a common experience, especially in some parts of the world, and you've helped me understand how many real-world parallels Tats' tunnel-visioned writing has so I don't disagree with what it's saying. On the other hand, from a purely "troper" standpoint I'm not sure you can apply that one to a work as muddled (from a non-feminist perspective at least) as Sinfest currently is, especially one where the writing actually (at least temporarily) worsens when the topic in question comes up. So I guess the best word is "awkward". I'm certainly not going to touch the entry, especially because if Sinfest improves and addresses the issues the anvil-happy plotline will in fact be better for its lack of subtlety, but I want to hear your perspective on it, if only to understand it better.
SevenDeadPineTrees
01:45:39 AM Aug 6th 2012
edited by SevenDeadPineTrees
Ah, I didn't mean to cast doubt, that was just my thought on the matter; I have no idea how Curly managed to dive into the Internet and save him, anyway XD Sinfest physics, go fig. As to Squig being an addict.. I'm not sure we've seen enough to draw the line, on that front.

My thought on the Some Anvils entry is that the reason the anvils need to be dropped is evidenced by the reader reaction: you have people who are just freaking the hell out over the Patriarchy plotline, for a variety of reasons, but they all really boil down to the same basic principle: we don't want to hear it. The common thread here (and I'm absolutely citing all the Glossy hate on this one) is that the naysayers are using the same arguments against Glossy that get used against feminist arguments. She's not fun. She has a message she wants to get out, and she won't shut the fuck up.

I'm gonna focus on my personal pet peeve for a second, and it's the "What about THE MEN? Aren't THE MEN important?" You don't have to go any further than the Double Standard entry in the YMMV page: Tats calls attention to Charlie Brown and the Little Red Haired Girl, because Peanuts is just about as wholesome as apple pie and chocolate milk and the fact that its traditional, sweet, family-friendly content is totally okay with a little girl being stalked in her own yard to the point that they do not call it stalking, because Charlie Brown doesn't mean any harm. Fuck whatever the little girl might feel as she's being watched from the shadows. Its effect on her doesn't matter as long as Charlie Brown means well, because his intent towards her takes precedence over her autonomy, her agency, her feelings and her wishes. To someone familiar with patriarchy and feminist theory, that exact scenario is the play-script that, if someone or something doesn't help that nice, well-meaning but creepy little boy realize that what he's doing is not okay, is going to be what he considers acceptable behavior when he's a nice, well-meaning but creepy adult.

Of course, no one saw it that way, they jumped at the chance to say "What about the boys? What about Linus? What about the entire rest of the Peanuts cast?", as if the point Tats was making about Charlie Brown was somehow completely invalidated by the fact that he chose not to address another side of the issue... which pretty much proves they completely missed the point. Shakesville can explain this phenomenon better than I can: check it out here.

They're using the argument of what he's not saying to invalidate what he is saying (again, silence argument), because they don't want to hear it. They want their fun back, regardless of what it means or how badly Tats doesn't want to contribute to that anymore.

The Anvil being dropped here is directly related to the fanbase's reactions: if you're in a void, you might as well scream: at least if they cover their ears and tell you to shut the fuck up, you can still prove they heard you.

(Minor edits for clarity)

Nerdking
10:54:51 AM Aug 6th 2012
Ah, that makes a lot more sense. I'd forgotten how many parallels you'd pointed out in the anti-Glossy arguments themselves. I still feel like the entry was a little premature, since the trope says that it should apply to works that definitely improved when they forwent subtlety, but I see how it'll fit when Tats makes his message more acceptable to a general audience.

Honestly, though, I'm not sure how much the "humorless" argument ties in to its use against feminism. IRL, it's a feminist stereotype, one that says "women can either be fun or empowered, but not both." With Sinfest, the resemblance is usually cosmetic- Tats attracted a large part of his fan base with high-quality satirical humor, and decided to slap his readers with Mood Whiplash and rapid-onset Cerebus Syndrome as part of a heavy-handed feminist message that only looks well-written from certain angles. He could have weighed in on anything from Coke vs. Pepsi to opposing the North Korean government and gotten the same reaction from most of his opponents, just because he suddenly and unexpected stopped giving them what they expected after basing a career on doing exactly that. Sure, he never had to write to their tastes (or even said he ever did so, for that matter), but you can't blame people for being angry when the focus of the comic shifted, the quality of the writing (temporarily) declined in the storyline that brought the changes, and the message somehow managed to be simultaneously heavy-handed and impossible to really understand without already being pretty familiar with (and sympathetic to) the arguments being made. Of course people are lamenting the loss of the funny, it's what they'd been expecting and receiving for most of a decade, with exaggerated political allegory only serving as a setup for more jokes until Glossy showed up.

Also, on the 7/5 strip- I think that, while the most common criticisms of it are total BS, that strip really was poorly done. It rehashed the Calvin and Hobbes strip (male comics icon shown as sexist, female victim of icon's bad behavior empowered), with all the subtlety and class of taking legal action against a prepubescent boy. Seriously, since when has going to a judge and filing a restraining order against a kid who's probably too little to be aware of the line between "shy" and "creepy" (and who certainly isn't capable of posing a threat) ever been a logical choice for the stalkee's first response to his behavior? Is that even legally possible, especially without any evidence of a mental illness that would make the kid a threat? I get what Tats was doing- it's not an original interpretation of the character, the girl couldn't be shown in a way viewers would reliably recognize, there wasn't room for enough talking to believably "correct" Chuck without the order, and it would be out-of-character (from what little we've seen of her character) for Glossy to talk that much anyway- but when you're handing legal documents to a kid whose age is (probably) in the single digits and implying that he's a dangerous lunatic or abusive ex (the only personality types most people associate with anyone getting a restraining order filed against them) you have to ask yourself "is there a better way to make this point?" Also, while I don't think Sally and Linus' genders should be an issue, the existence of a more extreme case of stalking/obsessive behavior towards a crush in the world being parodied does make it more questionable to use the gender relations equivalent of a nuclear strike (from my perspective; I'm pretty sure you can't take stronger legal action without the stalker breaking other laws, but please correct me if there is something more severe that could've happened).

Finally: while Tats can certainly say people heard him, I think he's going to look back at some point and say "wow, I probably could have changed more minds if I'd gone about that better," because the message isn't the only thing losing him favor with "unenlightened" readers. That's my biggest issue with the "anvils" entry- I feel like that trope doesn't apply when the lack of subtlety becomes (or is associated with things that are) counterproductive almost to the point of Don'tShootTheMessage when you're talking to people who don't agree with you from the start. Again, though, I say this in hopes of the problematic elements being a temporary issue and everything paying off in the end.
SevenDeadPineTrees
01:54:04 PM Aug 6th 2012
On the one hand, I agree that it probably was premature, but I added it because the audience reaction proved the need for the Anvil to be dropped (not to mention the huge amounts of sexism already present in the comic thus far, and the efforts to change it later, but that's not why I put it there). That may be more meta than TV Tropes really needs, though. It might belong better under Reality Subtext, except Tats is a hermit and we don't have a lot of window into how he feels objectively on the subject.

I also agree that the Mood Whiplash and the Cerebus Syndrome are absolutely problems that Sinfest has right now, at least as far as the prior reader base is concerned, but I'm not going to go with the tone argument (ie, he can be as belligerent and loud and heavy-handed as he wants, that doesn't invalidate the merit of anything he says) as a reason for why it's bad. If people want to stop reading it because it isn't funny anymore, that's their choice, but they don't stop there. These people aren't complaining about the parts of the comic that are actually bad for the reasons they actually are bad. They want to cite imaginary double standards and misandry and reverse-sexism and speculations on Tats' sex life as reasons to discredit the feminist message, because obviously it's the philosophy that's destroying the comic, and not Tats' approach to expressing it, and everything would just be fine and dandy if Tats would shut up and smile.

The absurdity of the situation with the 7/5 strip was probably intended to be funny, it just fell flat because it offended so many people. It was rehashed from the Calvin and Hobbes strip, too, and so it loses points for that, I completely agree. It was absolutely a hamfisted way to preach that message, but that level of audacity isn't actually that far off of Sinfest's brand of humor to begin with, and it uses the ultimate unacceptable target as the brunt of the joke and renders itself Not Cool.

Nerdking
01:00:19 AM Aug 7th 2012
I wasn't meaning for the tone argument to reflect on the "message" per se, just on Tats' apparent intentions vs. results. I think he really appreciates the opportunity to use his position to change the minds of people who came for the humor in the old, sexist days, which is why (IMO, naturally) the other story lines are still ongoing and he's at least trying to make 90% of the changes to characters feel natural- he hopes people are attached enough to the characters to keep coming back while the new message gets on its feet. He could easily have done something like start a new comic and link it in a closing rant if he really wanted to drive off the readers who weren't as enlightened, and honestly I think his silence might be an attempt to let the comic speak for itself instead of giving a definite answer to people's questions that might scare some people off. My point about the tone was that, if that's really what he's going for, he should have given at least some thought to the opinions of "unenlightened" readers so that his message would have a wider reach, or if he isn't going for it he should have made a definitive statement (in a rant or a very unambiguous, possibly fourth-wall-breaking Glossy strip) to tell people "don't bother with this if you don't like feminism". Instead, he's in some weird middle ground of "I want to spread the word about feminism but I can't let go of my beliefs to consider an outside perspective"- at least that's what it looks like to me.

The message itself is perfectly sound and doesn't lose anything, and I think you're right that people are a little too eager to attack feminism with Glossy as a proxy to be just disaffected by the writing. I just think, as I've said before, that Tats is wasting an opportunity and on some level he's aware of that (which hopefully means we'll get more "funny" devil strips like 8/4, moderate feminist voices, characterization for the Sisters once they aren't their cause's only voice, etc. soon).
SevenDeadPineTrees
03:36:15 AM Aug 7th 2012
I really want to agree with you about the tone of the comic, I really, really want to, but I have a lot of strong opinions on the obligations inherent in the writer-reader relationship. Tats seems to be writing with the strength of conviction right now, whether he'll regret it in the future remains to be seen but as it stands, he's the writer, and not obligated to compromise himself in order to to cater to the comfort of an audience that he may not be writing for anymore. It's not his responsibility to gently couch whatever he chooses to express in a soft, non-threatening filter, the same way that it isn't the responsibility of any given minority to justify its non-likeness to any given majority.

He may be wasting an opportunity to present his personal view of feminist philosophy to the un-initiated by writing the Sisterhood plot the way he does, but the outside perspective isn't, and shouldn't be, his responsibility. It's the responsibility of the outsiders to sit down, shut up, and listen to what is being said, or decide it's not for them and move on; he's already made it very clear that he doesn't feel that he owes that corner of his readership jack, and he's right: he's done this strip every day for years, and the vast majority haven't had to pay one thin dime for all the work he's put into it. The least these long-term readers can do is let the man speak his peace.

That's not to say that I'm not looking forward to better writing and returning to the focus of the rest of the cast and development for the Sisters, because I'll always look forward to anything I read getting better with time. But I don't want to see Tats compromise his viewpoint, either.
Nerdking
06:57:56 PM Aug 7th 2012
Funny, strong opinions on the reader-writer dynamic are what make me so compelled to make my case in the first place. I feel that a writer who tries to share his "unfiltered" views with his audience should at least consider the most effective means of communication, and I think our difference here is what we see Tats doing. That being said, I'm not sure it matters.

I've been arguing based on a belief that good persuasive works have to consider who they're persuading. I don't just think Tats is wasting an opportunity, and I certainly don't think he owes anyone anything just by virtue of writing a comic they've chosen read. My points always started from the assumption that Tats was deliberately trying to educate readers about feminism without losing his "edgy", over-the-top style and the result read like a straight up statement of convictions because he wasn't doing a good job of getting through to people.

The reason I'm not sure our difference of opinion matters is simple: when I felt the need to defend my basic assumption I started thinking about what evidence I could find in Sinfest, and I realized it was all pretty recent. In other words, I think Tats is currently transitioning between "these are my beliefs and the critics can suck it" (your view) and "holy shit guys, this is a thing you should think about" (my view). The reason we had such a fundamental disconnect is because we had different visions of new Sinfest because Tats had two different visions of new Sinfest.

Look at Squig vs. Curly: in the early days of feminist strips, the Sisters either spread their ideals quickly and without debate (Androgynique, Fuchsia's escape) or completely failed to do so in a way that reflected badly on the person they tried to persuade ("Let Slick be Slick", which is especially notable because Slick had begun to change for the better but suddenly stalled out when confronted about his personality). That's the work of a man with a very definite viewpoint who doesn't care what people think (which led to the Unfortunate Implications I brought up earlier). Now, however, we have a beloved sympathetic character with an incorrect picture of the world seriously (if stupidly, because of his character) debating a relatively unsympathetic newcomer and having his thought process changed slowly and not always smoothly, which parallels how a lot of real people overcome ignorance. That's something that's clearly intended to persuade (and was in fact my main piece of evidence).

