How feminism killed my favourite comic strip

[[ Note: I consider this post to fall under the fair use policy. If you own the rights and disagree, please let me know and I will take the images down. ]]

I discovered the strip “Sinfest” a few years ago and was an instantly enthusiastic reader; the best thing I read since Calvin and Hobbes. Ishida really can draw and all characters, as far as I am concerned, were lovingly portrayed, even the ones that every time evoked the reaction “I can’t believe you just did that…”
Sinfest, although handling adolescent to adult topics, had that attitude that makes Pooh the best children’s book of all time.*

Slick used to be the main character of the strip. In concept vaguely similar to Charlie Brown in that he never gets what he most desires. He likes to see himself as slick and suave, while women see him as small and vulgar.

Yes, Ishida loves to draw cute and sexy girls. Possibly what sealed his later fate 😦

Nique started out as love- and lust-interest of Slick but developed her own character. Young, pretty, into arts and save-the-world-attitudes; to a certain extent a stereotypical girl. It remains unclear why exactly she is and stays single.

Slick and Nique
Slick and Nique are friends, which allows for a lot of strips contrasting their types ‘unrealistic dweeb’ vs ‘sexy entitled girl’.

God, the Devil and a Dragon representing Buddhism are frequent players. Even the Devil is not really vilified, he is just doing a job, quite dashingly, too. For each of the three there is a ‘disciple’.

This last strip is a fine example for the Sinfest’s attitude towards all extremes and ideologies: mock them.

The examples so far are all early strips from 2002.

Some more, chronologically sorted…

In 2003 there was a storyline about a Matrix-like world…

Not every idea is exactly new, but most are told in a charmingly simple and convincing way.

2006 saw the first colour sunday strips. Some are amazing works of beauty.

(Adult) Relationships, especially in the pre-existing or wooing stage are frequently observed

I love the contrast of the last two. Sinfest used to see both sides. (Remember: Lil’E in the last panel is the fan of the Devil)

Even critical strips are somehow lighthearted

And then…
…one day trike girl appeared.

At first I thought she would be tenderly ridiculed like the christian disciple with the tucked on halo, the other violent ideologist.
No such luck.

Trike girl gave Nique a red pill (interesting usurpation: “taking the red pill” in internet circles usually means that a guy leaves feminist brainwashing behind). Two weeks later we have the last strip with the old Nique. The new one is so characterless and boring that she has all but vanished.

This is more or less the last strip with Slick.

There are a few more half-hearted (eighth-hearted, more like) attempts to find a new place for Slick and Nique, but there is no place for a guy who likes sex and a girl who enjoys to be sexy in a feminist world. They have to go.

If there should be any doubt about the special role of trike girl, see this strip:

Feministic take on “equality”:

All remaining male-female pairs interact on this level:

Everyone in Sinfest, even God and Buddha, was always lovingly painted in greyscale, having strengths and weaknesses.
But now, suddenly, the world is black and white, there is right and wrong. Trike girl is always right. And if you think she is a mean little bitch, you are wrong. By definition.

Even after this strip:

So that is the world feminism has in store for us, at least as the author of sinfest understands it. All relationships that still exist (or rather: had to be introduced since the previously existing ones did not pass the PC filter) are infantile. Sex in all forms is bad. Men in all forms are bad. Giving a shy guy a restraining order is “justice”.

I weep.

I weep for the direction one of the best comics of the Naughts is taking.**

I weep for everyone who finds anything enticing in such a world.

* If you don’t know what I mean by that, read the end of the chapter “Pooh invents a game and Eeyore joins in”:

For a long time they looked at the river beneath them, saying nothing. And the river said nothing too, for it felt very quiet and peaceful on this summer afternoon.
“Tigger is all right really” said Piglet lazily.
“Of course he is” said Christopher Robin.
“Everybody is, really” said Pooh. “That’s what I think” said Pooh. “But I don’t suppose I’m right.” he said.
“Of course you are” said Christopher Robin.

**It is still one of the best drawn ones out there and alone for that worth your time.

Leave a comment


  1. Copyleft

     /  May 17, 2013

    Short form: Sinfest has replaced humor with feminism. Dead strip is dead.

