[2014-04-07] I yam what I yam

Blame Quintushalls for this.

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Re: [2014-04-07] I yam what I yam

Post by jake »

So cis people choose their gender but transfolk don't? I'm not sure I follow this logic here.

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Re: [2014-04-07] I yam what I yam


I think Ed was saying that you can choose to follow conventions or not, but it's much harder to change your body's gender through surgery etc. and be okay with it.
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Re: [2014-04-07] I yam what I yam

Post by jake »

That doesn't really describe a lot of trans* experience, though. That just describes a narrative that was sold in the 90s, that transpeople were just one gender trapped in the body of the opposite gender, with female brains in male bodies or other stuff with questionable scientific backing.

Or in a more complex way (this is more of implications of what you're suggesting than what I assume is anything near your intent, which I don't know either but you don't seem like a jerk) what you're saying is that real transpeople are post-op and op aspiring individuals. All other people with all other gender presentations (non-binarists, agender, third gender, bigender, genderfluid, etc) are not part of this conversation, nor do they suffer any form of dysphoria as per this concept of it.

I'll reiterate, the pressure to conform to masculine and feminine gender roles are a significant and omnipresent feature of every single person in a gendered world's lives. It colors tons and tons of our individual and cultural behavior and is not something limited to a handful of people within a handful of people. Challenging these roles in any significant capacity often leads to social ostracization and alienation regardless of how uncomfortable an individual might feel in their bodies. What is this if not dysphoria? What is Pop-eye feeling, if not dysphoria? He's upset because he's failing to present perfectly as a man, instead demonstrating feminine features. I hugely doubt that he, or the character in this comic, would describe themselves as trans* though. He did just say he was a man. Is he lying? Do we know he's trans* better than he does? Is he no longer suffering dysphoria because he's not trans?

Anyway just some thoughts. This sort of conversation is always more complicated than the typical "well I'm from reddit/I'm from tumblr/we're going to call each other names now/this is praxis!" dance makes it seem.

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Re: [2014-04-07] I yam what I yam

Post by Edminster »

Ah, I see where I interpreted your post incorrectly! I was focussing far too hard on the cis bit and using an extreme of trans* experience (which is the one I am most familiar with) mostly because I figured you were one of those uhh... hrm I don't have a word for it but a similar concept is like a super fucking wealthy person complaining about how tax time sucks for them too because of how many accountants they have to pay to get all their money through loopholes.

I gladly cede the argument as I have been fighting entirely the wrong fight!
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Re: [2014-04-07] I yam what I yam

Post by SB »

See the thing is... it's not about trans or cis people at all; the gender dysphoria, should you insist on reading that deeply into the situation presented, is purely a vehicle for the actual content of the comic. It's about contrasts. Popeye is a character most people are familiar with, with one of his most defining characteristics being his nearly archetypical manliness... The evident contrast between the cartoon (where spinach allows Popeye to win what he wants) and the comic (where spinach causes him to lose what he wants) forms the basis of the humor here. It's about telling a sad story, but having it be about a wacky light-hearted character, that one wouldn't expect... maybe Bugs Bunny chokes to death on his signature carrot, Wiley Coyote could kill the roadrunner and feel purposeless, or Pepe Le Pew gets given a restraining order. That's black comedy all the way, though whether or not you personally find that sort of thing amusing is, perhaps, a worthy discussion in its own right (though one that hasn't seen much light in this thread).

Should one truly feel the need to empathize with a goofy character in a one-shot comic, it doesn't seem farfetched to say that both trans and cis people would be able to feel Popeye's distress--a cis person might need to imagine their emotional state were they to begin changing like that, while a trans person might have a more immediate connection, but it's not as though it's a totally alien emotion for anybody. What makes the whole discussion of trans and cis ridiculous in this context is that the depth of the humor relies on the ability of the reader to empathize with Popeye to a certain extent... the more you feel his pain, the funnier it is that it's a silly children's cartoon which is making you feel that way.

It's really pretty clear that the comic displays no hint of judgement towards anyone, carries no criticism, and delivers no offense. It's not saying a man growing breasts is bad or wrong, it's merely saying that Popeye in particular doesn't like it... life has it that different people feel differently about situations, and merely establishing that a character feels a certain way does not implicitly carry offense. Should one choose to take issue with the comic, simply on the basis that the subject matter is even being broached, yes, that is being overly sensitive. It also seems as though it's trending towards overly sensitive behavior to try and put one's self in Popeye's shoes to the point where it becomes upsetting or distracting from the humor. It's just a comic, sheesh, simply because it touches tangentially on issues that you feel connected to doesn't mean you have to try and deeply connect with it. Just because a character's well known traits contrast with your own personality doesn't mean you need to get upset. Frankly, I think the most offensive part of the whole comic is the preemptive apology assuming that people would take it the wrong way... worse still, it's embarrassingly cliche that so many people then fulfilled those expectations.

In other words, your experience is not relevant here. It's not about you, it's not about what you've been through or how you feel. It's about making a funny joke, thas it and thas all. And I'm sure it's much, much funnier now that it's been excessively explained...


Re: [2014-04-07] I yam what I yam

Post by Lupk »

I thought the joke was simply a subversion of the focus of the relationship's triangle (from Popeye and Olive) to Popeye and Bluto, as the comic apparently implies that Olive is just an excuse for the guys to get busy (notice Bluto loses interest in the girl when he doesn't get a reaction from Popeye). Also that whole "don't you dare look away, you drove me to this" is just an old movie drama trope.
The punchline in this case didn't appear to me as matching to the body of the comic.


Re: [2014-04-07] I yam what I yam

Post by niellwyn »

The subversion of relationships and gender-steeped unintended consequences is precisely why I thought the comic was funny. As Lupk mentioned, the comic seems to shed light on the fact that Olive Oil merely serves as a foil for the relationship between Bluto and Popeye. Seen through a modern lens, that relationship serves as a constant test and validation for those character's male gender, a kind of playacting. But Bluto exemplified his chosen gender role by nature, whereas Popeye had to seek a prosthetic means for exemplifying his chosen gender role, i.e., spinach. I found humor in the irony that the very gender insecurity felt by Bluto and Popeye, which necessitated their constant role playing, directly jeopardized Popeye's gender expression.

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