Sinfest

For those sublime unions of literature and art.

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Ishindri
Posts: 534
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:52 pm UTC
Location: Maryland, USA

Sinfest

Postby Ishindri » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:59 am UTC

http://www.sinfest.net/ (may not be safe for work)

I discovered it a few days ago, and have spent most of the intervening time indulging in an Archive Binge (well, and playing Morrowind too). I quite like it, I get a very Calvin and Hobbes-esque feeling from it (if much more adult). What do you all think?
All is well. We are not like the others.

User avatar
Exotria
Posts: 206
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:41 pm UTC
Location: MA
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby Exotria » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:04 am UTC

The updates are daily, and all high quality. Of course, the Sunday ones are best, with the full color and everything. I'm surprised it doesn't have a bigger following. It's definitely worth adding to your RSS feeds.
Elvish Pillager wrote:
niolosoiale wrote:So which side of the fence would you say I'm on? Why?

The confusing one. I think you should pick a different fence.

masher
Posts: 821
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:07 pm UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Sinfest

Postby masher » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:13 am UTC

I like Sinfest; especially the dog and cat ones...

User avatar
4=5
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:02 am UTC

Re: Sinfest

Postby 4=5 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:53 am UTC

his art has remained inhumanly consistent and sometimes he takes a couple months off but otherwise he updates every day exactly on schedule.

User avatar
Avelion
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:44 pm UTC
Location: Dead center, USA

Re: Sinfest

Postby Avelion » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:59 am UTC

Tatsuya Ishida is the ninja of the webcomic world. His work is great but only a select few know it ever happened.
"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." -Cory Doctorow

nsmjohn
Posts: 580
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:42 pm UTC
Location: California

Re: Sinfest

Postby nsmjohn » Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:03 pm UTC

I just found Sinfest thanks to a comic posted in one of the other threads (I think it was the Women's thread) since then I have binged myself on the archives and I have made it through over 800 of the comics already. My favorite ones are usually the ones with God mocking Satan, or Slick and 'Nique questioning God. The four strip "High" segment (starts on 08/02/2006) I found hilarious, having... um... "known" a few people who smoke.
Gojoe wrote:Well, I would say something here, but it would only make it worse.


User avatar
aion7
Posts: 1142
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:43 am UTC
Location: In a base with which you identify, killing dudes to whose team you belong

Re: Sinfest

Postby aion7 » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:59 am UTC

I love this comic. Probably my favorite non-XKCD webcomic.

Also, it updates more often than I can check it, so I get multiple comics at once. SCORE!
Spoiler:
Zeroignite wrote:And you have suddenly become awesome.

joshz wrote:Oh, you so win.

internets++ for aion7.

jerdak wrote:Nothing says hello like a coconut traveling near the speed of light.

EstLladon
Beat you to the park. From RUSSIA.
Posts: 483
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:23 am UTC

Re: Sinfest

Postby EstLladon » Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

It was the first webcomic I ever read. Now I'm reading 30+ of them. But it was the first.
From Russia with math.

User avatar
mandalynn
Posts: 247
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby mandalynn » Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:49 pm UTC

I love sinfest. Percy the cat and Monique are probably my favorite characters, cause I can see a bit of myself in each of them. It's a delightful social commentary! I love the god hand puppet things! Whee!

User avatar
zomgmouse
Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:44 am UTC
Location: Melbourne, Australia.
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby zomgmouse » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:18 am UTC

It's great, and I took the time to go through the whole archive (though not without some webscraping). I now read it daily.
"Alf Todd," said Ukridge, soaring to an impressive burst of imagery, "has about as much chance as a one-armed blind man in a dark room trying to shove a pound of melted butter into a wild cat's left ear with a red-hot needle." P.G. Wodehouse

sje46
Posts: 4730
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 4:41 am UTC
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Sinfest

Postby sje46 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:01 pm UTC

Wow, this comic is incredibly cute. I've only read a few, but I already love the characters. And yes, very big Calvin and Hobbes vibe. I need to read the archives, but it probably has three times the amount of content that Achewood has (and that took me forever to read).

It's definitely adultish, but not what you'd expect from the name.
General_Norris: Taking pride in your nation is taking pride in the division of humanity.
Pirate.Bondage: Let's get married. Right now.

Swordsoul
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:35 pm UTC

Re: Sinfest

Postby Swordsoul » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:37 pm UTC

I find this comic incredibly condescending. Sorry.