Honestly, I think Tats is just better at persuasive writing than full-on Author Tract writing, and he's either starting to realize that or discovering it as he loses the tunnel vision and gets a more nuanced view of both feminism and the opposition. Either way, good things are coming, we just have to have faith and hope that a lot of the people who are on the fence about Sinfest stick around to see them.
SevenDeadPineTrees
08:31:58 PM Aug 7th 2012
You know, I hadn't really thought of it like that. I'd been so caught up on hoping for and believing in the eventual change in Tats' storytelling that I wasn't appreciating the changes that were already taking place.

Squig and Curly make a really good example of that and I'm glad you pointed it out, I don't think I would have caught that aspect of it if you hadn't. It makes me wonder exactly how much of this is deliberate, if any of it isn't, on Tats' part. This conversation has done nothing but convince me he's got it under control, though, so good job on that, everybody.

I spent some free time this morning re-reading some of the recent-but-not-so-recent strips, and going over some of the things I've noticed, to try to pin down the earliest mention of patriarchy just to see if it was something I had just missed, and yeah, actually: Monique mentions it in a passing-knowledge sort of way after the Devil cuts her a check for being a devil girl booth babe, and she starts to change. I wish I had the link handy, but she has a conversation with Slick (ostensibly about their relationship) where she talks about how she's changed from her attention-whoring, man-damning ways, but he's obviously missing it and hasn't changed at all. Which is a little weird, but it suggests that Tats' introduction to feminism and his general awareness that his writing was kind of outrageously sexist has been going on far, far longer than Glossy's been around...

So yes. Let us continue having faith in Tats as a writer, and be super excited for it when everything comes to proper fruition! *vuvuzelas*
AshleyY
01:35:09 AM Sep 17th 2012
The trouble with the dudebros Slick & Squig is that they don't really care about women. The trouble with the feminists is that they reject sex: their vision of a perfect world is a sexless playground, which is ultimately just as toxic. If any character's going to be the sane foil I'd prefer Crim: he used to be a dudebro (see some early strips) but has since grown up and is capable of genuine, if platonic, relationships. The downside is that he doesn't seem to have any interest in sex: this would be the character development necessary.

I don't think 'Nique is such a good option, as formerly she was only interested in men for the attention they gave her, and now she rejects them. She's presumably still attracted to men but hasn't shown any evidence of being capable of forming healthy non-narcissistic relationships with them. This seems like a greater leap of character development.
Nerdking
07:09:58 PM Sep 17th 2012
Wow, cool, someone picked the discussion back up the day I decided to come back and talk about it again. I'll be honest... I think we gave Tats too much credit. He seems to have fully bought in to what we hoped he was setting up as another too-far extreme. Thing is, something clearly changed his mind, so I'm hoping whatever part of his life did that will ultimately make him realize he's kind of full of it now.

'Nique was kind of forming a bond with Slick, but with Devil-Slick apparently around for the long run I don't think that'll go anywhere. I think you're right: Crim will have to fix things, implications be damned. Either that, or Tats will really go down the rabbit hole, figure it out with time, and freak out even worse than he did when he first discovered feminism, which will be hilarious. Either way, we win.
magnum12
06:34:46 PM Sep 19th 2012
edited by magnum12
It's been over a month of waiting for development in the arc and here's the score card.

1. Still no moderate feminist voice. This arc is still sexist pigs vs radifems with the radifems "always right" (with Seymour "always wrong" even when he says the exact same thing).

2. The Sisterhood and Glossy are still completely one-dimensional. The 3rd Edition Necrons are still more three dimensional have more character development than the new main characters, and given how infamously one-dimensional that codex's fluff was, THAT's SAYING SOMETHING! Combined with 1, some definate Mary Sue symptoms if you ask me.

3. The humor is a bit better. Still considerably less funny than it was a year ago. The whole "women can only be fun or empowered" sterotype is complete bollacks. Mion Sonozaki (she's a strong woman who's also a low grade but hilarious troll) and much of the Disgaea cast, namely Sapphire say otherwise.

This relates to one of the main reasons The Sisterhood arc is so polarizing amonst fans. Sin Fest has gone down this route. Anyone who says gender issues can't be made funny is a fool at best. The "Working Girl" episode from Dinosaurs (written in 1994) is a laugh riot satire of sexism and gender issues in the work place that depicts "The Patriarchy" as a bunch of good ol' boy morons. When I say that the optimal approach to educating people about gender issues is to generate lulz at the expense of morons from both sides, stuff like that (and South Park) is exactly what I mean.

This goes back to my point about needed a moderate voice. The moderate view is the one least likely to piss people off, educate people about gender issues in a positive fashion, and is the perfect Only Sane Man for ruthless satire of sexism. Example of a moderate voice approach: Umineko no Naku Koro ni. The head of the family and 1st in line offspring are sexist when it comes to women. The way its handeled is that essentially, the 1st in line is full of crap and depicted as being wrong, with Ryukishi 07's (speciality is mystery/horror and he's considered "a grandmaster" of those genres) view (seen if you read between the lines) being that competence is more important than gender in terms of leadership/other things. This relates back to Mion, who's in essence "the leader" of the bunch rather than the token male Keiichi, who's a new comer. His role due to his charisma is more like The Heart, being the one that can rally people.

Edit: There's a difference between chasity (highly checked/disciplined sex drive) and celibacy (no sex drive). Criminy is the former. I believe he is capable of being interested in a sexual relationship (he does get aroused by Fyoosh's actions as seen by his luminescent blushin) but is also really good at keeping his hormones in check. His appearence in the friend zone to me symbolizes the correct way to view relationships with women. Being a "friend" and being a "mate" are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, being "mates" should require a very deep bond of trust and friendship before going any further. Its (along with being inherently unnatural in terms of violating the natural law of "female's choice", being inherently exploitative, treatimg women as slaves/commodities/property) is why I as a male find Arranged Marriage to be an unholy abomination.
SevenDeadPineTrees
06:27:21 AM Feb 2nd 2013
... Are you still on about this?

Okay.

Yes. You are correct. There is no moderate feminist voice yet. Thank you for pointing that out, and for reminding us that South Park, and Disgaea, and all the other works you've cited, are better than Sinfest at expressing gender roles and feminism. Thank you for keeping score for everyone.
Poopinablanket
09:51:15 PM May 6th 2013
Is Disgaea actually good at that, or was that just sarcasm? I've been hearing a lot of great things about the game and if it actually gives some decent gender role stuff on top of that, I'd like to check it out. Just, uh... just wondering.
magnum12
11:36:22 AM May 15th 2013
edited by 69.172.221.6
Actually yes. I'm being sincere on this one. Gender swapped versions of classes are basically the same in terms of core stats. Their differences are in weapon group proficiency (many times the secondary proficiencies), minorly swapped secondary stats, and class based special abilities. For example, male warriors are proficient in swords, axes (primary) and spears (secondary) while female warriors are proficient with swords, spears (primary) and bows (secondary). This actually makes a lot of sense since assuming all other variables equal, the female body structure is more lithe and agile, meaning that women will e inherently better at tasks requireing dexterity (such as using a bow) while men will be better at tasks that require brute strength (such as using a really big and heavy axe). Male mages have higher speed (evade stat) and a special ability that increases magic point cost in exchange for more damage while female mages have higher hit (accuracy) and have a special ability that cuts their magic point cost in half (damage is unchanged).

In terms of story characters, there's plenty of bad asses and competent characters across both genders (such as a Ax-Crazy Yandere princess who's arguably the funniest character in the 3rd game).

Keep in mind that the series is a parody of anime and rpg tropes with plenty of naughty, raunchy, acid tongued humor. The 4th game spends the 1st half as a satire of corrupt politics.
SevenDeadPineTrees
topic
11:14:49 AM Jul 3rd 2012
Can somebody explain all the Trike Girl hate? She doesn't proselytize or shame for not believing in her cause, she just encourages people to be more self-aware and organizes raids on Patriarchy installations; she doesn't usually even talk in the strips she appears in. Not to mention there is a lot of obvious chauvinism in the Sinfest world, and the whole anti-Patriarchy subplot is a Matrix parody and Trike Girl is its Morpheus, so it's not like her cause has no basis.

magnum12
09:22:28 AM Jul 11th 2012
edited by magnum12
Has much to do with her and the Sisterhood arc being a very malignant Plot Tumor (one that took over the strip very quickly). Goes to the point where the plot bend over backwards to accomidate her, giving her traits of the Black Hole Sue. Then there's the 7/5 incident, widely considered to have went way too far. Since the antics of other characters such as Sally and Lucy are far worse, this shows Glossy to be both a Knight Templar and just as sexist against men as the Patriarchy is against women. Had the same impact on her reputation as Bad Behaviour did for Seymour.

Also, Sinfest became much darker and more serious ever since this arc started

In summary, it's a toxic combination of tropes that makes her so divisive.
SevenDeadPineTrees
04:08:23 PM Jul 28th 2012
I don't get the assertion she's "just as sexist against men as the Patriarchy is against women". She isn't. She doesn't oppress men, she doesn't demand anything from them: for the most part, she gives them books, and moves on. Being for women doesn't mean being against men, but a lot of people seem to be jumping to that conclusion.

People point to the 7/5 incident that because she serves Charlie Brown a restraining order (note that she has no basis for filing one, the implication is that the little redhaired girl did, and Trike Girl is just serving him the paperwork) that somehow suggests she's misandrist, since she didn't serve one to anyone else— it's the silence argument. She wasn't shown helping men, therefore she must be misandrist! First they complain that she takes up too much of the comic, then they complain that Tats didn't spend more time showing Glossy serving court documents to the rest of the Peanuts cast?

One of the problems feminist arguments have to deal with is the idea that "feminism" is an issue that only concerns women and only belongs in certain, female-oriented spaces, and must otherwise be focused on men and men's problems to be of value to a general audience. This strip sums it up: any group that doesn't pay its owed observances to the privileged group when it complains about how the privileged group acts is going to be met with dismissal and naysaying. Which is pretty much what's going on here, even to the point of people casting aspersions on Tats' integrity as an artist.

magnum12
03:03:34 PM Jul 30th 2012
edited by magnum12
She does however take a very aggressive stance when it comes to males. If one reads the authors written, those books she gave were of a VERY radical stance (of the kind that usually tries to stuff their views down someone's throat type of radical). Those books through a chain of events were the cause of the recipient nearly getting bomfed. Going back to 7/5, Glossy went straight for the more aggressive option. Knowing the nature of the character targeted (he's in all purposes a painfully shy, well intentioned moron), and the fact that his intentions were NEVER malicious, he would have been willing to listen to reason. Did Glossy try that approach first before using more aggressive methods? No. What does she do in regards to Sally's behaviour towards Linus, which is much worse? Nothing. Conclusion: Unless the fanbase gets evidence to the contrary, it is a reasonably valid assumption that Glossy's actions towards men who are in the wrong are much more aggressive than her actions towards women in the wrong (assuming she has a reaction at all towards that all despite being the exact same situation). This means that there is likely a double standard which makes her a hypocrite and quite possibly sexist against men. This brings me to my next point.

True feminism (not the radical ideaology) is about equal rights and equal treatment for women which is absolutely the right thing to do. This also means that ALL double standards in favor of or against EITHER gender must be purged. Being in favor of double standards in favor of your gender and not allowing double standards in favor of the other makes one a hypocrite. One cannot have their cake and eat it too. The logical conclusion to this point is that true and proper relationships are about mutual respect, mutual choice, mutual consent. This is why as a male I find Arranged Marriage to be an unholy abominbation. A tradition inherently based on domination, exploitation, and control is a gross violation upon the natural order, which is that the female is the one who ultimately chooses their mate.

The last reason why Glossy is so hated is in fact the way the Sisterhood arc is being handeled. Its being handeled in a very preachy, ram rod itself down your throat approach with the seeming aesop of "All men are exploitative, controlling misogynist pigs". In addition, all of the male characters in this strip who don't act this way (Criminy for example) seem to have for the most part disappeared, getting very little screen time in order to support this argument. Chivarlous, honorable men get offended by this arc due to the way it seems to lump them in with the asses. The way the arc is being handeled is completely not funny. An approach based on mockery, parody, and satire would have made the Sisterhood arc MUCH more enjoyable. Sinfest seems to have lost its sense of humor over the past year as it has gotten darker and more serious, a change that can be directly linked to Glossy. Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten handeled the darker more serious appproach much better. The last three chapters got very dark (thanks to the introduction of a Knight of Cerebus), but it got handeled well because the game still remembered its roots and made sure the player had plenty of moments to laugh to balance out the change of tone.
SevenDeadPineTrees
08:04:03 PM Jul 30th 2012
edited by SevenDeadPineTrees
Yes, she's radical. That doesn't make her aggressive, violent, or harmful to anyone. She has never harmed anyone. Yes, a chain of events started by her books led to their recipient nearly getting bomfed, but Glossy did not do that. There is no evidence she's even capable of doing that; it's completely unfair (and makes no sense) to blame her for something that she did not do and had no active hand in.

