What everyone's getting wrong about this sexist cartoon.

The comic seems obviously offensive at first glance: A woman with an ambiguously colored skin tone, with thick curves, spots a book lying on the ground.

She picks it up and begins going through a radical physical transformation in which she becomes more petite, dressed in more conservative clothing and has distinctively white skin.

But its creator says people are missing the point and he’s kind of embarrassed it ever became an issue.


The comic strip became the subject of intense criticism on social media when Cyntia Hijar posted it to her Twitter feed with the caption: “According to this picture, reading weakens muscle tone, and in addition to that it makes you look white and almost European and makes you cut your hair too. Just ignore that picture, one can read and remain black and dress as one wish.”

However, the artist behind the piece who goes by the name “Sortimid” said the comic strip has nothing to do with race, feminism, or any other flashpoint at the center of cultural identity.

Instead, he says it’s simply an extremely niche form of fetish pornography called “transformation porn,” in which people undergo radical transformations in physicality, gender and all sorts of other attributes.

In this case, he says he was commissioned to create a piece that takes the niche bit of transformation porn called “bimbo transformation” even further. This particular genre typically involves someone becoming a “hyper-feminine, hyper-sexualized caricature,” but the person who commissioned the piece wanted to see the process in reverse.

Other examples on Sortimid’s deviant art page show the niche fetish in its more traditional form, which is usually hinged to a darkly comedic premise.

A number of Sortimid’s fans have risen to his defense but he nonetheless apologized for the controversy.

And in an interview with BuzzFeed tried to bring some transparency to his community, something he never thought would be necessary:

“Perhaps it was naïve of me to assume it was ‘just another transformation.’ People don’t see it as ‘porn’ so they assume it must be a statement. Their criticism is valid. I apologize for advancing those stereotypes. I strive to create erotica that is both sexy and feminist. It seems, in this case, I have failed spectacularly and for that, I apologize. If there’s anything I can do to make up for it, please let me know.”

In a more detailed post on his site, he writes:

To clarify: the image IS sexist. My work IS sexist. If that turns you on, then great! Enjoy fapping! It's meant to be a fantasy! But if you use my work to justify your behavior and real-world beliefs, you might want to do some soul-searching.

And he’s also having a little self-deprecating fun, sharing alternate versions of the comic strip that people have created on his Twitter feed:

This article originally appeared on GOOD.

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

Working parents have always had the challenge of juggling career and kids. But during the pandemic, that juggling act feels like a full-on, three-ring circus performance, complete with clowns and rings of fire and flying elephants.

With millions of kids doing virtual learning, our routines and home lives have taken a dramatic shift. Some parents are trying to navigate working from home at the same time, some are trying to figure out who's going to watch over their kids while they work outside the home, and some are scrambling to find a new job because theirs got eliminated due to the pandemic. In addition to the logistical challenges, parents also have to deal with the emotional ups and downs of their kids, who are also dealing with an uncertain and altered reality, while also managing their own existential dread.

It's a whole freaking lot right now, honestly.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less