January 19th, 2015

Dumbing Of Age

I generally don't get webcomics. So imagine my surprise on Saturday night when I clicked on a Facebook link and got completely sucked into one called Dumbing Of Age.

I cannot stop reading this thing - it's very original and challenging at the same time.

The basic story is that a girl who has been Christian homeschooled her entire life is starting her first year living in a dorm as a college freshman. And because she's been so sheltered, everything is new to her. And because she's a clean slate who wants to learn we get to see everything from a completely open perspective.

She's willing to challenge everything and she's willing to learn. She takes a gender studies class. She meets gay people. She wonders if she might be gay herself. She discovers movies and comic books and videogames. She dates boys. And, slowly, she becomes a more complex person.

Meanwhile she and the friends she makes are used to challenge assumptions about sexism, racism, sexual assault, privilage, etc...

There is something here for everyone to relate to and something her for everyone to get pissed off about. Because the people seem real there is much more nuance than we usually get with discussions of feminism and partiarchy - particularly in a university setting.

One panal I really liked was after a guy refuses to have sex with a super hot girl who tries to jump him. His roommate asks him why he didn't do it. He responds that he didn't want to "take advantage of her". The roommate points out that the girl wasn't drunk or unconsious. That he didn't manipulate her. That she was simply  horny and "isn't it pretty patriarchal of  you to assume that you are taking advantage if a girl just wants to get laid?"

Another great panel is the main character in her gender studies class asking the more militant students why her ideal of getting married and having kids after graduation can't be it's own feminist ideal, as long as she is the one who wants that life on her own terms.

I also like that all the characters are multi-layered. Even a guy who seems to be a typical dudebro at first is portrayed with intelligent nuance.

Anyway, enough swooning for me. If you like webcomics and have any interest in feminism and patiarchy at all check it out. It's a good time suck.