Again, 7/5 is more to highlight the fact that there is no excuse for Charlie Brown's behavior. He is stalking her, whether he means malicious intent or not, and the hand-wave "boys will be boys, he doesn't mean any harm" attitude (an attitude that does exist in the real world and is responsible for a lot of sexual assault in schools going unpunished) is dismissive of the harm it actually does: Glossy did not file the restraining order, because he is not stalking her, she just served him the papers. The little red-haired girl did, because it was obviously making her uncomfortable. That was the point of the strip: to make you think about the little red-haired girl for once, instead of Good Ol' Charlie Brown. It's an Alternative Character Interpretation for him, not a chance to make Glossy look good.

EDIT: More on the 7/5 note, let's compare the little red-haired girl to the rest of the Peanuts cast: unlike Linus or Charlie himself, AFAIK she has no face, no name, no agency, no ability to defend herself, even if it would be futile. She exists only for Charlie Brown to admire from behind trees. I don't really feel a deep need to analyze an extremely minor character in the Peanuts cast, but it seems the simplest reason for why Glossy came to the little redhaired girl's defense is because her character concept depends on the fact that she literally can't do it herself.

Further, saying that since Glossy isn't shown serving similar papers in male characters' defense is, again, the silence fallacy. If you buy your friend lunch instead of donating the cost of that lunch to a soup kitchen, does that mean you hate the homeless? Of course not. But that's the thing: she isn't shown doing anything. And if you absolutely must use that example, there's the 7/15 strip, which shows the Sisterhood tearing down stripper poles in order to make a playground for everyone to play on. If the Sisterhood really was misandrist, wouldn't it have a No Boys Allowed sign, with only Monique, Fuschia, Baby Blue, Lady Liberty, and Tangerine playing on it?

I'm not going to dignify the concept of "true feminism" with a response, because we're not arguing about the validity of feminism as a concept, just a divisive character in a webcomic. Glossy is a radical, yes, and she does seem to have more in common with the ideals of first-wave feminism.. because in the Sinfest world, she is a first-wave feminist in a world where the Patriarchy is a literal Matrix built around oppressing and dividing the sexes. She lives in a world rife with rampant, unapologetic sexism, that up until her arrival, had only a handful of major female characters, most (if not all of whom) were built around their sex appeal, in-universe and to the audience. I know the very obvious real-world parallels get thick at that point, but those parallels do exist, Telling girls to shut up because they're too noisy and get in the way of your fun is something that happens in the real world all the time.

That being said, yes, the Patriarchy plot has taken over the comic and I can see where that gets annoying, but that's no reason to damn a character who does ride at the forefront of that parade for things she has not done. Even good, chivalrous men (both in the comic and in the real world!) can do themselves and the world a great good if they take a minute to understand the concept of privilege, and to be aware of how deeply it affects the lives of everyone around them, including themselves and everyone in their lives, male OR female.

EDIT:

As much as I'd like to avoid any unintended assumptions, it seems to me that most of the people who make these kind of gross over-accusations of Glossy and a general dismissal of the Patriarchy plotline for being too preachy and message-heavy, don't really have a full understanding of what the real-world Patriarchy looks like, or at least haven't looked closely enough to find something that really disturbs them personally (and there's a lot for anyone to find personally disturbing). The arguments against her are upsettingly close to the same arguments people use against feminism as a whole (blaming her for things she is not responsible for because she was involved in the circumstances surrounding them; accusing her of being too preachy because her message demands uncomfortable truths, discrediting her cause because, in a single instance, her depiction of protecting a little girl was seen as discrediting a little boy, and then she is blamed for not protecting little boys in the same canon)
Nerdking
11:26:03 PM Jul 30th 2012
edited by Nerdking
One issue with Trike Girl and the Sisterhood is that, as the comic gets deeper into their ideology, it becomes more apparent that they're just as radically extremist as, say, Seymour but don't face negative consequences for it. The 7/31 strip shows that they (and presumably the author, since Squig's phrasing is pretty much the worst way to explain what he's talking about) even dismiss other parts of the feminist movement. This is especially problematic because the 7/1 strip implies that, at least in the author's mind, the Sisterhood is the middle ground between the ideals of "virgin" and "whore" even though they're against everything sexual (as far as we know).

You also have to keep in mind that the Patriarchy didn't exist before Trike Girl showed up, nor did it have a reason to. Ironically, the idea that she's justified and cannot be blamed for her extremism parallels the theory that Charlie Brown is a stalker, since both interpretations require the reader to ignore the author's hand in the situation (Schultz kept his characters' relationships constant, even when it produced Unfortunate Implications, while Idasha gave the extremists he agreed with the only possible world where their extremism was justified). That being said, the fact that the world is as bad as it is means that the author at least acknowledges that the Sisterhood is too extreme for real life.

The stripper poles incident does show a "softer side" to the Sisterhood, but there was the strip where they were serving drinks exclusively to devil girls and slapped Legion away... I'll give you that point for now, but only because the timing of the strips seems like the author might have realized he crossed a line.

Honestly, the biggest issue with Trike Girl and the Sisterhood/Patriarchy plot is that they're out of place. Aside from the Sisterhood, the only characters in Sinfest without in-universe flaws are Criminy (who lost his because of character development), Jesus (whose religion and father are mocked, making it clear that he's still just around for jokes and the occasional plot point), and Buddha (the literal embodiment of moderation). All three of those characters show up mostly in "funny" strips, have no extreme ideals or beliefs, and only show up in non-funny strips for backstory or character development purposes. The Patriarchy plot is never funny and the Sisterhood are presented as the saviors of womankind, even though both sides of the conflict are every bit as extreme as Seymour or the Devil (OK, one of them is the Devil, but that supports my point- a character who used to be a parody of vice and hedonism is now a completely serious villain, albeit one with a softer side that he literally locks in a vault, with no warning or buildup, just because the Patriarchy needed a master).

Finally, you're right that the debate isn't about feminism as a concept, but the author's concept of feminism is what causes most of the problems. It's not like Glossy gets hate for defending women; she gets hate because the author of a parody/humor comic started devoting an incredible amount of time to her, her "Sisters", and a 100% serious plot line revolving around them without any admission that their ideology has flaws or can be taken too far (aside from that one time Legion got slapped away from a "devil girls only" water stand, which brought no consequences to the slapper and was never brought up again). This has even continued after the author admitted to being aware of sex-positive feminists (by making fun of them on 7/7, and calling them misogynists on 7/31), so it's not like the author is writing about the only kind of feminism he knows (which would be less obnoxious to readers like me who see a place for sex in both feminism and culture).

EDIT: Ok, I saw your edit and you're right about the uncomfortable parallels between Glossy hate and anti-feminism. Glossy, however, is both fictional and a deliberate symbol of the author's new ideology, which is in fact responsible for everything people complain about. Yes, people should probably blame the author and not her for that stuff, but it's not like they're using her as a proxy because she's a person they want to attack; they're using her as a proxy because they hope that the author will change and/or that he's setting the Sisterhood up for a fall. And because I'm one of the people who feels like you're making assumptions, I'm going to say this: I am completely comfortable facing the truths she brings up, at least as far as I believe she's bringing up truths. I disagree with her reactions to them, and with how those reactions are presented.
magnum12
12:02:57 AM Jul 31st 2012
edited by magnum12
Actually, my comments about true femminism do relate to the concept of "privilege". Equal rights for all, equal treatment for all, and no double standards for anyone essentially means no privilege...for ANYONE.

My personal reasons for hating this arc (rather than speaking for the fans) are as follows.

1. Mammoth sized ultra invasive Plot Tumor. Probably one of the most infamous in all web comics. Practically all of the other plot lines have pretty much either vanished or been reduced to being minor specks in comparison. Not even the Crim/Fyoosh arc in its heyday got this invasive nor did it grow so large. That arc is popular due to its themes of redemption, atonement, and character development that was mutualistic in nature.

2. Not....funny. I have yet to laugh from this arc. Due to the Plot Tumor nature of it all, the arc has practically drained all of the lulz from the comic that I've come to enjoy with it. This goes back to my comments about the way the arc is being handeled. If Glossy were a snarky, sarcastic, smart ass or if the arc was approached in a satirical, acid tongued, mocking parody of sexism that produces lulz at the Patriarchy's expense, I would actually have a good time with it, coming out of it a happy camper. Instead, the arc is being played deadly serious in what is supposed to be a comedic web comic, sucking out all the comedy with it. This goes back to my comparison to the Disgaea series, which actually does a good job with darker more serious tones because it remembers that it's supposed to be funny.

In a way, the Glossy hate is perfectly valid because she's the herald, commander, and overall harbinger of this arc that has in the opinion of much of the fan base killed much of what was good about the comic (the humor).
SevenDeadPineTrees
03:03:54 AM Jul 31st 2012
edited by SevenDeadPineTrees
Magnum: Which conveniently ignores that privilege first must be examined and then abolished for there to be none, because it exists; and that assumes that any culture can produce a class, whether racial or financial or gendered or sexual, that is completely without privilege. Saying "as an equalist, supporting equal rights for everyone, I am simply blind to all forms of privilege" is actually an extremely privileged statement.

I'd like to argue that none of the other plotlines have ever intersected this much, either. People complain that the Patriarchy takes up too much time dedicated to other stories, but the Patriarchy plot is unifying a bunch of previously-independent characters. That may be a less than popular choice, but think about it: if Ishida believes that his comic is rooted in content that he now finds objectionable and wants his comic to start Growing the Beard to get away from its roots, wouldn't it make sense to create a (mostly) protagonistic force to combat them? After all, it's his comic, it's not supposed to be funny if he doesn't want it to be funny anymore.

For all the complaining people do about it, you can find patriarchal concepts behind a lot of the casts' problems long before the Patriarchy plot and Trike Girl were ever introduced:

Slick is an unsuccessful ladies man, despite the fact that he can, when he's not trying to be a macho jerk, be genuinely nice. His idea of masculinity (however inept, because that's not him) is purely manufactured by the patriarchy. Even his evil side, when offering it for what is pretty definitely cheap, equally manufactured sex, stomps on his own heart when it's deemed "insufficient" for what he wants. (I personally found that strip to be something of a Tear Jerker, which is not something I'm prone to in internet reading)

Monique's primary motivation is getting men's attention, just to deny them sex, as she's trapped in the virgin/whore conflict (ie, she can advertise sex, but not have or want any herself: there may have been other instances but the one that comes to mind is the strip where she has sudden horny feelings and then dances them out, even though she can have just about any man she runs across. Or any girl, for that matter, if she dresses right.)

Squid uses macho bullshit to cover up his insecurity and dissatisfaction with himself (his life is basically a Carl Jr.'s ad, only with pot instead of bikini babes eating burgers on cars). He's a glutton (because, well. Pig.), but it's also implied that he's sensitive and occasionally even downright heroic... which he won't acknowledged because he's the embodiment of dude-bro culture.

The Devil, who abandoned Lil'E for being naturally sweet, only to lock everything he loved away in a sealed vault because he's obsessed with overthrowing his father? What part of that isn't patriarchy?

Even the Fuschia/Criminy storyline wouldn't exist without the overtly sexualized nature of the devil girls as arm candy for The Devil, or (if you're willing to take a slightly more cartoonish interpretation) the difficulty as Fuschia struggles with crossing the boundary back to "virgin" after she's already been a "whore". There wouldn't be a middle ground even if she wanted one; I've actually been eagerly awaiting the day when we find out how she became a Devil Girl in the first place. It's one of the best love-as-redemption stories I've ever enjoyed.

I could go on for pretty much the entire cast, but I'd be here all night. More of all night.

I'm actually really disappointed that there are people who look at this comic as being just funny and are just screeching hate because Tats had the nerve to try his hand at something more serious. Maybe it's because I've been reading things with a stronger mind for feminist critique the past few years, or maybe because I'm an artist and would love to have what it takes to make a webcomic like this, but I've fallen in love with Sinfest all over again because of this. I know I won't convince anyone to like something that they feel has disappointed them, but I can't stand to see people hating on something so enduring and so thoughtful, that has evolved so well artistically, and has more than stood the test of time, only to cite reasons that make so little sense as "Trike Girl gave Charlie Brown a piece of paper, therefore, she hates men, and Ishida's only doing it for some skirt." Especially when they do it on TV Tropes!

