Issue 1CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Break Issue 2CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50 Issue 3CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3HolidayPage 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31p 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78 Guest ArtTuesdayWednesdayFriday Issue 4CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52 Issue 5CoverPage 1Page 2NewspaperPage 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60HiatusPage 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145Page 146Page 147Page 148Page 149Page 150Page 151Page 152Page 153Page 154Page 155Page 156Page 157Page 158Page 159Page 160Page 161Page 162Page 163Page 164Page 165Page 166Page 167 Issue 6CoverPage 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9Page 10Page 11Page 12Page 13Page 14Page 15Page 16Page 17Page 18Page 19Page 20Page 21Page 22Page 23Page 24Page 25Page 26Page 27Page 28Page 29Page 30Page 31Page 32Page 33Page 34Page 35Page 36Page 37Page 38Page 39Page 40Page 41Page 42Page 43Page 44Page 45Page 46Page 47Page 48Page 49Page 50Page 51Page 52Page 53Page 54Page 55Page 56Page 57Page 58Page 59Page 60Page 61Page 62Page 63Page 64Page 65Page 66Page 67Page 68Page 69Page 70Page 71Page 72Page 73Page 74Page 75Page 76Page 77Page 78Page 79Page 80Page 81Page 82Page 83Page 84Page 85Page 86Page 87Page 88Page 89Page 90Page 91Page 92Page 93Page 94Page 95Page 96Page 97Page 98Page 99Page 100Page 101Page 102Page 103Page 104Page 105Page 106Page 107Page 108Page 109Page 110Page 111Page 112Page 113Page 114Page 115Page 116Page 117Page 118Page 119Page 120Page 121Page 122Page 123Page 124Page 125Page 126Page 127Page 128Page 129Page 130Page 131Page 132Page 133Page 134Page 135Page 136Page 137Page 138Page 139Page 140Page 141Page 142Page 143Page 144Page 145 Bonus Content1234 Issue 7CoverPage 1 Show Comments blashimov 🙁 Hat Wever THANK YOU AMANDA I already love you spriteless Thoughtful. I feel bad now that the only thing I know about her besides her being thoughtful is that she is good at coordinating colors. Goatmon See, this page demonstrates as much better grasp on personal issues than the last one. The last one ventured into a grey area that had people (at another forum I frequent) literally asking if it was making fun of triggers or if it was being serious. This one is much more clear in it’s meaning. Fortooate Ambiguity in meaning isn’t necessarily a flaw, though. David Frohman In this case, i think it was. Ambiguity is a flaw when it takes away from the message. Goatmon As I mentioned in the last page, the way Tina was presented was really indistinguishable was typical jokes making fun of triggers. Had I seen that exact panel but with a different artstyle and without the rest of the page as context, I would have had no doubt that it was intended to make fun of triggered people. JanetBird Daaaang, what an excellent point Amanda makes here. It is extremely important to like ourselves, but that shouldn’t have to be based on what society believes is beautiful or valued (though there’s nothing wrong with trying to be beautiful in that way either). And besides, even though our physical appearance is often important to us, it is only one small part of who we are. There is so much more to like about ourselves. deebles As someone who also had to find other reasons to like themselves (even though afflicted with nothing worse than a face made for radio), I approve this message. Pyro I hate to be the one to derail the hyper-intellectual conversation. Usually, I’m the one initiating the hyper-intellectual conversation. But is it just me or does Amanda look a bit like Slark from DotA 2? Rumble in the Tumble Nnnnnnnnnnnah, not really. Tidehunter, maybe, but that’s already a stretch :f martynW It would be interesting to know if any of these people have special abilities. I was assuming that none of them did, but Amanda, for example, definitely looks aquatic. Can she breathe underwater? Swim along coral reefs? Imagine a naturalist with that ability. By the way, when you get older, you find out that “beautiful” involves one hell of a lot more territory than appearance. ∫Clémens×ds Her power is obvious: having the world’s best fashion style. Stephanie Gertsch I noticed her accessories several panels ago and wondered who the cool girl who rocked the purse and headband was. So glad we got to hear from her. martynW If Amanda wants a reason to like herself, she can start with this: She’s a woman who gets up in the morning looking like, let’s be honest, the Creature From the Black Lagoon. And she puts on a bow, picks up a purse, and goes out into the world with these small but important badges of femininity, determined to hold her head up high. If this was a guy, we’d be talking with admiration about someone with “balls the size of church bells.” If there is no female equivalent of this term, there damn well should be and some woman should invent it just for Amanda. Or a lot of other women with similar courage. This one came up in the news just this week: http://www.wfmynews2.com/life/grad-with-no-arms-pursuing-a-career-in-art/269791951 ∫Clémens×ds (I never got the