Women in the Squishyverse

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Re: Women in the Squishyverse

Postby Dan on Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:51 pm

I was tempted to respond to this whole thread intellectually, but now I just want to break the tension.

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Re: Women in the Squishyverse

Postby trebuchet on Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:28 pm

Nice one Dan. :lol:
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Re: Women in the Squishyverse

Postby Dave on Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:54 am

Dan wrote:I was tempted to respond to this whole thread intellectually, but now I just want to break the tension.

Well now I'm curious as to what you had to say.
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Re: Women in the Squishyverse

Postby Zokrah on Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:04 pm

Well. That's some very interesting dialog that's gone on about this topic. I'd like to respond or rather address some of the accusations and implications directed at me and my post.

I think the most pressing topic that I should address is the following:

Zalee wrote:The way that Treb phrases this IS valid, but frankly, Zokrah’s post should be dismissed. Zokrah’s post does not open communication.

It does? Why? How? Isn't the very closing statement of my opinion posing a question?

Zalee wrote:In fact, it’s a common strategy used by people to get others to shut up.

I did not know this. Where exactly is this stated? Where is it documented that it's a common strategy? I know this is a minor point, but once I read that line, your credibility in my mind went down. It's easy to make broad sweeping remarks that "it's common knowledge" or "everyone does it", but unless you back up your claims, I focused more on where you're getting that information from rather than the meat of your counterpoint.

Zalee wrote:This does absolutely nothing to continue a dialog and simply dismisses everything myself, and others who have agreed with me, have said as being unworthy of even being listened to.

Wow. I don't recall accusing anyone of being unworthy of being listened to in my post. In fact, I think that's a conclusion you drew because of my 'tone'.

Zalee wrote:Had he worded his question the way that Treb did, then yes it would have merit and be worth discussing, but he clearly does not want to discuss it. He simply wants us to shut up and go away, and that will be, and should be, summarily dismissed.

Oh, I see. You didn't like the way I phrased something and took offense. My apologies; I lost my telepathy when I was about 6 years old, and am therefore no longer able to know what terminology works best for my audience.

Another post which helps demonize my opinion and question is:

Madcat wrote:... wow. All I'm going to say is, I'm glad you aren't one of the creators of Squishy.

This post actually left me speechless. I'm completely flabbergasted at how this post is supposed to be accepted where mine is apparently offensive and ignorant. This comment doesn't actually bring any additional information other than a complete shutdown of my post. No reason is offered to the logic behind Madcat's opinion, nor is there any explanation for her condemnation for my post.

I'm quite confused how this post apparently makes me a horrible candidate for being a creative mind behind Squishy, let alone allowed to make remarks on this forums. I think the bigger issue behind that post is, simply put: "Someone disagrees with me. Downvote/combine with implied insult."

I've spent some time trying to deduce a greater meaning or logic behind the post but have since given up. Rather, it's intellectual redeeming value is in line with this post:

blackfirefox wrote:... that was very ... stunning. I'm not sure what to say to that... except, chill. You mad bro?

While a clarification that: "No bro, I'm not mad." isn't warranted, I still feel the need to provide that answer to Zalee, to indicate that I am not attacking you or anyone on these forums.

The only response for types of posts that I could come up with is: Herpa derp derp derp Trololololololololol

But anyways, moving on...

I find the sexual assault argument quite interesting and a good future discussion. Though, I do disagree with your comment:

Zalee wrote:Now to address the sexual assault. Treb asks me if I would consider that Prince Charming raped Snow White. Of course he did not rape her, as there was no sex, but I would say that yes, he did sexually assault her. The fact remains that if you are not able to give consent, then it is sexual assault.

I do see the sides you're addressing, which I agree is a serious issue.

I'd like to pose another question to you, if I may. I know this one really can't be given a clear answer, so look at this as rather a rhetorical question to ponder about the sexual assault concerns in the comic.

Is it sexual assault when I kiss my wife quickly as I walk out the door on my way to work? She neither consented to my kiss, nor was she aware that I'd likely peck her on the cheek. What about a quick hug and kiss when I see her? Often times she's not expecting it. What about if I surprise her from behind with a gift and kiss her? I understand that most likely she'd give consent if asked, but that's not the problem with the Snow White Paradox.

Additionally, what about Romantic Comedy's? Quite often we're faced with the moment when the male character (or female) is faced with declaring their love for the other person. Quite often, it's an impassioned kiss, preempted by a romantic draw in or aggressive grab. Sometimes, it's the male who gets 'ambushed' by the female. Is he sexually assaulted then? If so, should the male stop the kiss, stop the romance, and go to a Police station and report the assault? Should my wife report me each morning?

When you paint the world in monochromatic colors (black and white), you neglect the 'exceptions' or shades of gray that occur in reality. I understand and agree with the fundamental of 'sexual assault is terrible and should be stopped.' But I think when people take it to the extremes, you skip over the finer points of life and the moments that really make it worth living for.

But I digress.

