By Myrna Waldron
I had an absolute ball skewering misogynistic political cartoons last year, so I’ve decided to make this, er, “showcase” a semi-regular feature. It gets a little dull doing feminist analyses of only film and television - feminism is both a political position and a philosophy, so you can apply it to anything. And one thing I have always had an interest in is political cartoons. Particularly, I like ranting about the shitty ones. It’s probably intellectual masochism.
My thanks goes once again to the Something Awful Political Cartoon Thread, whose contributors scour the many political cartoon syndicates and godawful blogs to find these polished turds...mostly so people can yell at them. They have saved me a lot of time and possible loss of sanity. (Not that I had much in the first place)
Last time I limited the focus to the most misogynistic cartoons I could find - this time, it’s just recent cartoons that pissed me off. Variety is the spice of life, donchaknow. Plug your noses, kiddies, cause we’re diving into the dung heap.
|Liberal Media Goliath vs. Poor tiny little FOX News David|
Why won’t someone think of poor little FOX News! Why, it’s just a plucky lil’ guy standing up to the big bad liberal media! The...liberal media almost exclusively owned by giant conglomerates. The liberal media whose ratings can’t even begin to match FOX News’. The liberal media that is only considered liberal in comparison to FOX News, which is so far right wing they’ve shot off into the goddamn stratosphere. Also, check out the reagan.com e-mail address. I love it when they’re unabashed stereotypes.
|A "child's" letter to Obama is spelled bad and therefore they are wrong.|
Aww, look at the stupid little kid. They can’t spell, therefore they are stupid, and the real letters children sent to Obama pleading for gun control are also stupid. How dare those kids become frightened of being murdered when only 20 or so of them were shot to death recently! Guns are far more important than stupid children with pathetically exaggerated spelling errors. Look at that stupid kid equating guns to broccoli. Stupid kid.
|A teenager decides against a mass killing because assault rifles are banned. Good?|
Well, he sure got us there! You’re right, Mr. Asay. We should instead ban guns altogether, because simply banning the massively overpowered assault rifles isn’t enough. And while we’re at it, let’s pour some more funding into mental health services so we can help kids like this! Wait, was that what you were arguing? I’m not sure anymore.
|It used to be idyllic 1950s bullshit! Now women are all divorced and working and stuff.|
Hoo boy look at those gender roles. “Mommy is cooking and wears a skirt! Daddy is fixing a car and wears a hat! And we live in beautiful idealized suburbia that is not at all a figment of an old man mixing his own memories with Leave It To Beaver! ...Oh no! Mommy and Daddy got divorced! How awful! Divorce should never happen ever! And Mommy’s working instead of cooking! She’s supposed to be in the kitchen! Waaaa! Okay give me welfare check now please no that isn’t a non-sequitur what are you talking about.”
|Pinocchio has a dilemma. He wants to deny his employees contraceptive coverage because he's an idiot.|
Isn’t it cute that Asay has completely misunderstood how Plan B/Emergency Contraception works, calling it an Abortion Pill when all it does is prevent a conception that hasn’t happened yet? How appropriate that he has used Pinocchio as his mouthpiece for saying something that is a lie.
|Women are now allowed to serve in combat! Now let's be misogynistic pricks!|
I don’t remember what this guy’s name is. He’s printed in a bunch of college newspapers, but actually published THIS, so he’s Conservative Brony to me forever. The comic strip is called Ralph and Chuck if you care. So, check out this tired and cliched Men’s Rights argument. The draft hasn’t been used in the US since the Vietnam War - a generation ago - and I’m going to go out on a limb here and posit that an almost exclusively left-wing/liberal political movement like feminism is against the draft. And that the main reason why women were exempted from the draft is because of the patriarchal belief that we should be home taking care of the children, and that we’re physically weak or something. And looky here, one of the female characters says “I can’t even kill a spider.” Proving that this concept of weak women is pretty pervasive. Go back to watching ponies, Conservative Brony. You suck at arguments.
Day By Day:
|Lance Armstrong is a "pussy," therefore he is a cheater. Or...something.|
A daily webcomic written by Chris Muir. I talked about this comic a bit in the last Political Cartoon rant, but I’ll summarize it again. The grey haired dude is Muir’s self-insert. The redhead is Sam, who is half-Irish, half-Japanese and all T&A. He uses this fictional woman as a mouthpiece for MRA bullshit. He also has a black male character named Damon who he also uses as a mouthpiece on racial issues. It’s about as pathetic and offensive as you can imagine. So check this shit out. Male values are honour, truth and logic. Female values are feelings-over-fact, group-think and consumerism. He says this crap to his wife. And she somehow gets a “Lance Armstrong has been emasculated and that's why he cheated” inference from this, and uses a misogynistic insult? Is this also making fun of his testicular cancer? I...don't get it...what?...okay, moving on.