Nerdking: Well, they don't really do anything wrong, do they? I can't think of anything they've done that's actually harmful to anyone. The arguments that Slick and Squig (who are both long-running chauvinist pigs except when they have their bouts of real feelings and virtue) make against feminism in general are extremely common real-world criticisms of feminism. The later strips that show them "dressing sexy for themselves" or, more recently, Squig's "third wave feminism", are basically to illustrate that they're using feminist rhetoric to justify their own chauvinist attitudes. Again, that's something that happens in the real world all the time.

The Sisterhood absolutely is too extreme for real life, I agree, it's just that their core concept of patriarchy has a lot of basis in real life. I think that's part of what a lot of people hate about it: it's just too damn real to be funny.

I did think of the no-cookies-for-Legion thing when I was writing this up and I did think of one particular reason why that didn't necessarily have to be a gender thing (although it probably was, at the time): Legion isn't being harmed by his working at the sex club. He's not a dancer, nor is he being exploited sexually. (I admit I'm running with the assumption that Legion is a hive mind of like, a hojillion demons and we just only ever see the one of him, but I realize that doesn't have a huge amount of basis other than his name). One could make the argument that his job as a bouncer is as gender-typed as the devil-girl dancers, but it doesn't harm him or make him vulnerable. He's a protector and a powerful, masculine presence with a measure of authority and agency: he doesn't need Trike Girl's sympathy or encouragement, he just wants a free snack.

I really can't agree that the Sisterhood is as extreme as Seymour, mainly because so far, they have never resorted to violence. They're shadowrunners and hackers, they freak the mundanes because that's what they do: they have never been openly threatened in a way that came to serious conflict, they have never denied anyone who wanted their help and they've never condemned anyone for trying to change (although they do have finely-tuned bullshit-o-meters). They leave their books, they plant their flags, they build their playgrounds but they never attack anyone (minus slapping Legion's hand that one time), at least not that I can recall. To call them worse than Seymour in "Bad Behavior" is fundamentally untrue, I cannot disagree more strongly than that assessment.

I agree that Ishida's view of feminism is perhaps divisive in more than a few ways and he's being more than a bit hamfisted about it, but he also hasn't written sex-positive feminism from the point of view of sex-positive feminists: he's written about chauvinist jerks declaring themselves sex-positive feminists because they're.. basically chauvinist jerks who are being pretty transparent that they have entirely selfish motivations (which they've consistently had through the entire run of the comic!). Squig and Slick don't want the benefit of a safe, joyous, healthy sexual culture for everyone, but because they want sex for themselves. Notice that Squig doesn't object to being called misogynist, probably because he has no idea what that word even means. (Personally I thought that strip was funny as hell, because I know guys that talk like that in real life.)

I'm not saying it's a perfect arc or that Glossy isn't radical, because she is, and a lack of a legitimate foil or reasonable argument (Glossy hardly ever even talks) doesn't fit very well with what is otherwise very gray morality.

But I am saying that the vast majority of the hate for the new, beardy Sinfest is laid at her feet unfairly. Whether you believe that it's become a feminist Author Tract or just isn't funny, that doesn't make it okay to lie to visitors to this site about what actually does or doesn't happen in the comic, or to cast aspersions on the author for writing it in the first place.

(minor edits for phrasing)
Nerdking
11:57:46 AM Jul 31st 2012
edited by Nerdking
...You make some very good points, and I think I have to admit defeat on most of them. I might even re-add Sinfest to my bookmarks, because you're right about the real-world parallels in Slick and Squig's fake feminism. The only thing I'd take issue with is the fact that, while Tets hasn't introduced any real third-wave feminists, I got the impression that he doesn't want to. "Fun Masculism" was done in the style of earlier non-continuity one-off gags, and the title seemed to imply that Slick and Squig were stand-ins for sex-positive feminists, which would mean that Tets was comparing feminists who dress sexy to Slick and Squig (unlike "Third-Wave Feminism", which only reflects on Squig's character and involves him mangling the phrases he got off the Internet, meaning that Curly isn't necessarily commenting on third-wave feminism in her response). That being said, the blame for all of that goes to Tets, not Glossy, so you're right that any hate she gets from it is undeserved.

Honestly, my biggest complaint about Glossy and the Sisterhood/Patriarchy plot is the writing. Tets proved with Storytime Zombie, Fuchsia/Crim, and Lil'E that he can write dramatic characters and plot lines with the same level of quality as his comedy. Whenever we see the Sisterhood, however, we get one-dimensional characters (to the point of being nameless), hamfisted political statements, and what feels to me like an offhand dismissal of a large segment of the feminist movement (a segment I consider myself a part of, no less) despite Tets' attempts to portray his shift as a feminist awakening. That being said... I agree with your original point. Everything people hate about Glossy is either poor writing or a shift in the comic, and all of that is Tets' doing, not hers.

(First edit was for completion because I got interrupted. Second edit was this note.)
Nerdking
01:35:23 PM Jul 31st 2012
I'm making this a second post because it's really a second point- all of the characters' problems can be traced back to patriarchy, but The Patriarchy wasn't a thing until Glossy came in, and Tets has decided to focus on solving mostly female characters' problems and giving character development mostly to female or new characters (compare Green, who already has seen the Patriarchy and gone from "cheerful but apparently loyal to the Devil (or at least able to bypass his thought scanner without making an effort)" to "nice, good person despite being a devil girl", to Squig, who in the comic's entire run has gone from "Dudebro" to "Dudebro who really loves his friends"). The only male character whose problems are being solved is Lil'E, who finally has a friend in Tangerine, and if I recall correctly he wasn't shown to be lonely or the abandoned son of the Devil until after Glossy was introduced and the Devil shifted from "evil but funny and often defeated" to "Evil and controlling the world" (please correct me if that happened before Glossy, but I'm pretty sure the first appearance of the "new" Devil was him at the center of the Patriarchy, which implies that both he and Lil'E changed to fit the new storyline; whether that's a malignant Plot Tumor situation or just Growing the Beard depends on whether their backstory feels like a natural part of the plot or a thinly veiled attempt to justify Character Derailment, and I don't think we've seen enough to judge it). And then we have the "Dudebro factory", which appears to have produced every male character except Crim and the supernatural beings (and the beginning of the Fuchsia/Crim story implied that Crim is a paragon of virtue on par with Jesus himself).

Basically, Tets has ended up saying "women are naturally enlightened and easily recognize the evils of the world, but men are mass-produced drones of the Patriarchy who are impossible to change unless you wipe out their memories". I don't think that was on purpose and I certainly don't think any sane feminist believes that, but... well... it's harder to be charitable to Glossy and her movement as long as that implication is there, especially because it feels like more problems with Tets' writing. Personally, I'm hoping that it's just a matter of him addressing the worst problems first (which is also my real-life approach to feminism), but he seems like he's sprinting through a minefield sometimes.
SevenDeadPineTrees
04:48:37 PM Jul 31st 2012
edited by SevenDeadPineTrees
I absolutely agree with you there. It really is a throat-punching portrayal; I'd argue that the Devil as the center of the Sinfest universe's problems goes back to before the Patriarchy, but I may be misrecalling. It's a hell of an archive binge to fact-check.

Sinfest has always been a vehicle for Tats' beliefs about the flaws of the world and whatever views he's holding at the time (commercialism, Barack Obama, faith, morality, reality, etc) and the Patriarchy thing, even if it's definitely presented as a one-sided argument, it isn't different from the stance he was taking before, he's just taking it a lot further.

If I had to read my own impressions of it into it, I'd guess he ran across some form of feminist philosophy to be able to write Trike Girl, and got neck-deep in it. I think the idea of patriarchy (which, to go with the Matrix metaphor, is a pretty deep rabbit hole to be falling into) is what stuck with him hardest, and I think it's very hard for someone who has a means to express his beliefs through storytelling to avoid letting their personal investment slip through. For myself, I've been happy reading it; I feel validated for having rolled my eyes at Monique's ass-bamming in the early strips and then stuck with it anyway.

And it's frustrating that the feminist movement presented in the Sinfest universe, however justified it might be, is presented as unfailingly right in their methods and heroes against the establishment when everyone else in the comic is at least occasionally presented as being clumsy in their respective schticks.

I can understand why people look at it as a betrayal of their investment in the series, but I feel like someone who's gone to the effort that Tats has deserves our patience. He's absolutely sprinting through a minefield, but I think the strip where he tears up his contract with the devil is pretty much his acknowledging that yes, it's a minefield and he's going to sprint through it and he is not obligated to miss anything he loses by doing it.

I'm willing to stick with it, myself, because I really want to see where he's taking this. As a storyteller, he's got my trust. I wish more people would give him the benefit of the doubt.

(minor edits for typos)
SevenDeadPineTrees
07:32:51 PM Jul 31st 2012
As to your second point: I'm with you on that, too.

I think the Dudebro factory was just that, a Dudebro factory, that takes men and inundates them in this Dudebro culture; the patriarchy's efforts at controlling women is presented as being less direct, but it's everywhere. Which I don't think is inaccurate, exactly, but it's not the whole picture, either. It's hard to strike a good balance, and that image didn't really cut the mustard.

The Unfortunate Implications are pretty staggering on that regard, but I think the intended message isn't that women are more easily enlightened, but it's also much easier for them to recognize the unfairness of it all because they're the ones being maligned. It goes back to the standards of male privilege: one of the core principles of privilege is that a privileged person has the privilege of not being aware of how privileged s/he is, that is, they don't recognize that there is a problem because that problem has never affected them the way it affects others. Any method of social control has to depend on that to get its work done. I won't go as far as to say "Dudes just can't relate", because I'm sure some can and do, but at least where sexism is concerned, the average cisgender dude doesn't know what it's like to have "because you're a girl" be a reason for something they can't do, or absolute have to do, or they face rejection by society as a whole.

Unfortunately the handling of that is not fantastic in Sinfest, again.. possibly because Tats is a dude, and his ability to depict anger and frustration with the system far outstrips his chances of being negatively impacted by it the same way women are. (And I say that because he's a fantastic cartoonist, not because I think he can't relate.)

magnum12
07:44:45 PM Jul 31st 2012
edited by magnum12
"And it's frustrating that the feminist movement presented in the Sinfest universe, however justified it might be, is presented as unfailingly right in their methods and heroes against the establishment when everyone else in the comic is at least occasionally presented as being clumsy in their respective schticks."

Thus we have major reason #3 why Glossy and the Sisterhood arc are so widely hated. The Sisterhood displays Mary Sue tendencies, and this is me trying to be objective when looking for the red flags.

As to my knowledge, Big D has been depicted as a dark lord manipulating things behind the shadows as early as 2008, mainly in the form of organized crime and corrupt corporate/banking cartels. Back then, he was still depicted as evil but still capable of producing lulz from the audience. That changed sometime around the Sisterhood arc IIRC. This goes back to my point about the humor. This arc brings about such a positively VICIOUS change in tone that for many its hard to recognize the comic anymore. This arc would have been a more tolerable pill to swallow if it was sweetened with a dash of humor at the expense of that which needs to change in society. There's a saying that goes "Laughter is the best form of medicine."

Glossy taking the heat for the changes is NOT due to anti-feminism. In fact, hating a character for being the herald/harbinger of unpleasent, alienating things is more common than one would think. Using an example from the video game industry, we have Silver. Asides from looking like a badly done fan character with an absurd concept, Silver receives A LOT of flak as the result of his first role being the So Bad, It's Horrible Sonic 2006. As a result, he is seen as the herald/face/harbinger of something so bad that it nearly killed the franchise. Also, the less said about Elmyra and her being the herald to the demise of Pinky and the Brain, the better.
SevenDeadPineTrees
08:50:54 PM Jul 31st 2012

"Glossy taking the heat for the changes is NOT due to anti-feminism."

I don't recall ever asserting that it was, just that the arguments unfairly leveled against her are uncomfortably similar to real-life attitudes against feminism in general.

If I can take a minute and share some thoughts here, I don't think there is a way to make the Patriarchy the same kind of funny as the rest of the comic, because making fun of feminism is how the real-life patriarchy denigrates it. Fundamentalism isn't funny, we see that with Seymour all the time; his humor lies in the Butt Monkey antics he gets up to, because his brand of Bible-thumping, judgmental, hypocritical fundamentalist worship is openly, scorn-worthy stupid and hurts far more than it helps. Pulling that same stunt with Glossy and the Sisterhood doesn't work because, fundamental though they are, the level of force they use in the comic is completely justified by the world around it: the Patriarchy-as-Matrix parody scaled that up way, way too high to fit that mold from the beginning, but even if it didn't, Glossy's ideals are legit. Her goals are admirable, and presented as being very clear, and only real troglodytes would ever say that raising up women to be socially equal to men would be a bad thing, and her methods (contrary to the white-washing that gets done on this site) are not actually harmful to anyone.