I think the biggest injustice in the majority of critical responses to my post, are those that do not entertain the possibility (however remote in their minds) that I could be a sympathizer for their 'cause'. My wife was sexually assaulted by another Active Duty military member. I hope it's not something anyone has to face or be a spouse of a victim. I was forced to sit on the sidelines knowing that retribution would end my career and get me sent to prison. But that's neither here nor there...

Where was I...

Case in point Zalee, I actually found your critical responses to be rather entertaining. Your claims that Kimmy is written into the series as merely eye candy and the token female assistant are spot on; I agree, that:

Zalee wrote:Kimmy’s main purpose is to flirt with police officers, think stereotypically about how she wants to change a man to suit her purposes, or makeTimmy nervous because omgacutegirlomg.

I'd suggest that the purpose of this character, as are most of the fictional characters, used to tell a story or relay a point of view from the writers and illustrators. Think of it rather like a joke. The joke requires a setup, perhaps a scenario if you will, and the straight man and the punchline. Both are necessary to relay the story and make you laugh, and without that perspective from either side, the joke would not be funny. I believe the authors nailed that requirement to tell a story about their main character in the specific arc.

Regardless of their rights to do as they please with their intellectual property, the bigger issue being avoided or rather awkwardly argued is women's rights and their appearance in society. The focal point being this comic series.

Helen is being addressed as another disappointment for the female readers, finding her less than the heroine they're expecting. And to be honest, I think that's the heart of their complaints. They have a different expectation or hope for Helen; Trying to fit her into a role she's not written for. If you (Zalee) were you write your own comic and draw a male character that I was less than impressed with, would you two not question the validity of my complaint that he's not up to MY standards? Look at Madcat's comic series, Everwas.

It's a nonsensical comic involving demons, elves and angels or something that resembles a bunny. All of which fit the anime stereotype of overly large breasts, less than size 0 bodies, and huge eyes. Except the rabbit... I think. I hardly think any of those characters are what other women might view as 'realistic' or 'flattering representations' of females as a whole. But the finer points of the comic, are the discussions that the characters have. Their looks are really secondary to the overall telling of the story.

If I am mistaken Madcat, and your comic is just a shallow-large breast-a-thon, please feel free to point it out. I'd like to think otherwise, but there's the possibility I am wrong.

I'd say her character of Eurydice (spelling?) is probably the least anime stereotypical of the lot, being rather butch. She's a strong character both in physical aspects but also is determination and character. I'm not saying everyone strong female character has to be butch.

But rather, my argument is attempting to clarify my opinion: In the confinement of a comic series and web community you are free to offer opinions and or criticisms thereof, but I hardly think that each person should expect that their opinions should have a RIGHT to change a comic.

Just as if I disagree with how tall my neighbor's grass is, I hardly have a right to go over and demand he change it to my desired height. If you drive a Silver colored car, should I have the right to force you to change the color to red?
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Re: Women in the Squishyverse

Postby Zalee on Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:13 pm

I'd like to point out that Helen, who was heralded as being this super example of a strong female character, in this latest arc is working simple customer service and (despite supposedly years of experience in high corporate world, including "being on track to make 6 figures") is completely unable to properly handle a customer service job. She is shown being overly emotional (stereotypical way to dismiss women) and needing her (of course) male boss to tell her that her attitude is inappropriate even though it's very obviously inappropriate. Glad to see you guys writing such a strong female character.

I debated posting this for a long time, knowing that the same people who were quick to attack last time are likely to do so again, but whatever. I will see thread responses in my e-mail but sadly (and I say sadly because I have otherwise enjoyed this site/community) I can't continue to support something that portrays women so poorly. Best of luck to you guys in whatever your future endeavors are.

PS - Dave, I hope your thumb heals quickly and fully.
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Re: Women in the Squishyverse

Postby Dave on Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:13 pm

I was viewing Helen's current situation as unfortunate. Times are tough, so the only jobs available to her are those she's overqualified for. She only managed to get her current job because she pointed out that she had an extended stint with one she was overqualified for. She's neurotic, a character trait that she shares with Dan, so dealing with angry people on the phones might not be the best fit (this I can say from experience... lots of experience... phones suck...). Her boss seems like a jack-ass and is the type of person who uses words like "imaginationization". All that just so she and her friend Bianca can pay the rent and eat. Not once did I think, "well, she's a girl, so of COURSE she's emotional". She's in a shitty situation and is making the most of it. She's doing the exact same thing any of the guys would do in her situation.

This current arc is all about Helen, Bianca, and Mike. Bianca's decided to go to school. She's also shown to be fully capable of outwitting others (she uses Mike's own logic to trap him into spending time with his friends). Her one flaw is that she's naive.

Mike's a complete asshole. I get the feeling that if Mike was a girl, he'd (she'd?) be accused of being the stereotypical bitch. This thought wouldn't have occurred to me except that I'm now thinking about the cast, changing genders, and realizing that Dan and Helen are mirrors of each other, and Mike's a total bitch. The cast's core traits still work if swapped, although a kind, handsome but naive male Bee going after a mousy and oblivious female Dave would suddenly be open to accusations of sexual harassment.

