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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Issue 8. April 1976]

Ridiculing Women Through Cartoons

Ridiculing Women Through Cartoons

Cartoons, and sexist hurnour in general, warrant a complete investigation of their own.

It's a truism that humour reflects the attitudes of a society. The general anti-woman bias of the press is blatantly embodied in the comic sti strips that (male) editors choose to run, since of course this form of humour operates on the use of stereotypes.

'The Wizard of Id" and "Redeye" are limited to the extremes "old and ugly" and "young and nubile" in their presentation of women. "Footrof Flats" is always based on a rigid division of sex roles, with the concomitant value judgements - (e.g. always a male main character, women seen as vain, timid etc).

The cartoon below is an indictment of the press's attidude to women - similarly, that a series like 'Andy Cap', the humour of which turns on situations of truly brutal oppression, is run at all.

The despair and outrage of many women at their representation in the press is articulated well by Tom Scott, writing on the 1973 Women's Convention in the "Listener":

"The Auckland Star arrived containing a convention photo of mother and child captioned to suggest that baby Oliver would rather have been at the test with the boys.

I thought it a stupid, pathetic, harmless enough gesture and was stunned by the anger that greeted its announcement. I began to perceive the enormity of the despiar and range. It was yet another petty humiliation heaped upon a mountain of such insults, a road toll statistic, part of a whole too huge for comprehension."

Marie Buckley