Sinfest and Feminism

I need to make it clear that I don’t hate it when authors bring up the issues in our society regarding how women are portrayed and treated, especially in the media. It is an important topic and one that should be talked about. I personally find it quite disturbing how people will attack an author for even mentioning that the problem exists. And I am a big fan of Sinfest, I think Tatsuya Ishida is one of the best writers and artists on the internet. He has given us some excellent characters and some great, heartfelt moments. He can even make Satan himself sympathetic.

I think the main source of vitriol comes from the fact that despite the idea of feminism being about breaking down gender barriers so that men and women can truly be seen as equals, most people are likely more familiar with straw feminism, in which the movement is portrayed as women trying to dominate the world by enslaving men. This is because it’s the version that gets portrayed more often in the media as it is an easy story telling trope with more opportunities for drama rather than the reality of women just wanting respect and to feel safe.

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This is why I have issues with the Sisterhood in Sinfest, they are much closer to the straw version than the real one. However Tat has made it clear that he is trying to support women’s rights, not mock them. But he still uses inaccurate methods to do so. An actual feminist strip would be something like Xanthe and Crimnee talking about the hardships women face as equals. It could be a Sunday strip where they have an in depth conversation, make intelligent observations, point out some misconceptions, and then God pulls out a hand puppet to mock the inevitable shipping.

Instead, we get what Tatsuya has always produced, propaganda. And while he does hit on some good points, it can be hard to take someone seriously when they make everything literally the devil’s fault.

There is also the problem of willful ignorance rather than admit to fans that his views are seen as narrow minded by other people. One of the things is how Tatsuya portrays Third Wave feminism, which is about the inclusion of all women, no matter their race or social standing. He did bring it up, but only to dismiss it as ‘regular misogyny’ by having a straw man character, a literal pig, misinterpret it, only focussing on the ‘pro-sex’ side of it, despite that part of the idea being about how a woman should be free to express herself sexually or dress how she wishes without being thought of less.

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This is why, and please allow me to explain before judging, I don’t think Tatsuya has ever truly believed in any of the political issues he mentions in his strip. His comics on real world issues have always been very black and white, with clearly defined heroes and villains while remaining vague on specific topics. Despite presenting Barack Obama as a hero, Tatsuya never once mentioned anything about the man’s campaign platform beyond the generic ‘Change’ slogan. Sarah Palin is presented as a cross dressing pig, but why did that make the republicans a lesser choice? And besides that, Tat has always loved his conspiracy theories, making comics about how the government is spying on us.

These strips are, as I mentioned above, closer to propaganda. They are incredibly over the top with the opposition almost always being a tool of the devil while our hero is either the trodden down under dog who refuses to give up, or the invincible bad ass whose noble cause prevents them from coming to harm.

2013-04-17

I’m not saying that by having Xanthe be nearly unbeatable she is automatically a bad character. Far from it, I actually kind of like her. Sure, she could learn to be more polite, and maybe gain a little more positive depth (Which could be achieved by something as simple as the Sisterhood having a friendly game of basketball) but she really isn’t that bad a character. And the reality of how hard it is to change the system seems to be seeping in, in a way, making Xanthe more sympathetic. It’s just that she seems more like Tat’s power fantasy rather than someone created to be a strong female character. The cynical side of me actually wonders if Tat has only gone on with this arc so long because he’s finally found a conspiracy that actually exists.

Because when you examine these strips, what do you get? You get feminists who brow beat their opinions and refuse to hear otherwise while the men are morons. This is not forward thinking, this is patriarchal humour from the guy who tells us not to think that way.

When you get right down to it, Tat drank the Kool-Aid and is trying to convince everyone he threw it out the window. Including himself.

(David Herbert is the writer behind Domain Tnemrot and Living With Insanity.)

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Posted on April 30, 2013, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 86 Comments.

  1. I mostly agree with this article, indeed. The only major dispute point being that I do not like Xanthe AT ALL. There are only two things I dislike more than Xanthe about this whole Sinfeminism debacle, and those are Nique’s sudden mood shift into “SRS BUSINESS Androgynique” and the Devil’s downfall from affably evil corporate guy with a penchant for sin, but actually likable and fun character into evil, EVIL, EEEEVUL patriarchy mastermind.

    I never came back to reading Sinfest, but I do hold a bit of a grudge of frustration. Damn that comic…

  2. Please don’t link to Femmenist Frequency as a source. Femmenist Frequency is terrible. You might as well link to a TvTropes page if going to do that.

    • And everyone knows that TV Tropes isn’t terrible.

    • What are you talking about? Even if you disagree with Anita Sarkeesian, she does a very good job explaining her point of view in a calm, rational way. She presents her arguments in a clear, academic fashion.

      So, in other words, you need to back up the “terrible” claim – because it seems divorced from reality to me.

      • There is nothing in your post that I agree with. Instead of going to an endless chain of discrediting each others opinions with opinions, I think it is best that I start by clarifying my position.
        1) I believe women should have equal rights.
        2) I don’t approve of censorship.
        3) I believe that Anita Sarkeesian is very unprofessional.
        4) I believe critizing a medium by making it a moral issue is cowardly.
        If you think my opinion is “divorced from reality”, then shut up. All that I said was “Femmenist Frequency is terrible”. I didn’t say the world is flat or 6000 years old. You could have just said unfounded but apparently Femmenist Frequency is one of the fundamental laws of physics or a widely accepted scientific theory. Apparently, thinking that Femmenist Frequency is terrible requires ignoring several laws of nature and logic.

        • Let’s address your points one by one then.
          1. No one said you didn’t.
          2. Who has advocated for censorship? Not Anita Sarkeesian, not me… So… I guess that’s sort of odd to mention. She doesn’t go around issuing takedown notices or trying to silence her critics. She doesn’t even try to silence those she criticizes — just points out what they say. So yeah, weird to mention.
          3. [citation needed]
          4. What a weird statement. I’m honestly trying to figure out what you’re saying there. If someone says “this appears to be sexist” — is that a moral issue all of a sudden? To some it is. To some it isn’t. Mostly it’s a descriptor. And evenif it is a moral issue, why would that be cowardly? You’re really going to have to dig in more, because I honestly don’t understand what that could possibly mean. While that sounds like a great soundbite, I honestly have no clue what you’re on about there.

          As for “divorced from reality,” I was just saying I had no idea what you’re talking about. I was asking you to explain your opinion, that is all.

          • The censorship bit is probably a jab at Anita Sarkeesian removing feedback options from her videos and the like after receiving countless death and rape threats. Understandable, but there are those, like the Amazing Atheist, who believe she’s simply doing that out of cowardice or an egotistical drive to never hear anyone contradict her.

            Also, CaptJ, the reason I linked her video is because it was a well presented explanation of the trope that provided examples. I don’t agree with everything she said in it but that doesn’t really take away from her point. Also, big troper right here.

          • …but that’s like saying having an unlisted phone number is censorship because people can’t call you. It makes no rational sense.