User avatar
AngrySquirrel
Hellish Sex Goddess
Posts: 1005
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:26 am UTC
Location: The Northpole

Re: Sinfest

Postby AngrySquirrel » Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:30 pm UTC

I love Sinfest. I only read it about once every month, and everytime I go back to read the updates it makes me feel a little bit happier. It's developed more of a political edge over the last year or so, without that feeling like a bad thing. But yea, I highly recommend reading it, it's wicked awesome, even if you disagree with its politics it's quite funny.
Putting the fist into pacifist.

they/them/theirs

Zindaras
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:11 am UTC

Re: Sinfest

Postby Zindaras » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:10 pm UTC

I like Sinfest. It's one of the few comics I try to read every day. But in recent weeks/months his work has been very feministic. Which isn't bad but it's just not something that works all the time, just as xkcd works really well because it's not math jokes all the time.

I do love the whole Fuchsia/bookworm budding romance, though. It's very touching without being overly sappy.

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: Sinfest

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed May 08, 2019 7:04 am UTC

Ever since it took a hard turn into radfem, I've always felt a little weird about this comic.

I remember finding the pre-radfem 'dudebro' humor offputting (a lot of eye-rolly racist/queer-baiting/sexist junk), but there was enough genuinely pleasant humor (plus the art was nice) and I could just push on through. Then, the girls on trikes showed up.

"Okay," says 2009 me. "This is weird, and some of the framing makes me uncomfortable, but I'm starting to understand that radical feminism has some salient points, so I'm gonna stick with it." And I did! And it challenged a couple of not-so-great positions I held. In particular, its raw contempt toward male-oriented culture (the use of "johnbies", attacks on men as faux-allies, and even the idea of excluding men from women's spaces) helped me eventually re-adjust my way of thinking where I could understand how, y'know, feminism isn't really about me or respecting my comfort.

Then the SWERF (sex-worker exclusionary rad-fem) stuff started cropping up. Okay. That made me uncomfortable, but not in a "this-is-a-good-kind-of-discomfort!" way. I grew increasingly confused and skeptical regarding how he portrayed sex-work. Not the horrors that go on within it (which, even then, I was certain existed!), but his insistence on presenting sex-workers less as people, and more as objects without agency.

I struggled over this -- particularly since the comic had previously forced me to confront something wrong about myself. Was this just another case where I needed to get over myself? Was I just lost in my own preconceptions about what feminism should be? Was I missing something?

But no matter what angle I looked at it with, this felt fucked up. I started noticing a lot of other things: He used men being gay as the butt of a number of jokes (like, the literal joke would be "look how gay this guy is"). Other jokes relied on men behaving as feminine (or failing to be adequately 'masculine') as a punchline. His sex-workers were literally sex-bots -- sex-bots who only became capable of agency when their software "malfunctioned" (and I started to suspect this was less about how they're perceived of by men, and more about how he perceives them himself). Etc; etc.

I grew increasingly distraught. Eventually, I just stopped reading -- the cognitive dissonance was too bizarre. Either I was completely wrong about feminism, or... well, he was.

Flash forward to a week or so ago: I see some tumblr talking about sinfest in passing. So, I look it up out of curiosity. And... well, I'm not going to link to the comics. I'll just upload and post them here.

Content warning for transphobia:
Spoiler:
2019-04-28.gif


2019-04-29.gif


2019-04-30.gif


2019-05-02.gif


2019-05-03.gif


2019-05-04.gif


2019-05-05.gif


2019-05-06.gif


2019-05-07.gif


2019-05-08.gif
(I skipped one comic which isn't particularly relevant, and amounts to just a viagra joke)

Since I stopped reading, I've learned a bit more about the intersection of SWERF and TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminism), so this doesn't surprise me. In a strange way, it's a relief; that sense of growing distress I had after the SWERF reveal wasn't just me failing to let feminism challenge me. It was my intuitive discomfort with a deeply regressive model.

But that's not the only reason I'm posting this here. This actually upsets me in a way that's hard to express. It's not just that he's engaging in these TERF-isms (I mean, that bothers me; I'm not transgender, but there are several people I care about and love who are!). It's those last three comics in particular. There's a narrative disconnect here that distresses the shit out of me, because I can't understand how he doesn't see it:

In 2019-05-06.gif, a boy picks up a barbie doll -- violating gender norms. The gender police arrive to take him to 'gender correctional camp'. Okay, got it: Enforcement of a gender binary is toxic and sick.

