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Open letter to Tatsuya Ishida
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Leohan



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1881

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 7:27 am    Post subject: Open letter to Tatsuya Ishida Reply with quote

It was often a topic of contention to figure it out whether Tat read the forums or not. I think it varies, personally. That at times he does and at times he doesn't. Regardless, though, it has lately for a lot of people become really hard to be a Sinfest fan, so it might be more important than ever to be able to communicate our personal concerns.

I don't promise that for the rest of the thread, but I will try to keep this open letter as respectful and vitrol-free as I can with the given circumstances. If nothing else and if you are reading this, Tat, I hope you consider the contents of this message.


Hi Tatsuya. As you may or may not be aware, your views regarding trans-inclusivity and especially the rights of sex workers have been a topic of contention in this forum. And while it is not the first time in which this has happened, it isn't dudebros or anti-feminists that do the arguing now. It is feminists that support and worry about each other, feeling that our views are misrepresented in your comics.

It is obvious that, for reasons that only belong to you, you feel strongly about this topic. I can't know, perhaps it's a general worry for society, perhaps the motives can be way more personal. However, for better or worse (and I do think that it's for the better, in general) your comic has become a point of reference for feminism, and with that comes a level of social responsibility to respect the ideological perspective, consider the different views and check the sources of statistics.

We are not zombies, we are not Johns or strawmen. We aren't even the enemy. We are the ones that, when your comic was under attack for its politics, defended its positions and kept believing in it, even if we, ourselves, had our criticisms, we kept coming and are still here. We are the ones that want you to succeed the most.

According to the message below my avatar picture, I joined this forum in March 27, 2007. I recently went to take a look at what was going on in the strip around that time. It's quite the time capsule.



A lot has changed since then, hasn't it? However, something that remains is me, reading the comic at 12:30 am, when it uploads in my timezone, almost every single day for over ten years. For that much time Sinfest has helped me in forming my own opinions and I think I'm better off for it, so I ask you, with awareness of the fact that you don't owe me that, to please consider what I am telling you: Your views might be dangerous to sex workers, who want to work legally without depending on the presence of abusive pimps and without the risk of being imprisoned for exercising their bodily autonomy. You don't have to change your mind if you choose not to... But please consider it.

I won't stop reading your comic, and I won't stop posting here if you don't, for however much that matters, but it would mean a something to me, personally, and perhaps much more to sex workers wanting to practice their profession without harassment if this argument weren't treated as something ridiculous or selfish.

I have faith in you, because I have been there the last time you changed the messages you wanted to put forth.




Still your fan,
Leohan
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Leohan



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1881

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone who wants to can feel free to add their own opinions. I know Draculaura probably has something to say about cast diversity, that just wasn't the focus of my post. But it would be cool if there weren't any vitrol in this one. We have other threads for that already.
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netsplit



Joined: 13 Jan 2008
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't comment too much, but I have read this comic since I discovered it in 2007, and have read it every day after binge reading all the existing strips.

You put a lot of creativity and pride in Sinfest. That's been apparent from the start. You make a love by many strip that's been going online for almost 20 years now, so I don't really feel comfortable telling you how should make the strip. One of thing I can tell you is there's no religious zeal like the freshly converted. However trying to change someone's mind involves moderation. That's the hard part, because you see a truth and folks suffering an injustice, and it's so frustrating people don't see it, or try to fight it, but if you come at that folks super hard, they put up defenses and don't hear your words.

A hero of mine advocates persuasion by gentle reason. This is a personal failing of my own, because on the things I am most passionate about, I can sometimes be anything but gentle way more than I'd like. And it can be particularly frustrating when you know real marginalized folks are suffering because others hold odious views and act on them, because they cling to ignorant and destructive beliefs. You just have this instinct to fight those beliefs and anything associated with them out of frustration for the destruction they do. Such is the paradox that great kindness can sometimes fuel vicious attacks.