|HILLARY CLINTON IS UGLY AND I DON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUPPETS AND MARIONETTES!|
HILLARY CLINTON IS 65 YEAR OLD WOMAN WHO NEEDS GLASSES MUST INSULT LOOKS FIRST HELL YEAH I GOT ONE OVER ON THAT BITCH. I’m not going to even read the rest of this shit. His arguments and talking points are unreadable and his metaphors make no sense. (You don’t put your hands up marionettes you moron) Also, fun fact, Muir’s single. I wonder why.
|Liberals are dumb and they don't know how guns work.|
Allie is one of the great tragedies of political cartooning. Such a good artist with a distinctive style, and occasionally very funny...but manages to take the worst possible position about everything. But I suppose I’m just as partisan in my left-wing views as he is in his right-wing ones. I included this cartoon not because it’s particularly offensive (it’s mostly vacuous) but because the labels on that gun are actually pretty funny. Mourn that we have lost this talent to the “enemy.”
|You should feel bad about abortion because of Dead Baby Heaven!|
It’s depressing how little pro-lifers actually understand about the abortion process. Varvel either thinks that all aborted babies are practically full-term, or that they magically stop being blobs of cells once they go to heaven. I have to wonder if miscarriages, stillbirths, etc are also included in this charming Dead Baby Heaven. So tell me, Mr. Varvel, if all 55 million of those babies were born, would you have been willing to give up more taxes so that the mothers could receive prenatal care and compensation for missed work, and so that these kids could be housed, clothed, and fed? Would you endorse comprehensive sex-ed that discussed contraception? Judging from your pro-life peers, I wouldn’t think so. (Also thanks for drawing the Asian babies with slanted slit eyes. Very inclusive of you.)
|HOLLYWOOD IS TO BLAME FOR EVERYTHING GOD BLESS AMERICA|
What a tired, boring, flawed and cliched argument. It astounds me how many people will point their fingers at violent media and claim it is the cause of gun violence. Canada gets the exact same media that the US does. A lot of people don’t seem to get just how similar our countries are when it comes to our culture. Want proof? I'm a Canadian ranting about American politics. Now, I’m going to throw a few statistics at you guys. In 2011, there were a total of 598 homicides in Canada, 27% of which were firearm related. Now get ready for this one. In the US, there were 12,664 homicides in 2011, and 8,583 of those were firearm related. The US has approximately 10 times the population of Canada, but I’m pretty sure those statistics aren’t proportional with that. There is a systematic problem with violence in the United States. You guys are absolutely infatuated with firearms and militaristic jingoism. Canada has the same media. Canada has a large hunting population. But we don’t have the gun violence problems that you do. The cause of gun deaths is not Hollywood violence, which is merely a symptom of gun culture, it’s YOU, America. And it’s time to admit it.
|Soldiers who died in combat are equivalent to aborted fetuses. Okay then.|
Is it 55 million abortions or 54 million? Come on guys, if you’re going to make this a talking point at least be consistent about it. What happened to the extra million fetuses? Did Obama eat them? Also, that must be an enormous dumpster if it can hold all those fetuses. I don’t even have a real argument or any sarcasm for this one. It’s just exasperating.
|Women in the military don't want to be on the front lines, don't be silly!|
Isn’t it nice of Ms. Benson to speak for all women? She personally does not want to go on the front lines, therefore no women will, I guess? Even though they’ve basically been in combat (or at least very dangerous) situations all along? And since she’s wearing the same football uniform, she volunteered for this? And hey, notice how tiny she drew the woman in comparison to the big hulking man on the bench there. Teeny tiny women have to be protected from big bad Muslims!
Me And Folly:
|WOMAN = BABY. DEAD BABY BAD. NO BABY IN COMBAT. WHO CARES ABOUT WOMAN.|
I think this is just some small time blogger rather than a published cartoonist. But, uh, wow. Let’s dissect this one. The caption literally associates women solely with babies. The captured woman is drawn with a cute little blonde ponytail and ribbon, needlessly re-identifying her as female (we can see the pregnant stomach, buddy) while infantilizing her at the same time. Her being blonde is also subtextually significant - blonde women are usually white, and in the media, it is almost always white women in peril who make the news, not anyone else. This cartoon colludes with the media's implication that white women are of more value than women of colour. So how about that baby? The baby is apparently very close to full-term. And I guess it’s making a lame draft joke? So...is the argument seriously that the US Military would be sending heavily pregnant women to the front lines, and that women are basically assumed to be constantly pregnant? Also, once again, teeny tiny white woman captured by the big bad Muslim.
|Hillary Clinton desecrates the Benghazi victims' graves because she is a Democrat.|
Fffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. The first time I saw this cartoon, I had a verbal nuclear explosion on Twitter. If you’re unfamiliar with the names on those tombstones, they were the victims of the attack which took place at the Libyan embassy in Benghazi. This incident will always be a very sensitive issue for Something Awful forum members, as Sean Smith, aka Vilerat, was a well-respected moderator of the Debate & Discussion subforum where the Political Cartoons thread is located. Regardless of my personal feelings, there are two BIG problems with this cartoon.