I get that people don't like the change in tone and content that she represents, but trope editors have been literally misrepresenting the entire comic on the basis that they blindly hate Glossy and have to make up crimes for her to have commited in order to justify adding new tropes and bullet points to slander her and her role in the comic. There are plenty of writer-related tropes that fit the circumstances better and more completely, but people seem to insist on laying the blame at Glossy's feet as some kind of Sinfest effigy.
magnum12
11:28:04 PM Jul 31st 2012
Actually, fundamentalism can be made funny if written well. South Park and Disgaea prove this quite nicely.

The South Park brand of humor is essentially taking extremists on both sides of an argument and putting them through ruthless mockery, parody, satire, and general making fun of in order to expose them as hypocritical idiots who basically spew crap out of their mouths.

The villain of the first Disgaea was a fundamentalist Knight Templar type. The method of generating lulz out of him was in how the cast very openly mocked his extremist views, called out his BS through extensive trolling, pointed out how his behaviour is worse than that which he hates and otherwise humiliated his pompous hypocritical ass.

This approach could just as easily be implemented in the Sisterhood arc via the same grade of ruthless mockery, parody, and satire at the Patriarchy's expense instead of the sudden uber serious approach currently being taken.
SevenDeadPineTrees
12:50:44 AM Aug 1st 2012
You're missing my point, here (and not having played Disgaea, I have no context for that reference) so give me a chance to clarify:

There's no way to divide the Sisterhood from feminist ideology because there is, as yet, no reasonable counterpoint to present a more sensible feminist viewpoint (unless, and I hope this is how it comes to be, it becomes Nique). Tats can make fun of Seymour because God and Jesus and the Devil are already characters; it's very obvious that Seymour's black-and-white morality and fanboy tendencies are silly, hateful, and contemptible, but not a reflection of what real Christian behavior looks like (and that's not even taking into account that stereotypically intolerant Christians are acceptable targets).

Having Glossy and the Sisterhood made funny, South Park style but with no counter-voice, sets them up to look stupid for having the beliefs they do, and that is very clearly not what the author wants. He agrees with feminist philosophy. The Sisterhood aren't hypocrites, they aren't violent, they don't harm anyone: all the things they do that piss the reader base off are things that are strictly They Changed It, Now It Sucks and not ideological or behavioral flaws.
Nerdking
12:55:37 AM Aug 1st 2012
"making fun of feminism is how the real-life patriarchy denigrates it": I know magnum's been talking about humor more than I did, but I still want to say that I have no expectation for Tats to mock feminism (at least the kind he's portraying favorably, since he might have already mocked third-wave feminism, depending on how one views "Fun Masculism"). That doesn't mean he has to always discuss it without jokes. You're right that it can't be as consistently or absolutely funny as his portrayal of fundamentalism or other topics, but it's one thing to avoid making Glossy and co. look stupid and another thing to never make their strips funny at anyone's expense. I'm still hoping that a) Tets gets more comfortable with the new material and finds ways to be funny about it (like Squig's mangled version of third-wave feminism would have been if I'd read it as purely in-character stupidity; as I've said before, I'm still not sure if that's how he meant it, especially because of "Fun Masculism") and b) he's got a good reason for not giving the Sisterhood personality and backstory (in-comic, at least; I assume he personally knows who they are and where they came from).

Also, about Glossy's goals: I think they're only really clear to insiders, and it's related to what you said about privilege. I know guys who don't understand much or anything about privilege and honestly believe that feminism is about more than just equality because of that fundamental lack of knowledge. They don't see feminists as wanting to be equal because they think modern society is already equal (or at least more equal than it is), but know exactly how much feminists want to change the balance of power, so in their minds feminism means putting women on top because of simple (though incorrect) math. It doesn't mean they're sexist or anti-feminist, it means they literally don't understand the problem. Glossy's entire character is "radical feminist" and, while the Patriarchy Matrix is obviously exaggerated, people who don't know how much (or how little) exaggeration is going on can easily misinterpret what Glossy's goals translate to in real life and end up with a distorted view or her character and actions, not because they hate her specifically or are "white-washing" anything but because they actually don't get what's going on. This takes me back to the bad writing point: by leaving their characters a blank slate and making the Sisterhood largely silent (even the Squig vs. Curly debate has mostly been him talking), Tets has made these kind of misunderstandings really easy even though he acknowledges how they drag feminism down (see the Patriarchy's attack on Curly for a good example: she isn't really a "prude" if she's talking about the kind of porn we've seen in Sinfest and the values it represents, but because the Sinfest world seems to only contain bad, degrading porn it's easy to assume she represents opposition to any erotic material and that's a much more controversial stance).

Honestly, the whole "misunderstanding" thing is something I think even I fell victim to before reading your posts (I think of myself as a feminist but am kind of sensitive about people attacking my beliefs, so I'm pretty sure in retrospect that my reading of "Fun Masculism" made me read stuff into other Sisterhood strips without realizing it, hence why I keep bringing up that strip). Because Tets' writing isn't as good in strips involving feminism, he's creating a whole host of Unfortunate Implications and other opportunities for people to misinterpret his message, especially because he's asking readers to translate that message from the exaggerated Sinfest world into our own world. Looking over your points, I think it's because he isn't used to writing as an insider: for the first time, what's obvious to him isn't obvious to a general audience, and he either isn't aware of that or doesn't know how to deal with it. Seymour and Lil'E used to have no more characterization than "so fundamentalist he annoys God" and "evil but not very good at it", but they were forgiven because fundies and jerks are Acceptable Targets for a lot of people and he was making fun of them. Now he's creating feminist characters, who have ideals that are just as extreme as Seymour's (albeit for a good cause) and no characterization beyond those ideals, but he's trying to portray them as more sympathetic characters just by making their actions not harm others. Frankly, I agree with the cause of equality and think Glossy and co. are in the right but I still think Seymour is more sympathetic simply because he's allowed to be human, while they're stuck as nameless stand-ins for a controversial, diverse, and often-misunderstood movement that I think would get a lot more support if people knew more about its members and weren't just bashed over the head with its ideals, which is how I feel reading Sinfest sometimes even though I usually agree with them.

Magnum: I think your point about the Devil is only proving Trees' points. A lot of people blame the Devil's change and general shift away from humor directly on Glossy (or at least associate it and similar shifts in other characters with her strongly enough to call Black Hole Sue), but honestly it has nothing to do with her. Tets learned about something in the world that was a more serious, absolute kind of evil than anything he'd written about before (at least from his point of view) and decided to change the Devil into a character who would be appropriate as its source/leader. That's Character Derailment, but it's probably not Glossy-related, just another symptom of Tets' difficulty with mixing good writing and feminism.

While it's true that Glossy isn't the first character to become a symbol of larger problems, Trees isn't calling people out on not liking her personally: she's calling the editors on the YMMV page out on slapping her name on tropes that aren't actually related to her (the Black Hole Sue entry, for example, doesn't make much sense because the entire comic basically became an Author Tract and any Character Derailment or similar writing problems have more to do with that than with any one character).

Also, I'd like to address something I neglected earlier: I think the Sisterhood/Patriarchy plot is showing symptoms of a Plot Tumor, but it's not nearly as bad as people are making it sound, and once again it's not something that reflects on the Sisterhood or its members. I feel like Tets isn't just connecting his plots more than he did before: he's also making less use of characters or threads that don't easily link to the central "feminism" theme. I don't remember seeing Buddha since the Zen drones incident (which is a long time ago now), Crim is appearing less in strips about Fuchsia (probably coincidence but doesn't look good), and I'm not sure God or the Dragon are even in the comic anymore (which could be my memory being bad or Tets saving them for something big, but certainly doesn't make the Plot Tumor argument any less plausible). However, that doesn't mean that all of those changes were caused by the Sisterhood; Tets' decision to suddenly shift the strip's focus just created a sort of false-positive Plot Tumor because it was actually a theme and not a plot that took over the comic.

Finally, I'd just like to say that I'm really enjoying this debate. It's helped me clarify my opinions on both Sinfest and the process of talking/writing about feminism and I hope it can continue like this.
Nerdking
01:27:17 AM Aug 1st 2012
Dang it guys, you went and wrote stuff while I was typing and now I feel like I have to do more typing. Ah well, I see some more stuff I meant to respond to but didn't earlier, so here goes...

First, on the latest points: The Sisterhood's lack of a foil is, from my perspective, very much a problem that's Tets' fault, especially if he intends to introduce one eventually (something I, like Trees, am definitely hoping that he does). Seymour was introduced after God and it didn't take long for us to see what God thought about him, so it was clear that there was a line between Christianity and Seymour's beliefs. Jesus is a more direct foil to Seymour (being the only consistently non-jerkass Christian), and was introduced later, but jokes about Seymour could start right away because he wasn't the only Christian in the strip. Even if Tets never does make the Sisters funny like Seymour is funny, he needs to have other feminist factions in the comic just to show that a) they exist and b) they're every bit as legitimate as the faction he's already introduced. Right now, he's (probably unintentionally) generalized all feminists as a) radical, b) sex-negative, c) obnoxiously hamfisted, and d) androgynous, none of which are even usually true statements (and all of which are stereotypes encouraged by anti-feminists to reduce feminism's mainstream appeal). Even if introducing a more "reasonable" feminist (a final Nique reinvention or new character) doesn't lead to jokes about the Sisters, it will make it possible to give them flaws and backstories without suggesting that even more traits are shared by every feminist.

Also, I realize I sound pretty angry (or at least I think I do), but I wasn't kidding about re-bookmarking Sinfest: I literally deleted the bookmark after "Third-Wave Feminism 2" and then put it back when I read this page and realized I was (probably) reading too much into the strip. I think Trees is right: I wasn't giving Tets the patience he deserves, and I know he's a good enough writer to correct his mistakes if he tries, so I'm going to keep coming back here to remind myself of that until he either does try to fix things or makes it absolutely clear (probably in a rant so there's no characters or subtext) that he isn't going to. I really hope (and believe it will be) the former, and until either one happens I'm sticking with the comic.
SevenDeadPineTrees
01:42:39 AM Aug 1st 2012
edited by SevenDeadPineTrees
Let me start by saying that I've also been enjoying this debate too, and I was really expecting a lot of flames when I first landed here. Thank you for making this a positive experience, it's been awesome.

The Patriarchy plot is totally a Plot Tumor, but I think you're right, it's because Tats is going in a new direction: he's an artist, he's allowed to do that. In fact, with a comic this long, it probably needed it more than the audience might be aware of.

I feel like the biggest problem Tats is having with getting his point across is that, when you first get an idea of the sheer enormity of the ways that feminist philosophy has identified patriarchy's role in gender politics, it's so hard to present it gracefully to anyone else. I think we see this in Slick and Squig when they skim the internet for feminist ideology and are immediately buried— and then they start searching for something in their comfort zone, to avoid facing the reality that the things they enjoy have roots and consequences that they have, up til now, been privileged to never have to witness, that these mostly-silent, un-sexy ladies might have a legitimate basis for ruining their fun— and in that way, it speaks very well to their characters because to think that their harmless fun is literally the harming and exploitation of women is subtly horrifying to these guys who literally don't mean anyone any real harm. They're not evil, they're just ignorant, and that leads to Squig calling himself a "third wave misogynist".

And the more I think about it, it's surprisingly elegant in its way, if you're already strongly familiar with feminist ideology and are willing to look past the rubber-band-snap change in the comic: yes, it's an Author Tract, but after talking about it and thinking about it, I think it's starting to be a damned good one.

It's those two hurdles, and the truly lamentable loss of some of the cast (I miss Dragon and Buddha, I really do; I also want to see more of that kind of snack-cake looking R&D demon) that make it hard for people to really get invested in the new direction. It's so dissonant, it's such a huge change, is jarring as Hell, and I'm really kind of sad that it's going to cost him so much of his readership.

That said, I would rather watch him struggle with trying to reconcile a new outlook with his style of storytelling than perpetuate something that he doesn't believe in; I can't speak for him, but if this is what it takes for him to create something that satisfies him artistically and morally, more power to him; I have every confidence that he'll get his feet under him and start running eventually. Haters gonna hate, long may he strut.

(edited for grammarfails)
SevenDeadPineTrees
01:58:28 AM Aug 1st 2012
edited by SevenDeadPineTrees
Bahaha, yeah, we're typing too fast. Oops.

The unfortunate generalizing is so hard, too, because he's writing them as a kind of ideological guerilla army. He needs to have the unity and the strength of purpose and consistent morals, but it leads to generalizing and he hasn't had any of them have any kind of serious conversation about anything that lends any of them a unique voice. Which is so weird because they're still presented as correct, despite all of those things being... well, flaws, even as people criticize them for being flawless in context. It's a huge mess, but again, this is new. We're all a wee bit jostled, methinks.

