Not angry, just disappointed.

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pragmatica
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Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 8:51 am

Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by pragmatica » Fri May 31, 2019 10:22 am

I've been reading Sinfest since about 2004. Despite some cringe-worthy storylines ("the Matriarchy," anyone?), the characters were compelling and I stuck with it. When the comic took its feminist, anti-imperialist turn, I cheered. Hard. Not a lot of people make webcomics that explicitly call out the oppressive forces in Western society. This comic has been an important voice, and I hope that it's made it easier for people to see the institutions and customs that keep literal billions of people disenfranchised and exploited, by methods both subtle and blatant.

But now the comic is explicitly trafficking in anti-trans bigotry. Really, you think genderqueer folks are just "johnbies" in disguise? That trans people are just as culpable as anyone funding porn or prostitution? The point of feminism is to fight the oppression of sex and gender roles, and yet here you are enforcing them! Rich white men understand that driving a wedge between people who are oppressed in slightly different ways, or who can be split apart by arbitrary categories, keeps them from coming together to overthrow them; apparently y'all didn't get that memo. By denying the reality and legitimacy of trans/non-binary identity, you are following in the grand footsteps of great feminists such as Mitch McConnell and Rush Limbaugh. (/s) Gender non-conformity is just as despised (if not more so) by the patriarchy as being a woman is, but for some reason you're happy to subscribe to the same narrative about trans folks that you rightly shred when it's used against women.

Oppression of women is largely based on "biology over mind" - that is, no matter how smart, accomplished, hardworking, creative, etc. you are, you'll always be lesser because you have the wrong letter on your birth certificate. Obviously everyone here gets that. But then you turn right around and apply the same standard to trans people - you are lesser (wrong, mistaken, invalid), no matter how smart, accomplished, hardworking, creative, etc. you are, because you have a different and therefore wrong letter on your birth certificate. This is biological essentialism masquerading as some kind of liberation - a campaign to destroy gender roles by... reinforcing them upon those who don't fit into them. The cognitive dissonance necessary to do this is mind-boggling. This brand of "feminism" is as badly-conceived as any MRA bullshit, and exactly as helpful to patriarchical institutions. Talk about "gender reeducation camps" - you guys are helping lay the bricks!

I thought Tatsuya had left his bigotry behind him in the same dumpster as Slick's tobacco pipe. Sadly, it turns out he has not. After ~15 years of reading, I'm out. I hope you can grow out of punching down. Good luck.

AnonFan
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Joined: Fri May 24, 2019 10:53 am

Post by AnonFan » Fri May 31, 2019 1:08 pm

Hello,

This is a very nuanced topic, and I fear that it will be challenging to be the arbiter here, but I will do my best. I am trying to fairly represent both sides, although I ask forgiveness in advance for any unintentional offense or ill-conceived phrasing.

I believe that nobody will deny that the patriarchy has acted to oppress anyone who is non-male. That is how the patriarchy stays in power and gets what it wants, by persecuting others. For females, this is obvious, and has been discussed in great detail in this forum (for good reason - the actions of the patriarchy towards women are deplorable). For transgendered people, they are of course also oppressed by the patriarchy, which views such people as rejecting their proper role (born-males) or trying to infiltrate the ruling class (born-females). For intersex or other intermediate gender identities, this is of course also a cause for alarm to the patriarchy, as it exists outside of their pre-defined roles that they wish to enforce.

My experience with transgered and intersex people is that they typically still ascribe to traditional views of what gender means within society. For the most part, trans-women and trans-men act on "qualities" that are traditionally ascribed to the gender they are choosing to adapt. This can be for different reasons, whether to fit in with peers, or preferences more closely matching their interest, or believing in the importance of gender even if they were not born into the gender that they prefer to identify with. This is not an absolute statement, there are of course some transgender or intersex people who do not ascribe to such "qualities" as being linked to their chosen gender, but that is less common as far as I have seen (just like it is in the wider population).

Now, my interpretation of the recent comics is somewhat distinct from this. The concept is more that the notion of gender itself is soceitally constructed. Perhaps more specifically, what society constructs is "gender roles and expectations", but this difference between gender itself and the expectations thereof is a nuance which is difficult to disentangle in western cultures.

