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Monique - does she even have a personality any longer?
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Katsuni



Joined: 11 May 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:33 pm    Post subject: Monique - does she even have a personality any longer? Reply with quote

This has been bothering me for awhile, and I know this sounds odd, but hear me out:


Monique used to have a fairly deep personality, with many layers to it. She had conflicts of interest, she had likes and dislikes, mannerisms, things which made her stand out as an individual; an actual full-fledged character where it felt almost like she was a real person considering the incredible amount of personality built into her person.

Now, the arc about her sudden awareness of the patriarchy has had potential to show her growing and learning, to become more than she was, yet... it's been mostly squandered. Yes, it showcases the concept of feminism, but what's left of the character once she's had everything stripped away from her?

She used to love partying, to ogle guys, to be jealous of women, to have meaningful conversations and she was, quite bluntly, her own person, damn the rules of society! She would do what she wanted when she wanted, and it gave her a strong personality. She'd taunt Slim constantly, but they were still clearly friends.

With the patriarchy inclusion, it almost seems as if she's been sacrificed as a character, with all depth of personality removed, simply to act as a sounding board for the plot.

In over a year, she has only really had two comics at all wherein her personality really showed through at all anymore:





Every other comic she's been in besides these two, she's been little more than a walking stereotype. The severity of the issue has become so strong that I'm starting to wonder if it's not deliberately being portrayed as a case of shock, or disassociation with reality in some shape or form.

In virtually every comic for awhile now, her mind is solely 100% focused upon the patriarchy, and nothing else. While it's an interesting concept in theory to show her realizing it's bloody well everywhere, it's become so universal of an influence that she's drowning in it, unable to actually lead a normal life any longer, or enjoy anything she likes to.

To make matters worse, she's been stuck in character growth limbo for about two years now; what has she actually learned in this timeframe? She's shown up less frequently than she once did, but even with that in mind, she's shown up in a few short story arcs and universally she's learned... nothing. Absolutely nothing. Zero. Ziltch. Squat.

She knows the patriarchy exists. She knows it's everywhere. She knows most people don't know about it. She learned all of that quite awhile ago, so what has she actually done since that point? Let's look at a few examples:


She does... nothing. She's essentially walking around with a metaphorical raincloud over her head (with the matrix-style patriarchy almost looking like rain). It shows nothing except that she's in a rotten mood because of dwelling on it constantly. She shows zero personality beyond that of "generic individual standing in personal rainstorm", which is more a visual gag than a personality showcase. If we swapped her out with any other character, the reaction would be identical; she's completely arbitrary.


She discovers Criminy is still oblivious to the patriarchy. Again, it's the only aspect left in her life. She has no further social interaction or capacity to do anything else. She's a sounding board for a plot device, and the comic could have been written without her presence, or another character just as easily. She does nothing to set her apart as Monique.


Almost... but not quite. This is again a situation where she could easily be transplanted with a number of individuals in the comic, and serves no real purpose to have Monique be the one doing the talking. She hasn't really learned anything, grown, or done anything that distinguishes her as being herself.


About the only aspect which has anything to do with 'nique at all here, is the setting of the scene being on the stage. Beyond that, she could have been easily replaced with a few others, such as Xanthe. She barely even acts, or does anything.

I could go on, but I think the point is getting made by now.

I don't mind her having issues with the patriarchy, but she hasn't really done anything about it; she hasn't learned anything, she hasn't grown, and until the last few weeks, she has been completely shut down for her personality with no real purpose that couldn't have been provided equally as well by a cardboard cut out in her place.

Heck, even mini-nique, her protege, has a lot more personality than the real deal right now.

I don't particularly care for Xanthe's personality, but she has a clearly defined one. Nana's shown herself to have a surprising amount of depth, despite rarely showing up. Fuchsia is just oozing with personality and character development at the moment. The bamf girl, Pebbles (for lack of a better name yet), is probably my favourite at the moment, having a quirky, interesting outlook on things.

Then we look at Monique again... she has... nothing. She has become what feminism decries; a female character who exists solely as an object that things happen to, but doesn't actually do anything herself. She's become so obsessed with the patriarchy that she's let it rule her life to the point that she no longer thinks about or does anything else any longer. Every time she shows up, all she does is sit there while something related to the patriarchy revolves around her. She may say a few lines, yet they're pretty much always reactionary, and never proactive. She's acted upon, and never the actress herself.

Now, the last two comics she's been in give me a little bit of hope; it shows she may actually be making a 180 turn back to having a personality again. It does make me question, however... what was the point of all this?

She's gone nearly two years with zero personality, zero character development, and zero real purpose. I was kind of hoping that at the end of this, it'd be turned into a larger plot, to showcase that she'd been so drenched in patriarchy values, that once she was aware of such, it was like thinking about itches, and suddenly needing to scratch, except in more of a "drowning" metaphor. It could have easily segued into the realization that she was lost as an individual, who had let the patriarchy become so entrenched as the most important thing in her life that she literally didn't have a life outside of it's awareness, and instead have chosen to take her own path, to stride off and live her life how she wanted to, to set an example for others and be her own woman in the face of everything, rather than letting it constantly drag her down like a ball and chain.