balls-for-courage thing, it makes so little sense. Balls are literally a biological male weakest point, having bigger ones only means easier targeting. Maybe that’s why they consider them courageous? Because they still do anything while so frail and fragile when they really should just stay inside and shelter their meek genitals? Meanwhile, the uterus is the human’s badassest organ, literally dying and resurrecting every month and having the ungodly capacity to create and harbor life.) Richard Hughes They are the root of testosterone, and it is by testosterone that men acquire the vices and virtues of masculinity. The grapes themselves are pretty delicate things, but in their wine there is every sin and every valor claimed by the masculine gender. Balls-for-courage makes some sense. RainWall Now, this is more like it. First of all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Second, so is beauty being worth anything whatsoever. Amanda, you are better than beautiful You can lift like 3 tons, and swim faster than most boats. You can breathe underwater, and hold your breath for 7 hours. Your eyes can see in the dark, and in two directions at once. You can see things from a point of view that no one else can. And you can write, and talk, and think, and create, and you have that most valuable of all human gifts. Free will. And you are a good person. How you treat others and your faith determine who you are. That’s a hell of a lot more important than being pretty, in my opinion. RainWall Also, Marvel totally stole your Paladin character and is making her the next Iron Man. You’re getting royalties for that, right Brennan? Kate Blackwell Being fetishized probably isn’t what she’s after though. Weatherheight I’m having a really hard time expressing my admiration for these last few pages, in part because words fail to convey feelings adequately and in larger part because so many others have said it better than I ever could say it. Again, Brennan and Molly are taking complex subjects and showing all the mess and pain alongside the beauty and passion. In the political season here in the US, we are inundated with simple, blunt, easy answers – and life is not simple or easy. Amanda has, IMO, hit upon the fundamental issue of the human condition, and I’ve rarely heard it so well expressed. It hurts hearing anyone saying that, and the simplicity compels me to feel empathy for someone who doesn’t exist. And while it’s a cliche, it’s nevertheless true – until you learn to love yourself, you won’t ever really accept or believe in the love others have for you. Seriously, guys, how do you keep getting better and better? Tylikcat I’ve found that I have really different feelings about liking my own body – which mostly tracks to it working well, if it feels good, I feel good about it, though that has it’s own basket of mind fuck – and having other people like it. I really hate the cultural assumption that my appearance is there as a thing for public consumption and remark. Going for a run, and then putting in an hour and a bit of martial arts forms and feeling strong and fit and happy is almost diametrically the opposite of having some rando catcalling me and telling me what he wants to do to my body. (And I took some fairly extreme measure to deal with this, but then, a lot of other things were going on, and it fit in well with my Chan training.) So, yeah, I think it’s totally a thing. Weatherheight Be yourself as hard as you can, but mind the flowers around you. It’s the only way to go. Weatherheight In my experience, everyone has at least one “crisis moment” in their lives when everything they are gets called into question. I think Amanda is in the middle of that crisis. The only way through it is brutal honesty – and not the truths others make for us, but our own truth. Being around someone in that moment is always a trying thing for me, because sometimes helping in the short term hurts in the long run and I never know what is too little, too much or just right. I feel the others in the group are feeling a bit of that. In addition, that kind of honesty can be viral – and I think some of that is happening to those around Amanda, as they bump into their own limits and find them wanting. Not sure it’s a “power”, but what Amanda is feeling and saying is indeed powerful. Weatherheight I feel this isn’t a typical group on a whole bunch of levels, but I’m getting a sense of extreme time-compression here – things are happening fast because of the situation (the event) but also because the literary need demands efficiency. So, yeah, this is a bit “off” in that sense. When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time at teen retreats with my denomination, and they were completely surreal. The knowledge that the event is limited brings urgency and intensity to everything one does (my circle called them “mountaintop experiences”, like climbing a mountain for the first time or seeking a guru at a mountain peak). There are people I’ve known for about a week over 30 years ago for whom I still feel intense affection and love. One young woman even saved my life, emotionally – utterly changed my perspective