          • I said that I was clarifying my position. I wasn’t arguing with you yet except on your choice of words. Now, the reasons that I think Femmenist Frequency is terrible are:
            1) She has shown that she consistantly fail to do the most basic research.
            2) Her works made mostly on bias confirmation.
            3) She manipluates others using her female victim complex; only allowing comments in one of her videos only long enough to gather hateful comments to discredit her detractors.
            4) (This is a clarification of position 4) When you critize a work of fiction, I think it should be in terms of its quality. For example: Sexism can make a book bad because it is bad characterization; not because it’s interpreted as sexist. Family guy sucks because it always go for the low hanging fruits; not because [insert politically incorrect statement]. It is cowardly because she wants people to feel morally wrong for liking something instead of feeling embarrassed. When people disagree with you, they don’t just have bad taste; they are terrible people. When a work of fiction is censored because it’s too violent/politically incorrect, it becomes a martyr. When a work of fiction is forgotten because everyone thinks it sucks, it dies a failure. Guess which of the two that I wish upon LICD?
            Well points are useless without examples. I don’t want to link to videos so I’ll link to people who critize her:


          • Edit:^^ I don’t want to link to her videos so I’ll link to people who criticize her:
            BTW: Sorry, about long post and embed videos.

          • CaptJ — just a few things —

            “1) She has shown that she consistantly fail to do the most basic research.”

            How? I’ve watched most of her videos (I skipped the Hunger Games ones because I’ve neither read the book nor watched the movie), and her videos are extensively researched. I mean, solid, verifiably researched. You’re going to have to cite an example here for me to actually believe you. Give me a video and a time code of an error, and maybe I’ll take you seriously.

            “2) Her works made mostly on bias confirmation.”

            The irony of you saying that spins my head on so many levels. I disagree whole heartedly on this point. Does she only focus on pop culture tropes harmful to women? Of course. But she states from the outright that her focus is on illuminating those.

            It would be like complaining about ESPN focusing too much on sports.

            In any case, it’s not a “bias confirmation” or a confirmation bias to focus on problematic media. If media isn’t problematic, there’s no reason to talk about it, savvy?

            “3) She manipluates others using her female victim complex; only allowing comments in one of her videos only long enough to gather hateful comments to discredit her detractors.”

            Ummm… what? Are you on planet earth right now? You understand that “female victim complex” is a phrase used by MRAs and Misogynists (but I repeat myself), right? That’s not a real thing. If I hear the term “apex fallacy” come out of you, I’ll know we’ve gone down the rabbit hole.

            “4) (This is a clarification of position 4) When you critize a work of fiction, I think it should be in terms of its quality. For example: Sexism can make a book bad because it is bad characterization; not because it’s interpreted as sexist. Family guy sucks because it always go for the low hanging fruits; not because [insert politically incorrect statement]. It is cowardly because she wants people to feel morally wrong for liking something instead of feeling embarrassed. When people disagree with you, they don’t just have bad taste; they are terrible people. When a work of fiction is censored because it’s too violent/politically incorrect, it becomes a martyr. When a work of fiction is forgotten because everyone thinks it sucks, it dies a failure. Guess which of the two that I wish upon LICD?”

            First off, no one is talking about censorship. Seriously, no one. Secondly, why is it wrong to point out that something is sexist? Saying something has problematic or sexist elements doesn’t negate all the positive properties — it’s just a statement of fact. Art is never above criticism, nor is an artist. You can have a good book with a sexist moment. A film can still be a phenomenal artistic acheivement even with racist elements. If you’d actually watched her videos, she makes no moral judgement on the viewer — she says “This element is problematic.” That’s it.

            It’s almost as if you preferred we never examined subtext or implications in the first place. If I called the original “Amos and Andy” radio programs racist as all get out, am I suddenly a horrible person?

            Dude, your fourth point literally makes no sense in terms of artistic or cultural criticism.

          • …Lets start with point 1. This video was deleted from her account and contained annonations informing numerous errors that she has made about the game.

          • @CaptJ

            Was this supposed to convince me of anything?

            1. Most of those “corrections” are snarky commentary not actually correcting anything she said wrong. In fact, most are simply “so what?” messages which kind of miss the point.

            2. While Bayonetta may not be a “single mother,” Cereza does spend much of the game claiming that Bayonetta is her mom — which while not true, if someone played through half the game, they may not realize that. But you’re right, this is an error. Considering the point of the video was to comment on the hypersexualization and objectification of women within the game, it seems like a weird point to get all bitchy about.

            3. The added commentary seems to misunderstand the comment on patriarchy. It is directed at the mindset of the players and creators of the game, not the characters within. If you don’t think we live in a patriarchal society, you really are missing quite a bit.

            It’s almost like since they can’t argue with the video’s actual point – about the sexual objectification of women, Japanese subway ad and the problems with harassment in the Japanese subways – it focuses on nitpicking the the supplementary information. Which isn’t the important bit.

          • So you spent the whole time misinterpreting and trying to discredit my opinion. However when I present one piece of evidence that one of my points is not completely unfounded, you dismiss it as nitpicking or even as proof for your augment.

            How being a single mother a good thing? It is not a bad thing but it doesn’t exactly make you a better person. Does she explain why being a single mother should have made her a strong character? Is a character just a set of tropes and archetypes made to represent demongraphs?

            Also, she confused angels for demons. How is that an oversight? Did you even watch the whole video?

            I didn’t try to clarify my other points because it is completely misinterpreted and I want to focus on point one first.

            BTW: Sinfest is very preachy and I think it is intentional. I would say it somewhat bearable because most scripts are only 3 panels long and the Sunday script usually has little to no words despite its increase in size.

          • So you spent the whole time misinterpreting and trying to discredit my opinion. However when I present one piece of evidence that one of my points is not completely unfounded, you dismiss it as nitpicking or even as proof for your augment.

            You said “This video was deleted from her account and contained annonations informing numerous errors that she has made about the game.” I was pointing out that it appeared she only made one.

            Also, she confused angels for demons. How is that an oversight? Did you even watch the whole video?

            Okay, maybe two. Honestly that slipped by me. Probably because it was a line in a block of text that otherwise didn’t seem to contradict her.

            How being a single mother a good thing? It is not a bad thing but it doesn’t exactly make you a better person. Does she explain why being a single mother should have made her a strong character? Is a character just a set of tropes and archetypes made to represent demongraphs?

            She’s saying its a “good thing” because we rarely see “single mothers” as heroes in games. That’s it. Something under-represented being represented.

            I find it funny that your “proof” is a video with a total of two minor errors (minor because they have nothing to do with the main point of the video nor her primary argument) that she also later pulled, so she’s not standing behind it.

            I’m not saying Anita Sarkeesian is some infallible sage of the era, but you give her way more flack than she deserves. Seriously.

            Oh, and one thing:

            you dismiss it as nitpicking or even as proof for your augment.

            Because it does more to prove my point than yours. You’re not making a strong case here.

          • You only saw two errors. God, you really didn’t paid attention to the whole video yet you still felt the need to feel superior.

            Even if it was only errors, she got the most basic things wrong about the game. Things that you can find out by just look at a Wikipedia page. It is not like accidentally referring to the group superheroes in Watchmen as the Watchmen (they’re actually called the Crimebusters). It is more like thinking the Watchmen first came out as a movie or thinking it takes place in the DC Universe or thinking that more than one guy in the book had super powers.

