"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Comic Strips and Gender Problems

I suppose any one of us could pull something from popular culture and point out how it's sexist/patriarchal-enforcing/genderstupid; I have a particular for daily comic strips, however, and seeing the sexism there is disheartening to me. Such a simple little thing, and yet they often embody the very sorts of sexism, the day-to-day sort, that tends to wear me out.

The first gender 'theory' stuff I learned was in a communications class in community college: Interpersonal Communication. And my final paper in that class was on sexism in daily comic strips--so maybe I also hold this stuff dearest to my heart because it was my way of getting into the theory in the first place.

At any rate, something that could become a regular thing here, is pointing out some sexism in various daily comic strips, partly for 'fun', and partly just because it's the sort of daily-behind-the-scenes sexism that often gets left behind when we talk theory.

First up, Mr. Boffo:


Where do we start, here? Well, for one thing, this comic sort of has one good thing going for it: It points to the intersectionality of gender and class. Here are the men in the wealthy class, wondering why they don't control everything about gender. But of course, they do control a lot of it, and the downfall here is what we might call 'everyday sexism' or some such. Notions that "rich white men's wacky wives sure do have them confounded" are the themes here. Sure, you don't control *any* of the means of production, but you sure do control your husbands, girls!

Ack.

Thoughts?
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