  2. Al

     /  June 22, 2013

    I think you pretty much nailed it. It really is a shame. I loved Sinfest, it was a real gem among webcomics, and although from time to time there is still a good strip, the last year or so of face-mashing feminism sans-witty observation has really killed it.

  3. I also completely agree with this, it’s a very sad thing for me to realize, because it was my favorite comic. I recently realized I hadn’t been reading [a month, ish], looked at my RSS feed and started back up, and thought ‘When DID this happen?’ It seemed so gradual but…yeah. It happened…it’s not the comic I used to *really* love, recommend and even do fan-art of anymore.

  4. :(

     /  July 11, 2013

    So true… What made this happen I wonder.

  5. John

     /  July 21, 2013

    Guy wants to lead/be a part of a big change. He probably figures since Obama won he should drop race-issues and focus full-time on feminism. It’s annoying how he’s turned his world inside out for one issue. And I’m an egalitarian/feminist myself.

    • >And I’m an egalitarian/feminist myself.

      Which? Many would argue that they are opposites. Trike girl herself is certainly not interested in equality.

  6. John

     /  July 21, 2013

    I mean, I gave New Nique a chance, I was hoping her goals would come together more than before, but instead she just added on several shades of grey.

  7. Knut

     /  July 24, 2013

    So true, so sad, me so angry.
    This was the best cartoon on the net, and all because of its unpolitically correctness. We need a little nihilistic evil sexism in the world today. It has turned out to be a boring, feministisc an righteous version of the powerpuffgirls.

  8. kernel sanders

     /  August 7, 2013

    Awww did big bad comedy hurt your widdle feelings? “Why do people say ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.” – Sheng Wang Grow a vagina and stop being such a dick.

    • I approved this comment because it is quite typical for feminists:
      – it completely ignores the points made
      – it uses shaming language to silence people
      – it ignores reality

      The pounding of balls and vaginas is interesting, though.
      A first glance it seems to be accurate, a vagina is often “pounded” but balls rarely are.
      Why then is it that a person with balls can take a pounding much more readily than a person with a vagina?
      Isn’t feminism today all about “whoa whaaa, men are hurting us. We can’t take it. whaaa whaaaaa” ?
      Can someone explain the “rape society” hysteria if vaginas don’t mind being pounded?

      Empirical reality never was feminism’s strong point…

      BTW: Is there a strip where trike girl takes a beating (like a man)?
      I haven’t read sinfest for some time now. The trike girl strips I have read featured her beating someone else, but never taking a beating…

      And: “comedy”?
      It’s not funny anymore.
      It’s sad.

  9. Jinkun

     /  November 2, 2013

    I’m a woman and a feminist and I agree with this post 100%. As a matter of fact, the turn the comic’s taken gives feminism a really bad name. What Ishida portrays isn’t feminism, it’s outright misandry and it’s just wrong. ‘Nique had a personality. She had goals, dreams, and character. Now, she’s no different than the other “feminist” girls. There’s no plot, no laughs, and no character development. I’ve been reading this stuff since I was in high school. It’s sad to see that this is what it’s been reduced to.


     /  December 31, 2013

    It really is sad. I would start every day with a cup of coffee, and then today’s sinfest. Now it’s just boring and depressing. At first i thought it was just a story arch. It would be one thing if it showed the flaws of the female characters, or even pointed out they are all miserable, have no personalities, and only exist to infuriate people who don’t even concern them, but instead it’s this one sided, male bashing nonsense that has no particular story or plot, doesn’t attempt to entertain, and completely lacks the satire that the entire concept it was based on. Are we to believe women want, or are in some way benefiting from being the angry, isolationist characters the story now revolves around? Nique used to feel good about herself, now she’s just self loathing and lonely.