Instead, it just kinda got brushed off as if nothing had happened, which I think is the more worrying aspect of this. Not only has she literally wasted two years of her life obsessing rather than living, she didn't even learn anything from it.

The idea of a character such as Monique being suddenly thrust into the realization that she's surrounded by something like the patriarchy has great potential; it just hasn't been used. She's learned nothing, and done nothing about it.

I can't help but think that she's barely more than a straw-woman at this point; the face of feminism gone horribly wrong, where it's not about changing the world, or even living your life in the face of adversity to show that you can make a difference by being a positive role-model, but rather just a showcase of what happens when you let the world get to you, and let it constantly grind you down to dust while providing only lip service to the idea of fighting back, without really doing much for real.

She knows Slick is trying his best to not be part of the patriarchy any longer, yet she does nothing about it. She doesn't help him, she doesn't talk to him, and the one recent opportunity she had to talk to him, she walked out rather than make a difference.

Slick is TRYING to change, but he doesn't know how, and no one's willing to explain it to him. They speak in vague terms, accusing tones, but not once has any character sat down with him and tried to spell it out in clear and certain terms.

Monique's character would grow so much if she came to the conclusion that she could make a difference, right then and there, and help the person who's trying to change, rather than just making wild accusations to the clearly non-caring crowd or preaching to the choir.

Instead, she's a non-event that simply exists. She's actually become less of a role model than she was before the patriarchy, as sad as that is. She was a strong personality, she had values, she had pleasures, and she had motivations. Now she's an empty shell, little more than a rowboat tossed about in a hurricane, with virtually no power of it's own.

So tell me, has anyone else noticed this? That Monique, as a character, has lost virtually all pretense of a personality in favour of being turned into a caricature of her former self who can do naught but flail ineffectually any longer?

I miss Monique... I loved her generally pleasant attitude and outlook on life, her bubbling energy and willingness to act and do what she wanted, against the crowd's expectations. Seeing her degraded into this, where she exists only to further a plot arc, rather than to be a person in and of her own self, kinda hurts me to watch. Doubly so when it's then shoved under the rug and ignored, as if nothing was ever wrong rather than at least make use of the situation to educate.
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, this has been discussed extensively already.
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Istancow



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tat has shifted the focus of the strip from character to message for Monique and Slick.

Tat has been using Monique, Squig, and Slick like the Sisterhood- as devices to carry an important message.

Not one of them has lost personality- the spotlight has just shifted a little.

And that's fine, because it's a good message.

And it hasn't taken away from the character element of the strip, because Tat has changed Lil' E and Blue from devices to characters.

When Tat wants to return focus on Moniques and Slick to character, he will.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the comic. It's a really good comic.
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Dennis J. Squidbunny



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CONGRATLATIONS YOU'VE SOLVED SINFEST!

I can't wait for Tat to read this and learn how to write a proper comic!
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Heretical Rants



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

but

but

but her character's just as strong as it's ever been
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Istancow



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heretical Rants wrote:
the truth

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Night Spade



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Side-effects of taking the Red Pill may include depression, apathy and dulling on one's personality...

So there is some Ritalin mixed in then?
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Istancow



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



I haven't had an opportunity to use this all day, so I think I'll just leave it here.
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Rune



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Istancow wrote:


I haven't had an opportunity to use this all day, so I think I'll just leave it here.


You bastard. I can't stop watching it.
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Katsuni



Joined: 11 May 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stripeypants wrote:
No, this has been discussed extensively already.

I didn't see those conversations yet, then. My apologies =P

Istancow wrote:
Tat has shifted the focus of the strip from character to message for Monique and Slick.

Tat has been using Monique, Squig, and Slick like the Sisterhood- as devices to carry an important message.

Not one of them has lost personality- the spotlight has just shifted a little.

And that's fine, because it's a good message.

And it hasn't taken away from the character element of the strip, because Tat has changed Lil' E and Blue from devices to characters.

When Tat wants to return focus on Moniques and Slick to character, he will.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the comic. It's a really good comic.

Thanks, this was the most useful answer so far!

I noticed the shift in tone, and don't mind it or anything; I agree it's something that should be looked at, but I'm just a little bothered that Monique hasn't really been put to very good use is all.

For example, Slick's still blatantly obviously Slick; he's obviously learning about the whole sexist crap and is really trying, in his misguided way, to reform, even if he has no clue how.

Monique... it just kinda feels like she hasn't really been put to equally good use is all. If anything, it feels like it's reinforcing the concepts that the comic's professing to be against =P

Slick goes out to CHANGE himself, and DO things! He's a man, and does manly things because it's manly! Monique is alright just existing though, because really, that's all that's expected of women; to be pretty and exist.

I suppose I'm mostly worried that the character of Monique is being sacrificed to provide a message, and the method of delivery for that message is actually killing the message in the process.
Dennis J. Squidbunny wrote:
CONGRATLATIONS YOU'VE SOLVED SINFEST!