In 2019-05-07.gif, we see a person coded as a Johnbie (the author's code for "non-woke", non-feminist men) putting on lipstick. A pyramid drone (the author's code for surveillance/government control) demands to see their "gender papers" for violating gender norms. They produce a hastily scribbled note that satirizes people who defy the gender binary. And then... the gender police let them go? Wait, what? Enforcement of a gender binary is toxic and sick -- but defiance of that binary is also toxic and sick? A sort of toxic sickness that society permits, presuming you have "papers" and are a "Johnbie"?!

And then, 2019-05-08.gif: We see a series of billboards where gender is being advertised (satirizing the notion of gender as a product that culture has sold us on). Of particular note is the billboard to the right, which reads: "You're Not You When You're Binary!"

What the fuck? I'm not even angry about the TERF stuff, now (I mean, I am, but that's not why I'm writing this post). I'm angry about the complete fucking lack of ideological coherency.

Is the enforcement of a gender binary toxic, or is it not? Is gender binary bad, good, or none of the above? Fuck if this comic knows! In the span of three pages, he's gone from saying: "We need to let people defy the gender binary!" -- to "But isn't it fucked how we let some people defy the gender binary?" -- to "Gender is binary, you FUCKS!".

I find this ideological incoherency utterly infuriating. How can you cram this much inconsistency in the span of three comics? TERF arguments are absolute fucking garbage, and yet I feel like I could make a better case for them than he can.

Anyway: TL;DR: Don't read sinfest. Definitely don't recommend it to any of your friends. It's misogynistic transphobic trash.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5447
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed May 08, 2019 7:50 am UTC

Sinfest has been more or less trash since the Trike Girls showed up in 2011. And not because it started pushing a feminist message, but because it started pushing a grotesque... I would call it a parody of feminism, if it weren't clear that it's the author's honest opinion. Early on, I wasn't sure if he was parodying feminism, with the first Trike Girl (who we now know is named Xanthe; he's terrible about giving his characters names, so she had no name for years) seeming like she could perhaps be the feminist equivalent of Seymour, the obnoxious fundamentalist preacher character, something like the "feminazi" archetype meant to be made fun of rather than someone to emulate. And even way back then, he was obviously a TERF, having one comic (offsite copy) where the Trike Girls called drones-presenting-as-stereotypically-feminine "ringers", a TERF slur against transwomen.

The impression I get about the author, from the comic (especially his literal author avatar in the comic, but also most of the original characters who are all subtler author avatars to some extent) and his sparse comments that have appeared on the front page of the site, is that he used to be some kind of heavy user of the worst kind of porn and probably also went to strip clubs and hired prostitutes, and had very little in the way of genuine relations with women, and so between all of that probably had very toxic attitudes about sex and gender; and then at some point around 2011, he "got woke" and swung around to the polar opposite, to what he, in that warped toxic viewpoint, thought feminism was, intentionally becoming the kind of "feminazi" parody of feminism that people like he used to be think real feminists are. Except he now thinks that's good, instead of bad. He's literally used "KILL ALL MEN!" as the punchline of a joke, and has expressed the viewpoint that there is no such thing as male allies, and generally seems to be wallowing in a mix of hatred and pity for himself and his entire gender. Unfortunately he seems to have found a following who seem to support him in that position, somehow, so I guess there are enough other people out there who genuinely do think that way too. But Tatsuya Ishida and people like him give feminism a bad name.

When that change in the comic first happened, I went looking to the comic's own forums (which I had never visited before) to ask anyone else if the comic seemed to be getting weird, only to fine an enormous ongoing flamewar between toxic misogynists and toxic... whatever the hell you call the warped parody of feminism the author has adopted. I eventually found a reasonable place to talk about it in the TVTropes forum about the comic, which seemed to mostly have people who were neither toxic in the author's new way or in his old way. But over time that place drifted further and further into toxic-the-old-way (especially around the 2016 election, when Trumpism seemed to suddenly be in vogue among a lot of the regulars), so I stopped reading that forum, and stopped reading the comic entirely, other than occasionally checking back in to see what it was up to these days.