  11. ShineBright

     /  January 6, 2014

    Alas, poor Sinfest. ‘Nique is now a dyke and Slick is a castrated irrelevancy. I’m a girl, dammit, and I *hate* “Sinfest” now. Ishida has pulled a Dave Sim (except in the other direction) and in my opinion really needs some professional help. I mean, when he did strips like “Funk Bible”, I never thought he was creating racist stereotypes – I though he was making FUN of racist stereotypes! And ‘Nique , my favorite character, was just a girl who enjoyed her femininity and flaunted it – and as a girl I DUG that! How is it “feminist” to deny your sexuality and the effect that it has on the opposite gender? What the hell kind of guilt trip is Ishida on? Or does he have a feminazi girlfriend now and is doing all this to impress her, or something? I don’t know, I just don’t know…

  12. Blake

     /  January 12, 2014

    Just because you don’t get the joke doesn’t mean it’s not funny.
    No one thinks “the red pill” means “dudes who hate women just that much.” Not even feminists pay attention to what you people call yourselves.

    • >Just because you don’t get the joke doesn’t mean it’s not funny.

      This is in itself true. Considering that there were almost certainly people who laughed at Charles I’s beheading (e.g.) it is one of those sentences without any real meaning.

      >No one thinks “the red pill” means “dudes who hate women just that much.” Not even feminists pay attention to what you people call yourselves.

      This is completely non sequitur, isn’t it? Were you drunk, when you wrote this?

  13. playonwords

     /  January 25, 2014

    Essentially you are full of it. The strip is better and sharper since Ishida realised how foul the Dudebro culture actually was. Start talking to women and not talking at “girlies”

    • Well, let’s see:
      Insults: one.
      Addressing points I made: zero.
      Missing points: one. (Ishida does not draw against “dudebro culture” but indiscriminately against all males.)
      Ad hominem (in form of assuming I have no contact with women): one.
      Making statement without giving evidence: one.

      And all this in only 30 words!

      Conclusion: You must be a feminist. This is meant as an insult, too 🙂

      Come back when you have any arguments to make instead of unsubstantiated claims.

      • Schnafon

         /  March 26, 2014

        I completely agree with everything you said, both in your article and in the comments, but you’re not using the word “feminism” in the right way. People expressing extreme, close-minded, opinion about “women vs. men” aren’t feminist, they’re just dumb, and calling them feminist is just making things worst for feminism.
        TBH, I agree that the word “feminism” can be misinterpreted, because of the “fem-” part. The currently accepted meaning of the word is more like “people of any gender who believe everybody should be equal, regardless of gender”, basically a subset of egalitarianism.

      • Thank you for writing. I honestly appreciate the effort.


        “The currently accepted meaning of the word”

        Only in your circles.

        Please go and make Jessica Valenti, Amanda Marcotte, the folks at Jezebel and NOW and tons of other “I don’t give a f*ck about men. Equality means furthering the interests of only women” people to stop calling themselves feminists.
        Afterwards I may agree with you.

        For more explanation:

  14. Mustard.

     /  February 21, 2014

    I agree with this. I used to love reading Sinfest, but since the whole Trikegirl/feminist vs evil males everywere started, t’s just been horrible. If a strip is not bashing all men, it’s somehow about how perfect females are by doing nothing at all.

    What really puzzles me is the sudden and really creepy gender divide the comic has going on lately by making characters gay and lsbian. It’s like Ishida is advocting the notion that the human race would be better of if everyone was homosexual.

  15. My heart tells me that… trike girl is just a massive parody… and one day she will take her own red pill… and this is all leading up to her and Slick becoming an item… and only then will ‘Nique’s feelings for Slick (and her true self) begin to (re)awaken.

  16. ryan

     /  July 13, 2014

    same. i stopped reading it daily. it is now just boring bs.

  17. Although I am a female, I hate how Sinfest has changed. I used to visit the site daily. I usually read comedy strips to have fun and laugh, and escape from reality. Now the author took a twist and changed it from being light-hearted, humorous, and fun, to miserable, depressing, and for some, boring. I’m happy (I guess) that Sinfest is shedding some light on feminism, but it’s taking it way TOO far. The strips just make me feel depressed.

  18. Smoking Gnu

     /  April 7, 2015

    I have been thinking about this strip for some time and the enormity of the changes in the strips direction from its original concept to its current message of, actually I don’t know what to call it?? It certainly isn’t feminism, and rather than engage the reader which I would expect a well written feminist piece to do or challenge and question ideas and preconceptions, it preaches and in the worst kind of way.