I can't wait for Tat to read this and learn how to write a proper comic!

WOOHOO! Do I win something? A BUNNY? I WON A FREAKING BUNNY!?

Booyeah!

Yeah, I know, sarcasm. I can do that too =P

Seriously though, this isn't a message of "how to write a proper comic" by any means. Trust me, I'm an author myself; I'm quite aware that there's a lot of ways to go about doing such =3

My issue is that I simply see opportunities being squandered, at least from my limited perspective. I don't know what's going on in Tat's mind, or if he has any thoughts for the future that we're not privy to yet. For all I know, this is some elaborate setup for a much more interesting look upon obsessions which can become more dangerous than the original problem, much like phobias can be.

On the other hand, it's also easy for authors to get very easily wrapped up in an idea, and completely miss an important part. I don't know how many times I've had to go back and rewrite a chapter after I realized that I got so wrapped up with minor characters conversing that a main character got literally zero lines of dialogue at all =P

As such, it helps to have a little outside guidance now and then, just as a quick reminder ^.^

Maybe he has grand plans in mind I'm not aware of! Maybe he honestly got so wrapped up in the message he neglected the presentation by accident. There is, after all, a literary rule stating that "if you absolutely love a line you've written, delete it", which mostly involves the issue of the things we're most attached to are the ones we think the least critically about, and therefore are most likely to fail to polish to a proper shine =3

Maybe he'll read it, maybe he won't. Doesn't really matter to me either way; I'd rather attempt to get him to think about the concept on a deeper level, than sit idly by and twiddle my thumbs on the risk that I might look bad.

All it takes for bad writing to occur, is for good critics to do nothing ^.~
Heretical Rants wrote:
but

but

but her character's just as strong as it's ever been

But other than the last two times she's showed up, in TWO YEARS, has she really showcased that personality? Has she done anything that could ONLY be done by her and no other character in her place?

One of the biggest things about writing anything, is you want your characters to stand out as unique. Remove all images, remove the faces, the titles, or any indication of who's speaking... now read out a few lines from a character. Ideally, you should be able to know exactly who said it, just because of things like word choice, phrasing, or content. Xanthe is pretty blatantly obvious it's her when she speaks. L'il E is also blatantly obvious. Slick is obvious. We can tell who speaks simply because of how they talk.

Monique... in her most recent appearance, the one relating to the internet praise, it could just as easily have been Slick or mini-nique saying that. Heck, even Squigley could have said her lines, except for the very last one, with the exception of "guy" replacing "girl". Hence, not a very strong indication of her personality.

In the TV show one, however, it shows through who's speaking. She's still referencing the same problems as before, but she says it in a way that's distinctly Monique, that no other character could say it in that way. Remove her from the bottom of each panel, and leave just the speech bubbles in, and you can still guess pretty easily who was saying it =3

My phrasing of the basic question is intentionally poor; she still has a good personality, but she's not SHOWING it. Hence, the bait used to draw comments ^.~ I could have more precisely asked "Why is 'nique not displaying her personality as much?", but it simply wouldn't provoke that same, instinctual need to disagree and comment =P

I'd like to understand why this is being done as it is, as I feel the tools which have been presented could be put to much better use, and that Tat's historically been much better at making effective use of Monique, and currently shows himself to be more than capable of using other characters effectively.

Istancow actually brings up some good points on the matter, though I think there's still an awful lot of possibility left for it to simply be an accidental oversight, rather than an intentional choice by Tat to do things this way.
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
Istancow wrote:


I haven't had an opportunity to use this all day, so I think I'll just leave it here.


You bastard. I can't stop watching it.


Best song is best song.

My sig used to be a gif from the same video.
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Katsuni



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Istancow wrote:


I haven't had an opportunity to use this all day, so I think I'll just leave it here.

Eet iz... zee beautiful... dance, little man... dance the dance of joy!
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fritterdonut



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ah, there it is


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Samsally



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure I can't be assed to read a wall of text that huge just to be offended by it.

And I'm pretty sure I -would- be offended by it, considering the title of this thread along with how much I relate to 'Nique and the changes she's gone through since the patriarchy arc.
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you stick around here, you'll see those conversations, and you'll probbly see why a number of leople are irritated by this post and the question. And you'll also run across people saying those who are tired of it are actually a cult of mean meanie-pants thought-lacking feminists who don't understand gender essentialism is real and gender roles must be rigdly defined by those filled by the antiquated matrons of their churches.

And they try the tack that they don't hate feminism, they just want the story to be good. Theytryo. show this by compaining about any feminist aracter ever. They also oscillate between both complaining Tat has made Slick an irrelevant villain, and bending over backwards to prove that actually Tat is still making pro-MRA anti-feminist comics that feminists are just too brainwashed to be able to interpret.

There was a huge surge of MRAs earlier, which has slowed down a bit. So forum goers hav had to do ruthless, thankless weeding. I hope that helps explain the irritation forumgoers are showing about this

I hope you stick around, and I look forward to awesome discussions.
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