I happen to have checked in just in time to see that one with the poorly-forged gender documents, and I too was wondering WTF kind of message that comic was trying to deliver. This whole thing has just gone completely off the rails.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: Sinfest

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed May 08, 2019 8:19 am UTC

I was unaware that they showed up in 2011; I thought it was 2009 (I've got a bad sense of time).
Pfhorrest wrote:And even way back then, he was obviously a TERF, having one comic (offsite copy) where the Trike Girls called drones-presenting-as-stereotypically-feminine "ringers", a TERF slur against transwomen.
I definitely don't remember this one. Either it happened after I left, or (more likely) I wasn't familiar enough with transphobia to recognize the coding. But yeah -- in retrospect, that's just flat-out TERF.
Pfhorrest wrote:The impression I get about the author, from the comic (especially his literal author avatar in the comic, but also most of the original characters who are all subtler author avatars to some extent) and his sparse comments that have appeared on the front page of the site, is that he used to be some kind of heavy user of the worst kind of porn and probably also went to strip clubs and hired prostitutes, and had very little in the way of genuine relations with women, and so between all of that probably had very toxic attitudes about sex and gender
Unless this is based on specific things he's talked about (I've never read the comments or looked into the author very deeply), it's probably poor taste to speculate on his personal life? Like, I get what you're saying (If Slick is effectively his self-insert, then yeah, what you're saying fits), but it seems unfair to just presume that's the case.

I mean, on one hand -- fuck him and fuck his brand of misogynistic, transphobic faux-feminism. On the other hand, it feels weird to talk about the personal life about someone we know so very little about.
Pfhorrest wrote:He's literally used "KILL ALL MEN!" as the punchline of a joke, and has expressed the viewpoint that there is no such thing as male allies, and generally seems to be wallowing in a mix of hatred and pity for himself and his entire gender.
I'm actually kind of okay with both "KILL ALL MEN!" and "no male allies" (though not so much that it's a male author saying these things; it feels ultra-weird for these opinions to be expressed by a man speaking through a fictional radfem woman by proxy). This is one of those things that the comic actually helped me get over.

It's a little hard to explain, and maybe not something we'll agree on (which is fine!) -- but basically, I've occupied a lot of spaces where people will say things like "Fuck men", or "fuck white people", or "fuck cisgender people". And as someone who falls into all three of those categories, I've learned not to always take these statements literally. They can be a frustrated rallying cry, not a genuine rejection of every member of a category.

Saying it in a public venue like this can be perceived as 'dangerous', maybe... but it can also be perceived as a way of coding the comic for more radical feminists who don't want to spend their time softly stroking every man's ego and telling them "shhh, it's alright; we're not going to hurt you".

Essentially, something like "KILL ALL MEN!" or "No Male Allies!" can be code for: "We're not going to pander to all those guys who need us to reassure them that they're the GOOD ONES every time we attack the patriarchy".

Alternatively, it can just be code for "stay the fuck out of our way". Which is another sentiment I'm comfortable with. If you don't want me as an ally, I'm fine just leaving you be.
Pfhorrest wrote:But over time that place drifted further and further into toxic-the-old-way (especially around the 2016 election, when Trumpism seemed to suddenly be in vogue among a lot of the regulars), so I stopped reading that forum, and stopped reading the comic entirely, other than occasionally checking back in to see what it was up to these days.
One of the reasons I posted this here is because the incoherent ideology bothered me so much.

But another reason is because when I did a brief search to find other conversations about it, all the ones did I find involved horrible (see: anti-feminist, pro-transphobia) people expressing either confusion, smugness, or glee.

commodorejohn
Posts: 1181
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:21 pm UTC
Location: Placerville, CA
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby commodorejohn » Wed May 08, 2019 1:40 pm UTC

Yeah, gotta concur with the overall sentiment here - though what really did it for me was less the positions he was taking specifically (plenty of authors out there that I enjoy despite disagreeing with them to one degree or another) than the way he was willing to torpedo years of (slow, gradual) character development in which cast members who were simplistic stereotypes back in the beginning started evolving, growing, and showing nuance, and essentially reset everyone to their original cartoon-stereotype versions in order to make them work as puppets for his soapboxing. That's just lousy writing.
"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling."
- Bjarne Stroustrup
www.commodorejohn.com - in case you were wondering, which you probably weren't.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5447
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed May 08, 2019 6:20 pm UTC

I think I see what the underlying message of the recent, apparently ideologically-inconsistent comics are, that Hippo raised. It's just the usual TERF position that gender just equals sex and so anything equating gender to any kind of role or performance is sexist. The one where the "gender police" go after the boy for looking at a Barbie doll is saying that there shouldn't be any rules about what kinds of toys boys or girls can like. The one with the "pan-fabulous" or whatever Johnbie is saying that dressing and acting a certain way doesn't (can't) make you a different gender, and that putting a label on yourself doesn't (can't) change what you really are.