    I started reading the strip over ten years ago, stopped in 2008 and just resumed reading and am astonished with the changes to the whole storyline. At the time I started reading Sinfest I was also reading webcomics like Angst Technology, Girl Genius and Spaz Labs and was after a bit of fun escapism. Since restarting to read Sinfest I am struck by two overwhelming desires.

    1. To just stop reading this sanctimonious strip. It has nice art but the storyline and character evolution from the original strip concept is just hurtful to a reader; and

    2. To ask Tetsuya “WHY?” If you wanted to write a feminist strip, why not create one from scratch rather than destroy Sinfest. I don’t believe that Ishida is creatively bankrupt to the point that he cannot think of new characters so the only reason I can think of, is to reach a larger audience by the artificial creation of controversy.

    Two strips stand out as the death knells of this once enjoyable strip. The restraining order to Charlie Brown, it is Ishida’s right as Sinfests creator to make comment through it if he wishes but the use of Charlie Brown is insulting and crass; and the strip which goes after Criminy who is a genuinely harmless and likeable character.

    Like many good webcomics Sinfest has unfortunately perished but like a dinosaur the time it takes for the body to tell the brain this fact is about 3 and a half years and counting.

    • Ari

       /  July 16, 2015

      Criminy and Fushia are oddly the only characters that stayed the same. Honestly Fushia is kind of an overbearing girlfriend . I get that she is a devil girl so character flaws are to be expected but It’s odd for Ishida to ignore her flaws while trashing every male character except Criminy.

      • Ari

         /  July 16, 2015

        Oh and for the whole double standard thing of Ishidas view on men and Fushia’s attitude toward Criminy . Seriously I have no problem with her painting this, but how is it different from the ‘smut’ that Ishida critisizes.

        I would love it if a mod could combine this with my last comment

  19. Ungjaevel

     /  April 7, 2015

    It’s interesting to me that many of the commenters here complain about how one-dimensional Trike Girl is. That may well be, but Slick, for example, wasn’t particularly complex before the story arc started off in its new direction. Nor were any of the other characters. The first sign of real complexity and character development I can remember was when Fuschia started to get involved with Criminy and question her devil girl lifestyle.

    Similarly, many of the other characters have become more complex as they struggle with their respective vices. Slick has undergone a – to me, at least – really interesting transformation as he grapples with his tendency to objectify women and treat them as things that exist for him to try and have sex with rather than as fully realized human beings, which I thought was quite poignant. (e.g.

    Maybe this means the comic is less valuable for you since there aren’t as many lulz to be had, but I find it more interesting to read.

    • I think we can agree that sinfest has become as interesting and deep as the concept of “objectification of women by men”

      • Ungjaevel

         /  April 7, 2015

        I’m guessing you’re being facetious, but would you care to elaborate?

      • facetious: treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humour

        No, I am not facetious.

        Since I do not feel like reinventing the wheel I will not elaborate but simply point you to one of all the places where the conecpt of “problematic objectification” has been exploded:

        In this context: Would you say that Monique’s “Power of the Ass”, that she used to have before she caught Feminism, is not a real thing? That women do NOT have power over men by being sexy?

  20. Ungjaevel

     /  April 8, 2015

    Power to do what, exactly? Get their way by turning men on? That’s the problem in both Monique’s life and the real world: women’s ability to do things and value are measured by and a product of their ability to arouse men. Not a product of, you know, being human beings with equal rights. Monique’s experience is that she’s only seen as valuable as long as she’s willing to be a sex object, leaving the “Power of the Ass” as her only means to power, rather than, again, being a human being with equal rights. As soon as she presents herself as something else she gets booed off the stage.

    • Go on then, name a right she doesnt have.
      Do not say “The right to insult and bore the audience without consequences”, that would be silly.

    • Matt

       /  July 10, 2016

      So what is her purpose in the comic then? Tat has had story lines where she did her own thing and it was part of the story, not boring or preachy and definitely not a sex object. Even the parts of the story where there seemed to be relationship undertones between her and Slick didn’t make her a sex object. There were parts where Slick would objectify her or other girls and get rebuffed so I don’t really see your point. Yes, sexual objectification happens in the real world a lot. I don’t think it needs to be or should be the whole point of a comic or even a major point of the comic, it basically destroys the story and interest that many people have because it spends so much time going on irrelevant tangents and misses the greater story for the sake of harping on about how the world “sexually objectifies women and it needs to stop”. We get that that happens, and people are murdered, kids are kidnapped, etc. etc. etc..not to say that your point has 0 relevance but it shouldn’t be the whole theme of the comic, there are many better, more relevant causes to support without taking the fun out of something people like to read.

