The Not-So-Funny Funnies…

October 8, 2016

When I was growing up, I was told often that I was too sensitive.

The ‘too’ and the tone of voice saying the above words made me believe that being sensitive was a bad thing.

Only very recently have I realized that being sensitive is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people have created masterpieces in their chosen fields because they are sensitive observers of parts of The Universe.

And, I finely figured out, that being sensitive is a character trait and not one that needs to be changed. ie I think I like my sensitivity.

My sensitivity can see lots of things that will contribute to a better world and a lot of things that we can easily and better be without.

And, because of this, I can even see the things that should not be in the comic strips:


July 1983

The Not-So-Funny Funnies…

by Tanya Lester

Just like racial jokes, sexist humour is geared towards making people laugh by attempting to reduce other people to the level of idiots. To get a laugh, depends on a person`s baser needs to feel superior.

It takes a much more talented artist to create something that does not abuse the rights of other human beings.

Every once in a while I will read some of these cartoons to find out if they have improved any. They seldom do. `Blondie’, for example, is still as spinny as ever.

In a recent strip, Blondie goes absolutely berserk over losing her wedding ring. Well, given the low economic status of many women, I can understand this. Maybe she felt she could sell the ring for some needed cash in the event that she should decide a parting of the ways with Dagwood.

But when Blondie dashes into a store and asks if anyone has found the ring, one woman replies, “Wedding ring? I`d settle for just a husband.”

But what about Andy and Flo in “Andy Capp”? They are constantly having fist fights.

Under these conditions, it should not be surprising that Flo stays with Andy. It is a fact battered women stay with their partners long after they should have escaped. They may still love the non-violent aspects of the men or they cannot afford to leave for lack of money and confidence. It`s nothing to chuckle about.

Then, there`s"Beetle Bailey". Recently, Beetle and a fellow officer are pictured heading down to the beach. Beetle's friend says, "Beautiful days like this usually bring out beautiful things." You guessed it! The "things" he is referring to are women.

Of course, there are the double stereotypes. The loudmouthed, domineering woman/girl and the `henpecked’ man/boy which include the Viking Queen and Hagar in “Hagar the Horrible” and Lucy and Charlie in “Peanuts”, are further examples of sexist cartoons.

Actually, I sort of admire Lucy. She is certainly good at and enjoys debating the issues with her male counterparts. She would probably make a good leader for an assertiveness training workshop.

But when I was a kid, I thought Lucy was a rotten person. I did not think of her as a girl who stands up for her rights. She is portrayed as too much of a loudmouth and name-called to be a really good role model.

Nor did I like Margaret in “Dennis the Menace”. Margaret`s character is still too finicky and nagging. She is a neat freak. Lately, she went into an absolute tirade over a “tiny speck floating” in the lemonade which Dennis gave her.

This is so unrealistic. Come visit my apartment sometime, on one of its off-days, if you believe women have a natural tendency to want to keep everything spotless and tidy. Margaret and her kind, although we might not like them, help to further ingrain the guilt we have learned to feel everytime there are dirty dishes lying in the kitchen sink even when it might be someone else`s turn to do them.

But females are so often made to look like fools, especially when they are outspoken, in the comic strips. In “The Amazing Spiderman”, right out of the blue, Peter asks Sam why she is so bitter towards men.

“Because Ive had to claw and fight and be twice as good to compete in a man's world! But I made it! I'm a scientist, a doctor!", Sam replies. It's a good enough answer. Many women have had to do the same and would agree with Sam`s statement.

Right after she says this, though, Peter intercepts a petrified rock that comes hurling towards Sam. The message is clear; Sam still needs a man to protect her.

Male cartoonists do make exceptions to the general rule. In “Animal Crackers”, macho Lance calls up Lana and asks her if she wants to go to a ladies mud-wrestling exhibition.

Lana says no because “it’s an unspeakable affront to the dignity of women and can only appeal to demented male-chauvinist pigs with brains the size of walnuts.”

Then there are the women cartoonists and the difference in Lynn Johnston’s “For Better or For Worse” and Cathy Guisewite’s “Cathy” creations are striking when compared with male cartoonists’ work.

Elly and Cathy are not Barbie Dolls. They are struggling with life and their identities and emotions. Neither of them is the kind of woman I want to be, but each is so often the woman that I am.

I get tired of Cathy when she carries on about her men friends, or when she dresses up to a fight with Alvin. But then again, that is how women have been taught: look good when dealing with men and you’ll have the upper hand. When I get annoyed with Cathy for being like this, it’s like getting annoyed with a friend or myself.

The same goes for Elly in “For Better or Foinr Worse”. If she wants to get paid for the column she is writing for the local newspaper then why doesn’t she demand it or quit? But then, why don’t I demand more money for myhy writing?

Feminists need more than Cathy and Elly can provide. The day a daily non-sexist comics comes to my door is still light years away, so we have to start looking elsewhere for feminist humour.


Tanya has been doing psychic readings, including tea leaf reading and tarot, for 20 years. She is also a reiki master and a house sitter with six years experience. To find out more about the services she offers go to web: or to her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Or email her at or call her at 250-538-0086 cell.

Read more of her posts at or

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (purchase from the author or, Friends I Neverr Knew, Dreams and Tricksters, and Women Rights/Writes. Look for them in libraries or if you own a copy of one of her books, consider donating it to a library.






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