There's a part of me that hopes he'll see this and maybe give it some thought, but I'm sure these are all issues he'll find a way to work through and get a good bead on. Even if he never goes back to the comedy angle, I think I'll stick with it, I'm really very fond of his serious take on it (Lil'E and his mysterious white-haired mom, the Devil's Sentimental Vault, I literally teared up, I'm not gonna lie)

As to sounding angry, I don't think you did. I was actually really surprised that this whole discussion changed your mind on it, but I'm also pleased, and I hope I don't sound arrogant if I sound proud of having had a hand in it. You've made some amazing points and some very thoughtful comments and I think Sinfest is going to need thoughtful supporters in the coming lean times.

(edited because stream-of-consciousness is not good for communicating)
magnum12
01:18:52 PM Aug 1st 2012
Which is why this arc REALLY needed a more moderate sane person to serve as a foil to BOTH the patriarchy and the Sisterhood. This is a reason why I'm so miffed about the disapperance of Crim during the past few months. He treats the ladiess with respect, courtesy and truly sees them as equals. IIRC, he was a major but obllivious Chick Magnet early in the comic and I think those good traits were the reason why (certainly the reason Fyoosh loves him). It would be him that would see the folly of BOTH the patriarchy and feminist extremists. With the moderate in place, it would have been easier to incorporate that critical element of satirical humor. For now, I'll continue to wait for about a month and see if things get any better and give the benefit of the doubt.

Too bad you don't get the Disgaea reference. You really should play it. Its a ruthless, acid tongued, mildly vulgar parody of anime and RPG cliches. Its actually one of the most gender equal works around, with plenty of competent, likable characters of both genders. The 4th game spends the 1st half making fun of corrupt politics, calling the government "The Corrupterment".
SevenDeadPineTrees
07:00:11 PM Aug 1st 2012

As much as I hope there'll be a moderate voice in all this, I really, really hope it isn't Criminy. I really hope he takes a large role in the comic again, but I would very much not like to see him be the Only Sane Man in the feminism debate. I would much rather see that role go to 'Nique, or Fuschia, if it has to go to anyone.

One of the problems I've been having personally with this whole Hating On Glossy debacle is the "Glossy doesn't focus on men, therefore she's misandrist" nonsense, because (again) another ugly reality of anti-feminist diatribe rears its ugly head: when someone points to the denigration of women and suggests that should change, then the question is "But what about men, you hypocrite? Aren't you being sexist?" As if it's a crime for anyone to be in a public space to talk about things that aren't at least implicitly centered on men.

Having Crim voice the moderate opinion makes a lot of sense; he's intelligent, he's respectful of everyone, he's the aforementioned paragon of virtue, and he could do a very good job of presenting the idea that feminism has and needs dude allies and dudes in Sinfest are not all chauvinist douchebags... but I really don't want the feminist cause (especially where feminism is drawn as a secret guerilla army) to have to be saved by a guy. That's kind of a personal thing on my part. In a perfect world it would be Crim and Fuschia who solved the dilemma, but I have no idea where Tats is going with this, I really don't.

magnum12
08:55:05 PM Aug 1st 2012
I don't see it that way. I see it along the lines of "If one is proven to be the most competent, level headed one in the bunch, then there is NOTHING wrong with being the one to take command, regardless of gender." Since this is the core concept of meritocracy, a value system inherently based on equality and fairness, there is no Unfortunate Implications.
SevenDeadPineTrees
09:29:51 PM Aug 1st 2012
That's true, but it's not an issue of meritocracy. Criminy is currently still an outsider to the feminist cause; yes, he's obviously respectful of everyone, levelheaded and kind, but we haven't seen him take any serious interest in the Sisterhood's ideals. Having a man step up to be the reasonable advocate of a cause (one that he may not actually be versed in), and being 'more right' than the Sisterhood just by nature of being better than them (including being better at understanding their own belief system)? That's Unfortunate Implications. It's the same principle behind what makes Mighty Whitey such an obnoxious trope.
Nerdking
11:33:59 PM Aug 1st 2012
I think a Crim-Fuschia or Crim-Nique (hah, it sounds like his name...) team effort would be the best kind of moderation with the characters we have, and both are extremely plausible. I think Seven's right about the implications of using Crim alone, but pushing a ready-made women's advocate who is also one of the most popular, universally loved members of the cast aside in favor of a new or reinvented character would open its own can of worms, especially because people are already unhappy with how quickly and suddenly things shifted. Both approaches make sense: Fuchsia has a personal beef with the devil (especially if it turns out she was forced to join him, which would be entirely plausible), Nique is starting a feminist awakening and always had a militant activist streak, and Crim would naturally follow the former and be brought in by the latter if she were challenged to find a "good" man (either because a Sister doesn't believe in them or because the Devil goes for the "human nature" argument; both scenarios would be a good way to set the moderates up as foils to the radicals).

I think the misandrism charges, while BS in this (and pretty much any) scenario, are something Tats kinda set himself up for. Aside from the PR problems that radical feminists have, there's a widespread perception that even the mainstream women's movement wants to change things that hurt women but leave in place things that help them. Of course this is patently false (any "advantages" women have come from negative stereotypes, like the association between "women can't be breadwinners" and "the man pays for the date"), but it's also so widespread that- again- it's something Tats needs to address if he doesn't want to end up preaching to the choir. Hopefully he'll humanize the feminists and find a good way to show that dudes have a place in the movement before he start to really bleed readership, because I think he's in a good position to expose a lot of people to a more "real" picture of feminism than they're used to.

I really like a lot of the new Sinfest, and I think Tats is generally proving that he can do serious and dramatic strips that are just as good as his satire, if not better. I also agree with Trees that, if you think of it from a purely feminist perspective, the sudden shift makes a lot more sense and is a lot better-done than most people give it credit for.

That being said, the fact that you have to be "already strongly familiar with feminist ideology" to appreciate what was done right in Tats' shift to a feminist perspective is a serious failure on his part, because the whole point of a good Author Tract is to add the author's voice and message to a debate, ideally while reaching a wider audience than just the people who agree with them already. I mean, I'm pretty familiar with feminism myself, but I nearly got turned off by the strip because I'm not familiar with feminist literary analysis and thus saw only the bad writing and unintended implications in the Sisterhood strips until Trees pointed me in the right direction to appreciate their actual message.

"It's a huge mess, but again, this is new. We're all a wee bit jostled, methinks."

I think Trees hit the nail on the head with this one, and it applies to Tats as much as us. Tats seems to have discovered feminism only shortly before the introduction of Glossy and all the changes that came after that, and got really freaked out by the concept of patriarchy and privileges people don't even know they have. Unsure of what to do about the conflict between his work and his ideology, he decided to cram as much feminism as he could into his work as an atonement for his past.

Unfortunately, he moved so quickly that he failed to consider a lot of the implications of his decisions, a problem compounded by the fact that he seems to view his conversion to feminism as a realization of obvious truths and not what it really was, a sudden awareness of well-hidden but really nasty aspects of our culture. Because he seems to have gone from being unaware of privilege and the other real concepts the Patriarchy is based on to being unaware of how hard it is to see and understand those concepts (especially as a dude), I think he's completely blind to how easy it is for a lot of people to misinterpret his work.

From a non-feminist reader's perspective, things don't look too good either. The strips where Slick and Squig research feminism and get crushed by information are probably pretty accurate depictions of common audience reactions, except that instead of the deluge coming from Google it's coming from Sinfest. Unfortunately, unlike Slick or Squig I think a lot of people got hit by that and said "I knew it! Feminism is full of bitches/always obnoxious/harmful to men/overly intellectual/(insert bias that can be "confirmed" by unintended messages in Sinfest here)". That triggered both a wave of Glossy hate and probably at least a slight drop in readership. Unfortunately, Tats has only addressed negative reader reactions in strips like the latest "Sinfest Mad Libs" that painted people complaining about the new Sinfest with a very broad, fairly unflattering brush. Even the "info crush" strips don't feel like apologies to readers, despite those parallels, because Tats isn't fixing any of his writing problems, apparently (at least from an audience perspective, which I'm hoping is incorrect) out of a sense of moral superiority and a belief that the hate is 100% the natural consequence of taking on a controversial issue.

All that doesn't even consider the tonal shift. Tats has clearly decided that feminism and the Patriarchy are the most serious topics he's ever covered, and that's not a bad thing on its own. The problem is that, like the implications of the Sisterhood to a non-feminist, Tats didn't think about the inevitable results of shifting focus to a new topic and handling that topic differently from anything else. He shouldn't be a slave to the mainstream, but he alienated a lot of his readers for no good reason by dramatically reducing the humor content of his strip, and just writing good serious strips isn't going to placate people.

At the very least, there should have been some buildup to the change, even just a single arc showing the Devil becoming less of a goofball (possibly as a reaction to finding things that reminded him of his lost wife, thus introducing that bit of backstory at the same time). It wouldn't have taken too much time (since I assume he wanted to start with the feminism quickly), but it would've been a warning to readers that serious things were coming. He also probably should've done "Contract" sooner to tell people why he shifted, but that's more understandable; "arrogance" was on his list of sins so he probably felt that doing a strip about his "awakening" before he finished introducing the Sisterhood would've been too self-indulgent.

What does all of this mean? Well, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that, because Tats seems to have made most of his mistakes because he's new to supporting and writing about feminism, there's a very good chance that he'll come to his senses and fix things without abandoning his principles. The bad news is that it may be too late; he's let this stuff go on for years and barely addressed it, so I'm not sure he has enough audience goodwill to keep his non-feminist readers around until things get better, and he may already have soured some people on the feminist strips so much that they'll misread just about anything he writes on the subject in the future.

Personally? I think Tats is still a very good writer and he's starting to atone for his sins. First "Contract" showed things from his perspective, then "Third-Wave Feminism" demonstrated that Slick and Squig are still well-intentioned idiots and not morphing into sexist strawmen (as some feared), so now all he has left to do is deal with the "Crim issue" and let some moderates speak up and we'll be on our way to a real quality feminist strip. With any luck, he'll even do a rant that goes into detail about his new views so that readers can get the context they might be missing and start to really understand what he's written, like I did over the course of this discussion.

And finally, as long as we're recommending games, I'd like to throw Tales of Symphonia and Tales of the Abyss out there. Not as acidic or parodic as Disgaea, but they're both great games that show how you can use a lot of cliches and tropes (including ones that usually have sexist overtones) to create your characters and still parody, deconstruct, and subvert the hell out of 'em, all while creating strong, well-rounded characters of both genders, maintaining a solid sense of humor, and telling a great story. Abyss, for example, manages the rare feat (at least from what I've seen) of including a female character who suppresses her emotions due to military training (which also makes her more competent than the hero) and an inherently stoic nature, giving that realistic (but minor) consequences, and yet not forcing her to change that part of herself or presenting it as an inherent flaw and even making her the hero's love interest.
SevenDeadPineTrees
02:34:56 AM Aug 2nd 2012
Nerdking, I really have to applaud your point on the difference between how Squig and Slick must look from a non-feminist perspective, I hadn't even thought of that, and I wholeheartedly agree.

... Actually, as I'm looking for points to address, I'm realizing that I pretty much agree with you on all of them. So uh. Good job? I don't know what else to do but applaud. XDDD

Tats is working with a whole new shift in perspective and I think you're right in that he's got a certain amount of tunnel vision where his work is concerned, but as a friend pointed out to me today, there's evidence that he's more cognizant of it than we're realizing.

In particular there's Glossy, going back to the actual prime topic for a sec. And I realize, I might be wrong about her non-misandry, although it's clearly not as full-blown as people like to think. She obviously doesn't hate men but she obviously shows preference for women, and I think I'm getting where that dissonance is coming from.

The Sisterhood has a general goal of feminism and the more overt taking down of the Patriarchy, and Glossy was its first crusader. She was the first impression we got of the Sisterhood, and that she, personally, has a particular goal: making her presence known to women. Her goal is exposure. She kicks up dust clouds, she puts down flags, she serves cookies to girls, she leaves Crim a pile of books. She wants recognition, she wants attention for her cause, and since her cause is noble and Tats agrees with it, of course she looks like a Mary Sue.

Compare Curly, whose personal crusade is against sexual exploitation; she's the one who leads the raid on the stripper-pole farm, she rescues Squig from his internet porno-nightmares, she runs the Porn Harms booth. She doesn't care about declaring herself, she's got her own job to do and she does it.