  21. RealWorldGirl

     /  May 4, 2015

    I think it’s interesting and telling that Tat has moved on from the objectification of real women to the objectification of real sex objects (fembots). I suppose he’ll go after vibrators and dildos next. I’m a girl (read: grrrlll), and there are absolutely no characters in Sinfest now that I identify with or sympathize with. Monique is now Manique and hits on girls (ick), Slick is just a feminist target, and Squig – well, just like the rest of them, he isn’t funny anymore. I’ve stopped reading the strips because I’m sick of being preached at as opposed to being entertained. And frankly, I’m beginning to wonder about Tat’s mental health. Is he having some kind of gender-identity issue himself? Did the Sinfest comics books published by Dark Horse not sell well? Or did some new deranged readers start laying a guilt trip on him about “sexist” humor and he cracked under the pressure?

    Really, if Tat is soooooooooooooooooo concerned about his earlier work, why is he still publishing and selling it on his website? Frickin’ hypocrite.

    • Impressive… you’ve managed to be homophobic, transphobic, and completely illogical about how artists work and sell material, all in less that 500 words!

      Well done.

      • Oh dear, I think we found the vegan.

        “I don’t see myself as lesbian” is not homophobic btw.
        Not outside of Genderstudies classes.

  22. You are exactly right about everything you said. I found Sinfest in its second year, and absolutely loved it. It was one of the few comics that actually made me laugh out loud; I would print out the ones I liked and hang them in my office. Its irreverence was what made it good. It pulled no punches, for anyone. It was Southpark humor, with class.
    I had hoped the dull phase of Social Justice Warrior mindset would pass, as Ishida would find unique reality-shift things to place in his “world,” to play around with them, but it has not; it’s gone on for several years and I don’t even read the strip anymore. It’s no longer funny. It no longer makes me laugh.
    Glad to know I am not the only one feeling sorrow for the loss of this once-great creation.

  23. jason

     /  November 12, 2015

    What I wouldn’t give for someone with perfect copycat artistic skills to post alternate versions of the Sinfest daily strip on Ishida’s comic discussion forums and force-feed him his own original down-to-earth style of satire.

    Slick returns and gives no shits about feminists trike girls.
    The hypocrisy of the matriarchy is highlighted again,
    Other more dire current events come to the forefront and push aside feminist protests,
    Gay dude gets more blatantly gay bashed by anti-men feminists,
    Buddha and Dragon and God return to push egalitarian beliefs over feminist supremacy,
    Slick falls for a new girl that serves a foil for new ‘nique,

    Characters live in the hearts of all fans. When the author brutalizes that original vision in flagrantly obtuse out of character scenarios, I just wish the comic could be snatched out of his hands.

  24. Awesome, I’m going to go start reading Sinfest again because of this article. Thanks!

    I think it’s really cool that an artist who previously examined certain societal fallacies (like the primacy of one faith system or another) has been brave and interesting enough to try out a new direction. Can we talk about our criticism of the changes without decrying feminism as some sort of humor-killing bogeywoman?

    • “Can we talk about our criticism of the changes ”
      Go ahead.
      I would love to read your essay about how the change from being critical of religions and ideologies to completely, wholeheartedly and uncritically subscribing to one has nothing to do with that ideology.
      Especially your refutation of the points above demonstrating how feminist lore is directly responsible for the changes in the characters to the worse would be of great interest.
      Please leave a link to your blog so that everyone can follow your side of the discussion.