            “Because it does more to prove my point than yours.”
            Seriously?

          • You only saw two errors. God, you really didn’t paid attention to the whole video yet you still felt the need to feel superior.

            Watched it all, read every annotation. Most were irrelevant comments. If someone Yadda Yaddas the plot, it’s not an error nor is copy pasting the manual a “correction” ( in fact I initially missed the angel/demon thing because of that). I could go on through every “correction” ( and if you want me to I can), but I assume you understand my point.

            “Because it does more to prove my point than yours.”
            Seriously?

            Seriously.

          • @David Herbert
            Whatever, I’m just saying there are better source. Anyway, everyone got the point.
            Strawman + Feminist = Straw Feminist
            Also, Amazing Atheist is a dick.

            @Trae Dorn
            Wonderful

          • Anita Sarkeesian shouldn’t be held accountable for failing to fact check her own videos.

          • Anita Sarkeesian shouldn’t be held accountable for failing to fact check her own videos.

            Of course she should be held accountable. She should correct or pull an erroneous video.

            OH WAIT

          • I guess that I should ask teacher to get my essay back because I forgot to spell check. I should be given the same grades as students who do spell check.

            Look I don’t even want to talk about Feminism anymore. You seriously think somebody saying something “stupid” makes your argument stronger? Unless, your argument is that person is stupid then that is wrong.

            Also, did you have to bring up race? Nevermind, I already know the answer.

          • I guess that I should ask teacher to get my essay back because I forgot to spell check. I should be given the same grades as students who do spell check.

            Your analogy is flawed. And by flawed I mean “makes no sense.” This is more akin to when a newspaper publishes an inaccurate story.

            Look I don’t even want to talk about Feminism anymore. You seriously think somebody saying something “stupid” makes your argument stronger? Unless, your argument is that person is stupid then that is wrong.

            Did you just say I should attack the person and not the idea? Are you aware that this is literally backwards?

            And of course you’re tired of it, because you can’t support your own argument. You never responded to most of my criticisms of your statements – likely because you had no defense.

            Also, did you have to bring up race? Nevermind, I already know the answer.

            Umm… I mentioned it in an offshoot of the thread only in describing a demographic. It was never part of my core argument.

            But I guess if you want to deflect because you are unable to respond in a rational matter, its your choice.

          • “Did you just say I should attack the person and not the idea? Are you aware that this is literally backwards?”
            First, no. I never said that.
            Second, stop using the word literally that way. It is embarrassing.

            “And of course you’re tired of it, because you can’t support your own argument. You never responded to most of my criticisms of your statements – likely because you had no defense.”
            I explained my points already and I’m more interested in the fact you honestly believe that your opinions become more valid when an someone from an opposing view makes a weak argument.

            I can spend a long time watching her videos, writing timestamps, and posting links but I won’t the ff. reasons:
            1) I don’t want to watch her videos (again).
            2) I already criticised the author of this article for posting a link to one of her videos.
            3) I don’t want to give her ad-revenue.
            4) It wouldn’t change your mind.

            “divorced from reality”
            “no rational sense”
            “literally makes no sense”
            “makes no sense”
            You. Keep. Saying. This.

            It is like you think your inability to understand any point made makes your argument stronger. It is okay if you use one or twice but come on!

            “core argument”
            “actual point”
            You know what else isn’t an example of something’s main point? Persecution homosexuals, Creationism, and refusal of blood transfusions. None of these are the main concepts of their respective religious beliefs.

            If you want to continue arguing, fine. Find someone else to argue with. This is hardly the place for this kind of discussion. All that I said was Feminist Frequency is terrible. I never intended for this kind of disscussion.

          • “Did you just say I should attack the person and not the idea? Are you aware that this is literally backwards?”
            First, no. I never said that.
            Second, stop using the word literally that way. It is embarrassing.

            “And of course you’re tired of it, because you can’t support your own argument. You never responded to most of my criticisms of your statements – likely because you had no defense.”
            I explained my points already and I’m more interested in the fact you honestly believe that your opinions become more valid when an someone from an opposing view makes a weak argument.

            I can spend a long time watching her videos, writing timestamps, and posting links but I won’t the ff. reasons:
            1) I don’t want to watch her videos (again).
            2) I already criticised the author of this article for posting a link to one of her videos.
            3) I don’t want to give her ad-revenue.
            4) It wouldn’t change your mind.

            “divorced from reality”
            “no rational sense”
            “literally makes no sense”
            “makes no sense”
            You. Keep. Saying. This.

            It is like you think your inability to understand any point made makes your argument stronger. It is okay if you use one or twice but come on!

            Cute evasion.
            Things you have refused to explain–
            -How she uses “bias confirmation” (I assume you meant confirmation bias)
            -How she manipluates others using her female victim complex, and why you’re using that incredibly misogynistic term.
            -How Anita Sarkeesian has advocated censorship (which you’ve accused her of)

            And you literally say things that make no sense in rational terms, like how somehow pointing out sexist tropes is moral criticism, and while you’ve yet to explain why this is true AND why it’s bad. So, I put this to you, have you considered the possibility that you actually aren’t making sense and that’s why I keep telling you that? Explain yourself better or keep expecting that response.

            “core argument”
            “actual point”
            You know what else isn’t an example of something’s main point? Persecution homosexuals, Creationism, and refusal of blood transfusions. None of these are the main concepts of their respective religious beliefs.

            …right… Are you going somewhere with that? Because that feels like a half formed thought completely unlinked to any part of the conversation.

            See? That’s you not making sense. You just said something without linking it to a point or connecting it to your primary argument.

            If you want to continue arguing, fine. Find someone else to argue with. This is hardly the place for this kind of discussion. All that I said was Feminist Frequency is terrible. I never intended for this kind of disscussion.

            And all I said was that Feminist Frequency isn’t terrible. For someone who doesn’t want to keep arguing though, you do seem to keep posting.

        • I watched like one and a half of her videos and I thought it was okay enough. Then I started hearing a lot of people saying she was wrong, unprofessional, etc, but of those people, none have really explained why. As someone who doesn’t really have an opinion on her or her work, I’d just like to know what it is I’m missing that apparently makes her approach to feminism ineffective.

          • From what I can tell, mostly its just defensive white dudes who take any criticism of things they like personally from my experience, peppered with a few assholes who have a problem acknowledging the existence of the privilege that allowed them to ignore said criticism previously.

          • Yes, it is the fault of male Caucasians because it is in the west where sexism is most rampant. The west only contains white people and feminists.Male Caucasians are the only ones capable of disliking Anita Sarkeesian.
            …Stop generalizing.

          • @CaptJ

            Umm… most of the people complaining have been straight white dudes. That’s just observable reality. Is it exclusively so? No. But I never said “all” at any point.

            I also never said that all straight white dudes disliked her. How do I know?

            I’m a straight white dude.

          • Are…are we still talking about Sinfest?

          • @Trae Dorn
            “I’m a straight white dude.”
            Why am I not supprised? You also don’t seem understand sarcasm.

            @prettyjeff
            Sinfest is preachy. It should get less preachy.

