|This author responded to a review on the site and his/her reply can be found in the "Reactions" section... maybe. We're not sure it's really her.|
|Original review author:||SmashLampjaw|
|Date of review:||January 13, 2015|
|Webcomic name:||Assigned Male|
|Start Date:||September 13, 2014.|
|End Date:||On-going and frequently updated, unfortunately.|
|Genre:||Social Justice propaganda presented as slice of life.|
|Defining Flaw:||One-sided psychotic arguments presented as normal dialog, most of which comes from children.|
Terrible, but not the worst.
Effectively non-existent. Most of the comics that aren't single-panel proselytizing are just set-ups for an eleven-year-old to give someone a speech. That someone is really you, you fucking cis male Eichmann.
|Characters:||[no stars given]
"Wise beyond their years" children, straw men, and sounding boards.
This comic was so bad, one of our members suspected it was a transgender version of a poe. If it wasn't for the fact Sophie is marketing print versions of her work to children and had a negative review taken off YouTube as "hate speech", I don't think I could have made a compelling argument the comic was legit.
Every aspect of this comic is terrible. It's terrible to read, terrible to look at, and terrible for the transgender community.
Long ago, one of our members asked us to try and find Factual Wriley's secret SJW poe comic based on quotes from Mein Kampf. I've made several attempts to find it on Tumblr and failed. This time I got distracted from my inevitable failure by a repost of a video about a pulled YouTube review. The reviewer had made a critical review of what he described as an "evil, intolerant feminist web comic" which was "condescending, insulting, horribly-written tripe".
Naturally, I had to see if it was that bad. It was.
This comic always sucked.
I'm adding a foreword so it's clear why this comic wound up on our list. I know transgenderism is the current hot topic that "good people" are using to publicly prove their "goodness" with, by acting as if any slight is the same as the final step before transgenocide. There are a lot of people who might willfully choose to see a transgender comic getting a bad review through a filter of "this reviewer must be a bigot" because they want some "evil" to make sure everyone sees them "vanquishing". If you are such a person, before you begin shitting all over the internet about what this review you haven't even read is "really about", let me say this:
If it wasn't for the fact that the author is selling her work as books for children and had a negative reviewed pulled off YouTube, I would assume this comic was maliciously designed to make the transgender community look like a bunch of brainless psychotics.
That is how badly Sophie presents her points of view. Through her various mouthpieces and straw men, she makes the transgender community look irrational by association. The result of introducing any sane person to transgenderism by being given this comic as "informative" or "representative" would be terrible. They would come out the other side thinking anyone who cross-dresses is an oversensitive lunatic who failed biology, because that's what she's depicting. Whether you are transgender, transsexual, or merely someone arguing their side, the best thing you can do for everyone is to distance yourself from the foaming-at-the-mouth madness this comic contains.
If you don't believe me, read on.
Story and Plotless common meaning of "not credible; hard to believe; unbelievable", even though that had to be an accident.
The story begins with Stephie being taken to the emergency room with a fever and throat infection. Stephie becomes irrationally angry at the duty nurse for attempting to confirm she had the right medical card, then angry at her mother for clearing up the confusion of why "Stephen" appears as the name on Stephie's card. She then storms out and her mother follows. This can't be passed off as emotional immaturity because Stephie regularly spews college-level leftist propaganda from the first comic and is complimented on how wise beyond her years she is in the next.
So in the first comic, Stephie chooses identity over health and her mother goes along with it because Stephie's an upset eleven-year-old. With that in mind, what in the hell is the message here? That parents should listen to their children because kids have better perspective than adults and only get upset over important things? That trans people live in a fantasy world and that anything that breaks the illusion for them (even momentarily) is more hurtful than potentially giving a child medication that she's allergic to? Emotions aren't more important than still being alive after taking your prescription. If you believe otherwise, I'll indulge in that fucking stupidity for a moment and give you a counterargument you'll understand: hospital staff have feelings too, and they tend to get really sad when they cause a child's death by asphyxiation. Like, really, really sad.