All I'm trying to say is that we are not trying to treat women poorly in Squishy. We are treating all the characters in a fashion we believe holds true to their core characters, regardless of what gender they are.

PS - My thumb's feeling much better, thanks.
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Re: Women in the Squishyverse

Postby David Yun on Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:15 am

This thread has clearly degenerated. I think each participating party got so mired in the minutia of defending their position, that they neglected to consider the others' perspectives. It's not at all necessary to capitulate for the sake of civility, but neither is it beneficial to draw an impenetrable line in the sand. This is detrimental for the sharing of ideas, and kills any opportunity for each party to broaden their understanding of viewpoints alien to them.

These posts have been awfully dismissive, as opposed to exhibiting a spirit of engagement. (Let it be said firstly by me, that I have frequently been guilty of this as well.)

I'll begin by stating that, yes, the creators of Squishy Comics have the right to produce any work that they see fit. It's my stated policy that Direman Press will never censor its clients. This is why I have been reluctant to participate in this particular thread by sharing my own opinions.

However, that does not preclude readers from making comments, positive or negative. OF COURSE if that reader does not enjoy the product, they can leave. (Sadly, it appears that Zalee has chosen that option.) This is a given, and pointedly stating it is unnecessary. The sentiment discourages criticism, which comes from readers that are invested enough in our content to share their thoughts with us. Rather, Direman Press seeks to encourage feedback, even if it is negative.

To Zalee, should you ever read this, I would ask you to extend your perspective to understand Squishy Comics' origins. It was created by a bunch of dudes FOR a bunch of dudes. It *is* telling that all the female characters are completely fictional. Not that this is an all encompassing excuse, but should grant some amount of leeway in these matters. As long as it isn't egregious, try to give it a pass.

Also, context is important. For example, the use of the word 'whore' is a strong one, and definitely a misogynistic one. However, when Squishy Mike uses it, the context has been laid that he is an outwardly awful human being, and should be understood in that context.

To Trebuchet, there's a great deal of validity in many of her points. To pick just one (I don't want to get mired in details either), Weinergobbler would qualify, to me, as egregious. Hear me out, please. It's obviously one slim shade removed from 'Cocksucker', which is tantamount to 'Whore'. Dismissing this complaint with the justification that it's directed at a Nazi isn't satisfactory. It's using an INHERENTLY misogynistic insult to label a negative character. Just about every woman I personally know would be at least annoyed by this.

Here's an analogous situation: suppose you had an African-American villain who's as vile as possible. If you named him "Dr. Jigaboo", would that be acceptable?

Another such dismissal that stands out in my mind was your defense that amounted to "Helen totally wanted it". The reason this is not suitable syllogism is because DAVE did not know that Helen wanted it. This is, at the very least, extremely boorish behavior. Like when that Italian dude totally sucked Halle Berry's face during the Oscars. On the other hand, Squishy Dave has been established as quite a boor. I'm not trying to waffle here; I'm trying to present it as the multifaceted issue that it is. The discussion became fully confrontational and dismissive in tone when the argument over what constitutes Sexual Assault started. It's important to be aware that our society at large continues to evolve and grapple with these very issues. It's important to understand that there is a spectrum of how we understand such things. As time passes, the median position shifts in one direction or another, but as reasonable human beings, we should be able to discuss the spectrum in either direction within a certain number of standard deviations.

There does exist a certain amount of such insensitive material over the course of Squishy Comics that, in its totality, many women could receive as overall hostility. It's not even necessary to AGREE that it's hostile. But it is prudent to comprehend what sort of content that women would generally PERCEIVE as hostile. Alienating up to half of the potential audience is not a decision to be made lightly.

I could argue vigorously against numerous specific points posited by each side, and I assume it can now be inferred which side I generally fall toward in my own personal stance. However, the takeaway I want us to internalize is the benefit of understanding other other's perspectives.

(@ Zalee: I'd like you to contact me via email. I'd like a clearer understanding on this matter.)
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Re: Women in the Squishyverse

Postby Yino on Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:00 am

Would the story be different if Helen's boss was a woman. No, the fact that Helen's boss is a man is in no case relevant therefore it's not discriminatory against womankind.

You say you want to read a strong female character. But then I think you and I have different opinions on what a strong female character is. For me a strong female character is a character with a strong definition of the self. It means that it's not defined by her circumstance though she may adapt to it she will not let define her. And by circumstance I also include the fact that she is a woman. Every character in Squishy has way more defining atributes than just male or female. When comparing Bianca and Helen their attitudes are so different that heir characters are reinforced when they are together. A strong character doesn't have to be succesful or do well in life. Heck, Squishy is comedy, and failures are more funny than successes. If your definition of strong character is powerful character in control of the situation, for the context of comedy you should look at the antagonists and the characters to defeat. For example, Bianca's parents. They are both powerful and sucessful in their respective areas, yet they are not protagonists and they are usually used to provide hard moments for the most usual characters.

Just my two cents for the topic.
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