          • I think this is one of the most heated comments I’ve seen on your page in awhile!

      • Kira Krumpet

        “Even if you disagree with Anita Sarkeesian, she does a very good job explaining her point of view in a calm, rational way. She presents her arguments in a clear, academic fashion.”

        Aaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  3. I’ve never been much of a big Sinfest reader myself, so I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about the comic’s change in direction. Still, it’s been interesting to watch the events unfold, on both sides.

    Overall, I do think Ishida missed a bit of an opportunity here – if perhaps he had been a little more nuanced in his approach, and perhaps a little less confrontational towards his critics, he might have been able to reach a broader audience, instead of alienating a portion of his fanbase.

    But in the end, it is Ishida’s comic, and he’s made it abundantly clear that if you don’t like what he’s doing with it, you should stop reading, so what’re ya gonna do. *shrug*

    • Casually Challenged

      What am I going to do? Finally stop reading it.

      I gave him a long chance and even sent a thoughtful email about the direction his comic had taken back in the Barack Star and Lady Liberty/Uncle Sam days. But this feminism trip has lasted too long and is not even remotely humorous.

      Now before anyone argues with me about it being his comic and it doesn’t have to be funny if he doesn’t want it to, you are absolutely right. This is where things get tricky for a long time reader tho. I started at the beginning, when his archive was only about a couple hundred strips. I am a Christian (bash all you want) and saw the title Sinfest, and had to give it a read. I wanted to know what it was “really” about.

      What I discovered was a pseudo preachy comic, that took all sides of issues, gave them a forum and had a slight touch of author speaking in them. They were never laugh out loud funny, but the art was good (and still is) and the stories were nicely handling some important issues and some just silly.

      Then the whole feminism story line kicked in and I kept reading expecting it to eventually die down some like the political story had. Unfortunately it took me another couple years to figure out that this comic has taken a TOTALLY new direction, and it sucks.

      I will even give a reason it sucks.

      I am all for characters evolving and changing. I do not even mind a story taking a new direction, or a new format… but there is the problem. The characters did not evolve, they just completely changed (or were dropped from the comic if a change could not be made easily. Or so it seems to this former reader). This was not a slow evolution. Not even a quick one. Just one day, all the characters habits, styles and characterizations took a totally new direction, and everyone in the comic became one of two things. Pro Feminism, or Anti Feminism. There is no other kind of character in the comic anymore.

      As for the new direction the comic has taken, well again, I am not against a comic creator taking a new direction, but from an artistic perspective his new direction does NOT work in his old format. He used to make what could possibly be considered a parody of the typical newspaper comic. I almost thought his art style and the controversial subject matter (and title) were an homage to a long and hard fought battle with said newspapers that Bill Watterson had for 11 years with the syndicates (Calvin & Hobbes creator). Whether that was true or not doesn’t matter, the point is it followed a very “proper” format for the type of comic it used to be. Even when it became overly political for a year (or so), it was still appropriate for the material. He was still “telling jokes”. Not very funny jokes, and many of them highly propagandized, but still, the attempt was being made.

      But now… his comic has become an unending tirade of pro feminism comics peppered with an occasional filler strip that even THEN is often some kind of feminism preaching with different characters. About the only exception might be the cat and dog ones. But to be honest I stopped “reading” a year ago and only glanced at the comics for the art (still great) and to see if the feminism party was done and some new story had taken it’s place. If he wants to have Sinfest be a feminism story, fine, go for it, but change the format. A much better format for that kind of story telling is the full page spreads he does on Sunday (again, in a newspaper type style, sort of).

      But all that being said, I officially stopped reading the comic about a month ago, and was searching for the reason the comic became what it did and ended up finding a plethora of google pages basically all saying the same thing…

      Sinfest Sucks (now)

      I agree.

      RIP Sinfest. You were once good, but now hopefully you will die and Ishida can create a new comic called The Sisterhood for the people that like his new direction.

  4. I’ve seen a lot people bending over backwards to try and make it out that Ishida isn’t reeeeally writing about feminism when that’s all he’s been doing for months. it’s fine not to agree with all his positions, but you don’t have to discredit him if you want to discuss it.

    • Yeah, I think the part of the article where he speculates on Ishida’s motives was perhaps a little much.

      Still, I can sympathize with David’s frustration here – it really sucks to see a comic that you like go in a direction that you think is ultimately harmful to the comic. Even more so when the creator and/or fanbase tells you that your criticism is unwelcome, and that you should just quit reading the comic if you don’t like where it’s going. (I had a similar experience myself once, with another webcomic… but perhaps that’s a story for another time.)

  5. I’ve been reading Sinfest for a long time, and generally think that Ishida’s done a fine job of making flawed but believable characters. I also think he’s done an okay job trying to get (at least some of) his characters to grow; Slick at the very least has had some regret over his pimp persona, and Monique has clearly undergone some changes.

    Which is why the current ‘arc’ baffles me: it just doesn’t seem to be *going* anywhere. I’m absolutely fine with him taking on social issues; he’s done that throughout the life of the comic. But it seems like the current arc is dragging without any sign of resolution. Slick and Squig don’t seem to be learning much of anything (especially with Devil Slick running around being generally unlikeable), and Monique and Xanthe seem entrenched in the ‘men are terrible people’ camp. I just feel that he’s made his point (a perfectly valid one that I don’t disagree with), and has now decided to keep hammering on it without moving the story along.

    • John Hancock.

      That, exactly. He made his point months ago, and should move on. There were interesting story arcs in play before this feminist invasion rebooted the entire comic. It was fun for a while, but it’s no longer even remotely interesting.

  6. I’ve never really read much of Sinfest, but it sounds kind of like one of the problems people are having is that there was a change in the comic’s tone and characters as it shifted toward this topic… Sort of like new “Feminist Sinfest” didn’t completely jive with “Classic Sinfest”. For those who read the comic, do you think it would have worked better for Tatsuya to simply create a new comic and new characters for discussing Feminism? Or was it smarter to fold that topic into a popular, currently-running comic for maximum impact?

    • You know, it’s funny – I was just thinking the same thing just now. For what it’s worth, I do think it probably would have triggered far less of a backlash if Ishida had just started a different comic, with new characters.

      Ultimately, I think the backlash itself was triggered by three factors: you have a) a webcomic that undergoes a radical shift in tone, that b) touches on a serious issue that people tend to have strong feelings about, and c) the creator handles the whole situation in, shall we say, a less-than-optimal fashion.

      (For other examples of this particular phenomenon, see CAD’s miscarriage arc, and Dominic Deegan’s infamous “orc rape” storyline.)

      • I think there are ways to have a story that balances humor and drama quite well. The best example I can think of in comics is Calvin and Hobbes, and I think that works because humor and drama are always present so there aren’t any sudden shifts in tone.

        I don’t read Sinfest, but I can’t imagine the tonal shift was as jarring as CAD’s or as misguided and offensive as Dominic Deegan’s.

      • You know, I don’t read Sinfest, either. (Tried a few strips and realized it wasn’t for me.) However, after reading these points, would it be fair to say that Sinfest has become the Funky Winkerbean of webcomics?

