I have zero shame about loving Sinfest, I have read it for years and years.
the amount of shit it gets from half of the internet is absolutely unreal, the worst being people who parade themselves as fans but “ugh it just got too feminist”. This comic has been topical for over a fucking decade and it hasn’t stopped being so. It’s hard sometimes to proclaim myself a fan of it publicly because those who hate it REALLY hate it, but I think I’ll let a few recent strips speak for themselves
And these strips are to portray its topical quality? I think you may be shooting yourself in the foot on this one.
Before I continue, let me take a few steps back and start from the beginning.
I’ve been a fan of Sinfest since it began, about thirty strips into its run. Taking the time to read the latest update was part of my daily routine.
My friends and I enjoyed the bitter, flawed characters and their lack of embarrassment to their lusts, greed, and desires. We enjoyed that no demographic was safe from ridicule. He can poke fun of a religion in several strips and then reveal an insightful lesson by the end of it. It was clever, cute, and honest to itself.
And when this feminist kick began, I bore through it. But the more I read, the more I felt certain that the strip had now turned extremely sexist.
Let me elaborate. As a Sinfest fan, you know what kind of character Monique, Slick, Squiggly all were. ‘Nique was more than just a pretty girl, but someone rowdy with lots of opinions. She loved flaunting her sexuality and standing up to authority. She went to poetry slams, flirted heavily with whomever she wanted, scoffed at anyone who tried too hard, and went home looking for a new style to wear. She also suffered bouts of loneliness, troubles with her self-worth, and could be incredibly conceited.
But the Monique of Sinfest today is none of that. She’s changed her look to something less feminine, almost stopped attending poetry slams entirely (and when she does, it’s purely pro-feminist… as though she has no other problems in her life now), and lost many of her previous flaws. She looked back at her initial work and exploits and was disgusted and embarrassed with herself.
And this is the problem I have. Not only has she become exceptionally flat, she now looks at her past with shame. Because she liked to flaunt her body, because she liked to shop for expensive dresses, because she wrote sappy poetry, she feels she needs to grow up and break out of the mold that society created for her. As the second strip you included entails, having your hair done, wearing accessories and make-up, getting dressed in heels and skirts is equivalent to being a submissive man-pleaser.
I don’t believe in this. I don’t believe any girl should be ashamed of their own sexuality.
And that’s the mistake Tatsuya is making. He believes all his previous work subjugated and belittled women. That a woman shouldn’t be doing these things or else it falls under the Patriarchy.
That’s not what feminism is. Feminism is giving women the choice to be and do whatever they’re entitled to do without being judged.
Just because you’re girly does not mean you’re not strong.
If a woman enjoys sex, that’s fine. If she enjoys buying piles of make-up, staring at shoes, teasing boys, it’s completely fine. It’s just as fine as girls that like to get in the boxing ring, or have an entire garage of tools, or let her armpit hair grow untamed. It’s their body, their life, their choice.
Tatsuya has no right to look at a woman falling into girly cliches and say “You’re only doing that to please men.” Monique did it because it pleased her.
But none of what I said would matter to him. He would only put on his Patriarchy Blockers and realized that the only thing I said in this entire rant is that I want Monique to be naked in every single strip. Because my opinion is different, it therefore does not matter.
I could go on and on about how poor the quality of Sinfest has become. How Xanthe has absolutely no personality to her whatsoever. How the black bike girl is a copy of Xanthe with no difference at all, making her inclusion completely pointless, How Lil E’ is literally a different character from what he was a year ago and that readers want to see characters grow and struggle, not become someone else entirely.
I do think a lot of the hate is unwarranted. I do think a lot of the criticism out there is shallow.
But I also believe that Tatsuya Ishida doesn’t understand feminism and is trying desperately to prove to everyone that he does.
Truly, he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone else. He just has to remember that we’re all flawed… and it’s completely okay to be.