Personally, I thus did not interpret the latest comic as a statement that transgendered and intersex people are accepted and supported by the patriarchy. This is clearly not true, as already discussed. Rather, I believe that the artistic intent (which I may be wrong about) was to say that choosing to adapt a given gender representation is still counter to the underlying notion of gender being a societal construct which (in western society) is designed to oppress. As such, in this context, transgender and intersex people who ascribe to a traditional gender role are thus still living their lives within the patriarchical system.

In summary, transgender and intersex people are definitely oppressed by the patriarchy. The objection I see portrayed is rather of the common scenario where they still ascribe to a gender role, just not necessarily the one matching their birth expectation. This remains within the norms defined by the patriarchy, and is thus problematic. It is not problematic because they are personally transgender/intersex, but rather because the way of acting upon this personal dissonance is to adapt a different societal role rather than to discard the notion entirely. It would be better to discard the notion of gender roles, to live your life as yourself, and to discover who you are independent of what the outside world says you should be. This is what I see in the recent comics: the quest to leave societally constructed gender roles and expectations behind, regardless of who you are.

Apologies to Tatsuya if I have misinterpreted, and to anyone I may have offended. I write this solely because I believe that the message of gender as a social construct is important to understand, and in the hope of helping to make this more clear.

--AnonFan

david
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Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:01 pm

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by david » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:22 pm

Came here to say exactly this. I’ve been a fan through thick and thin, I read a lot of comics and this is the one I’ve read longest, but this TERF crap is a hard reset back to the bad old days which makes me sick, so I’ve stopped reading and won’t be back. My quick flip through the forum has been just as disappointing- y’all tolerate a lot of transphobia and state violence for a community that calls itself radical. There’s good art out there that doesn’t punch down - check out Never Satisfied and Ben Passmore’s work - but this ain’t it. I’m out.

betterway
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 10:44 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by betterway » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:37 pm

In the same way that there's little consideration of what capitalism is and why it's bad before anyone writes screeds defending men buying "sex," there's little thought to what gender roles are and why they're bad before these posts here are created.

Radfems believe gender ID is delusion *because* they support gender-nonconformity. Gender non-conformity is literally just men not hurting others and themselves, and women not performing the ritualized submission of femininity. People performing (or "living" or "being"-- it's kind of a one-upsmanship thing now) masculinity or femininity is conformity. There's no brain-scannable spot in the head or special zone inside the "authentic self" that contains the 2010s version of gender roles that men, as a class, created and recreated over thousands of years. I really don't get how this ends up an inaccessible argument to folks, beyond not thinking for oneself long enough...

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Z6IIAB
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Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by Z6IIAB » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:58 pm

david wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:22 pm
Came here to say exactly this. I’ve been a fan through thick and thin, I read a lot of comics and this is the one I’ve read longest, but this TERF crap is a hard reset back to the bad old days which makes me sick, so I’ve stopped reading and won’t be back. My quick flip through the forum has been just as disappointing- y’all tolerate a lot of transphobia and state violence for a community that calls itself radical. There’s good art out there that doesn’t punch down - check out Never Satisfied and Ben Passmore’s work - but this ain’t it. I’m out.
anyways, gtfo. this forum won't tolerate calling radical feminists "terfs" or "transphobes" because we won't shut up about biological reality and actual feminism.

goodbye.
Call me Celina. I've been a fan since 2007, and tried to enjoy the old forum since then too. Now that we have a forum for radfems/people who actually enjoy the comic! Hell yes! I'll call up all my buddies here!! Armageddon is coming.

Volgrand
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:22 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by Volgrand » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:38 am

Hi there. New user here, but I don't seem to have the permission to create new topics yet, so I guess this is quite a good one to ask about this.

So not going to lie here: I am not a radfem, rather quite a moderate one, trying to see the wrongs and rights of all sides of the debate. I do keep reading this forums because it is always necessary to listen to the people you disagree with. How could I say "I disagree!" if I have not paid attention to what anyone has to say?