The comic continues in the same vein, with our twenty-something eleven-year-old having conversations where nobody talks like real people. Stephie gets a black friend named Lea (to pad out the diversity quota). Lea alternates between serving as a sounding board for Stephie's speeches or as a wing man for delivering "truths" to the reader. We're also introduced to Stephie's straw man father who is depicted as a knuckle-dragger with generic "manly" imagery so you know you're allowed to hate him because everyone knows masculinity is evil and foolish. If the author were from the USA, he'd be wearing at least one American flag at all times and talk about the importance of voting Republican. He is presented as unsympathetic because - if your child suddenly decides he's another gender - it's totally normal and not any kind of struggle for anyone else to adjust to. Compassion and understanding should be totally unlimited for everyone... unless you don't immediately agree with the author, which can only be coming from a place of hatred or selfishness or evil masculinity. (You fucker!)Sandro shows up. Sandro is a boy who Stephie introduces to cross-dressing, but who still identifies as a boy. This is so the author
The comic continues with Stephie always being right, especially when arguing with adults, in spite of making arguments that only work in a vacuum, are entirely subjective, consist of uncited "facts" and "statistics" invented on the spot, or which are completely absurd. Naturally, everyone who argues with her either was ignorant-but-sees-the-light or is a horrible person, like the homosexual speaker who turned out to be "homophobic". Some of her "adventures" include discussing "privilege," discussing gender-inclusive bathrooms, trading coats with Lea, other people discussing lesbianism, discussing feminism, discussing transgenderism, discussing reading books, discussing--
Say, have you seen a pattern yet?
Stephie is currently being paired up for a relationship with Myrick, who (I think) is a girl who identifies as a boy. If not for that I would have expected to see Stephie paired with Sandro in a relationship that would be incredibly tediously described, over and over again, in those "adventures" I went over.
The art is very basic. Backgrounds are simple or just solid colors. Most of the human figures are proportional, but the faces are sometimes drawn lopsided or unrealistically in a way that makes them seem ugly. Most of the characters suffer from chronic same-face and can only be told apart by skin color and hair. The only significant difference is between the faces of children and adults, which itself is only limited to forehead size and cheek width. When Stephie's mother made an incomprehensible comment about being a lesbian I had to guess it was her retroactively because she had different hair color in that scene.
It's clear that art isn't the first, second, or even third thought Sophie has when making the comic. It is lazy, low in detail, and has the same basic faces recycled endlessly. Throwaway characters are easier to tell apart from the regular cast because their eyes often are just dots.
The question here is not "Are there any arguments to be made for tolerating or accepting transgenderism?" The question is, "Would you really want transgenderism associated with arguments like these?" Because there is no way to review this comic without bringing up some of the insane statements and implications being put forward as representative of the trans community.
Let's go through some of the thought policing bullshit we're expected to believe 11-year-olds say (and throw in some commentary from reality here and there):
- "Everybody keep [sic] saying that I was born in the wrong body. My body is not wrong! What is wrong is what people say about it. It's assumptions they make when they learn that I have a penis! Everyone seems so preoccupied with my genitals - the government in the first place - that they forget what I am going through as a human being." -- Stephie, who is 11
- "So you want to compensate for your insecurity regarding your masculinity and parenting by denying my identity?" -- Stephie, who is 11
- "I wasn't "born a boy," just as much as I didn't "become a girl." It's just that nobody asked me first." -- Stephie, who is 11
- "Nobody asked you because newborns can't talk and biology isn't subjective... but mostly because NEWBORNS CAN'T TALK." -- Science
- "That would be ridiculous. It would mean that he thinks femininity is a lack of masculinity rather than a legitimate identity." -- Lea, who is probably 11
- "What? People believed you were a boy? I always thought you were a girl." -- Some unimportant child side character
- "Come on! Sandro clearly does not follow the hegemonic masculinity model and he wouldn't impose his domination on us. For all we know, we're experiencing a similar oppression due to sexism." -- Stephie, who is totes 11 years old for serious
- "It's not our fault. We swear! Hetero- and cisnormativity made us do it!" -- One of two 11(?) year old children who still says the word "faggot" outside of FPS games.