        Also, I guessing no one likes lite when people get preachy, even if they’re arguing a point you agree with.

        • Oh, I don’t know if I’d say it’s quite the same situation as Funky Winkerbean.

          Though I will say, some of those Sinfest strips David linked in his article remind me of that parody of the comic strip Mallard Fillmore, where the title character delivers right-wing talking points in the first two panels, and then in the last panel says, “Oops, I forgot to tell a joke!” :-p

        • We’ve actually just recently had a good discussion of politics in webcomics over at Comic Dish. A fair amount of people listed “Politics” as a dislike in webcomics, but as we started to examine it more, we decided that it wasn’t really the politics that so many people hated, it was the way they were presented.

          It seems like people don’t so much mind politics in a newspaper editorial comic because it’s expected and they’re ready for that. They also don’t mind it when the politics are so deeply embedded in an comic that it either doesn’t stick out or is used to aid the story (as with Watchmen). But what really gets people is when politics seem to rear up where they don’t belong, like somebody slipped a pill in your applesauce.

          And I think it’s like you said, getting preachy at the wrong time or in the wrong way, or from a person who seems unqualified, can repel people, even if they agree with the message. I’ve been in that situation several times before.

  7. I just wanted to say that I obsessively-compulsively updated the website for, like, two weeks just because of this article. And in the end it did not disappoint. I feel that David articulated exactly what is wrong with Sinfest and the Sisterhood strips: for sexist 4-chan users, and whatnot, they feel preachy, while real feminist (like myself) are bothered by them because the strips represent feminism in a very superficial manner. The dismissal of Third Wave feminism is particularly awful.

    Also, I feel that Ishida tends to cherrypick his arguments and present them in contradictory ways. A case in point is the character development of Fuschia and her relationship with Criminy, which is as “heteronormative” (sorry, I use a buzzword) as you can get.

  8. I’m so glad someone actually wrote an article on this. Gotta agree with the author… I ripped through 12 years of Sinfest in a matter of 1 or 2 months b/c I was initially engrossed in the philosophical questions explored in the strip (usually with one or more of the characters talking to/arguing with God) yet also appreciated the strip’s humor. It was unique and showed that it didn’t take itself too seriously, even with philosophy.

    Then I noticed that after year 8 or 9, the strips started losing depth. And then the political crap came in, the conspiracy theories and etc. He could have at least entertained both perspectives in the strip to avoid the strip seeming like propaganda, but whatever. I endured it for a while but gave up after the whole feminism thing. I have no problem with women’s rights, but by the time I had quit Sinfest, it had gotten incredibly preachy. And there was this obnoxious sense of self-righteousness in it, too. Not to mention that the characters had all but lost their colorful personalities in the name of Tatsuya’s propaganda (the pig went from hedonist to “changing his life for the better”… the girl went from “slut” to feminist activist…. which wouldn’t matter if Tatsuya was able to make fun of feminism the way he made fun of everything else in the strip, but he started taking himself way too seriously). I mean, for fuck’s sake, the title of the strip is SINfest. What was once an apt title has now turned completely ironic (because everyone has become so f*cking goody-goody). Even the devil’s SON has turned “good,” and I thought he was one of the more ingenious characters (wanna-be evil fanboy? Not bad!) But now he has the personality of a soggy napkin.

    When you go through the entire strip as fast as I did, you notice the changes a lot more. I was so bummed to see Sinfest turn from such a unique visual and intellectual delight into an obnoxious anime-style (a.k.a artistically lazy) bad political cartoon that I even wrote Tatsuya a (polite) longass e-mail about it. Probably not my place to do so, but whatever.

    I check back on sinfest every now and then and it’s still as much of a trainwreck as when I left it. Hopefully Tatsuya understands that he’s become an artistically big-headed douche (or that his strip is making him look like one, anyway) and starts going back to SF’s roots.

  9. Having been reading Sinfest for years, even now actually, I have to say Ishida’s latest preoccupation has most certainly hurt the strip, even as its made certain things more interesting. Perhaps because of Ishida’s rather narrow appreciation of what feminism entails, or Sinfest’s tendency toward hyperbole (or a bit of both) Xanthe and the sisterhood can’t help but come off as more than a little Mary Sue-ish in the beginning. I mean, unstoppable righteous avengers going up against the Devil, and taken seriously for doing so despite no prior information on or encounter with any of them?

    However, arguably the most irritating thing has been ‘Nique’s transformation from someone very much in charge of her own self-expression and sexuality, into someone damaged by the world she’s always been in and been te master of before now. I suppose it could be argued that she was naïvely allowing her own exploitation, but her new role seems to discount her own previous agency.

  10. So, basically, Sinfest is to feminism what Minimum Security is to environmentalism.

  11. This quite agrees with my opinion of the latest Sinfest direction. I think a good test on whether someone’s feminist statement is actually patriarchy-in-reverse is to swap the genders. That way, when the sinfest character shouts “kill all men” in one comic, and you change it to “kill all women”, you see it for the disturbing POV it actually is.

    • As true as that is, it’s a sad state of affairs that we do have to reverse it. “Kill all people of that specific attribute they were born with” is never an acceptable attitude and I wish people would stop seeing it in a way as if only certain people should have protection from harm.

  12. While I have not read Sinfest, I have a couple thoughts to share on why feminism is important in this day and age, to a certain degree. First, I shall muse on what kinds of emotions and instincts Feminism has to fight against:

    Consider the age of the Cave Man, several thousands of years ago. Back then, one thing about women would be glaringly obvious: their ability to give birth to and nurture children is something precious to be guarded and protected, because without that ability, no more humans to keep the species going. Consider the kind of environments the Cave Man must have lived in: harsh, dominated by nature, ruled by instinct. Thus, it would not be illogical to suppose that we humans, both male and female, have a protective instinct when it comes to women, built up by over thousands of years of survival of the fittest. Why? Because it helped us survive, by motivating us to protect our genetic futures.

    However, this day and age is not the days of the Cave Man. Science has allowed us to control nature to an extent, rather than be ruled by it; heck, we are taking advantage of the laws of nature simply by reading this web page. We are now the dominant species on the planet; our species is in no way in danger of being wiped out. The only thing left to protect a woman’s ability to give birth and raise children from… is ourselves, effectively.

    However, WE STILL HAVE THE INSTINCT. Even though it is a.) no longer needed, and b.) detrimental to the path of advancement humanity is currently embarking on. After all, several thousands of years of survival instinct is not going to go away in a couple centuries. Time is the long-term answer to removing the instinct, and self-discipline is the short-term answer to managing it until that long-term change is completed. And that is where Feminism is important: by talking about the changes that are happening and advocating changing our patterns of behavior to adapt to that change, Feminism helps humanity on the path to new behaviors and instincts more appropriate for an age dominated by mastery of science and technology, instead of survival of the fittest.

