Only puzzlement is that the author (who is trans) makes a point of it being a gender queer comic but so far that aspect has not introduced itself at all into the storyline and we’re on chapter 3 now. It’s a slow updater with one panel every other week.
I’m not entirely sure how it could fit into a storyline if it’s being treated like it is now–something that everyone just knows about. Eth is genderqueer, and the proper pronoun is they. Even the selkie knew better than to just use he or she. Without some sort of discrimination, I’m not sure how Esk’s gender actually matters.
The comic is also a queer comic, and that’s apparent with Miira’s girlfriends and Töby’s mothers.
Re Toby I didn’t see any obvious “2 mothers” indicator or statement. I thought the two women were his proclaimed mother and the other women was his sister. I also didn’t see any romantic relationship indicated with Mira and her other girlfriends.
Per your note the “they” does make sense now. It confused me at the time. Eth’s physical presentation however is not the least female physically. Eth is built like a squat brick with broad shoulders, no breasts, thick hairy legs and cankles. Even the Selkie thought Eth wanted her for a Selkie wife. So …Eth is a bio male but a female mentally?
I mean, my gender identity and preferences are certainly an important part of who I am, but I don’t bring them up constantly. The who genderqueer thing should be brought up where appropriate, but not mentioned where it isn’t relevant. So the pronouns reflect it, but other things may or may not.
As I understand it, being genderqueer is not inherently about being physically androgynous (though some genderqueer people are or present themselves as such) any more than being homosexual is inherently about a man being effeminate in body language and speaking with a lisp.
You were asking about the genderqueer element to the comic. Well, this is it. Eth isn’t going to be defined by any traditional gender markers. They’re not a butch looking woman, or a man who thinks of themself as female. The comic expects its readers to accept Eth as is, without being pidgeonholed into any gender, even oppositionally.
They were explicitly stated to be his moms. When Esk got the skin, Töby said he’d go ask his mums what to do.
And Miira says “these are my girlfriends” and then apparently kisses at least one of them before they leave. I guess technically she could be just rather affectionate and have just meant “my friends who are girls,” but that seems weird. Most people would just introduce their female friends as “friends.”
No, Eth is genderqueer. They are neither male nor female mentally. You’re mixing up genderqueer and trans genderism.
I also saw Eth as having a biologically male body at first. It took until they spelled out what pronoun they prefer for me to figure out they were genderqueer. But, when I was checking back, I found I could easily see Eth as looking biologically female. I just had to think about real life women (especially queer women) instead of how comics usually indicate women.
Plus, well, that hair!
As for what Rel thought–she* wouldn’t have asked about pronouns if she was sure Eth was male. I think it’s quite likely that, in this queer world, marriage and gender aren’t linked like in our world.
Plus, well, that’s what people do when they take selkie skins, according to the mythology. You take their skin so they will have to marry you.
*For the sake of this post, I’m assuming that Rel is female. But I could see the idea that she is not, even though we saw breasts and the reference to a bride. Until someone uses a pronoun, you can never tell in genderqueer works.
I absolutely adore this web comic, and have been earnestly waiting to read its continuation.
I love Sfé R. Monster’s simple yet elegant style, I also love their highly imaginative monster art.
If you like Eth’s Skin, I highly recommend Seven Stories From the Sea, also by Sfé R. Monster. This short and very moving story, told entirely by pictures, deals very intimately with the issue of gender identity.
Eth’s Skin, by contrast, seems to be “gender queer” in a very subtle way. I am interested to see how the main character and supporting characters will be developed, and of course I’m interested to see Just how Eth is going to get out of their predicament.
I do wonder if the author is intending to create an allegory with the idea of shedding skin (Rel) or letting go of a skin (Eth).