I want to respond to a really long comment & I always worry that the responses get lost in the archive. Here it is, with bits I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to add to edited out, with my annotations:
DANG IT! I’ve RUN OUT OF ARCHIVE! :(
I have to give you major props for the way you depict women in your comic. It’s really wonderful to see “larger” women as main characters who, moreover, are pursued and considered attractive by other characters. This is rather personal to me because I am kind of a “larger” woman myself. (My body type is actually quite similar to Carol’s except that I’m taller than she is.) I used to be very skinny when I was younger but age, a sedentary career, and this one medication I was on a while ago that made me want to eat ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME caught up with me. My long-term partner tells me I look great and I still get compliments from other people. However, to some extent I’ve sadly internalized the U.S. “beauty myth” that asserts that dangerously thin = beautiful and sexy and not skinny = ugly and disgusting. So I really appreciate the representation of different female body types in your comic.
This is something that makes me wonder how much outrage comes down to personal preference, because these things listed as positives are often served up to me as negatives by people who don’t like my work. I make little attempt to hide my personal preferences when it comes to women and the range is pretty vast. I get bored drawing the same kinds of bodies all the time as well, so very little of the positive representation is altruistic at least as far as art goes. I just want to draw what I want to and tell my story my way. I like backstory and personality. Writing blank sex toys, even when I’m writing porn, is not easy because I’m attracted to women as intelligent beings with agency. Like, if porn crops out the woman’s head it ruins it because reducing a woman to just parts doesn’t work for me. Anyway, if nothing else anything I do that reads as positively portraying women isn’t virtue signaling. It’s what I like. I don’t know if that gains or loses me points and, at this point in my life, I find it very difficult to care either way.
In one of my comments a few years ago (I ran across it in my archive binge) I complimented you for being such a positive male role model in the Teen’s life. I’d like to repeat that now. While I am not and never will be a parent, I *do* teach students, some of whom are teenagers (freshmen). I can say with some assurance that sometimes it takes quite a while for one’s help and guidance to sink in, and you never know exactly how that’s going to happen. Doing the archive binge really highlighted the change in the Teen’s posts from soon after her father died until when she was in college. Not only did her grammar improve significantly (yes, I’m sorry but I always notice that whether or not I want to – English professor in the house!) but also her maturity level seemingly increased. I have no doubt that is mostly due to you and how much you guided her. It’s easy for me and maybe other women to get jaded about men in these post-Weinstein days. (Trust me, neither I nor most women I know were at all surprised about the revelations regarding how many powerful men have harrassed and/or assaulted women. We all live with this. I don’t want to have a #metoo moment all over your comments section, but I have been sexually harrassed and assaulted. And what I’ve suffered is *mild* compared to what a lot of women I know have suffered.) It’s just cool to have confirmation that sleazeballs like Weinstein are the exception, not the rule, and that there are great guys like yourself out there. :)
I don’t often feel like I did enough to help her, but I did as much as my health allowed, which reduced over time as it deteriorated. A lot of what really my whole family did came down to being ourselves and her adapting to us. My parents expected a lot from my sister and I and as a result we don’t speak, or act, like, for lack of a better term, average people. We also tend to gravitate to above average people, so my perspective on how people interact is skewed toward a slightly better version of reality. The Teen got a lot of that via osmosis.
Please take care of yourself and I hope the new year is kind to you. I really enjoy your comic and will be reading regularly again. After my archive binge I started thinking about why I enjoyed reading your comic so much. I realized it was because it’s not mean-spirited in any way. Take it from someone who makes their living reading things and thinking about those things: too often “mean-spiritedness” (yes I know that is not really a word) gets taken as depth, or “cutting-edge,” or incisive and insightful. I say *expletive deleted* that. There is enough meanness out there right now, especially so since Trump seems to have “turned over the rock” and revealed all the vermin of xenophoia and hatred of people in the U.S. We need more kindness and more empathy and I honestly think your comic (and blog posts, of course!) is helping to provide that.
As someone who always seems stuck apart from people there’s kind of a longing voyeurism to my comic. It’s a little window into my memories, but also kind of a depiction of what I want. Just general happiness and people being mostly reasonable. It really pisses some people off how little happens, but it’s kind of a more real depiction of the pointless ramble of life. There aren’t always big story points. Sometimes you just spend a decade working in a shop and nothing really happens so you manufacture drama to fill the void. Just enjoy what you can as long as you can and try not to do much harm to others. If you can do something good do that too.
As a final note – do you mind if I reference your comic in my teaching and/or professional work? One of my areas of specialty is feminist/gender theory and I’d like to use your comic as an example of positive representations of women. :)
If you think my work can help you in the classroom you have my blessing.
Alright back to just me talking. I find it amusing that this post is under Carol singing in the shower. I framed it so there’s nothing to see, but posted the full sketches to patreon because you have to draw more than you need to get a pose and it seemed like such a waste. Nudity in the main comic is out since there’s no age filter. Even though there’s swearing since Americans hate nudity so much I can get away with cursing but not random boobs.