(And also? Today's strip? I really hope we're about to get a nice, long, Bechdel Test passing conversation between 'Nique and Fyoosh, because my God have I been waiting for one)

And recommending games? I'm gonna go ahead and point to my favorite video game ever, Phantasy Star IV, because in my experience, it's the most feminist-friendly game ever written. Everyone is a badass, male or female, and no one comments on it because it is just a given in that universe. The main couple's romance is organic and subtle, there's no condescending "I have to protect her" versus "I have to be there for him" vibe. The main male character is more emotionally and socially adept than intelligent, the lead female is technically and intellectually adept without being emotionally stunted and needing to be taught how to feel. There's no penalties for anyone being emotional or stoic at any given point: that's just how they are. Everyone dresses sensibly, the first female character we run into is beautiful and feminine but dangerously badass without having to be overtly sexualized or made cute and she's a very clear and competent leader... I could go on for days. XD

Nerdking
09:20:57 AM Aug 2nd 2012
...wow. I hadn't even thought about the Sisters having different goals, at least not in that way. To me it just looked like every Sister was being used to make trouble for the Patriarchy and using someone other than Glossy for the "porn debate" was just because Tats needed something to do with other Sisters. In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense that Glossy was the main Sister at first because... well... she's in charge of publicity (apparently), and that's the first thing Tats gave the Sisters.
SevenDeadPineTrees
05:39:39 PM Aug 2nd 2012
I thought the exact same thing, until my friend went out on a sort of fact-finding binge to see exactly how many instances of misandry get happening, and came across the strip where Curly rescues Squig from the porn-o-cutioner, or whatever you want to call that scene, and I think the subtlety of this (mixed with the outrage) has absolutely convinced me that Tats knows what he's doing:

Not all feminists have the same idea about how best to promote feminist ideals. The Sisterhood is an organization, not a hive mind. They're not all Glossy, they're not all like Glossy. There are other Sisters in the pole-harvesting scene, and that was a group effort on the Sisterhood's part, Glossy is just their spokesperson. Naturally, she's the one everyone hates because she's the one serving as the face of the organization.

Nerdking
11:36:10 PM Aug 2nd 2012
The porn-o-cutioner scene (great name BTW) was actually something that contributed to my misreadings, which is kinda ironic considering that it involves a Sister saving a man. I didn't think about this before, but the subject of porn is probably one of the hardest to address as a feminist and still have non-feminists listen to you, especially if you're talking to men. I get why Tats chose to discuss it, because porn is such a taboo subject that very few people are willing to bring it up, but looking back it feels like he was trying to ski Mount Everest after his first lesson, and he didn't do himself any favors by including elements of fetish porn in Squig's porn odyssey (even if you ignore the fact that it's very hard to convince people that any porn contains anything for reasons other than "it's a fantasy for some people", outright fetishes like BDSM are often as fixed a part of a person's sexuality as their gender preference and thus cannot be used to infer anything about someone's personality or mental health). I, for one, think that porn is the Post Final Boss of feminism: you can't touch it until mainstream culture is mostly free of sexism (the Final Boss), which probably won't happen until liberated women have a significant amount of power in the entertainment industry (The Dragon), which will be a much more attainable if women have an equal place in government and other industries (lesser bosses or side quests), but once you can get at the porn industry cultural shifts will most likely have resulted a lot of people's sexual fantasies reflecting healthier gender relations, so actually sexist porn (as in, porn with apparently sexist elements that isn't made for a fetish with unavoidable but unintentional sexist overtones) will already be a niche or vanished market. Wow, that video game metaphor went way farther than I expected.

That being said, I think most people will realize that the Sisters' extreme positions (including wanting Squig to destroy his porn without mentioning the possibility of feminist-friendly porn) are products of extreme in-universe circumstances once Tats does a better job of showing feminism as a diverse ideology. The fact that Fuchsia is about to get a lesson on Patriarchy from Nique and not a Sister is a very good sign that that's about to start happening, in addition to being an awesome and much-anticipated development.
SevenDeadPineTrees
12:41:27 AM Aug 3rd 2012
Hahahaha, well, as a metaphor, it works surprisingly well.

Porn is a difficult subject, yeah. Not to mention that it's really kind of hard to quantify what qualifies as "feminist-friendly" or not, just by looking at it.

I keep coming back to the BDSM thing, and I'm trying to figure out why the porn-o-cutioner had to be the voice for that. I'm kind of wondering if that was just the only way Tats could think of to depict pornography that would make Squig feel abused? Obviously S&M culture in general isn't really like that, but again, Squig's ignorant, so it may just have been him.

That's the problem with pornography as an inherently abusive concept: the male audience is considered the general audience, the female audience is considered special-interest. On top of that you have the technicolor rainbow of different reasons people cite for why porn is bad (ranging from "it creates unrealistic ideas of sex" to "it will inevitably make you rape and murder your children with the murder-strap-on thing from Se7en"), and it's hard to tell where Sinfest draws the line. Porn Harms... what, exactly? Expectations of what women's bodies should look like? the clear divide between consensual sex and rape? The value and reality of female sexuality, period? I'm not sure what Tats is trying to express, if anything more specific than "Porn Harms".

I'm really excited for the next couple of strips. I think, out of all the characters we've seen so far, Fuschia is really the one most harmed by the Patriarchy set-up, and stands to make the most legitimate statement on what the Patriarchy does once she understands what it is. It's kind of implied that either she never realized she had a choice to not be a Devil Girl (ie, she was raised with that belief) or she was, at some point, coerced into it, and now that she's made the decision not to go down that road any further, she's basically dealing with Internalized Categorism from having lived that life to begin with. I have very high hopes. :D

I think what I'm liking about this the most, is that she's getting a chance to explore that part of her redemption without having it attached to a romantic relationship. I'm glad the Fuschia and Criminy thing has been very very light on the "fallen woman saved by her love for a hero" tropes, but I really want to see her make the last leg of that journey on her own. And it looks like she just might!
Nerdking
11:09:08 AM Aug 4th 2012
edited by Nerdking
I think the "technicolor rainbow of different reasons people cite for why porn is bad" is probably why Tats isn't scoring any "feminist" points (at least with me) by being anti-porn. Even if one assumes that the S&M elements of that one scene were a necessity to introduce the "porn-o-cutioner" concept, and Tats isn't saying anything about fetishes, his opinion is still muddled and it would probably take a rant or a few solid weeks of all-dialogue strips to sort it all out. On the one hand, he's yet to show anything in porn that doesn't look like a reflection of deeper social ills or (in Uncle Sam's case at least) personal flaws. Sam could be used to make the clearest statement on porn- his "imperialist porn" is something he's almost certainly watching because of his frustrated imperial ambitions and not existing tastes in erotic material- but the way it was presented makes it look like him and Liberty are having communication issues (because of his flaws, but not related to the porn) and the porn thing is just secondary, an outlet for his frustration in both the relationship and his "job". It doesn't help that the only non-devil characters with any sex drive are male (Nique doesn't count because even the old her wasn't looking for sex, just attention), which leads to two problems that parallel real-life issues: the "all porn is straight male" thing looks even more problematic (since it connects to a general if unintended "only men want sex" implication), and Sam in particular looks like he first turned to porn because Lib was never "in the mood"- I get that it's really because he's a jerk and it's killed the "flame", but when I wasn't thinking about it too closely it looked like she just wasn't meeting his needs and he was watching porn instead of talking about it. That's not healthy, but it muddles any statement Tats wants to make about porn (though it does set up a great one about communication in a relationship, especially given how Sam reacts to being confronted; the problem is that, while on its own the situation is realistic and well-written, in the context of the rest of the strip it's just another easily misread, Unfortunate Implications-laden storyline).

I agree with you about the potential in the current Nique-Fuschia strips. When you think about it, Fuchsia has actually never been the "fallen woman saved by her love for a hero"- she was first "saved" by Jesus himself turning her back into a human, and loving Crim is just helping her hold on to her humanity even after the Devil re-bamfed her. The only thing Crim did on his own was make her less violent and maybe give her her passion for stories (although it could be that she always loved stories and that's why he affected her more than Blue in the first place); she left the Devil for real because of the Sisterhood and it looks like her other issues are going to be dealt with by fighting the Patriarchy and talking to Nique. It's nice to see a love story and a redemption story that don't cross into straight Love Redeems, ironically despite being the page image for that trope.

EDIT: just saw today's strip. The Devil finally gets to be funny again!
SevenDeadPineTrees
12:50:37 PM Aug 4th 2012
I'm with you on the "porn as bad for relationships" vibe, I'd forgotten about Sam and Lib in that particular corner of the debate. It's hard to tell sometimes which Aesops go with which strips. XD

I think what stuck out to me the most, was in one of the Patriarchy brainwashing strips (possibly the jerk factory?) there's a panel that seems to represent the programming of porno into dude-jerks brains, that basically shows a woman (devil girl?) being violently penetrated by a dude (Legion?) to the point that she looks more like she's screaming in pain. Which, honestly, I think is pretty much straight-up Truth in Television, and it's the main reason I avoid the porn that I specifically avoid (and why straight porn has just about never appealed to me).

I'm beginning to think Tats uses the porn thing too generally. It's kind of clever in that way because of how very, very much pornographic depictions of sex and relationships have bled over into our sensation-junkie media culture, so of course it's everywhere in Sinfest, but the reality of that really does muddy up any potential for consistent messages.

... I really wish Tats were less of a hermit, I feel like I want to ask him his thoughts directly. XD
Nerdking
07:16:47 PM Aug 4th 2012
I agree about Tats, I've mentioned my desire to see a rant before but continuing to talk about things (and remember plot threads we haven't seen in a while) just makes the desire for a direct author's message stronger. That's something that looks weirder the more I think about it... on the one hand, as you said Tats is being clever about what topics he brings up, and how. On the other hand, he's done so many things that obscure his core message (and make certain details impossible to pin down) that it's getting really unbelievable that he never thought to blog anything. I only hope he turns out to have an in-story reason for the muddle, like providing more fodder for the moderates (which would directly address the problems in-comic) or planning some big reveal that's somehow dependent on the inconsistencies (like the Sisters discovering that, while their efforts were sincerely for women's benefit, their unseen "true" leader had personal flaws that affected their movement's methods). The worst-case scenario, in my opinion, would be Tats refusing to either give the Sisters flaws (out of misguided fears of discrediting the entire movement or an unexpected inability to criticize what he believes in) OR just come out and draw the line between the comic and his views (out of reclusiveness or unwillingness to cop to writing errors).

Incidentally, on the topic of porn I agree with you. I actually never watch straight-up man-on-woman (or man-and-man-on-woman, or man-on-woman-on-woman, or... you get the idea) porn because of those problems. I find stuff that's erotic to me specifically, because good porn (wow, that is a really weird thing to be this subjective about) is about fantasies, not sex for sex's sake. Which leads to some of the problems I talked about earlier with attacking it, because a lot of what gets inferred from any element of porn starts with the latter assumption (or the assumption that porn somehow should be about only sex and people looking for other stuff- particularly stuff the person making the assumption doesn't like- have something wrong with them. Or the assumption that all erotic material is inherently wrong, which is just a bunch of self-righteous BS).

Ironically, the "bleeding" from porn is what I think Curly should've been all about (and what I still think "stop porn culture" actually means, regardless of where she went from there). Saying "porn is porn and shouldn't be a model for sex and relationships" is simple, and about as obvious as saying "video games are games and shouldn't be a model for how you deal with real people", but it's a message fewer people get because gamers have been raising their favored medium's profile while porn viewers, despite being a larger group, are content to never talk seriously about porn. Telling Squig to destroy his porn required showing why all of it was "wrong" and that's where Tats opened a few cans of worms.
Nerdking
07:20:59 PM Aug 4th 2012
Also, I think Tats' being a hermit did have a few advantages- for one thing, if he does have an in-comic resolution planned for his issues then he'll have the other story lines to keep disaffected readers coming back, while blogging, tweeting, or even responding to emails about it would risk coming on too strong and driving people off, especially if we're right about him getting tunnel vision and losing the ability to sympathize with the less-enlightened during his initial exposure to feminism. It's just frustrating to have him be a hermit while feminism finds its place in Sinfest, a process that's taken over a year already but still could pay off.
Blackjoker
09:40:11 PM Oct 7th 2012
On the main question, I don't hate Glossy, I am not thrilled with the character but I don't hate her. The Charlie Brown thing seemed a little off but what actually bugged me about her was near the beginning. When Slick tried to defend himself she cut him off with 'no mansplaining' IE he apparently wasn't allowed to argue his position and he would be wrong by default. Looking at it again it seems like she was telling him, "The problem is that you're looking at her as an object, a thing, not a person." Instead the way she said it, and ended with the dismissive "look it up dudebro." Two comics earlier we see Monique, she had to tear her shirt to wrap her feet after climbing the tree to see great beauty and we get Glossy showing up again talking about how Monique is contributing to the oppression of women everywhere. My problem is that instead of being a feminist character Glossy looks like a PARODY of feminism as drawn by Rush Limbaugh or those of similar ilk. She also pushed the others out, not even talking about the male characters but she more or less reset Monique and now we rarely see her (Monique) outside of the direct feminist track comics, though I did enjoy the stuff with little 'nique.

