"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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gender in Comics: Girlfight

This week, we follow one comic for a week, and the comics almost speak for themselves. That won't stop me from writing something anyway, of course. Also, because of our new format, we can finally show the comics at a readable size!

I really like Non-Sequitur a good deal of the time. For one thing, it's got a single dad raising two girls, which isn't a family situation we see all that often in pop culture. Also, the comic isn't afraid of getting political from time to time, which I like on the comics page. But Non-Sequitur is often fodder for these Gender in Comics pieces, mostly because of the way Danae, who is more often than not the center of the strip, is painted. There's lots to like about Danae--she is a bit of a rascal, with bits of Calvin (sans Hobbes) and Dennis (she's more menacing, really) and a touch of Doonesbury thrown in (Danae aspires to get away with stuff the way politicians often do). But she's also often the vehicle for putting forward gender stereotypes, and this past week took the cake.

First off, we rarely see Danae interacting with other girls. This isn't so different from a lot of comics--Danae has her friend the horse, who plays a similar role the Hobbes does in C&H. But of course, when we do see her interact with a girl, it's all about conflict over a boy:

Girls Are So Mysterious
Jeffrey (!) just can't figger them girls out! They're so wacky! And completely in control of him and his brain, in their quest to outdo each other:

Get the "Leash"
Plus, befuddled boys are just lead around by girls, on a (metaphorical, of course) leash, subject to the whims of girls. If these were adults, you get the idea that the leash would be replaced by...something more intimate:

Also: Men LOVE to Be Objectified!
Because that's so cool, if you're a guy. Men like to be treated like meat because...it makes them more manly...or something:

No Competition, No Interaction
Because girls have nothing better to do than to fight with each other over boys, and because boys have no say in the matter. Oh, except that girls are mean:

It's so cute! The girls are fighting over the boy, but just because they like to fight with each other! And poor boys! Women are way too mysterious for them to ever understand...they'll only get hurt.
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