Anyway I've read in interviews your intent with the previous era of Sinfest was coffee and revenge, and the currant phase of Sinfest is to personal exploration. Growth and seeking to better yourself is important, but also it's important in seeking and sharing truth to not lose the open mind that set you on the path of personal growth in the first place. Otherwise your views can get extreme enough to become a parody of yourself, as I've learned from personal experience in my own life.
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KALXAK



Joined: 25 Nov 2017
Posts: 181
Location: Rogue

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sinfest is good the way it is, and people are just upset radical feminism - and actual feminism - doesn't abide to their delusions. Keep it up being you and talking about what matters.

Sincerely,

A Sinfest fan since 2007.
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Draculaura



Joined: 19 Sep 2015
Posts: 1999
Location: at your mom's house

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

don't u mean

a tatsuya ishida sockpuppet

since 2007
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Leohan



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1881

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Draculaura wrote:
don't u mean

a tatsuya ishida sockpuppet

since 2007

Please not in this thread, Draculaura.
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Draculaura



Joined: 19 Sep 2015
Posts: 1999
Location: at your mom's house

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aight

im not the kind of dweeb who thinks all who aren't in my ideology are false flags. kalxak is a real poster.

but, kalxak, if you're going to convince us you know your shit and are more than a drive by troll

consider grappling with our points

or, be considered someone whose opinions are as valid as a sock.
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Vixine



Joined: 12 Jan 2016
Posts: 368

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't remember where the comic was at when I started reading it. I'm pretty sure when I first read it I started out all the way at the beginning and binged. I enjoyed the irreverent calvin and hobbes days. I enjoyed the relationship slick and monique were gradually developing. Criminee and Fuscia are still adorbs. And then the sudden tone shift happened, slick became the guy who just literally cannot catch a break because the comic's universe conspires to never let his personal growth stick ever (wow, how meta) and I was annoyed. I was still in the "ugh, SJWs" phase.

But I kept reading because I never drop a webcomic until it stops updating or ends. I rode the Dominic Deegan train all the way to the end of that wreck. Gradually, both from these forums, general internet exposure to the opinions of less shitty people and old fashioned self-reflection, I came around to realizing "wait, fuck, I'm being a total asshole" and embraced feminism.

Then the comic just kind of stalled on it's progressiveness and now has been getting SWERFier and SWERFier. I'm still pretty programmed into the patriarchy so I miss things that I'm glad people here point out to me like "wow, yeah, I don't think Tat has ever drawn any of his female characters in an unconventionally attractive way besides the ones he draws like children" and while there is that old, shitty side of me that does admittedly take some schadenfreude in "wow good job, Tat, you're managing to piss off both sides now", I wish he wouldn't.
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Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 11363

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had the distinct pleasure to discuss Sinfest with actual sex workers, some of whom work in sex worker advocacy and rescue. There was one unanimous general declaration between them: not to say they're disappointed, not that they're surprised in any sense (paternalistic white knighting is nothing new to their lives), but that the one remarkable part about it is how bad the comic's ideological presentation is.

Sinfest's message devolves into deep moralistic paternalism that actively makes them less safe, and whose message they DO NOT appreciate. But in this case, their solution is easy: given the quality of the message, laugh at it and move on with their lives. They don't regard it as that much of a threat, because Sinfest will not strengthen the message of SWERFs and, if anything, degrades the best possible public interpretation of what arguments the anti-sex-work feminists can put forth (or, from our perspective, provide the utility of enhancing the visibility of anti-sex-work feminism's didactic flaws.)

For any of us sticking around, the problem seems to be more or less how the quality of the comic as an artistic product is rapidly in flux, dependent upon how severely it forays over to overtly moralistic political messaging (of a BAD cause) on a week-to-week basis. It's not like we're dealing with a Prickly City or a Mallard Fillmore, as Sinfest isn't some comic which is nothing but contrived, pretentious moralizing. We're dealing with a comic that has a lot of great care go into it and which can be continuously high quality and entertaining, except that it keeps falling down a moralizing author tract (thanks, Draculara!) hole that increasingly deeply concerns all feminists except for a small group of really really actually super problematic ones who have been increasingly pushed out of feminist legitimacy.