The turn of Sinfest to such a transphobic ideology has certainly surprised me. Reading some messages here, I get that the main critic to transexuality is that men would be trying to adopt for themselves the same rights women have gotten in the last decades, or claiming for a discrimination that should not apply to them. Did I get this right?

But, while I may not agree with this, there is something that surprises me even more: And is the fact that at no point transgender men (women who decide to transition towards men) or non-binary women have even been mentioned. So, I guess my question is:

What are your thoughs about transexual men (women -> men)? Is this acceptable or, just as the Johnbies protrayed in Sinfest, are unacceptable? And if they are, why?
And related to this: What are your thoughs about non-binary persons when they are biologically a women? It is clear in the comic that non-binary men are disguised Johnbies, but how about when it is a non-binary woman? Is this alright?

Thanks in advance for your time :)

betterway
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 10:44 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by betterway » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:13 am

Did I get this right?
I'm not sure how someone could get this impression. Rachel Ivey in "The End of Gender: Revolution, Not Reform" on Vimeo nicely lays out the main critiques you'll see here; if that still makes it confusing I can find some more existing media if you want!

Fumbles
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Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:16 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by Fumbles » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:15 am

betterway wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:13 am
Did I get this right?
I'm not sure how someone could get this impression.
Similar situation to Volgrand here. Non-rad fem who keeps reading the comic/forum to get an honest/direct view of ideologies I don't necessarily believe in but want to understand from direct believers. Lately it seems that there's a prevailing mindset of "all men evil" and "all women good" that necessitates demonizing men who try to "become" women, but there's never anything shown or discussed in the opposite, especially in the comic. There's a few questions that brings to mind about why transsexuality is seen negatively and whether the radfem movement is seeking equality or superiority, but for fear of being labelled a troll and admittedly not being part of the core demographic of this specifically-marketed forum I haven't found a good place to post or ask these questions.

What's the Radfem view on female to male transsexuals? Is it a sex-traitor viewpoint, with an opressed caste becoming part of the oppressor caste, or is it just seen as someone trying to delude themselves into being something they biologically aren't? No trolling here. Honest curiosity. It's a topic that doesn't come up around here very often and I'd genuinely like to know.

betterway
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 10:44 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by betterway » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:53 am

I am grateful when people try to describe each others' viewpoints instead of just talking past each other. Ostensibly you both are trying to do that? I mentioned the End of Gender video because it clarifies and helps do that.

I'll link it directly: https://vimeo.com/298352100

To speak for myself and my sympathies with radfems (all I can do): "All men are bad" is missing a word. All men are raised bad.

Geist
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:30 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by Geist » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:16 am

Z6IIAB wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:58 pm
david wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:22 pm
Came here to say exactly this. I’ve been a fan through thick and thin, I read a lot of comics and this is the one I’ve read longest, but this TERF crap is a hard reset back to the bad old days which makes me sick, so I’ve stopped reading and won’t be back. My quick flip through the forum has been just as disappointing- y’all tolerate a lot of transphobia and state violence for a community that calls itself radical. There’s good art out there that doesn’t punch down - check out Never Satisfied and Ben Passmore’s work - but this ain’t it. I’m out.
anyways, gtfo. this forum won't tolerate calling radical feminists "terfs" or "transphobes" because we won't shut up about biological reality and actual feminism.

goodbye.
The problem here is that "biological reality" is just as oppressive as the term TERF if not more. Look at any piece of redpill propaganda and you won't miss it. Basically your differentiation point as women = vaginas, which ultimately greenlights all the lovely reductionist baggage about physiology, femininity stereotypes and women being breeding machines that comes with it.

Maybe an actual informed account would help.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pTPuoGjQsI

It doesn't sound like trans women get a net positive out of choosing to irreversibly transition, so maybe the line of thought about women being a suit for men to wear and undermine feminism from inside kinda doesn't hold water?

Also, reminder: Trans men also exist.

Cis woman btw. Not upset or abandoning the comic, just respectfully disagreeing.

betterway
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 10:44 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by betterway » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:48 pm

Humans are mammals, all mammals have female and male bodies along with the less often occurance of intersex bodies. Intersex people are actually erased by denials of mammallian sex dimorphism! If whether someome is "male" and "female" cannot be observed by medical professionals, intersex advocacy orgs are deluded, regressive cissexist hate groups I guess?

