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Liz Ashton Beer says
So on the money it hurts. Love the characterisation of ‘society’ as a women 🙂
John Patrick says
Diane Lytollis says
Sad but so so true…
depression comix says
Liz Ashton Beer, when I came up with the character for Society for #108, I originally had her teamed up with a male character “Media” but I never figured out how to get him in the strip as smoothly. As it is, Society does the job well by herself.
Have you done one yet about how guys have to face a society that things guys should be emotionally happy-go-lucky or hard-assed, and physically all beer-drinkers with six-pack abs? I’d make that society Media.
Research indicates that women are the hardest hit when it comes to societal expectations of attractiveness. Although I wouldn’t say there wasn’t any for men, it certainly isn’t to the degree it is aimed at women. If there is any research that disputes this, I would love to read it, but as a male I have never had a problem because I was not that stereotype.
Yeah, consumerist society only really works if the majority of people feel inferior… tough luck, world! I find this affects me as a man also. Dead on as always, depressioncomix.
Liz Ashton Beer says
Indeed. I started living with my own personal demons when I was 7. It started with Bulimia. I have someone like her that lives in my head, like sooooo many of us.
Yaron Kaplan says
Hey, I only noticed today that each comic has a useful side panel with character listing, and an option to find strips with the same character, like in Sexy Losers. That’s so cool!
I made the plugin myself from scratch 😀
Paul Joiner says
Gender be damned. I feel this one.
depression comix says
Paul Joiner, just replace the word “beauty” with “success”, it still works
Dave O says
This is going to sound terribly callous, but I’m not feeling this one at all. Society doesn’t know who I am, and I won’t take advice from strange TV shows and movies who expect me to spend what little money I have on stuff I don’t even want. I can’t say why I’m like that, even though I’ve been depressed in the past, and I’m by no means a penny pincher. Although, I know people, good looking people, who have been affected by these feelings (my teeth aren’t white enough, my boobs are too small, etc.) and have tried to spend their way out of their poor self-concepts, so no doubt those feelings exist. I wish i could sympathize with those poor people, maybe help them out. But Society can twist in its own wreckage, as far as I care.
You say that, but I’m willing to bet that you have changed yourself at Society’s will before.
Have you ever gotten a haircut? Did you select an existing style or did you make one up yourself? That was changing yourself to match what Society wanted.
Have you ever bought clothing, or do you make all your own? If you bought it, your choices are those that Society wants you to wear. Do you work in an office? Then your clothing selections are very likely those Society believes appropriate for the office.
Do you shower? If so, you are changing yourself because Society thinks that is attractive, not because you want to.
Do you ever buy Christmas presents or birthday presents for other people? Why? That is probably how you were raised, because of what Society thinks is proper.
The messages are varied, and start from toddlerhood. Lots of children’s programming is Societal Indoctrination.
Do you watch TV? If so, count how many commercials in 1 hour are to make you feel your life isn’t good enough. You may not realize it, but if you hear it enough, it can become almost a subliminal programming that you need more stuff of SOME type. Your “poison” may not be personal grooming, but there’s no way to prevent Society from making you need to spend money on something new.
You are right that you can go against what Society wants, but only if you want to go jobless, and therefore homeless, moneyless, and foodless.
Even WORSE when you are a woman of color. Waaay worse.
It’s interesting you should say that, because in the first Society strip, Society was originally talking to a woman of color. I drew up the draft but after I showed it to a friend, she didn’t really like it, probably because a white woman telling a black woman she’s not beautiful becomes something racial instead of directly making the point I wanted to make. I still have the original draft and I might upload it somewhere if someone is interested.
However, this isn’t to mean that it’s still not a problem. When the standard of beauty is not your color, you are at a serious disadvantage just because of that. And it becomes more difficult because when women of color are used as models of beauty they tend to be whitewashed, characaturized or fetishized so that the default whiteness of standards of beauty is maintained. I’d still like to address this point somehwhere in the comic because minorities have a greater chance of suffering from depression and the many inequalities are part of the reason why.
Would I be correct in assuming that you are male? (I’m judging by your name, and I may be wrong.)
The trouble is, while men are subjected to societal pressures and expectations, they are not nearly as pervasive and powerful as those that women face. Add to that the idea that men should look different to please themselves (see: magazines aimed at men that tend to feature muscular bodies and articles about exercising for health reasons) and that women should look different to please men (see: magazines aimed at women that tend to discuss how to please your partner, push exercise to lose weight so that you’re more appealing to the opposite sex, etc.) and you’ve got a whole system that’s telling women from every angle and in every form of media that they are not good enough, that they are consumable objects, that they exist to please society (men and women both; the standard applies as much to looking good for your peers as to potential partners, to phrase it the way it comes across). It’s much, much easier for a man to disregard these messages than for women to.
I may be speaking out of turn, as I’m male myself. What I know is what I’ve witnessed from having five sisters and knowing how society affects them, and from reading a lot.
In addition, and this goes for people of all genders, when this sort of thing becomes pathologised (in the form of eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder, and yes, depression), it’s not so simple as to tell society to twist off. It’s your own head telling you these things all the time, and leaving your home is akin to putting those thoughts in an echo chamber, because everywhere you look, society is reinforcing what your mind is telling you is true, even if you know it isn’t. It takes work, hard work, to overcome that, and some people never quite manage it.
Count yourself lucky that you can’t relate to this strip.
I’m assuming this reply is meant for Dave O below 🙂
(Hell, I clicked reply on the message from Dave O. and I’m not sure it posted correctly. Sorry about that, if it didn’t.)
She lives in my brain and taunts me constantly.She hates me, thinks everyone else hates me, calls me ugly, fat and sickening. She is me, and I wish she would go away. I don’t know how to make her go away.
Uggh media rears it’s ugly head and works in conjunction with consumerism to create a culture that enforces and perpetuates unrealistic expectations. Youth are taught to expect sex to be as sensationalized as it is in porn. If you’re not into it, you should be ashamed. Youth are provided with moulds and idols. If you don’t fit in [the moulds] and worship the idols, you should be ashamed. Youth are taught that aging is a process that must be avoided at all costs. If your body gives in to gravity over time, you should be ashamed. All of these unrealistic expectations are adopted by all members within the society, therefore everyone goes around trying to mold themselves according to these expectations and they judge everyone including themselves for failing to comply. Although I still struggle with myself and self-loathing, I’m at least glad I’ve made these connections and realize how wrong it is to try and compare myself to these unrealistic standards spawned by media conglomerates to keep me unhappy and consequently keep me spending my money to fix that which is NOT something of which to be ashamed because media says so, but which is in fact natural and must be embraced as aspects of a well-lived life. This is also a great way of showing how self-obsessed and self-involved society wishes us to be. Thank you for these insightful and beautiful comics! I also appreciate the intricately detailed aspects such as the icons on the photo indicating a “Photoshopping” element. As well as what seems to be the main character becoming subtly increasingly scraggly in appearance, perhaps due to her own self-perception deteriorating.
I meant to continue my already lengthy comment by saying that youth then mature into adults with these notions planted into their impressionable brains and are therefore even harder to de-program as adults, and what you are therefore left with is a society of adults who have been almost entirely brainwashed into being self-loathing and ultimately in debt, with no real purpose or fulfilling life goal to work towards. A society of people who aren’t given a choice to feel like they have meaningful lives.
167 http://t.co/F6IdD4H5zu via @depressioncomix
Hi, I’m Fulcrum, a.k.a. Milan Avramovic, and I fully support the “Carpetbomb the Kardashians” action.
they call it society it should be called suicide …