in just a week. Intensity is a thing at these events; I feel great sorrow for those who’ve never felt it. Of course, the problem is that most of us have to live in the valley, because the air is thin up there, baby… Opus the Poet This sounds like every transwoman I have talked to IRL. especially the “misgendering” part. Philip Petrunak It’s a really nice allegory isn’t it? Many people see her as ugly, and try as her friends might to say she is “beautiful” she it’s hard for her to see herself as that because she doesn’t conform to social norms. So she needs to find validation and acceptance of herself outside of those standards. What’s also really interesting is the idea of sexual partners. Most people will either reject her for her appearance or fetishize her for it. Just like many transwomen. So like them she needs to strike the balance of finding someone who is attracted to her but doesn’t see her as a sexual object. Christophe2314 Yeah, I’ve always thought that was odd. I get what the “you’re all beautiful” crowd are trying to do, but at the end of the day, it’s a shallow method that’s not likely to work on the more cynical, and basically just reinforces the message that women’s entire self-worth should be based on beauty. If you’re not beautiful, that’s okay. It’s not something that’s within your control, and it’s not something people get to judge you for. You can still be smart. You can still have talents and skills and ideas and accomplish things that you can be proud of. leoboiko There’s beautiful, and there’s beautiful. The word means many different things. Every human being is beautiful in an artistic sense; give a photographer a b&w film camera, a director a nice new digital camcorder, a painter a watercolor set, and they’d be able to explore the inherent beauty in the lines and colors of any face and any body, in aesthetically pleasing ways. In this sense, we’re all beautiful. But this is not what we’re talking about when we talk about someone being beautiful or pretty. And it’s not quite the same thing as sexual attractiveness, either. There’s this fuzzy, vaguely defined standard for personal beauty, and people who come close to it are felt as somehow special (sometimes, it seems to me, almost as if you were in the presence of nobility). Beauty affects social interactions way more than we’d rationally expect (e.g. college students rate pretty professors as better educators). And, of course, beauty is expected of women to an entirely different degree than men; any news report about a successful woman will have comments like “and she’s so hot”, if she’s pretty, or “she’s so ugly though”, if she’s not; women are permanently under evaluation. (Prettiness is also connected to racism/ableism in uncomfortable ways.) Of course, we can expand our own personal taste in human beauty; but we’re all living under the standard, and we can only resist it up to a point – very few of us would find Danny DeVito as beautiful as Daniel RadCliffe, and of course even if we did, it doesn’t mean everyone else would. I expect non-pretty people, especially women, to be acutely aware of this difference in social standing; so I’d not be surprised if “you’re all beautiful” sounded tacky and condescending, and ended up backfiring as support. Christophe2314 Doesn’t sound unhealthy to me. Not basing your sense of self-worth on beauty can drive you to find more things to like yourself for, more things for other people to like you for. It can drive you to better yourself. At the end of the day, I think that’s a lot better than building your self-esteem on top of something that was never within your control in the first place. Christophe2314 There’s something really interesting in your comment here, and that’s the idea that personality translates into looks. On some level, it’s true: while you don’t get to choose your face and body type, everyone gets to decide how they dress, how they style their hair, whether they use makeup or wear jewelry and so on. Also true on another level: if someone’s attractive, odds the people around them will treat them differently which can lead them to behave in different ways, and the same goes for average people, and unattractive people. But, at the end of the day, you can have any personality type combined with any look. Which is why it’s always seemed weird to me how society and the media push this idea that certain types of people look a certain way. Let’s take nerds for instance. There’s this kind of nerdy cuteness you mentioned for girl, and you know how you imagine a guy nerd: short, scrawny, wears glasses. From every movie we’ve seen, we know that criminals have ugly faces, and good people just look honest from how conventionally attractive their face is. We know that a hero is always going to be a dude in his 20s or 30s with just enough stubble to be a bit scruffy-looking. It’s weird how we have all these standards for how someone should look based their personality type, don’t you think? deebles Weird indeed. FlashNeko As far as fictional depictions go stock visual types exist because, especially in TV shows and movies, they have a limited amount of time and space