It's not a great message, but I see the consistency there now.

Also Hippo, most of my speculation about the author, as I said, comes from things we've seen him depict in the comic about his author-avatar character, and to a lesser extent the other characters that have been strongly hinted before at being stand-ins for aspects of the author himself. He says very little outside of the comic itself, so the only thing I've taken away from his comments outside the comic are that his weird brand of radfem is his honest opinion and not a parody, and that he feels like he is atoning for some kind of past sins with what he's doing now.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: Sinfest

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed May 08, 2019 10:27 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I think I see what the underlying message of the recent, apparently ideologically-inconsistent comics are, that Hippo raised. It's just the usual TERF position that gender just equals sex and so anything equating gender to any kind of role or performance is sexist. The one where the "gender police" go after the boy for looking at a Barbie doll is saying that there shouldn't be any rules about what kinds of toys boys or girls can like. The one with the "pan-fabulous" or whatever Johnbie is saying that dressing and acting a certain way doesn't (can't) make you a different gender, and that putting a label on yourself doesn't (can't) change what you really are.
But that STILL makes no sense! The gender police will send the cisgender to gender camp for the mildest infraction, but allow extended violations if you have a "permit"? What does having a "permit" mean? Is it only the people who violate gender norms but *also* accept gender binary who get "punished"? Does the author think we make exceptions for people who don't accept gender binaries?!

The previous comics with the pharmacy criticized a biological perspective on gender (and if he thinks gender = sex, this is also a criticism on sex). So how on earth are you defining sex?! Like, I know a coherent, all-encompassing definition of binary sex is dumb (sex is just taxonomy; it's *describing* a cluster of shifting attributes by placing them under an imperfect category. A man is no more "ontologically" male than a squirrel is "ontologically" a squirrel), and a surface reading of the pharmacy comics indicates that the author agrees (though he's coding this through HRT therapy, which is obviously, uh, fucked up). But now he's deciding... Oh no, gender is sex, and sex IS that women are softer?! Or <insert arbitrary characteristic for which exceptions will always clearly exist here>?

ETA: Not to mention that aside from the radfems being presented as children, he's using all the sex-coding he's criticizing to code his female character as women! Where are the muscular women?! Where are the masculine women?! Where are the non-thin, non-conventionally attractive women?! If he wants to attack how we enforce arbitrary attributes on sex, maybe he ought to start by drawing more than literally just TWO types of female bodies!

Like, I can't get over how utterly incoherent this is as an ideology. It's not taking stands, it's just throwing punches, and it doesn't seem to understand where those punches are landing.

I see *no* consistency.


Also Hippo, most of my speculation about the author, as I said, comes from things we've seen him depict in the comic about his author-avatar character, and to a lesser extent the other characters that have been strongly hinted before at being stand-ins for aspects of the author himself. He says very little outside of the comic itself, so the only thing I've taken away from his comments outside the comic are that his weird brand of radfem is his honest opinion and not a parody, and that he feels like he is atoning for some kind of past sins with what he's doing now.
I understand, and that's what I presumed; I'm just saying that strikes me as possibly inappropriate. I don't need to speculate on the personal lives of people with horrible views to criticize those horrible views.
commodorejohn wrote:Yeah, gotta concur with the overall sentiment here - though what really did it for me was less the positions he was taking specifically (plenty of authors out there that I enjoy despite disagreeing with them to one degree or another) than the way he was willing to torpedo years of (slow, gradual) character development in which cast members who were simplistic stereotypes back in the beginning started evolving, growing, and showing nuance, and essentially reset everyone to their original cartoon-stereotype versions in order to make them work as puppets for his soapboxing. That's just lousy writing.
Tatsuya Ishida has gone full Cerebus.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5447
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed May 08, 2019 11:14 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:But that STILL makes no sense! The gender police will send the cisgender to gender camp for the mildest infraction, but allow extended violations if you have a "permit"? What does having a "permit" mean? Is it only the people who violate gender norms but *also* accept gender binary who get "punished"? Does the author think we make exceptions for people who don't accept gender binaries?!