- "'Cisnormativity' is not a real word and neither is 'heteronomativity.'" -- English
- "I know! It sounds like common sense... you don't even need to be a boy or girl, if you don't feel like it!" -- Stephie, who I assure you sounds 11
- "There's no need to acknowledge male parts make you male. You can't form an identity for yourself unless you convince yourself inconvenient facts are lies founded upon ignorance and hate. What harm could be worse than letting biology interfere with fantasy?" -- Prostate Cancer
- "YOU DON'T KNOW ME! DON'T PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH!" -- Common Sense
- "Let's pretend I didn't hear you [say that transsexuals are rare]. Would you personally include trans men in your conception of masculine homosexuality?" -- Stephie who is absolutely sounding like an 11 year old.
- "Milena, you know that you're privileged for not having to tell which are your preferred pronouns?" -- Stephie who is 11 and almost never has to tell people her preferred pronouns because she makes herself look like a girl
- "I feel great, but being pregnant is a very particular situation for a man. People use my pregnancy to invalidate either my gender identity or my sexual orientation." -- A heterosexual woman who identifies as a man, convoluting the description of their relationship with a man
- "Nothing about you being pregnant is even slightly particular." -- Biology
- "Your relationship would be considered heterosexual and sinless by pretty much all of us (except maybe the Westboro Baptist Church)." -- Christianity
- "... and you could get legally married." -- Every government on Earth
- "My mother actually said that after all, we're "kind of" a heterosexual couple, since we can reproduce. I got really angry." -- A heterosexual man in a relationship with a woman (who identifies as a man) trying to convolute the relationship
- "You do realize your claims gender is a choice entirely contradict our claims homosexuality isn't a choice, right? Because we've been arguing that it's genetic for decades so that it can't be immoral because it's natural. Good luck shaming us into adopting your side." -- Liberalism
- "My brain is busy undoing beliefs that were forced into it about the relationship between heterosexuality and reproduction. Is that an effect of heterosexism, mom?" -- Stephie, who is 11
- "No, it's an effect of learning how reproduction works the vast majority of the time with plants or animals through observation." -- Causality
- "I was born with a penis, if that's what you want to know. A penis is neither male nor female." -- Stephie who is 11
- "No, it's male. Our terminology is objective because we view things like preventing cancer as more important than obscuring language to reinforce your sense of identity." -- Medicine
- "The only diagnosis I'll recognize is Gender Euphoria" -- Stephie who is 11 (or possibly the Author)
- "No, seriously, I don't want you to die because you think you have to redefine facts to feel comfortable in being who you are. That's an exceptionally stupid thing to put ahead of your health." -- Medicine
- "I hate when people tell me how it's great I don't 'look' intersex or trans. I don't feel less oppressed when they say that, just as I still face racism even if I'm white-passing. Seriously, huh?" -- Myrick, another 11(?) year old
- "You know I exist against white people too, right?" -- Racism
- "Even if LGBTI people can work together towards the same goals, using the 'LGBT' or 'LGBTI' acronym when you actually mean 'Gay' or 'Lesbian' is invisibilizing for Bi, Trans, and intersex people. So be careful when you use the 'LGBTI' acronym! <3" -- the Author
- "'Invisibilizing' isn't a word and neither initialism is an acronym." -- English
- "What." -- Sanity
- "You don't understand. You're living the dream. You won't go through the trauma of puberty. Your voice won't break. You won't grow a beard." -- Some nameless woman speaking to Stephie (to the best of my knowledge, no indication was given in the comic Stephie is undergoing any treatments to prevent puberty)
- "This is a baby doll and if you can give me one good reason for discouraging boys to play with one, please let me know." -- the Author
- "You know we tried raising boys like girls back in the 90's, right? The boys used dolls as weapons. Don't give a boy that baby doll unless you're okay with the possibility of seeing it used as a club." -- Feminism
- "Being cisgender isn't an insult." -- the Author
- "Neither is using 'normal' to describe something as normal." -- English
- "Could we please stop advertising tampons and pads as 'feminine' hygine products? I know a bunch of trans-masculine and non-binary folks who'd be very thankful if we did so. And that's pretty cissexist too." -- the Author (in a comic she appears to have unlinked)
- "We advertise products to sell them, so no." -- Advertising