to establish who and what certain characters are. In most storytelling some form of visual shorthand is sometimes necessary to keep the narrative flow going unless the story is specifically about defying the normal visual expectations of character or if the authors has the time to go deeper but just want to be lazy for the sake of focusing on another element. The problem becomes when those shorthands get mistaken for how people “really” are and bleeds into real world interactions and you get the chicken and the egg scenario of “Do we think certain people are like this because this is how our fiction/society says they are or do we represent certain people in our fiction/society because we think that’s how they really are?” Christophe2314 There’s also the interesting issue of how the depiction of people in stories influences the depiction of similar people in future stories. Like, for instance, I think we all know at this point that in the majority of media content, the depiction of women is abysmal. The most obvious explanation would be that most writers who make it into the industry are male because sexism, and male writers don’t understand women. I, however, think that answer is too simple and ignores an important fact: it is a writer’s goddamn job to put themselves in the shoes of characters whose experiences differ from theirs. If writers were incapable of this basic level of empathy, all fictional characters would be nothing more than the author’s self-inserts. I think the explanation here is that all stories can have their inspirations traced back to a time when society was far, far more sexist than it is today. Almost all the cool character archetypes are male, because they were all created centuries ago. Most writers will rely on those archetypes, because they want to write stories similar to the ones they like, and those stories used the same archetypes. To defy the archetypes requires a conscious effort that most writers don’t do. Christophe2314 He’d probably whine if people did push feel-good platitudes on him. Christophe2314 Are you aware of the chaser phenomenon? It’s something trans women have to deal with on a regular basis. Basically, a chaser is someone who has a fetish for “chicks with dicks” and despite the fact that they are very attracted to trans women, they’re generally avoided for one very simple reason: no one wants to be a fetish object. Trans people only want to be treated as people, they don’t want someone who’s attracted to them specifically for their trans status. I hope you understand what this analogy translates to in the world of dynamorphs. Margot My first thought was to agree with this entirely, and I think Amanda is amazing and great, but I also think that standards of beauty are entirely subjective. I think Amanda does look beautiful, but not very human (not that she’s not human). If Amanda was a different species rather than a dynamorph, she might be considered really beautiful by her species. And if our society’s idea of beauty wasn’t so narrow, she might be perceived as beautiful in her own right, rather than judged for her distance from ‘standard (white, thin) human female’. And beauty isn’t purely physical. When I said ‘Amanda is amazing and great’ just now, I almost said ‘and beautiful’, meaning that her words are beautiful, that she’s a beautiful human being. Maybe I’m so socialised to value beauty that I need to re-define beauty so that I can impose it on everyone. I absolutely agree with her right to like herself for reasons other than beauty, and I really like what she’s said. And she doesn’t live in some idealised society I made up, so it’s also fair enough for her to want to with in the world she’s in. But if the other women there want to think of themselves as beautiful, and have worked to feel that, I think that’s great too. I’m really interested to see where this discussion goes next. ∫Clémens×ds Art is what everybody thinks art is. How much does it tell about humans’ utter inability to disconnect from models of worth on a primal, instinctive level that don’t contain appearances that, there is no way to say “I don’t find Amanda beautiful” that doesn’t sound mean-spirited and needless. Lysiuj “Maybe I’m so socialised to value beauty that I need to re-define beauty so that I can impose it on everyone.” I think it may be the other way around? That beauty has always been a very broad, catch-all term for what we/you/I consider to be praiseworthy, or pleasing, or inspiring, or what have you. But over time it has become more and more shoehorned into narrow ideas of human sexual attractiveness and physical appeal. So describing anything you want as beautiful is actually natural. chaosvii Reminds me of that scene in a Swan Princess adaptation where during the arranged marriage play date montage, the guy first treats her as a friend, then can’t stand her for whatever childish reason for years, then finally starts treating her with respect again. When she asks why he didn’t treat her kindly before, he said something to the effect that he never noticed how pretty she was before, implying that she was only worthy because of her aesthetic appeal or