I think that is the implication, yes: in the world depicted in the comic (and so in Tats' view of our world), people are forced to conform to the norms associated with one gender label, and the only way you get a pass on not conforming to the label associated with your sex (simplistically taken to be binary, ignoring intersex people entirely) is to adopt a different label. I think his view, the usual TERF view at least, is that people should be free to adopt whatever role and performance they want regardless of their sex (so far so good), and that saying performance of a role can define gender (and consequently that new genders not linked to that simplistic concept of sex can be created by adopting and labeling a new kind of performance) goes counter to that.

It ties into the TERF attack on transwomen as "treating womanhood as a costume". The TERFs want to say that there is nothing about being of the female sex that says someone essentially fit for playing with Barbies and wearing dresses and makeup, etc, in a way that male people are not (and I don't think anyone here will disagree to that extent). But then they go on to conclude that doing that kind of stuff, adopting feminine role and performance, cannot thereby make someone a woman, because none of that is necessary or sufficient for womanhood: womanhood is just being biologically female, nothing to do with role or performance at all. (On the TERF view, that is; I'm recounting their views here, not stating me own).

His take on how mainstream people in reality respond to nonbinary gender is clearly horribly inaccurate, as the real-life equivalent of the gender police like in his comic would not accept a shoddily-made set of "papers" like that, but insist on a properly-laminated official "M" or "F" documentation. But I understand how, from his ideological point of view, it would at least look like society is shifting toward a place where labeling a new socially-constructed box to put yourself into is the way to get social permission to inhabit the role you want.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: Sinfest

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu May 09, 2019 8:14 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I think that is the implication, yes: in the world depicted in the comic (and so in Tats' view of our world), people are forced to conform to the norms associated with one gender label, and the only way you get a pass on not conforming to the label associated with your sex (simplistically taken to be binary, ignoring intersex people entirely) is to adopt a different label. I think his view, the usual TERF view at least, is that people should be free to adopt whatever role and performance they want regardless of their sex (so far so good), and that saying performance of a role can define gender (and consequently that new genders not linked to that simplistic concept of sex can be created by adopting and labeling a new kind of performance) goes counter to that.

It ties into the TERF attack on transwomen as "treating womanhood as a costume". The TERFs want to say that there is nothing about being of the female sex that says someone essentially fit for playing with Barbies and wearing dresses and makeup, etc, in a way that male people are not (and I don't think anyone here will disagree to that extent). But then they go on to conclude that doing that kind of stuff, adopting feminine role and performance, cannot thereby make someone a woman, because none of that is necessary or sufficient for womanhood: womanhood is just being biologically female, nothing to do with role or performance at all. (On the TERF view, that is; I'm recounting their views here, not stating me own).

His take on how mainstream people in reality respond to nonbinary gender is clearly horribly inaccurate, as the real-life equivalent of the gender police like in his comic would not accept a shoddily-made set of "papers" like that, but insist on a properly-laminated official "M" or "F" documentation. But I understand how, from his ideological point of view, it would at least look like society is shifting toward a place where labeling a new socially-constructed box to put yourself into is the way to get social permission to inhabit the role you want.
Hm. Okay, then: this makes a lot more sense ideologically if I "accept" the premise that society only enforces gender that you identify as (rather than the gender society identifies you as). IE, if you identify as male, society will enforce male gender roles on you. So, the cisgender kid got "pegged" by the gender police because he identifies as male, but the Johnbie gets a pass because they identify as (in their words) a "pan-fabulous goth gender mascara sexual". The 'permit' they have can probably be understood as their "presentation" ("oh, they're presenting as non-binary, so they're allowed to wear lipstick").

So, Tatsuya Ishida believes that gender is binary, which is just a consequence of sex being binary (which he probably links to some arbitrary, unreliable metric -- chromosomes, genitals, "female particles"1, whatever). His issue is with the toxic enforcement of this binary (which he believes is real, but shouldn't define you in any significant way outside of irreversibly locking you to "FEMALE" or "MALE"). He also thinks this same toxic enforcement permits a permeable, non-binary model of gender (which, I mean, obviously it doesn't; the gender police would totally fuck that pan-fabulous goth up).