For any artist or author, things will carry on one way or another. Nothing is set in stone yet, but artists gettin' older and weirder and then falling into their own political anus is just a perennial habit of all mediums (see: Dave Sim) The internet is full of the burnt-out wrecks of people whose work waned precipitously in a terminal trend of bizarre, fixative politicization
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Taemon



Joined: 08 Aug 2013
Posts: 2184
Location: Europe

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm really hurt by being called "infected by a malignant strain of male entitlement". I'm not ashamed of saying that. I love this comic. But for the life of me, I can't understand Tatsuya's position on sex workers. They're people, Tat. They deserve better from you.
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Samsally



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 7584

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just.. so tired.

The community that built itself around this comic had been really important to me. I've met so many valuable, insightful assholes and they really helped shape me, I'd like to think for the better.

It's heartbreaking to have watched so many of them get fed up and walk away. I'm sure not all of it had to do with the comic, the community itself got pretty vitriolic before it just got quiet.

I dunno. I'm just tired. I defended the shit out of this comic when all the shitty misogynistic noodles flooded in to spew garbage and now? I honestly can't really defend it anymore.

It makes me feel like maybe, after a decade and a half, i don't really belong here.

This isn't a flounce, I doubt I'm going anywhere. It's just a shitty feeling i can't really shake.
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Drooling Fan Grrl



Joined: 02 Feb 2015
Posts: 561

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll just straight up say what I said in the other thread.

God dammit Tat.

On Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:28 am, I made a statement. I would like to correct something about it. I now agree that Tat has oozed into SWERF territory. How disappointing.

"I don't feel that Tat or the comic is SWERF oriented.

I think the portrayal of sex workers in the comic lacks nuance and the information that went into the creation of the characters seems to be based mostly on Pop Culture references.

I think the antagonism is directed mostly towards the fact that these women are sex workers because they don't seem to have any other choice. It's towards the coercive nature of their lives.

I love this comic, but there is just so much to it that the world building has loose threads EVERYWHERE.

We don't know how these women got where they are. I think they were just scenery that has been brought forward in the story, but I don't get a feeling that these characters have a past.

I kind of want to sit Tat down and have him watch Meet the Fokkens"

http://sinfest.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=527470&highlight=#527470

Meet the Fokkens is documentary about two sisters who both worked as sex workers in Amsterdam, they're both senior citizens, one has retired, the other has not.
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Taroschain