if she actually was worthy this whole time, he couldn’t be bothered to figure it out because pretty is the only criteria he uses. I always admired the fact that they did this & indicated that this kind of thinking is terrible, which sets up a motivation for her to not treat him as a friend until he grows past that nonsense. chaosvii Finding all of those reasons to like yourself is among the most freeing journey you will ever go through once you reach your first milestone. I was lucky enough to have parents who taught me way more than strangers could ever impose that I should only bother to look as good as I feel, and work towards feeling better by learning how to be better for myself and those I love. So I’m guessing I had a head start when compared to my peers? I wouldn’t know, as I never felt the need to discuss it with them. VariableNature ….did we not just have a whole series of pages in THIS VERY CHAPTER where Cleaver not only says people like that exist, but that those people make him very uncomfortable because they’re basically fetishizing and de-humanizing him? It’s not that there aren’t people who want to be physically intimate with them, it’s that the women in this group feel that they aren’t accepted as WOMEN, rather than as biodynamic. And while, yes, it IS important to not ignore a huge part of their life, it should not be the ONLY thing that people focus on in a relationship. Case in point, the last few pages where the girl was talking about how she felt she was only being accepted by her boyfriend because she was viewed as “exotic” and “different” for her bio-dynamism (is that the right word? I feel like it’s the right word, but I could be wrong), rather than liking her for who she really is. chaosvii Do you at least recognize that this stuff is intended to be analogous to the sorts of obstacles that women who fall outside the idealized range of “pretty” or other words for physical attractiveness confront? If you require a detailed explanation as to why that is, I can provide one. Lostman I was more thinking that a fishperson is talking about it. chaosvii Some of the best places to start, yeah. I’d like to add: Do you admire anyone for what they do, and if so would you work to do that too? What changes are out there that you would act upon to make the world better for you & those you care about? leoboiko This page made me see the pink bow trope in an entirely new light. Fortooate You think the person linking to fake websites as a joke about the setting is a spambot? Christophe2314 Oh God, spambots have evolved! They’re now capable of making jokes based on context! They understand humor! WE ARE DOOOOOOOOMED!!! Lysiuj Nah, that’ll just make them self-destruct. Unless they start making self-referential humo-FALSE DEMONSTRABLY FALSE HAH HAH Jerden If current trends continue, I predict that within 10 years the only individuals making insightful, coherent contributions to internet discussion will be spambots. Kid Chaos Underwater salvage and demolition? 😃 ∫Clémens×ds I can see both points there. The validity of Amanda’s comment is so powerful. To me it feels even understated by our very own real world complex social ideas about beauty, to fully grasp how subversive she is, you’d have to imagine a support groups of prehistoric men where someone just said “To me, you are all murder-y” as a means to empower them in a social context where men are solely based on power and violence, and someone responds “I don’t know, I’m sure it’s inherently great to judge my own values of my murdercount”. But is it to say that we should abandon the idea of finding one’s self worth in others’ eyes wholesale? That Vanessa’s statement that all these women are beautiful is a toxic one with no value? Absolutely not, I feel. Jerden I love the idea of that support group. I’d probably be the guy to not feel particularly murderous. I mean, I could try it, maybe I’d even be good at it, but it’s just not what I feel passionate about… I don’t know about finding self worth from other people. I often like to think that I genuinely don’t care about other people’s opinions of me, and I frequently think that I only spend time with other people because they entertain me. However, if I’m honest, I want people that I enjoy spending time with to also enjoy being with me. Maybe I’m human after all… Steele I’ve been ragging on you guys the last few pages. Not this time! This was beauti- … Uhm, it was great! Maybe it’s because we get much more of a feel for who she is and how she feels than with the last several characters. Maybe its because she doesn’t sound like a parody. Maybe because it’s a subtle, not anvilicious, attack on popular culture’s obsession with… well, everything having to do with women. Someone give that thoughtful, strong, well-coordinated lady a hug =) ∫Clémens×ds I used to think like that, long ago, that women’s obsession of appearance was shallow and attention-grabbing (and this isn’t even considering who’s to blame making beauty women’s social value, gosh was I ignorant) And then someone told me something that genuinely shattered everything I believed in: when women put on make up, they do it for