This makes a bit more sense, now. It still bothers me that he agrees it's wrong to enforce or characterize a sex binary, but still insists we must all obey this sex binary ("women are not soft! women are not submissive! women are whatever they want to be!" -- I AGREE, but if a woman can be whatever she wants to be, that means she can decide to be something else!), but I get the sense that's just your average TERF's ideological gymnastics combined with a pseudo-scientific understanding of sex.


1Or, as I like to call them: "farticles". And yes, this joke makes me functionally 8 years old.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5447
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri May 10, 2019 5:32 pm UTC

So this thread got me to checking in on the comic more lately, and in today's strip Tats is attacking postmodernism.

I'm guessing that that's an extension of the attack on the social construction of gender, going after "postmodernism" as the broader academic out of which the concept of social constructions, including that of gender, originally come.

It's really weird seeing a Johnbie doing the pomobabble in that strip, since I've associated Johnbies with the kind of right wing person who, aside from railing against feminism, are also well known for railing against postmodernism, as well as Marxism, seeing all of feminism as a manifestation of "postmodernist neomarxism". That last bit is itself an incoherent phrase, as real postmodernists and real Marxists are often quite ideologically opposed, and I guess that shows in the comic (Tats is also a Marxist), but it's still weird to see the postmodernist just as equally incoherently conflated with the "Johnbie" that previously seemed to stand for a different kind of person entirely.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

User avatar
The Great Hippo
Swans ARE SHARP
Posts: 7368
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: Sinfest

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon May 27, 2019 4:01 am UTC

I should really stop reading this, but it's kind of like watching someone try to solve the trolley problem by optimizing for maximum number of deaths per rail.
Spoiler:
2019-05-26.gif

Quick breakdown:
bomf.gif
bomf.gif (11.37 KiB) Viewed 3506 times


"BOMFITOL" (the ad on the upper left) is a reference to a previous comic that was mocking viagra (continuing the theme of using pills to reinforce gender). Which makes all of these ads about marketing gender as a medical product.

...except for one:

affluenza.gif
affluenza.gif (11.07 KiB) Viewed 3506 times

"OPPRESSION: for rich white men".

This is a reference to the previous comic:
Spoiler:
2019-05-25.gif
-- which, y'know, on its own? I'm down with. Because, yeah -- a lot of rich white men are like that.

But combine this with the "gender pills" comic, and the subtext is abundantly clear: Gender-identity is an attempt by white rich men to co-opt the 'authentic' oppression faced by women (because, y'know, all genderqueer people are either secretly rich white men or being used by rich white men).

Spoiler:
2019-05-27.gif

It's so fucking bizarre to watch someone like this insistently punch down on groups that are already consistently punched down on. It's like watching an avowed anti-racist protest racism, only to suddenly stop and say "Except for Muslims -- fuck them, they've got it made".

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5447
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon May 27, 2019 5:08 pm UTC

I don't want to just make a "me too" post but yeah, them's about my thoughts as well.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5447
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Sinfest

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:54 am UTC

Ok, there are several things that confuse me about this strip:

Image

Rather, things that suggest to me that Tats is confused.

First, is the hat supposed to be "gaslighting" Squig? And is that taken to be basically synonymous with brainwashing, or mind-controlling? Because Tats, that's not what "gaslighting" means. Gaslighting is when you make someone else question their own grasp on reality, make them feel like they're going crazy, to psychologically weaken them against standing up to you. It's not just persuading someone to be of a false opinion. This term is a staple of feminist theory going back generations, you should know this already if you call yourself a feminist. Did you just hear this word for the first time?

Second, the phrase "sex work is work" is used to highlight how a lot of the bad things about sex work — and yes, Tats, even non-SWERF post-second-wave feminist generally agree that there is a whole lot of bad shit about sex work — is a consequence not directly of the "sex" part, but of the "work" part. In other words, the exploitation that happens in sex work is largely just an example of the exploitation that happens everywhere under capitalism. I thought you were a Marxist too, not just a feminist. You do agree that capitalism in general is exploitative, don't you Tats? People saying this phrase aren't saying sex work is fine because it's just work, they're saying that a large part of the reason it's shit is because it's work, in a capitalist system, that exploits everyone who has to rent their bodies and minds out to those who have more capital than themselves in order to earn access to the capital they need to survive. Nobody who uses that phrase is saying that a woman renting her body out for men to fuck is all fine and dandy; they're saying the reason that it's bad is the same reason that men renting their bodies out as coal-mining machines is bad.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)


Return to “Comics/Graphic Novels”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests