54 thoughts on “March 31, 2016

  1. I was so hoping stuff like that (mansplaining) would stay away from this comic. It doesn’t mean anything and all it does is make the user look like a nutcase. Also…. I thought Marla stayed away from stuff like tumblr and only used Facebook for socializing at home?

    • Couldn’t agree more. I hear enough about this crap, from both sides, elsewhere. Why does even argument have to be gendered? If a sexist woman were to make the same arguments Stuart were making, would that still be mansplaining?

      Stuart’s part in this is self-explanatory, I feel, but nobody should assume that I’m sympathising with him.

    • So you’ve never had a man explain to you things you already know, or tell you that something that doesn’t exist because he hasn’t personal experience of it?

    • It’s a very real phenomenon, it happens all the time in real life, and raising the issue in a comic seems appropriate if it’s relevant to the story line. Stuart is being a terribly sexist, condescending troglodyte; there’s nothing wrong with Marla calling it out.

      • But “mansplaining” in a general sense, is used to shut down men any time they have a disagreement with a woman, under the guise of “You can’t possibly understand anything about this situation because you’re a man and therefore can have no input.” which is just as sexist as what Stuart is doing. Almost identically so, seeing as how hes saying “As a woman, you can’t understand a man’s point of view, and thus can have no input.”

        I’m not supporting Stuart in the slightest, but I can’t get behind Marla when she uses such… loaded terminology. I get that Marla says she’s not using it lightly, but it still raises alarm bells.

        Basically, they both look like children here.

      • All mansplain means is a “man disagreed with me” or “a man said something I didn’t like”. As Komari already said, the attitude you describe is called being condescending.

        • That’s so not what mansplaining means.

          Mansplaining is when a man tries to explain something to a woman in a way that shows the man thinks she’s incapable of understanding because she’s a woman. Yes, it’s being condescending but it’s gendered condescending. It’s an explanation that wouldn’t be given to a fellow man.

          • If it’s basically just being condescending why do you need a specially made up word for it? Also why make it gendered in the first place? You could call it “condesplain” as in a combo of condescend and explain.

          • “If it’s basically just being condescending why do you need a specially made up word for it? ”

            To describe specific situations in which a particular form has occured.

            That’s how all specific terms arise.

            Did…did I seriously just have to explain why people might use a specific term to describe a specific form of something? Come on people, this is neologisms 101.

    • It means a condescending explanation, by a man to a woman, of a situation or arguement on the basis of unwarranted gender assumptions about her capability or understanding.

      It has a meaning. Not agreeing with that meaning does not cause that meaning to no longer exist.

      • Ignoring the meaning and using the word to justify your own bigotry and willful ignorance practically does. Not YOU of course, I’ve never met you.

        • Ignoring the meaning does not mean it does not have a meaning.

          You claimed it has no meaning, I addressed this by pointing out that it was wrong.

          Don’t move the goalposts onto people that misuse the term. That wasn’t your original contention and you know it.

          • My original point still stands, it’s a meaningless and useless tumblr word.. It’s inclusion in the dictionary was based off popularity and nothing more.

          • Yes, god forbid the dictionary try to keep a tabs on words that are in popular usage. It’s not like that’s part of the reason dictionaries were incepted and continue to exist. Oh wait, it is.

            And your original point never stood. It has a meaning. It’s useful to people who know the meaning and wish to convey that they experienced that situation. Thus your original point is catagorically false.

    • …you realize this “stuff” exists outside Tumblr?

      …and that “mansplaining” might be a newish words, but the concept it describes is very, very, very



      very very very old.

      • Once again that concept is called “being condescending” and it transcends all boundaries. Making up a new word to describe it is unnecessary.

        • Except plenty of people are finding the new word to be quite useful. Calling it ‘unnecessary’ isn’t an arguement, and is utterly subjective.

          You aren’t the only person that gets to decide what words to use.

          *sent from my ‘electronic mobile cellular telephone device produced by Apple’ as dag has forbidden me from using new specific words like ‘iPhone’ when older words would already do.

          • Oh my god why are people pitching such a fit over a term? Also, debasing a woman’s argumentation that’ valid just because she used a term you don’t like it’s… Well, stupid? And I personally think the term mansplaining doesn’t fit what stuart is doing here, it’s just that people in a bid to be anti feminist/woman/whatever are literally focusing on the dumbest thing.

  2. I still don’t like calling other stores for things. It isn’t helpful to climb through a phone tree only to be put on hold and get transferred to four people before making one walk the entire sales floor (getting interrupted dozens of times int he process) only to tell me to tell the customer on my end that ‘no, sorry ma’am we don’t have that blue dress cause it looks green.’

    1. No Bat Phone!
    2. No Direct Line!
    3. Less care since i’m not a real customer and have no ‘weight’ to push around

    • Your Bro, it’s time to leave Sunday’s strip and move on.

      I’m more than ready to meet Bryce and see how much of an a** he is. I’m also ready either for Stuart to get his comeuppance or Marla to quit.

  3. In the real world, Stuart would be on the end of a sexual discrimination lawsuit. Probably no such consequences in a comic strip, though.

  4. As I said. Trump voter. Marla was probably not even thinking about her words, but he instantly went OH NO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS and then took it personally.

    There are times when you can tell someone is, indeed, using gender-neutral language just to be a butt. This is not one of those times (except maybe on a meta level, since Norm chose to make an issue out of it).

    • No need to get political. Nothing wrong with considering every qualified person for the position, regardless of gender.

  5. Maybe we will finally see an interaction to someone above Stuart. We have not seen any communication above Stuart for a long time

    • I do remember the female executive who warned Stuart that she expected him to hire Marla (and he was thinking of hiring Josh)

      He clearly has disdain for women and his treatment of Marla shows this.

      • Are you talking about Lara Silver, the Regional Director who promoted Stuart to District Manager?


        Lara Silver never told Stuart to promote Marla to Store Manager. She only said that she needed a District Manager with a more progressive attitude, in general, than Jerry Deco, the misogynistic previous District Manager whose Store Managers were over 90% male.

        Jerry was the one who refused to promote Marla because she’s a woman, and on one occasion, Jerry considered replacing Stuart with Marla simply because they could get away with paying her less (because she’s female). I doubt that Lara Silver knew those details, though.

        Promoting Marla to Store Manager was something Stuart did on his own. Granted, though,he did it for purely selfish reasons. He was just trying to convince Lara Silver to promote him to District Manager.

        Odds are, before Stuart mentioned her, Lara Silver probably didn’t even know who Stuart’s assistant manager was.

        The only other female executive I can remember was Connie, one of two District Managers who briefly replaced Jerry when he temporarily left Grumbel’s. (The other replacement DM was Gary.)

        But as far as I can remember, Marla was never hired or promoted for anything during the time Connie was in the strip.

        I’m open to correction if I’m wrong.

  6. I really hope something will come of this, because otherwise it’s just abuse heaped on Marla for the week, and I can read about abuse heaped on undeserving people in many other places.

    • And to some extent, abuse heaped on the reader. It’s one thing to raise an emotionally charged issue, it’s another to spend 3 days on it.

  7. Stewart has already made up his mind and no matter what happens, he will explain it in HIS way. HE has thrown down a gauntlet.

    This is all related to Gender. Stewart has a bias, and I hope it is not just exposed and then dropped.

  8. I wonder who hired Marla to be assistant manager since it seems Stuart doesn’t seem to want women in power there, and I doubt the old DM would have done it since he couldn’t stand her.

    • It would be nice to get a prequel to this strip, since when it begins Marla is already AM and we don’t know how long she’s held the position from that point. I would love some backstory. Maybe Norm could do a backstory like they did on Sally Forth recently when they explained to Hilary (their daughter) about how they broke up and got back together in college.

  9. I’m with Marla. I’m not a fan of the term “mansplaining”, and it gets used far too broadly, but people like Stuart are why the term was invented.

  10. I can’t stand this! She just needs to go around him and just go to his Boss. I know it’s a comic but it just hits too much close to home some times!

  11. I saw people at my supermarket doing inventory, so here’s my prediction about the AM. He is totally incompetent, he doesn’t know what to do, he messes things up, and he doesn’t deserve to be here, That is my prediction.

    And also I had a dream where Jerry came back and had to be Marla’s assistant

  12. I found this an interesting observation …

    The commentors on TV Tropes suggested that the characterizations in the Retail comic strip might indicate a gender bias (perhaps an unconscious one) on Norm Feuti’s part. That is, a bias that favors women :


    “Women Are Wiser : For the first several years of the strip, women in positions of authority (Marla, Val, Connie, Lara) were always portrayed positively, as intelligent, caring, sensible, and fair-minded leaders. By contrast, men in positions of authority were all depicted negatively – Stuart and Josh are arrogant Corporate stooges, Jerry a misogynist, Gary insisted on holding annoying and useless training seminars, and Bradley a gloating, insufferable jerkass who tried to steal his competitor’s employees.

    As of late 2013, this trend has diminished somewhat, with Cooper’s promotion to stockroom supervisor and the introduction of the Delman’s managers, the sympathetic Greg and the manipulative backstabber, Mina. Additionally, in 2014, the Grumbel’s got a competent, non-prickish male assistant manager in Arthur (in an early interaction with Marla, Marla realizes that Arthur basically is what she was as AM).”

    • You forgot Lunker. When it comes to true wisdom, no one surpasses him. So if you want to talk about men being shown in a positive light…

      And yes, he’s not a supervisor. But I take it for granted that’s ultimately a matter of choice. Given that it’s retail, another measure of his wisdom.

  13. Norm, I like you, and I like Marla, so I’ll just assume this is you using a buzzword to get hits…and that’s cool.

    But know that the people who unironically use “mansplaining” are simpletons of the highest order.

    • That’s correct, but that doesn’t mean Stu won’t try and keep it that way. Arthur was a Marla hire even though he was a Man but Stu didn’t have a say because well it’s Marla’s store. In this regard because Marla isn’t trying to be pigeon holed into hiring another man and wanting to keep her options open for an INDIVIDUAL that will fit the bill, Stu isn’t having any of it. So Stu in this case has demonized her decision making skills because he honestly “believes” she’ll choose a woman, thus showing his true colors about Women in authoritative positions.

      It doesn’t matter who was hired in the past and filled the AM role to him. What matters is that there is a Man in the position now and that it’s his choice.

      I honestly hope a Woman comes along and gets hired, or at least just have Marla bring a Female AM on board just to make him squirm. I don’t care about the personality of the character at this point, other than the fact that Marla uses every opportunity to rub it in his face. He may use the chance to point his fingers and say, “I was right!”, but it’ll just make his case even worse down the road when karma finally comes around and knocks him down a peg or five.

      Now that’s something I’d love to see!

    • Yes, and the last one was Stuart’s recommendation, too. Yet Stuart seems to be pushing this pretty hard for some reason. I can only guess it’s to further the story arc that Norm has in mind.

      I think Stuart would be smarter just to point out that the longer Marla takes to hire a new AM, the more double-shifts she may have to pull. I’m sure she remembers what it was like.

  14. Thank you, Norm, for including content like this in your strip. “Retail” is about the many trials and occasional delights of *working in retail*—and condescending sexism, especially from management, is 100% A Thing that happens in retail and elsewhere in the working world.

    (Even if some troglodytes prefer to believe sexism was invented by Tumblr in 2013 or whatever.)

    • Oh that’s nice, insult the people who disagree with you. That will get people on your side for sure. Please point out the post in which I made such a claim or kindly apologize.

    • Cassandra, strawman arguments are not helpful.

      None of the commentors here said that sexism doesn’t exist, or that it somehow didn’t exist prior to Tumblr and 2013.

      The debate they were having was over the word “mansplaining” itself and whether or not it should be used, not whether or not the problem it refers to actually exists.

      By the way, I have seen a number of devotedly feminist women, both on the Internet and in real life, who have objected to the use of the word “mansplaining” as well. I have also seen the word “mansplaining” used to describe feminist women who criticize the activities of other feminists. How’s that for ironic?

      Objecting to the use of a word is not the same thing as saying that what the word is intended to refer to doesn’t exist.

      • Yes, people who believe that women should be in their place or home making sandwiches are troglodytes. They’re not simply disagreeing, they’re being sexist and discriminating on many levels (especially if they’re in positions of power over other people). I’m so tired of seeing the argument ‘Respect everyone’s opinion!’ ‘But he said I’m inferior for being a woman!’ ‘You still gotta respect who disagrees with you!’ ‘I gotta respect who thinks I’m subhuman?!?’ ‘He’s just disagreeing on your views, respect his opinion’ ‘Argh!’. <- Now this is hyperbolic but that's what happens; people being horridly sexist and women are still asked to be civil and respectful to people that treat them badly because of their gender… Of course telling actual sexist, disrespectful people to be respectful is not a thing, apparently, no, let's yell at women for sticking up to themselves.

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