themselves first. It literally left be speechless, challenging everything. How I thought about the value and purpose of beauty, how much more appearance is part of someone than just surface, how multidimensional it is instead of a naive binary of “beautiful or not”, the intricacies and also flaws of its norms, how interestingly it connects to identity and self-appreciation. masterofbones The first person in this group that hasn’t made me facepalm. Something reasonable and well thought out instead of just complaining at people. Though I would argue that looking for a reason to like yourself is still missing the point – you should like yourself because that is who you are. You might try to improve yourself, but you should always strive to love yourself, even if you don’t have a single redeeming trait. Because even if it is all you have, loving yourself is a redeeming trait all by itself. Jerden I think if you met somebody who’s only redeeming trait was that they loved themselves, you’d probably not want to spend much time with them. masterofbones Sure, but I’d like them more than someone with no redeeming traits that also hated themselves. deebles I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a redeeming trait by itself, but if it helps lead to other redeeming traits more than to negative features, it’s on the right side. Lysiuj You realize this sounds as though pretty much anything that anyone in this group could say wouldn’t be satisfactory to you? Having problems with others is just “complaining at people”, having problems with yourself is just “missing the point – you should like yourself”, do you want them to just be happy with the way things are, period, no matter how bad they might be? masterofbones Step one – state the problems that you have been having Step two – discuss what exactly you dislike about the situation, and whether or not it is something fixable. Step three – Discuss methods to fix said problem. — regarding happiness and your personal situation – Optimally, people should strive to be happy regardless. But at the *bare minimum*, people should like themselves, and want good things for themselves. That part is necessary before you can really be a functioning person. Amanda speaks about needing a reason to like herself. That implies that without a reason, she would *not* like herself, would not want good things for herself, etc. This is harmful to one’s development as a person, because then you can only truly function if some external system allows it. It is good to move past *beauty* as a reason to like yourself, but it isn’t super helpful if you immediately replace it with a different requirement. Guest … any recommendations? :3 Matt Kowaleski Not sure if it’s strictly beauty-and-the-beast, but Kurapika/Senritsu from Hunter X Hunter is coming to mind…he’s a cute bishonen, she’s bald and has buckteeth. Their relationship isn’t the center of the storyline (it’s a shonen manga), but it does get taken pretty seriously and plays a moderately important role in the plot. I really wish there were more, though! I need to do some research on this. leoboiko Good catch; but, sadly, Senritsu/Melody’s current appearance is the result of a curse of sorts. Given shonen tropes, I find it likely that she’ll return to her original form eventually, and that form will happen to be pretty. The same guest Don’t know if anyone will read this now, but oh well. Thank you for the recommendations! I’m checking some of them out 🙂 Senritsu’s curse reminded me of another that arguably at least has elements of this — Howl’s Moving Castle. Jerden You’re saying that the ability to not wear clothes in public isn’t a superpower? Weatherheight :: In my worst possible impression of Dana Carvey :: It’s NAKED TIME! Binnnng! Jerden Why is “You’re all beautiful to me” accepted when “You’re all intelligent to me” or “you’re all good at golf to me” would be considered illogical things to say? Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder ect, but some beauties exist in a much greater number of eyes, and that’s what matters to most people. I can kind of relate to Amanda, but I find it odd how people immediately assume that basing your self worth on something other than physical appearance is better. Intelligence is fine until you struggle with something, or until you meet somebody smarter. That’s when your self worth dissolves (trust me, I’ve been there. Very often). It’s the same with any other skill or talent. When self worth is based on achievements, it won’t last. I think friends and family are good for supporting and affirming you, but that’s not so good when you’re inevitably alone. Still, deriving your self worth from the fact that other people enjoy spending time with you is a pretty good way to go. Tylikcat I wrote most of a long response to you, but I’m not sure it would be welcome (I mean, for the moment I still have it). Suffice it to say that I think our experiences of intelligence and accomplishment might be very different… but then, it might come down to what exactly you mean by deriving your value from. I had a much more brittle understanding of that when I was quite young… and