The Talk on Penny Arcadeon 08/01/2014 at 12:28 pm
When Penny Arcade invited me to talk about sex on their site, I jumped at the chance (And, of course, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to call back “butt virginity” from my Strip Search days)
I think it’s really, really, really important that kids are taught about the emotional & pleasure side of sex, in addition to reproduction. It wasn’t until I was a teen that I learned sex was supposed to feel good for both participants. I grew up believing sex sucked for women. That’s why I’m so fucking obnoxious about sex now. It was a revelation to me that sex could be positive. I’m so vocal about this stuff now as a direct response to the intense sex negativity and slut shaming I was raised with.
I was also super touched by Tycho’s blog post that accompanies my comic. He talks about meeting my gang of teenage cartoonist friends and me well over a decade ago at San Diego Comic-Con, while we were finishing up high school and beginning college. This was maybe 2002-2003?
That SDCC when we met the PA guys and a whole ton of our comics heroes, it was a really pivotal turning point in my life. It’s not that I ever had one great big AND NOW I SHALL BECOME A CARTOONIST moment in my life, but instead I’ve had many, many positive and encouraging events that collectively built into the realization that I should stick with this passion that turned into a career. That SDCC was one of those events that helped put me on this path.
It means a lot to me that Tycho still remembers that time too.
Hi everyone, I’m writing today to address some concerns I’ve been hearing about my work with Penny Arcade. I thought a little reply on the subject would help clear things up.
Ok so, Penny Arcade: no argument from me, they’ve fucked up repeatedly, in very ugly, public ways. I’m definitely not trying to change anyone’s mind about this, or tell you how you should feel about this company and I completely respect that people are mad and hurt by them. I also have found PA’s fuck-ups to be personally hurtful, but as you might guess, my feelings are more complicated than that.
I personally don’t buy into the ‘shun them and anything connected to them’ mindset that is at the moment so popular among people who care about social justice when a person or company does something ignorant. I think the shunning-and-salting-the-earth tactic to be overly negative, toxic and stunts potential growth. Rather than concentrating on the negative of a situation, I aim to concentrate on the positive.
In Penny Arcade’s case, my perception is that they are learning and making a genuine, public effort to educate themselves and change the culture of their readership. Again, if you disagree, that’s cool, I respect that, I’m not trying to change your mind. Penny Arcade invited me to share some sex positivity and sex education with their audience, which sounds exactly like the sort of thing I want to do with my comics! I feel and hope that I’ve done some good by accepting that opportunity.
As a general note, I have worked in the past and I will continue to work in the future with people and companies that may have fucked up, if I feel that their ultimate goal is a good one, and they are on the right track. Ignorance is fixable through education, and I would rather educate than shun. It’s my personal mindset that you certainly don’t have to adopt for yourself and, again, I’m not trying to change anyone’s minds— I’m just explaining my own.
We want Oh Joy Sex Toy to be as inclusive, positive, educational, kind and helpful as its possible to be with in the confines of a 200 word web-comic. Doing a comic for Penny Arcade certainly fit that goal.
I’m traveling right now, so will not have time or energy to debate this. But rest assured, If you disagree with me: that’s cool, I respect your feelings, you’re 100% entitled to them.