  25. Sinfest. It’s gotten moralistic and preachy. Whatever happened to show don’t tell?

  26. Matt

     /  July 10, 2016

    Wow, and somehow for some reason I thought I might be the only one who thought this and come to finally find out that so many think very similar to me. I had stopped reading shortly after Trike-girl showed up because, as many have said, the story became a one-sided male bash-fest and lost most of it’s luster. I often wondered if Slick might wake up and admit his feelings for ‘Nique and that maybe there’d be something between them but that never happened and the story seemed to go in the opposite direction or even lose all previous relevance and focus. It was pretty sad and I stopped reading a few months later. Considering how much I had read the story prior (almost religiously) it was pretty sad that it fell from grace as one of my favorite comics.

  27. Sinfest is still one of the best-drawn comic strips ever. With the new direction he’s taken, it’s hard to follow what’s going on unless you read it daily (which I do not). I still look at it, just for the amazing, cinematic layouts and superb graphic design.

  28. Passerby

     /  October 5, 2016

    Last strips…. last sinfest strips reached new low and now almost at jack chick’s levels.

    I sorta had hope that one day the author might wake up and go back to original funny sinfest strips, but I guess this won’t be happening.

    It’s been many years since the Ishida apparently got bitten by a radical feminists. I guess it is time to give up.

    I just don’t understand how something like that could ever happen.

    • I haven’t read it in years. Still sucks, yes?

      • Passerby

         /  October 5, 2016

        For a while, there were some glimmers of hope, you know.

        Aside from the part where Ishida suddenly made Monique lesbian, introduced new characters just for that then completely forgot about the whole thing… and that plot line with sexbots from devil factory escaping… (for many weeks) and the damn trike girl with her carton cutout friends

        Then few weeks ago he got REALLY heavy-handed. So he made few strip about uncle sam driving around in a giant mecha robo pimp, and “oppressing” random devil(?) girls (Or are they sexbots?) who apparently are forced into prostitution either by uncle sam, or by devil, or by whoever else. So a giant mecha pimp, stands near a random devil girl/sexbot/whatever and makes her tell how she loves her job with implication of her being a prostitute? Immediately after that Ishida posts a strip where he mock an audience that dislikes this thing he was doing with his comic. See the first thing that comes to mind after robopimp strip, why the heck don’t this girl just LEAVE her job if she hates it so much? World is big, go elsewhere, I don’t know, quit? Common sense, no? You don’t like something in your life, you try to change it, no matter what gender you are. Only you can improve your life. So,. a dude from monique’s audience asks exactly that. In return Monique pretty much proclaims him to be enemy of feminism , and tells him “Why don’t you just leave”? Er, what?

        The whole thing… it was just disgusting, really. And the whole robopimp episode made me think about chick tracts. It is on the same level now. Complete insanity. So, apparently ishida in the name of feminism decides to portray society where women are oppressed and reduced to sex toys (which is sorta backwards?)… and apparently if someone becomes a prostitute to pay electricity bill (of all things), they shouldn’t try to change their life and instead it will be patriarchy fault.

        Just … What. The. Hell.

        It is as the article said. “I weep”. For example, on 31st of Octeber 2010 there was an amazing sunday strip with references to anime. Doraemon, Dragon Ball, Urusei Yatsura with Lum flying by and asking “Daring, doko ni iru no?”… Then there were many others like it, which were all work of art, pretty much. And the dude threw ALL that away to pursue some radfem beliefs. Upon seeing such waste of skills and talent, one can only weep bloody tears, pretty much.

        Sorry, I really had to vent.

  29. DJ Masterson

     /  April 12, 2017

    Just a few minutes ago I typed “” into my address bar, because even though I dislike the new feminist turn that Sinfest has taken, I still hold out hope that Tatsuya is going to take this somewhere interesting. Slick, as irrelevant as he’s become, is still fun to watch anytime he appears. Even just a little.

    Anyway, the comic vanished. The forum vanished. Nothing in the archives, only the section of the website which shows the ads for where you can buy the books is still around.

    Did Mr. Ishida give up? Did he ragequit?

    As far as your post goes, I agree 100% with everything you’ve said here.

    I haven’t personally lost ALL hope in the comic, but things have definitely taken a toll for the worst.

    I think the storyline where Lady Liberty left Uncle Sam was probably what hammered in hardest how bad things had gotten in sinfest for me. But even then, I kept watching.

    I was attached to it. I wanted to hope things got better.

    But now it kinda looks like Tatsuya packed up and took all his things and left. What gives?


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