If you found this comic funny: cool! Next one will be Tuesday! Here’s that Franny Glass cosplay thing I said you wouldn’t get on Tuesday because it’s Christmas for everyone:
(Mona is being Boo Boo)
If you did not find this comic funny, it’s probably because PRIVILEGE IS NOT FUNNY. I thought a lot about whether or not to do this one, and decided that if I did it would require a disclaimer. Thus:
This is funny to me (beyond the fact that coupling any sociological term to pastries and tickle torture is inherently funny) because Cathy and Mona are friends and presumably have been for a while. Presumably they have negotiated, at some point, a way to talk about privilege between them–Mona being cis, Cathy trans, uh if you are new to the strip or something–that works well enough. Cathy trusts & knows Mona to the extent that she can get mad at her about this stuff (rather than like uncomfortably sardonic), Mona trusts & knows Cathy personally to the extent that she can try to bring her out of the Dark Hole that you go into when someone is a jerk to you about something you don’t have control over (a very real Dark Hole) by distracting her through, uh, tickling.
If there were a fourth panel in which Cathy shouted BACK OFF, Mona would do it, and I hope this is clear. And you should too, if you have someone of differing privilege levels than you in your life! But the actual fourth panel (which I hope is implicit in how I’ve shown their relationship before, and here) is that Cathy, in fighting back, like pulls Mona over the counter or something, they fight on the floor (ha ha SUMBIT Cathy SUBMIT / you couldn’t convince a FLY) and like chase each other around the coffee shop, a bus tray is overturned and a bunch of dishes get broken, they have to sweep them up and trade bitter insults the rest of the day at which point Mona gives Cathy a ride home in exchange for printing out a bunch of coupons for the art supply store that she RILLY RILLY NEEDS and Cathy like lectures her about how SHE IS NOT A PRINTING SERVICE and they pick up Betty and get vegan ribs, which they go dutch on, though Cathy has to figure out the tip (and Mona’s short so Betty has to kick in a buck from allowance again.)
It is this implicit fourth panel (uh it’s a really big panel, like a Hieronymous Bosch painting of a panel, okay) that makes this maybe not a bad thing to publish with me. I super do not want to trivialize privilege! It sucks! But I also don’t want to Not Talk About It In Any Way, either, and it’s some part of the dynamic between these two characters that I think is critical–it’s important to who they are that they can and do talk about it in this way, that they can make it into a thing that they can deal with via making fun of, to some extent. If this were the first Bad Mother strip ever posted, like there was no prior context for these characters, I hella wouldn’t post this, and that is maybe significant. But if these things can’t be funny ever–if like the only attitude one can ever have toward being separate-and-unequal from other humans in terms of social categories is like a terrible moral silence forever–like I don’t even wanna do comics kinda. This comic is a fantasy of being able to trust other people.
Obviously I am kind of worried about posting this and sending like potentially Evil Messages into the world. If you feel like I have done this, we can talk about it in the comments, below, if you want, or probably you know how to get in touch with me anyway? If you haven’t, cool, I worried a lot for nothing! I do that! More folks should!
There’ll be more fun comics about Betty and her teacher on Tuesday! THEY WILL INAUGURATE A SHORT STORYLINE ABOUT A SECRET.