Radfems want people to realize that biological sex currently holds extreme significance in society (women's reproductive systems are the resources that men exploit, the exploitation being the definition of patriarchy) and want to destroy that significance, destroy gender roles. MRAs want to turn the significance up to 11, saying traditional gender roles are inevitable. I'm always amazed at this guilt-by-hypothetical-possibility-of-association principle. It must make the day-to-day very scary if you need to ensure everything you say and think couldn't be twisted and repurposed by some hate group somewhere...

pingupingu
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Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:52 pm

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by pingupingu » Fri Jul 05, 2019 5:21 pm

betterway wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:48 pm
intersex bodies
A good primer on the development of variants https://www.ogmagazine.org.au/20/4-20/i ... teristics/

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SocJusWiz
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Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by SocJusWiz » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:15 pm

Geist wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:16 am
The problem here is that "biological reality" is just as oppressive as the term TERF if not more. Look at any piece of redpill propaganda and you won't miss it. Basically your differentiation point as women = vaginas, which ultimately greenlights all the lovely reductionist baggage about physiology, femininity stereotypes and women being breeding machines that comes with it.
I don't think this line of thinking makes much sense. The jump from "being born with a vagina is a defining characteristic of being a girl/woman i.e. a female human being" to "women are just walking vaginas" is a rather big leap. It's kind of a straw man / putting words in people's mouths, which can be very frustrating for the recipient and just heats up the discussion.

Facts in and on themselves cannot be oppressive or liberatory. After all, they are just facts. The context around the relaying of the fact, including the word choice, tone, etc. can add implications of all sorts though.

Let's take an example. It's a fact that in the United States, as per a 2009 mid-year statistic, 4.7% of black men were incarcerated, as opposed to 0.7% of white men. (Hispanics not included under "white." Statistic pulled from Wikipedia after 10 seconds of Googling.)

Is it racist to point out that fact, because it might imply that black men are "more criminally inclined by nature"? Or is stating that fact actually a recognition of racial imbalance in the United States, because why would black men be imprisoned more frequently if not for direct or systemic racism? It could be either. The fact is just that, a fact. Possible claims and implications based on the fact are up to the person relaying the fact.

When radfems say "women are by definition adult human females, i.e. humans born with a vagina," is there any reason to believe that they are implying "women are just walking vaginas"? Is there anything in their word choice, their tone, other statements they frequently make, etc., which would make you think that that is what they mean?

When feminist critics of the phenomenon of transwomen in women's sports say that women are statistically less physically strong by nature, is there a reason to think that they are implying that this means women are universally "weak" (in personality, morals, etc. and not just their average physical strength), or that they're implying women ought to have male guardians at all times, or anything of that sort?

When radfems say "transwomen are not actual women," is there a reason to believe that they see transwomen as inferior human beings who don't deserve dignity or respect? A reason to believe they don't want transwomen to be free from discrimination based on sex roles and stereotypes?

Anti-radfem trans activists are very aggressive in a memetic spreading of such supposed implications. But they're simply wrong.

It's the same strategy MRAs use against all feminism, or MAGA-hatted [ugly-word]s use against BLM, and so on. "Oh so you're saying all sex is rape. So you're saying women should be coddled like children. So you're saying women's bodies should be controlled. [Re. anti-prostitution feminism.] So you're saying blah blah blah." No, just no, stop straw-manning!

Don't get me wrong though, there's surely also lots of people on the left who use similarly intellectually dishonest propaganda methods, so it's not like it proves anything about your political affiliations. Not using the examples above to say that anyone's an MRA, Trumpist, etc.

