This comic was spawned from a discussion we had in my freshman literature class.  This class was, for all intents and purposes, really just a gender studies class.  The teacher was super into reading or watching stuff so we could discuss how females and males were portrayed differently in fiction.  She was really into Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, for example, what with it being one of the first Disney animated films where, y’know, the girl has, like, interests.  And was literate.  And that the handsome dude in it was the villain, which was revolutionary.  I hadn’t really thought about most of this stuff before, and so I thought it was all fascinating.  It was my first baby steps into feminism.

Anyway, one day we were talking about shampoo?  And how girl stuff is all fruity and pink and guy stuff tries to be as far away from feminine as possible?  I dunno, it was fifteen years ago.  That class was one of the few places that I was actually known as the Guy Who Writes That Comic In The Newspaper.  I was mostly a recluse.  And I think maybe someone asked if the discussion was going to make it into the strip?  And so I guess it did.

There may have been a cute girl in that class I was trying to get the attention of.  I forget.  I was incredibly inept at it.

Anyway, the gender studies class taught by Leslie in Dumbing of Age is largely inspired by this literature class.  I figured, hey, let’s drop the whole original pretense and just make the damn thing an actual gender studies class, right?  So there you go.