then was put in an educational situation that couldn’t survive it. (And that part of it was great. Other parts? Not so great. But here I am, some decades later, with this kind of great network of friends and contacts from educational situation.) Jerden Commercials? Rather an odd message isn’t it? You’re beautiful no matter what, now buy our product to confirm that! Jerden I think it is meant to be rather surreal. It’s a mutant support group. Still, the fundamental issues should be pretty relatable. tygertyger I can’t talk about you. I’m a guy — and a rather good looking one — but I deliberately dressed scruffy in high school as a way to eliminate people who wanted to be around me because of my appearance. Tdoodle And people (mostly cis men) who believe in some sort of attractiveness hierarchy tend to have toxic thoughts about people who (subjectively) fit the arbitrary definition of ‘attractive’. The behavior coming from that mindset is not cute. Arthur Frayn I agree with you that it sucks, but it’s not mostly cis men. I cannot count the number of women I have encountered who “half-joking” say they hate another woman or group of women because they are more attractive. It’s disturbing, but slightly comprehensible as they are all trapped in this toxic zero-sum beauty competition. Tdoodle I’m talking about toxic thoughts that at the milder end lead to possessive/controlling behavior and at worst lead to abusing/stalking/assaulting/killing. Internalized misogyny between cis women is easy to pick on, I’ll give you that. #notallmen Jared Rosenberg Well, hopefully she can become a (mad) scientist or something. Richard Hughes Man I really did not phrase this well. Jo Nemo As a guy with a lot of body image and self-hate issues, I can say I needed this. I may not share Amanda’s gender or condition, so my problem may be some imperceptibly small fraction of her own, but I still feel like it applies to me, in some small way. So for that, I thank you. Tylikcat The princess may end up a … troll? But she’s an awfully cute troll. And it’s not like Shrek is a more societally standard pretty man. So I’d say not. Izo Ogre Tylikcat While I got it mostly in the relatively innocuous environment of a program for students who went to college very early (and a few other programs with fairly similar target audiences)… yeah, that’s a huge mindfuck. Don’t do that. Decide you’re absolutely done with the whole fish theme, and take up skydiving. Decide that what really matters to you is stability, and get a degree in accounting, and buy a nice little place on a couple acres outside a lovely little town. Studying sustainable architecture. Learn to knit. Spend endless hours on Minecraft. …and then, when you step back and say “Huh, okay, actually, I kind of rock at this, but really, is this all I want out of life?” Well. (Of course, I think a lot of people have kids right around then.) Christophe2314 Yeah, good point. For every generalization you think is safe to make, there will be a few people who will be beg to differ. Huttj509 Honestly, it didn’t feel that off to me, though I may be odd. When I’m nearing an anxiety attack my speech often becomes more, I dunno, clinical? It’s like I see what’s going on in my head, know what’s coming, and in interacting the emotional side of speech gets shunted aside because I’m trying to keep that side of things under control. A mental situation where Tina’s statement might make more sense: She’s reacting to the statement “No body is in the wrong body” when she doesn’t *have* a body. At this point she might be feeling excluded in a space that was specifically intended to support people like her. “If I don’t fit here, I don’t fit anywhere” sort of thing. At the same time, she knows it wasn’t intended that way. By bringing up the issue she gives the group a chance to recognize the issue, and thus give herself a chance to convince herself to not bolt for the door. To me, the manner of speech immediately indicated “I might be on the verge of a breakdown/panic attack, and am trying to figure out if I need to leave to prevent/manage that.” Urthman I’ve literally read hundreds of comic book stories in which the new hero, uncertain, getting used to having powers, has to face a big scary A-List villain and somehow prevails. Rumble in the Tumble “Dear God, what is going to happen to this combat-newby when she runs into her first Iron-man A-List villain (Doc Doom, Mandarin, Fin Fang Foom)? She’s going to get killed for no reason other than she hasn’t got Tony’s years of experience.” That’s a silly question – she’s 15 years old, black, female, studying at MIT, and made Iron Man’s armour from scrap by looking at it a few times on TV. All the villains will surrender due to her awesomeness, for which she will receive the Nobel Peace Prize, The Vulcan Order of Gallantry, and the Tralfamadorian Order of Good Guyhood. Goatmon We’re talking about how it comes across, not how it SHOULD come across or the logistics of how jokes are supposed to work. All that actually matters is the impression the readers get from the comic. And the page prior to this one did a pretty lousy job of delivering its message.