    However, I would like to stress that the kind of change I am talking about is something all of humanity is undergoing. Thus, there will be at least one period of transition, and that transition could be very difficult for humanity. Thus, I would actually advocate for feminists to be patient, to discuss the points and ideals they have but not try and force all of humanity to convert overnight to their cause. Because all of humanity is not going to convert all at once. Big changes require long-term planning, organized by several small steps that slowly build up over time. Thus, I do not like how aggressive some aspects of Feminism appear to be, and I detest when efforts to convert take precedence over efforts to educate.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts about Feminism. Discuss, interpret and/or criticize them however you wish. I am definitely curious as to how they may stack up against Sinfest’s interpretation of Feminism. I look forward to the potential discussion!

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Album

    • Get away with your evo-psych bullshit and mansplaining.

      • That is not discussion. That is trolling.

        Please, give us evidence that supports your point-of-view. Otherwise, no one wants to listen, and thus no one cares. I’m not saying you’re wrong; I’m saying that you’re being a dick. Please, sto trying to get folks angry and start explaining the stuff you wanted to point out.

    • “Consider the age of the Cave Man (…)”

      An age that only exists in the mind of the layperson. The facts about this period are very scarce, which has led to massive over-speculation about stone age culture. Anthropology actually tends to deny that the prototypical “cave man” ever existed.

    • Casually Challenged

      TL;DR

      To be more precise on WHY I did not read your long and potentially involved topic on feminism, that is NOT what this is about.

      This topic of conversation is about how Sinfest has shifted form so drastically that it’s fanbase has been more than likely irreparably damaged. Feminism (in an equal rights for all type form) is great, but it could easily have been any topic Ishida had used that would have set this discussion off as it stands. He changed a fundamental aspect of his comic (technically twice) and for the last… wow, 3 years now (I wish I could get those minutes back at this point that I spent reading it) the comic has been on this odd, and out of format tangent on a topic that seems to be of high interest to the author.

      And for the record, stating that you never read Sinfest and going straight into a topic on feminism is pretty much like saying the same thing I did at the beginning of my reply. It is dismissive (and I did dismiss your response as a result). If you had persisted to equate what you have read in the article, or the comments section about other examples of this happening in other media forms, then maybe I would have read it, but you tried to derail the topic (much like one of the first comments did… man was that a train wreck of an argument… good read tho 🙂

      Perhaps this was not your intent, perhaps you only saw a lot of talk about feminism and thought that is what this topic was about, but again, that was rather dismissive of you to see a hot button topic and not actually READ what people were discussing here.

      And for the record, I DID read your comment before I posted this and all my points are valid (as I see them).

      If you post a reply, will you read my post? I guess we will see.

  13. Xanthe the Big-Wheel riding radfem is basically the feminist version fo Seymour, the sanctimonious hyper-pious religious nut. She’s over-the-top, arrogant, and wildly overconfident in her views, angrily dismissing anyone who disagrees or even questions her sacred dogma.

    The problem is, Ishida established Seymour first… and Seymour was regularly mocked for his ignorance and inflexibility. He was a fool who got shown up and humiliated for his extremism. The strip made it clear that arrogant extremists would all be handled in this same irreverent and comical manner, and it followed that pattern for many years.

    Then Xanthe came long, and she got to be the sole exception to the rule; her arrogance was never exposed, she was never shown the error of her ways in embodying extremism. Instead, she always won. That doesn’t work. And it isn’t funny. Extremists of all stripes used to be fair game in Sinfest, with the end lesson being “There are some good ideas in most beliefs, but extremism always backfires.” Now, Ishida has built a fence around radical feminism and said “No, these ones get away with it.”

    • The ghost of Carl Jung

      The answer to ‘why’ in all this is simple – Tat has, at least for the time being, gone off the deep end. Apparently he had a difficult breakup from a lady with feminist views, and is now dying to prove to the world (but especially himself) that he ‘gets it.’

      It’s just difficult to watch someone’s mind and personality go to pieces in public like that. I stopped reading Sinfest. Too morbid, and vaguely offensive to watch a cause as important as feminism advanced in such a dogmatic, contemptuous fashion.

      Love can be the most soul-destroyingly awful thing in our lives at times, but I hope Tat doesn’t let the experience of being jilted define the rest of his life and career.

  14. you bring up some really good points and i really enjoyed this article.
    I see where you’re coming from on the mocking and the way third wave feminism was addressed; however, i feel some if not most of the time when this is done, it is meant to be satire. now satire is tricky, easy to misinterpret and even easier to miswrite, but most of the time, mocking of social issues come from sources previously discredited and proven to be mysoginistic, misdirected, and all over idiotic, like the pig and slick.
    as for the sisterhood, personally i dont see as much a connection to straw feminists. they are shown to be level headed and intelegent (with a hint of sarcasm.) furthermore, i was actually slightly offput by the comment that Xanthe should be more polite, girls being forward, direct and impolite is something that still needs more acceptance in the world. i dont know if you read comments, but i would actually love to hear more on your oppinions of the sisterhood.

    that asside, i really do agree with you that this all could be done much better and despite the recent improvements, the comic still has a lot of problems.

    • Casually Challenged

      I think it stopped being satire when he continued the story for the last three years and made it such a black and white issue where the main point seems to be “Men bad, Women good”. After 2 years of actually reading the comic’s current story (I started reading the comic as a whole from around the low 100’s) and another year of “glancing at it” before I finally gave up and removed it from my daily bookmarks, that is about the only thing I got out of all the preachy nature of his comic at this point. It doesn’t seem to actually make any valid points, it just continues to beat people in the head with “Women good, Men bad” and that is not satire. Not after 3 years of it.

  15. I’ve read every comic of Sinfest, and I can’t help but feel that the sudden switch and neverending feminist plot is a result of Tat either meeting a girl who made him feel like crap about his earlier comics, or for some other reason he’s trying to compensate for doing mostly patriarchal comics in the past. I get it, and I think in the proper dose feminism can be a very compelling argument. I’m a girl, for what it’s worth, and I think it’s an important issue. However, the comic has become a lot less interesting. It’s much less variable than before – all the storylines involve the matriarchy and patriarchy, and there’s no relief from it. I, personally, would like to see more about Fuschia, Blue, Criminy, the Devil, Devil boy, etc. I really like that side of the storyline, especially since it seems he’s completely tossed the ‘Nique and Slick potential, and their bantering back and forth was one of the earlier hooks of the series. There’s no dragon, no religious jabs, no complexity to it anymore, it’s all just a soap box for feminism from someone who was capitalizing on Nique’ going “bam” on a stage for 2/3 of the series.

  16. Here’s what I don’t understand. Why wasn’t it Monique? What I mean was, why not focus largely on Monique? Why not keep her meeting that young fan, realize what she’s accidentally done, and focus on her trying to change her ways (along with some of the other characters). None of this Matrix-esque bull, none of the “anyone opposed works for the devil”, none of this “men couldn’t possibly try to fix this”, none of this “randomly introduce new characters who have almost no actual characterization” and definitely none of this “hold a double standard for how the Sisterhood will treat women and men”.

    No, just focus on Monique and friends. Monique trying to find a way to still be a hit even after she morally cannot continue her hyper-sexual act. Monique finding herself unnerved by how Slick acts and also somewhat ashamed of how she encouraged and took advantage of that, Monique branching out beyond “pornography is bad” to address other issues such as pay disparity.