And if your argument is not that radfems mean those things themselves, but rather that "others might interpret it that way," then I think the simple answer to the problem is not to avoid stating such facts and ridiculously tip-toeing around them, but to directly tackle the problem that leads people to immediately jump to such interpretations of mere facts. Make it clear to people that just because the sexes evolved in such a way that men on average have higher physical strength, it doesn't mean they are superior as people. Or that because women by definition have vaginas, doesn't mean they're nothing but vaginas. Or that because transwomen are actually feminine males, that doesn't mean they're inferior people, because there's nothing wrong with being a feminine male. You get the idea.
All radfems cordially invited to the FeministWiki!

https://feministwiki.org/

betterway
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 10:44 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by betterway » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:47 pm

It should be noted that we can consider gender identity discourse a hard-line rule-consequentialist moral philosophy recently wedged into the malestream liberal English-speaking world. The consequences of even implying that the words "woman" and "man" were ever meant to label the categories of mammalian sex is now always a shove of LGBT people, including and especially kids, toward self-harm and suicide; therefore we must never under any circumstance admit that the words used to have non-subjective meaning. You will rarely read something like "I see where you're coming from, man and women did once mean person with male biology and person with female biology, but we've found that those definitions are not good" because there's no way to formulate a thought like that that feels morally OK to speak: Male and female biology? But transwomen are female and always have been...there's no biology necessarily involved in transfemalehood...or biologically, they are female, because they say they are...

We should realize that, for example, it doesn't matter to most people that waving around "but intersex people!!!" or details within male and female developmental biology actually implies transwomanhood/transmanhood/transness is biologically bound! Just obfuscating things makes life better for trans kids, so that's the moral thing to do. "It's Complicated" gets the job done morally. I am not saying it's unimportant to understand why people's ideas are not relatable to reality, just warning that appealing to "facts" may prove a Sisyphean task, where the gravity of moral imperative always wins.

I can't prescribe how to balance arguing against the specific claims of these folks that are ceaselessly cross-pollenating and reproducing, with, like... appealing to compassion for women as a class and describing the reality of gender roles from historical record and first principles of feminism. I came to agree with radfems by reading a lot of both modern dialectic, reactive political writing and one-sided anti-male/anti-gender role feminism old and new, after being interested in transness and agenderness for a little bit. I dunno!

Dark Harlequin
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Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:40 am

Re: Not angry, just disappointed.

Post by Dark Harlequin » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:23 am

I've been reading this comic for a LONG time, 2005-ish i think.
And... I'm tired.
This comic used to have fun/interesting characters, jokes and some social commentary.
Now? It has feminism. Honestly I can hardly see anything beyond it.
Let's summarize the characters from what they were, to what they are.
___________________________________________________________________________

Slick then: A stereotypical "Alpha Male", a playa who thinks he has game, yet clearly has none. You love to watch him fail and laugh at his shortcomings
Slick now: Hard to tell cause he's barely in the comic. I guess he's a... delta male? Struggling with his old habits (this is fine), looses any character trait he had (this is not fine)
___________________________________________________________________________
Monique then: A smart, manipulative bisexual girl, commenting on asshole men, asshole government and other things wrong in the world.
Monique now: Anarchistic, anti-government lesbian. Her relation with Abby is cute.
___________________________________________________________________________
Squgly is basically an extreme version of Slick both then and now.
___________________________________________________________________________
Saymoure then: Fun commentary on Christian conservationists, still likable.
Saymoure now: Who dis?
___________________________________________________________________________
Criminy then: The nice, kind, polite nerd.
Criminy now: Who dis?
___________________________________________________________________________
Fushia then: Devilgirl who finds love and fulfillment in art, freeing herself from her past life.
Fushia now: Who dis?
___________________________________________________________________________
God/Buddha/Dragon then: Funny representations of religious figures.
God/Buddha/Dragon now: Who dis? (Ok God reapered recently.)
___________________________________________________________________________
Jhonbies then: Who dis?
Jhonbies now: A very negative representation of some men.
___________________________________________________________________________

I hope you can see my problem, the characters have either disappeared from the comic or have undergone such a character overhaul that they have lost a lot of their charm.
Plus the comic is getting close to man hating and... well it sucks when a comic you liked starts to actively hate on you.
I'm not saying that the Jhonbies represent me, I don't need to be represented.
But I'm feeling like the author doesn't believe anyone but the Jhonbies exist.

I'm getting tired of the constant man hating, I'm tired of not laughing at this comic.

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