First, laying the blame for these attacks at Hillary Clinton’s feet is both unfair and pointless. He has also used her “What difference does it make?” quotation out of context in a pathetic attempt to discredit her. She was not shrugging off the Benghazi deaths - she was arguing that wasting time trying to place blame for the deaths is pointless and counterproductive. Regardless of how this could have been prevented, 4 Americans are still dead, the past cannot be changed, and what is more important now is to find their killers, bring them to justice, and prevent this from happening again. His answer, “The difference between life and death,” makes no sense in reference to the context of her rhetorical question - proving that he’s just regurgitating talking points without actually researching them.
The second major problem is Ramirez’s use of the Benghazi victims as political mouthpieces. These men were murdered while doing their jobs. It’s a terrible tragedy, and whether it could have been prevented or not is irrelevant now. These men are dead. They cannot speak for themselves anymore. But Ramirez is using murdered men to speak for him. He’s depicting Hillary Clinton desecrating their graves, while hypocritically desecrating their memory by using them to promote complete bullshit. Using those who cannot speak to speak for you is the utmost of cowardice. Ramirez is a liar, a coward, and a hypocrite. I hope his God forgives him, cause I sure as hell won’t.
|Obama is a far-left liberal because American conservatives have no goddamn idea what "far-left" means.|
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No.
|Mental Health in America will kill stupid monkey Obama because he's making stupid gun laws.|
I was initially annoyed and insulted at the insensitive depiction of mental health problems as a giant murderous gorilla, but I’m going to instead digress a little and talk about that Obama caricature. Lots of Obama caricatures are terrible (Ramirez’s being one of the worst ones) and a lot of them are subtly racist. But none can match the sheer racism of Bish’s Obama. Here’s a second example of his Obama caricature from last year. Giant flappy ears, giant eyebrows, giant lips. He has not drawn an African-American human being. He’s drawn a monkey.
|Parents should beat their kids to discipline them and then something about abortion?|
So what’s your point, Wise? People say stupid things? You haven’t somehow discredited the entire liberal/progressive movement by depicting a conversation in which a dumbass blurted out a poorly reasoned non-sequitur. Also, stop trying to justify beating your kids you psycho. Jesus.
|NOOOOOO MY ROSE-COLOURED 1950S CHILDHOOD IS DEAD BECAUSE A MAN IS GAY|
You heard it here first, folks. A loving same-sex couple trying to open an orphanage is exactly as evil and offensive as a meth addict and a murdered prostitute. If this was inspired by Jim Nabors’ coming out (and it probably was), Wise is an astoundingly hateful old man. Nabors married the man he’s been with for almost 40 years. What is so wrong with an elderly man finally getting to legalize his relationship with the love of his life? What prompted these ridiculous comparisons? What harm has Nabors done? Why won’t Baby Boomers give up their fucking delusional idyllic memories of the 1950s?
|Her name is Purge Daley. Bulimia. Ha ha.|
|Purge Daley is a rich snob. Ha ha.|
|Purge Daley hates fat people. Ha ha.|
|Everyone in Hollywood is liberal including Purge Daley. Ha ha.|
|Purge Daley doesn't get how guns work. Ha ha.|
|Purge Daley watches films not made in America, the traitor. Ha ha.|
Finally, I present a series of strips from the conservative comic strip Mallard Fillmore, drawn by Bruce Tinsley. It’s billed as the conservative Doonesbury, but it isn’t even 1/8th as clever. The premise is just...a talking duck that is a conservative news reporter. He’s also an incredibly petty asshole - every Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he goes out of his way to not acknowledge it, and instead depicts a strawman telling him off for not acknowledging “Squirrel Appreciation Day.” So what we’ve got here is basically the same joke repeated 6 times. El oh el, the supermodel’s name is Purge Daley. Bulimia, geddit? Eating disorders are high-larious! And this is the strawmanniest strawman that ever strawed. I don’t even know where to begin with this. He criticizes fat-shaming, and yet hypocritically insults people with eating disorders at the same time. I don’t think I should have to bother engaging with deliberately nonsensical arguments. But I will say that people who refuse to watch movies with subtitles DO suck, so go to hell Tinsley, you xenophobic sexist fuck.
...I think I need a stiff drink.
Myrna Waldron is a feminist writer/blogger with a particular emphasis on all things nerdy. She lives in Toronto and has studied English and Film at York University. Myrna has a particular interest in the animation medium, having written extensively on American, Canadian and Japanese animation. She also has a passion for Sci-Fi & Fantasy literature, pop culture literature such as cartoons/comics, and the gaming subculture. She maintains a personal collection of blog posts, rants, essays and musings at The Soapboxing Geek, and tweets with reckless pottymouthed abandon at @SoapboxingGeek.