- "'Cissexist' isn't a word, neither is 'trans-masculine'... you know what? Are you sure we've met? Because I keep feeling like I should introduce myself." -- English
- "Saying that there are male brains and female brains is neurosexist." -- Stephie who is 11
- "You are mistaken. Also, English isn't speaking to you anymore, but wanted you to know 'neurosexist' isn't a word." -- Neuroscience
- "I notice you didn't actually provide any of the studies you referred to and claimed to have personally read." -- Observation
- "Calling everything you disagree with bad names to dismiss it unconsidered is terrific! Keep up the good work!" -- Propaganda
- "Recognizing your cisness and the privileges associated with it is the first step towards trans acceptance." -- the Author
- "Nobody is entitled to demand acceptance, only tolerance. People living together in spite of having conflicting beliefs - tolerance - is the basis of civilization. Your beliefs aren't better than someone else's because they're yours." -- Equality
- "Yeah. I guess it's harder to understand trans issues when all you know about trans people is from 'Ms. Doubtfire' or 'Silence of the Lambs'." -- Stephie, an 11 year old (who watched Silence of the Lambs)
- " 'Ms. Doubtfire' wasn't a trans woman's identity, it was a man's disguise. Those are not the same thing." -- Transgenderism
I don't know much about Sophie and I don't care to look into her. It would just be fuel for her (or her fans') inevitable false claims that this valid critique of work - which she willing put on public display and sells - was somehow threatening or harassment. So instead of giving her lie fodder to cry victim with, I'd like to tell you about something from my past.
A few years ago, before "transgender" was a term, I used to haunt a forum that helped people with their problems. Most of the problems were emotional and some were psychological. One day, a man showed up announcing he was thinking of getting a sex change. There was some discussion - all civil, because that's what this place was for - about why he wanted one. He said that he loved women; how they looked, how they acted... really, just everything about them. He didn't hate being a man, he just viewed everything about women as being better. I asked if he was heterosexual (this was before SJWs started trying to convolute the meaning of the word, so there was no fear he'd been conditioned to overreact to communicating clearly). He said no, that he was attracted to women.
Because of that, I convinced him that he would be better off if he just cross-dressed as a woman. My stance was that since homosexuals only made up 10% of the population (as was believed at the time; I know the CDC put it at less than 3% when they finally got around to looking), it would probably be easier for him to find a heterosexual woman okay with him being a transvestite than it would be to find a homosexual woman okay with him being a transsexual. Plus, it eliminated the risk of being disfigured by a bad operation and left open the possibility of having children of his own some day. He decided to take my advice.
To put it another way: I am utterly indifferent to people's gender identities. I have no emotional investment in the topic. This comic sucked and its social arguments that made up most of the dialog were myopic, irrational, self-serving, and coming from a place of false entitlement.
The best thing the transgender community could do is distance themselves from this steaming pile of shit. Every part of this comic from the first page to the last is the worst kind of propaganda. I think I saw one convincing argument in the entire cesspool of the 68 pages I was required to read. There are multiple arguments on each page. Do the math. This comic is the last kid you should pick for your social movement kickball team. It's so bad at the game it scores most of its points against its own side.
I was worried that maybe the reviewer was getting this wrong and a transgender person might actually think this is a good comic that properly represents the community's views so I asked a transgender friend of mine what she thought of it and she looked at one page and told me:
- The comic - on Tumblr, of course
- Newly minted Encyclopedia Dramatica article
- This webcomic not only received a listing in the TV Tropes article on horrible webcomics, they even compared it to Billy The Heretic, albeit from the opposite spectrum
- Sophie Labelle's Twitter - which she publicly linked
- Sophie's French blog site - which she publicly linked
- A video about the Youtube review of Assigned Male that got pulled off YouTube
- The video review - (mirror); take note of the extremely polite opening disclaimer that got it pulled for bullying
- Her online store - because apparently she wants children reading this bullshit
- The entry in Irregular Reactions for this author