Also, earlier the comic had seemed to be about characters and using them to tell a stories and messages were something woven in. IE the characters told the story for interactions and the stories served the characters, telling us about them. Now...it seems like all of them serve to push the ideas, I'm not saying that it can't work, just that it's a lot different from what was done.

The porn arc irritated me more because we had a kind of variant of can'targuewithelves where the sisterhood member was always in the right. The comic even overtly stated that Squig bringing up points about the first amendment and how one defines pornography is just mindless bloviation. Never mind that claims of obscenity were used to ban or bury controversial works. Never mind that artwork can be seen as pornographic or as a celebration of the human form and that such questions are valid. Doesn't mean that I disagree with the idea that for example female characters shouldn't be used as essentially action porn, hot chicks in skimpy clothes with guns, I certainly get WHY that's an issue too. The pornocutioner thing was just weird, it almost seemed like he was saying that light stuff is just 'gateway porn' to harder more taboo things. I'd also like to say on behalf of a few friends that are in loving S&M relationships that him calling it the same as a snuff film was pretty damn grotesque.
Pvblivs
10:30:38 PM Apr 11th 2013
One problem I see here is that there have been several comments on "the real life patriarchy." It doesn't exist (while there are cultures that can be considered patriarchal, this is not what people here or even the artist implies by "patriarchy") any more than a "real life devil society" that mocks fundamentalism in the manner in which Sinfest mocks Seymore. There are PEOPLE that laugh at fundamentalists. And there are PEOPLE that laugh at feminists. There is no secret group plotting how to oppress women.

Now, this gets into why I think a lot of people dislike the Sisterhood. Previously, the artist had no sacred cows and took pot shots at everything. I liked that myself. Now, the Sisterhood is an in-universe embodiment of the author's sacred cow. Yes, he has every right to take his comic strip in any direction he wants. But the readers have every right to voice their opinion on the matter.
SevenDeadPineTrees
07:20:11 AM May 5th 2013
edited by 216.99.32.45
There is a real life patriarchy. It's not like the Matrix, obviously, but it's real: it's a feminist theory that describes a social system where maleness and masculinity are held in higher regard than femaleness and femininity, and the resulting injustice stemming from it. You can read about it here. You should probably spend some time reading over there anyway, if you're going to have discussions about the sexism themes in Sinfest. I respect that we're all entitled to our own opinions, but yours seem to be pretty blatantly un-informed.

A DOOFY AND PROBABLY AWKWARD FUNTIME EXERCISE:

Two people apply for an executive position at a Fortune 500 company. It's a high-profile job that requires a strong grasp of technical and mechanical knowledge, as well as strong communication and social skills. They will be dealing with other top executives (roughly 86% of which are male) in the same field on a regular basis, and whichever one gets hired will be the face of their company to both its competition and its collaborators.

They have the exact same level of education, the exact same work experience, and they are equally qualified for the position. They are both married and they both have two children. They are the same race, the same age, come from the same economic background, and are equal in all other ways except one:

One is wearing a navy, single-button blazer and matching pencil skirt, a silk blouse, a pale pink satin scarf, and ankle boots.

The other is wearing a charcoal business suit with a white Oxford shirt, a red power tie, an Italian leather belt, and wingtips.

Which one gets hired? Not necessarily who would you hire, but who do you think is most likely to get the job?

Okay, now, read it again. Same question, except this time, assume that both candidates are cross-dressers. Now who gets the job?

Pvblivs
11:17:41 PM May 6th 2013
"Patriarchy" is a feminist claim that is not subject to evidence.

By the way, before one is even considered for a position of CEO, one must put in decades of 90-hour workweeks. And most people get nothing for their troubles. There is a reason why female CE Os give no credit to feminism. Feminism tells them they are supposed to get the position handed to them.

Society does NOT value maleness. Most violence is committed against men. But we have a "violence against women act" because the violence against men "doesn't matter." Female-only spaces are encouraged. Male-only spaces are discouraged or prohibited. There are female-only scholarships for college (men need not apply.) And this is at a time when most graduates are women.

Now, for your question, assuming equal qualifications and work experience (which is a BIG assumption) the woman will get the job every time.

And finally, you give me a link to a propaganda site run by a feminist and claim I am "blatantly uninformed" if I don't agree with everything she says. Well, the site has no merit. I've read feminist advocacy sites. But I think for myself.
magnum12
05:35:55 PM May 10th 2013
edited by 69.172.221.8
I know where this is going. Classic "loaded question setting up the strawman" exercise and its "you're sexist if the man is picked" trap.

The true solution is actually quite easy if you Take a Third Option. Set up a Secret Test of Character designed to test the morality, ethics, and personality of the candidates (in that order of priority) throughout the process. Whoever fares better morally gets the job. If its tied, look at the ethics, then look at the personality. If all three of these are truly tied, then they truly are equal in every way possible, thus its time for the ultimate final resort, Chance. Roll d6 on a casino dice or other similar die designed to be perfectly balanced and let the result decide.
Blackjoker
03:18:11 AM May 11th 2013
The fact that there are people in prominent positions in our government that talked about 'legitimate rape' and actually kept their careers tells us that while there might not be an organized group called the patriarchy, there are definite patriarchal bits in our society. The idea in sinfest is to make in monolithic likely because that makes it easier from both a story perspective and allows for showing how culture can indoctrinate and shape people.

Do I agree with all of the positions he's given, no. But I will agree that there is a problem. It's also worth noting that there were mini-scandals in the skeptic/atheist movement about a woman that got kind of freaked out about a guy propositioning her on an elevator. Now, whatever you might think of that (I think she was in the right) it led to people saying that 'she needed to get raped' etc. That isn't funny, that's honestly kind of disturbing. Or how about the recent fake geek girl thing, another relatively minor statement but it still shows that there are some definite sexist attitudes in society that need to be looked at.

I don't know how to fix a lot of the problems, other than maybe just not being a dick and trying to call out others on their behaviors.

There are a lot of issues in religion too, ones that I wish would be addressed but he apparently had a fair amount of reverence for the idea of faith at the very least.
Pvblivs
08:15:26 PM May 11th 2013
Well, since the "legitimate rape" comments were in contrast to fabricated stories and not a suggestion that it should ever be legal, it seems you are suggesting that any politician who recognizes that there are people who lie about rape should lose office. I find that a little problematic. I have noticed in the news recently that one Meg Lanker-Simons got caught in posting an anonymous threatening message against herself. She was creating a victim narrative. But it backfired and she got caught.

I'm a little cynical. And I think that many (if not all) of the people saying "she needed to get raped" were impostors trying to drum up sympathy.
Blackjoker
05:26:48 PM May 12th 2013
Ok, wow. The legitimate rape comments were from men who claimed that a womans body would 'shut down' her own reproductive systems, apparently claiming that babies from rape are impossible. That's not only ignorant it's frankly kind of horrifying. And maybe there are some that create a victim narrative of their own, but given how prolific people making posts like that are, I somehow doubt that these people are all imposters. (or to put it another way, the sheer number involved would be so large as to be unlikely)

There are other examples here too, the Sandra Fluke thing for instance. She talked in her speech about a friend that needed birth control to regulate her hormones for medical reasons. But the right wing narrative is that she claimed to have a ton of sex partners and was demanding the government pay for contraceptives for her. And there are people who believe that and when you point out they're wrong they get defensive and tell you to listen to what she said or read transcripts (both things they have apparently never done).

Not to mention the societal double standard that women aren't allowed to enjoy sex without being called sluts or whores but for guys, you aren't considered a proper man unless you've had sex and women are viewed as conquests or trophies. Hell, in general the American view of sexuality is pretty messed up, again leading to some of my own issues with some of the comments from the patriarchy arcs.

The thing is, that yes there isn't some special organized group that is trying to keep women down. But there are a lot of bits of institutional and cultural mores that reinforce sexist attitudes. There are similar issues in race as well. I don't know that there's any good way to deal with it but playing ostritch doesn't fix it.
Pvblivs
08:00:18 PM May 12th 2013
But look at the part you, yourself, focused on. You focused on the term "legitimate rape," not anything about the body "shutting down." I naturally assume that you talk about the part you consider significant. And many people portrayed it as "see, these people think rape should be legal." My first instinct is that that is what you were going for but, having been caught, you'll go after a different element.

I side neither with left- or right-wing. But I do not expect politicians to be experts on biology. And I paid attention to the fallout. It was not about biological inaccuracies.

"And maybe there are some that create a victim narrative of their own, but given how prolific people making posts like that are, I somehow doubt that these people are all imposters. (or to put it another way, the sheer number involved would be so large as to be unlikely)"

Between anonymity, sock-puppetry, and my opinion of the ethics of feminists, large numbers don't seem unlikely at all. But there may have been some regular trolls as well. But those comments aren't any more sincere. They are also calculated to get an emotional reaction.

I'm all for eliminating double-standards. But I don't believe that any attitudes, conscious or unconscious, are holding women down. If anything they are holding women up. If you look at who is homeless, at who works the most undesirable jobs with high death counts, at who is treated as criminals with no evidence of wrongdoing, you will find few women. These are society's misfits, invisibles, and downtrodden. If society is holding anyone down, it is holding them down.
Blackjoker
12:53:01 AM May 15th 2013
The comment of the bodies shutting down were linked to the words legitimate rape. The fact that they even decided on a national stage to use the words legitimate rape is frankly pretty fucking disgusting. If you find that kind of behavior acceptable...then there might be nothing more that can be said here.

I don't expect politicians to be experts on biology either, but when they say things like that, that isn't ignorance of biology, that's just rampant stupidity with a healthy helping of male privilege. There's a common joke that if men could get pregnant contraceptives would be given out freely and abortions would be legal, publicly funded and very safe.

You also say that you find feminists to be of questionable ethics, I do wonder what you mean by this but am also fairly sure that I probably don't want to know.

And if you talk about double standards, there are cases where culture and context matter as much as the actions. Two people can do the same thing, but legacy and history will rather radically effect how such things are viewed and how appropriate they are. As mentioned I don't think that there is some organized group in a hidden area organizing a direct patriarchy. No, what I think it is is that there are a LOT of things in our culture and society that we don't even fully think about until we're confronted directly by it.

To give a slightly different example, a mock documentary CSA gives a view of a world where the south won the civil war, complete with commercials of products from that timeline and giving thoughts on prevailing attitudes. At the end they list how many products shown actually did exist (some of them as recently as the 80's) and brought up how racist imagery is often missed because we're so used to it we don't realize it. Now, some call the movie hamfisted, and it is pretty blunt. BUT it manages to get the point accross and is pretty darkly funny. Point is, I also don't think that there's a racist conspiracy in my country against minorities, BUT I am willing to accept that there are a lot of aspects in our culture and society that stack the deck against them.
Pvblivs
10:38:33 AM May 15th 2013
Oh, sure, they were in the same comment. But the part of the comment you highlight identifies the part you think is ridiculous. You, and many other people, focused on the term "legitimate rape." And there was much talk about it meaning these people thought rape should be legal. The talk of the body shutting down was in the same comments. But it didn't even merit a blip on the radar.

My analysis will always assume that you expect someone unfamiliar with the reference to understand the objection you are making.

"I don't expect politicians to be experts on biology either, but when they say things like that, that isn't ignorance of biology"

No, that is ignorance of biology. It is only through study of biology that one can be expected to know otherwise. This is also why the brouhaha around the elections made no mention of the biological error. Too many people might agree with the error. But, since nobody supports rape, painting them as wanting to legalize it could get voters to get rid of them.

Now I will certainly agree that sexist imagery is prevalent in the media and that most people don't see it. Commercials will commonly portray all males as bumbling incompetent klutzes. Can you imagine the reaction if they portrayed women that way. I'm remembering (if a bit vaguely) a commercial for some microwave lunch. It pictures two workers, a man and a woman, being told they only have ten minutes for lunch until they have to meet with some big client. The man runs as fast as he can the the local fast food place to get something to eat. As he is running back, he gets hit by a car, nobody notices or cares and he keeps running to try to get back in time. In the meantime, the woman pulls out her microwave lunch, pops it in the microwave, and enjoys a nice, leisurely lunch. You may have seen that ad and not thought anything of it. But I bet you'd be offended if the roles were reversed.

When bad things happen to men, we don't see it; or we don't see it as somehow important. When bad things happen to women, society stands up and takes notice. So, yes, there are many things we don't even fully think about. If men were swapped for women and women for men in most popular programs, it would be seen as unacceptably misogynistic.

When you say the deck is stacked against minorities, I have to agree that has merit. Remember how I talked about who is homeless, who works the least desirable jobs, and who is thought of as a criminal without evidence. You will find plenty of minorities there. It's women that are scarce in that category.
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