Joined: 16 Apr 2018
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Tat!
Long-time reader and first-time poster here. I was introduced to the series around 2009 via a comic at the beginning of Fuchsia and Criminy’s relationship . The character development of the entire cast kept me hooked from then on, and I have really enjoyed watching how the story has progressed.
The original introduction of the Sisterhood and the focus on feminism was interesting, and I was excited to see how it would affect all of the characters. It was a little disappointing to see how the storyline actually played out. It’s not that I have a problem with the inclusion of a feminist group - the acknowledgement of women’s issues was actually really refreshing! What kept me from really invested in the Sisterhood was a) their lack of any real character development and b) their one-dimensional representation of feminism. Their methods are mainly conducted on a large scale, and are radical to the point of being exclusive at best (creating a women-only coffee stand and park) and terrorism at worst (inciting a robot rebellion in a factory full of innocent workers.) Their effect on Monique is also a bit alarming. If a single person convinced her to change her beliefs, question her ability to make her own decisions or judge the actions of others, replace her old friends with their own, and alter how she looks and dresses, they would be accused of brainwashing or emotional abuse. When the Sisterhood does it, it’s “enlightening.”
In my experience, this type of radical behavior only represents a small yet heavily-publicized part of the feminist movement. A personal example of the opposite would be my aunt. She worked to advance and advise nonprofit organizations in numerous countries, many of them having to do with women’s right - including Caracas, Venezuela, which is consistently rated among the most dangerous cities in the world. I doubt you would call that radical, but it represents the efforts of one person doing what they can on a small scale. That is a power anyone can have.
My problem with the Sisterhood’s MO can be boiled down to this: for every Xanthe in this world, there are hundreds of women running shelters and trying to enact change in legislation who just aren’t exciting enough for news coverage.
On a separate yet slightly related note, wtf happened to Slick trying to confront his (literal) inner demon and improve himself?!? Other characters - including his former good friend Monique - assume that he’s still the sexist jerk he was before without ever giving him a chance to explain himself when he makes a mistake. He’s basically being set up for failure and then written of as “part of the problem” when he doesn’t succeed. Even Squig has Clio as a dubiously-willing source of support when he’s exploring his porn-based view of women. Again, it’s a little hard for me to get engaged with a subplot that has been done and redone to the point of boredom.
With the griping out of the way, there are a few things that I have really enjoyed in recent comics. I love the exploration of Lilith’s past and relationship with the Devil, as well as Vainglorious and his love/overthrow-ambitions relationship towards the Devil! (I actually kinda want to see him with a pet as an homage/middle finger to the Devil. Maybe he comes across a large, gnarly, one-eyed stray cat who insists on following him and he’s annoyed until the Devil passes by with his demon dog and the cat just stares it down and then licks its own crotch and VG’s like “wow, that s cat is an OG” and takes it home and cleans it up and you end up with a fluffy, battle-hardened cat with a bedazzled eye socket, rhinestone collar and a really fabulous name.) The introduction of the Witches Inn and its role as a neutral safe haven for fembots and women was an interesting development, and I hope to see it play a larger role in future comics.
There are some concerns and kudos that I was not able to address here, but some have been discussed by the posters before me. I really hope that you can read this thread and take in the genuine messages that the readers are trying to convey to you. Thank you.

(It would also be kinda awesome if a demon character bomfed a squirrel out of anger and then the demonic squirrel attacked them. Just saying.)
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0z79



Joined: 06 May 2013
Posts: 584

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KALXAK wrote:
Sinfest is good the way it is, and people are just upset radical feminism - and actual feminism - doesn't abide to their delusions. Keep it up being you and talking about what matters.

Sincerely,

A Sinfest fan since 2007.


I don't have much opinion on your views about sex workers, it's your anti-trans stuff that gets under the skin. Or at least, what can be perceived as anti-trans. I don't want to end up standing at a urinal post-op, is all I'm sayin'.
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Sam the Eagle



Joined: 01 Oct 2006
Posts: 2685
Location: 192.168.0.1

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leohan wrote:
Anyone who wants to can feel free to add their own opinions. I know Draculaura probably has something to say about cast diversity, that just wasn't the focus of my post. But it would be cool if there weren't any vitrol in this one. We have other threads for that already.


Two things.

I understand DracuLaura point on cast diversity, it's part of my pet peeve about Sinfest, parochialism. The last Sinfest take moved from feminism to more and more detailed communities which had me to look out for acronyms like swerf or terf and others. On the other hand we have johns, item. To someone who isn't a usian, the dichotomy is facsinating. To namebrand a community is, imho, to separate it from other communities as if bigger common issues can't be solved without this step being solved fist. As if women problem were a US problem only. Do I need to issue a wakeup call and make you read the international news ?, don't think so.

It looks like Sinfest is doing it's damned best to isolate itself from whatever happens outside Sinfest little town. But still want whatever solutions to apply universaly beause hey, feminism is a wolrdwide issue.

The second point I wish to make is that The current Tat incarnation focuses only on one and one only storyline which currently points out to confrontation as the only way out. Again, this fascination with violence, from both sides. In the old days we had Bud and the Dragon to point out other ways. I do miss them.
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