Women are Secondary in Comics – If You Read the Wrong Ones

I have to link you to the most asinine study I’ve seen in quite awhile. A recent paper concludes that women in the most popular comic strips in America are portrayed as objects, props, and supporting cast. The reason why this is comparable to concluding that water is wet is that the comic strips studied were Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Family Circus, Hagar, Garfield and Dilbert. I’m guessing that Dilbert was the outlier here, because although Alice isn’t the main character, she’s a rational and opinionated personality with her share of punchlines. It’s significant to point out that Dilbert is also the only one of the 6 still being made by the original creator and the only one introduced within the last twenty years. Twenty years is a really, really long time when it comes to attitudes about gender, and none of the other 5 comics have changed significantly with the times. Popularity decided the choices and was based on, by the way, the number of newspapers the strip is featured in, and I think we all know that has nothing to do with how many people out there actually like or enjoy these comics. Rather it has everything to do with how terrified editors are of making changes on the comics page, and how equally reluctant the working stiffs who inherited production are to make the strip grow. Next time, I suggest a study on whether or not feet get cold when not under a blanket at night.


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