  17. Hey, that’s a The Devils Panties comic isn’t it? As an example of a real feminist comic I would assume. I love that one! Did you want to attribute it so everyone else can discover this great comic?!?

  18. Curious. I had not read the strip for a year or so and came to visit and got some good chuckles. I wished there was a way to wield it like xkcd on some places I visit.

    My criticism of the blog we are discussing is a bit complex but the core data point is survalliance state as a tin foil hat issue in march does not feel that way to as many people in august 2013. In the same today I became inclined to treat current gender and LGBTO issues a bit more suspiciously, if that is possible. And tat’s parallel view also gets criticized in the blog

    The blog has however suggested to me that I research third wave feminism.

  19. my biggest problem with ‘straw’ feminism is that what it tries to accomplish is change the way society thinks and acts. They try to make it happen through legislation. They are trying to legislate the way people think and act.

    As a female? I don’t think people need to be forced to change their opinions. I don’t think there is a rape culture (do your research. 1 in 4 argument is a pack of lies.). I don’t believe there is any evidence of a feminist-defined patriarchy. There are no rights a guy has that I don’t (none. The shit they claim are rights, aren’t. The right to walk down the street and feel safe? The right to dress as you like without being judged? Those aren’t rights. Considering that men are more likely (by a huge percentage) to be attacked, maimed, or murdered on the streets, I don’t think anything can make you feel safe outside of personal protection.) The rest is all superficial.

    There shouldn’t be laws protecting your feelings. Grow a spine, deal with the meanies, and live your life. You don’t /need/ a girls-only place to do so. You don’t need a huge movement to earn respect from people, or to say you don’t need their respect.

    Because you don’t. I can do that, and be fine. My girl friends can, and be fine. This fantasy world that 3rd wave feminists live in is 90% emotion, 9% contradiction, .5% shaming, .5% logic.

    They can just keep moving. This girl has no desire to be part of that.

    Personally? Sinfest was cute once. Now it’s just feminist propaganda. Is it being ironic? I can’t tell. But I have no desire to see strawmen be strung up as evil, strawfeminists being deified and martyred, and absolutely no desire to find out whether he’s being funny or not. Frankly? I stopped reading his stuff a while ago.

  20. My problem with Sinfest lately is just the terrible story telling that the whole feminist angle has created. Almost every character seems to be in a story arch that aren’t making progress toward any resolution. They all just spin there wheels and repeat the same information. New characters are added with no real development. Whe have the feminists, little E, Blue, Slick/Devil Slick, the story time zombie, Fuchsia and criminy, etc. It’s getting to hard to really care about any of it.

  21. I think my biggest problem with the article is the claim of “straw feminism.” People get the idea that feminism is about female supremacy because they see real feminists acting in a supremacist manner, all the while using the word “equality.” I mean… we have Hillary Clinton saying women are the “real victims of war” because men just get killed and maimed and that’s no big deal.

    When you say “straw feminist,” you are essentially saying that no real feminist is like that. But I can see with my own eyes that they exist. The only real question is how representative they are of the movement. From where I sit, they seem to BE the movement. They are showing their beliefs while others try to create a mask to lull the populace.

    • Wow, so you’re saying that the most extreme, radical, and nonsensical voices drown out the more reasonable ones? By gosh, that sounds totally unlike any other social/political/religious group!

      Sarcasm aside, you only hear about the “crazy” ones because that’s what sells. No one gives a shit about Boring Feminist #8374’s reasonable and moderate opinions (unfortunately for people who actually care about the core of the movement). Sure, the far-out and antagonistic opinions exist. But all movements tend to exist on a bell-curve. More people fall in the middle, you just don’t hear about them.

      I’m a little disappointed (as much as I can be disappointed with a random internet stranger who I know literally nothing about) that you would assume all or a majority of members subscribe to the schools of thinking of the most extreme members, as if we are Borg, instead of humans. Not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Christians are members of the Westboro Baptist Church, not all men are sexist pigs, not all women are friendzoning bitches, you get the idea.

      • I am saying that people keep insisting that the “extreme” voices don’t exist at all and are just a figment of anti-feminists imaginations concocted to discredit the movement. The insistence is plainly false.

        Feminism is inarguably a political movement to advance women. The “reasonable” members seem to be staying home, inactive, and possibly not even identifying as feminist. The center of that bell curve is elsewhere.

        The thing about crazies in a movement is that they are open about their beliefs. Saner minds will be more careful about what they say in order to sound more palatable to outsiders. Saner minds don’t necessarily desire different things. They just know that insane tactics are unlikely to be successful.

        • That’s funny to me, because from where I am, I keep hearing people say “I’m not a feminist, I just think men and women shouldn’t be treated differently due to their gender.” Which is, like, the point of feminism. I guess the name confuses people, because you get a bunch of people saying “I’m not a feminist, I’m an equalist.”

          “Feminist” does not equal “man-hating, hairy-legged lesbians seeking world domination and matriarchy.” It really, really doesn’t mean that at all.

          Feminism BEGAN as a political movement to advance women during a time where women even in first world countries had abysmally fewer rights than men. Things have gotten a lot better, but it’s become clear that there’s still areas where there is needless unfairness- and here, I’ll be real nice about it- unfairness even for dudes. That’s why feminism is still around. They didn’t change the name of the movement just because the scope broadened a bit. I’d like to think that you and I agree and are just arguing over the semantics of the movement’s name.

          “I am saying that people keep insisting that the “extreme” voices don’t exist at all and are just a figment of anti-feminists imaginations concocted to discredit the movement. The insistence is plainly false.” What is also plainly false is acting as though the extremes make up the bulk of the movement. It’s really the name that’s throwing people off. Ask a hundred people if they’re feminists, and not that many will say “yes.” Ask the same hundred people if they’re for equal rights for men and women regardless of gender, and the number of “yes”es is going to shoot up.

          People have been discrediting feminism for a long time, saying “Things are equal enough now, sit down and shut up and stop whining.” It’s stupid. Try calling me back about that one when rape victims aren’t blamed for their own rapes because boys will be boys and they were wearing revealing clothes anyhow, when mothers don’t automatically get custody over their children despite situations with the father being the more reliable parent and the mother being the abuser just because of some weird idea that the female parent must be the more important one and the dad is just a bonus or something.

          To bring it back on topic, I’m not a fan of the way Sinfest handles the issue. That’s far from saying the actual movement itself is useless or obsolete.

          • From my perspective, people who don’t identify as feminists because they see feminism as extreme are not feminists.

            “when mothers don’t automatically get custody over their children despite situations with the father being the more reliable parent and the mother being the abuser just because of some weird idea that the female parent must be the more important one and the dad is just a bonus or something.”

            Mothers getting automatic custody is something feminism fights for. Before feminism, fathers got custody but also had the financial burden of raising the child. After feminism, mothers get custody and fathers have to pay to raise the child. It has certainly benefited the women.

            And consider this. If a woman rapes a man, people will not acknowledge that it is a rape. Feminists especially push to have the law anatomically defined not to recognize male victim, female perpetrator. You won’t hear me claim that “things are equal enough.” But I do say that equality is not feminism’s goal.

          • I can’t reply to your comment, so I’ll just reply to mine, and then I’ll leave it at this. Equality is feminism’s goal. If you think otherwise, you’re either listening to some very disingenuous feminists, or to people who want to paint feminists as evil harpies and take every opportunity to discredit them. I agree with you that the people you’re talking about are crazy. I disagree that they are representative of feminism as a whole. I don’t think I can get you to reexamine your beliefs because that would require you wanting to, and I can’t make you want to.

            Well, this has been fun.
            (Just a quick PS: Most of the people I’ve heard arguing that “women can’t rape men” are (albeit not very bright) men who say that men always want sex, so they probably wanted it anyway, and should just “stop being a pussy” and be glad they got laid. See any time a female teacher molests a male student.)

          • I have been told many times that “equality is feminism’s goal.” I don’t see it. Feminists will talk all the time about how political leaders are mostly men and how CEOs are mostly men. They ignore the fact that garbage collectors are mostly men, sewer workers are mostly men, the homeless are mostly men, and workplace deaths are mostly men.

            Feminism doesn’t want to make women equal to men. Feminism wants to make women equal to CEOs. Now, you talk about getting me to reexamine my beliefs. I always examine my beliefs against the facts that I see. But the facts that I see show that Men accused of rape have their pictures plastered all over the news, while their accusers have their identities shielded; even if a man proves his innocence, his life is ruined; yet feminists say we live in a “rape culture.”

            “Most of the people I’ve heard arguing that ‘women can’t rape men’ are (albeit not very bright) men who say that men always want sex, so they probably wanted it anyway,”

            I see a lot of feminist women make the claim. But then, I’ve scrounged around to find what feminist women say on sites where they think only feminist women are paying attention. I have seen some interesting and appalling things. And some of these things get taken down when they realize that outsiders were paying attention after all. One that stands out in my mind is “Castration Day.”

  22. Some people here have objected to the term “Straw-feminist,” for Sinfest and I do as well, but for completely different reasons. Assigning the term to a strawman implies that the author doesn’t actually hold those views, and is creating a stereotypical character for the rest of the cast to easily knock down. As far as we know, Ishida seriously believes what he writes and his feminist characters are shown to be always right. It would be like saying that Minimum Security is straw-environmentalist because the cast make the Earth Liberation Front look like the ASPCA. The authors are both fringe members of their movements, but they and their main characters aren’t strawmen.

  23. The Talking Dead

    Who or what is this Trae Dorn thing? I’ve just read through the conversation thread, and I’ve honestly never seen someone so entirely with their head up their rectum since… well… forever. It can’t seem to accept anyone else’s opinion, and when it asks for examples… and gets them… it attempts to blow smoke to discredit them. Its like listening to an argument between grade four children, just with a bit more vocabulary in play. It must be a budding politician, as I’ve not seen so much double speak since Bill and Monica. Lord have mercy.

  24. I just wanted to say i totally agree with what you said, and i think you resume it well here :
    “Because when you examine these strips, what do you get? You get feminists who brow beat their opinions and refuse to hear otherwise while the men are morons. This is not forward thinking, this is patriarchal humour from the guy who tells us not to think that way.”

    I just discovered Sinfest few weeks/last monthes ago.
    I really liked the drawing, humour and depth… so i started to read them all, from the very beginning to nowadays, in few weeks.
    But i must say i been quite disappointed and i don’t like the turn it took with this (too much “main subject” to my opinion) patriarchy and mysoginism theme.

    it’s nice to see someone talk about this theme in a comic book… but i don’t like the way the author do that.
    As you said, the Sisterhood position make me think to feminist straw activists, that are for me not really better than the mysogines.
    And for an other point… I keep thinking Slick is one of the main character of these strips. He was the first to appear at the very beginning, and he behaved good or bad from time to time along all these strips… as we all mostly do in real life. That made him human and helped us to sympathize with this character.
    I really feel like (since this feminist turn started) he became just a moron… only living watching porn and girls asses, doing nothing but regretting his own behaviour… a real caricature of a mysogin (at least the pig keep his 100% hedonist point of view on the life that make him been fun and appealing)…
    And i don’t like this feeling that the author is rolling in the mud what was one of his main character (i don’t like neither how feminist became Nicole).

    anyway.. i’ll stop here to try to not write something too long.

    So.. i really liked this comic (i still like it… but it’s slowly becomig boring for me :/) and i hope it will change soon of main subject… or that the author will learn to treat it in a more balanced way.
    The sexism is not only in the misogyny… but in misandry too.

  25. I began to read Sinfest from the earliest strips about six years ago, on the recommendation of someone on a Yahoo group who was fairly conservative without being some kind of knuckle headed religious and political ratbag. It takes quite a bit to make me laugh out loud and Sinfest rarely does that, but up to about two years most of the strips were at least amusing. Now many of them are just obscure or preachy. I’ve been aware of feminism for 30 years and generally approve of it thanks very much and I do not need to have the ideas hammered in almost every day by reference to the straw men that some of the characters seem to have erected. You have become tiresome, Mr Ishida

  26. Could you update the links on this? It doesn’t seem like they go anywhere, possibly because the site it’s supposed to linked to has changed the way it links everything.

  27. Tatsuya Ishida hasn’t been funny in years. Sinfest used to be amusing, in a juvenile, casual blasphemy and fart jokes kind of way, with the occasional very clever kanji lesson. He could probably make bank with a book of strips teaching kanji and kana lessons, if he could make them all as clever and amusing as he did with the first few.

    But now it’s tiresome, painfully unfunny, preachy far-Left agitprop, just about as subtle as Stalin-era murals of the musclebound blond New Soviet Man. Mr. Ishida appears to have a very severe case of white liberal guilt. I’m not sure exactly how that works, since he isn’t white, but it’s obvious to see in his no-longer-especially-comical comics. He appears to have had his sense of humor surgically removes and has nothing left for his readers but bile. If his sense of humor ever regrows, let us know. In the meantime, he’s apparently just another angry, hateful, forty-something manchild (seriously? in college in 1991?) who sounds like a fourteen year old Tumblr Social Justice Warrior, and the only thing sadder than an insane adolescent is a grown man who behaves like a hysterical teenage girl.

  28. Sinfest used to be one of my favorite webcomics, I started reading from the beginning about 2 years after it’s start but I’ve only been checking in time to time to see if this Sisterhood/Patriarchy thing has finally come to an end and have decided that it’s time to remove it from my bookmarks. It used to be such a fun comic and even though the political age with “Barack Star” got annoying The Sisterhood has really placed it on a decline. The Sisterhood is always right! The Sisterhood never loses a fight! What a bunch of Mary Sues and worse yet the main characters we loved have been heavily transformed and shuffled off to third-string. I feel that the shark-jump though was the battle between the two Fembots, when the comic suddenly got really dark from out of nowhere.

  29. Tatsuya re-worked his site recently, so all of the links to his comics are dead. Otherwise, I like the article and I see too many giving him flack with no reason other than men seem to loathe when the focus is on women’s issues. I feel like the comic mimicks real life in the sense that once you see the Patriarchy, much like the Matrix, it can’t be un-seen, and so everything seems sexist once you take the Patriarchy pill… Because everything IS sexist.

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