Cartoon: Patriarchy is Everywhere


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This is one of the few cartoons that I just straight-up swiped from somebody else.

Well, sort of.

Almost two years ago, feminist writer Anne Thériault posted this tweet:

I love when women are having the I Won’t Take My Husband’s Name Because I Already Have My Own Name conversation & a dude pops in with “but you’ve already taken a MAN’S last name from your dad” and like how clever of you to notice that, yes, the patriarchy is literally everywhere.

I laughed at the tweet and, on an impulse, wrote her asking if I could swipe that for a cartoon. She kindly wrote back “yes,” and I sat down to lay it out and… Couldn’t figure out how it worked as a cartoon. So much of what makes it funny in Anne’s tweet is her sweetly snarky narration, and how does that translate into one of my cartoons, nearly all of which are dialog-based and have no narration?

So into the “I don’t know how to make this cartoon work” folder it went. And nearly two years later I thought of doing it with the characters in earnest; the feminist character earnestly having a realization (or at least, pretending to be earnest), and the anti-feminist character earnestly regretting pushing her into that realization?

That’s very different from Anne’s original tweet, but (at least for my tastes) it makes the cartoon funny. So here we are. I hope Anne likes it when she sees it!


This was fun to draw. I had fun with the characters, and the tiny screens, and figuring out how few colors I could use and still get the look I wanted.

The most fun part, though, was completely gratuitous.

I decided early on to give the feminist character an unnatural hair color, because it would enhance character recognition between the tiny character on the phone screen in panel one, and the character in panel 3, drawn much larger and at a different angle. (The striped orange sleeves on the male character serve the same purpose.)

Somewhere along the line, I thought “well, if she has pink hair, she’d probably have tattoos as well.” And then when I actually sat down to draw it, I had so much fun drawing tattoos that I took way longer than I should have and ended up covering her entire left arm. Her tattoo shows some made-up characters, Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas (Jacks’ partner Sally is on the other arm), and NoFace from Spirited Away (which is one of my favorite movies).


 

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has three panels.

PANEL 1

A hand is holding out a smartphone; on the smartphone, we can see a split-screen showing two people, apparently having a Zoom or Skype call. One of the people is a slightly chubby woman with dyed pink hair; the other is a man wearing a striped shirt and glasses; he has a beard and mustache, and is either naturally bald or (more likely, since he’s doesn’t look very old) has shaved his head.

On the screen, we can see the man is reaching one arm out, towards the camera; presumably, he’s the person holding up the smartphone.

WOMAN: I mean, why would I take my husband’s name? I’ve already got my own name!

MAN: Ha! Feminists are so stupid!

PANEL 2

A shot of the man inside a nice-looking home – there’s an arched doorway behind him, and through the doorway we can see part of a tidy kitchen – as he talk/laughs at the phone he’s holding up. The woman’s voice is coming from the phone.

WOMAN: Excuse me?

MAN: Newsflash, sweetie: “Your” name came from your father, and he’s a man!

PANEL 3

A shot of the woman, inside her home. Behind her is a window, and through the window we can see a hillside with a couple of trees. On a table next to her is an open laptop, with the man on the screen, and a coffee mug. She has slapped a palm to the side of her forehead, as if having a revelation, and is looking up instead of looking at the screen. On the screen, we can see his face looking a little bit panicked as he tries to walk it back.

WOMAN: I see your point! The patriarchy is literally everywhere! You’re right! I have to get more radical!

MAN: Er… No, that’s not what I…

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18 Responses to Cartoon: Patriarchy is Everywhere

  1. 1
    Mookie says:

    The reasoning of Woman is sound and, pace herself, decidedly unradical and in a world ruled by Murc’s Law we are rarely afforded the opportunity to see sympathetic and proportionate portrayals of moderates and progressives being actively influenced by right wing ideas and behavior. Generally, Look What You Made Them Do is a trope reserved exclusively for liberals and leftists when right wingers behave badly or entrench further in outside the mainstream ideological precepts.

    However, I don’t know that Man/Mr Sweetie’s reaction in the last panel is all that realistic, but perhaps my on the ground observations are limited. Isn’t the point of culture war gamemanship from the reactionary side to evince a shamelessly evolving or shifting stance, sincere or no, that forever claims victory irrespective of what their interlocutor says or does and intentionally foments endless engagement while remaining Vulcan-like*? What else is the point of this grift (when materially profitable or profile-raising) or exercise (psychologically/emotionally fulfilling)?

    *that is, not registering actual surprise or dismay and forever doubling down or resorting to fallacy

  2. 2
    Dreidel says:

    I agree with Mookie that the man’s reaction to the feminist’s snarky retort is unlikely. (Yes, I realize that it fits the narrative on this website that all unwoke anti-feminists are stupid and easily bested in any argument.)

    A more likely response would have been along the lines of, “Yeah, you blame everything on the patriarchy, but women like you *can’t* get any more radical…”

  3. 3
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    (Yes, I realize that it fits the narrative on this website that all unwoke anti-feminists are stupid and easily bested in any argument.)

    What on odd narrative to have gleaned from either this website or this cartoon. This cartoon, for sure, seems like it’s about unintended consequences rather than being stupid and losing arguments. But what would I know? My narrative is that all unwoke(tm) anti-feminists are stupid and easily bested in any argument.

  4. 4
    Dreidel says:

    @Jacqueline Onassis Squid

    > “What on odd narrative to have gleaned from either this website or this cartoon.”

    I’ve been reading this website for years, and I’ve yet to see a single cartoon that doesn’t depict everyone who disagrees with, or even innocently questions, the cartoonist’s very far left views as ignorant and bigoted.

    If you can find a cartoon here that refutes my claim, please point it out.

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    Unfair and untrue! Sometimes I depict them as not ignorant or bigoted but just plain evil!

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    More seriously, in general you’re right. (Especially if you add the “or just plain evil” I suggested).

    But I don’t know why you think it’s a problem that a political cartoon uses negative caricatures as avatars of opinions the cartoon criticizes.

    I mean, what do you expect?

  7. 7
    Dreidel says:

    > “I depict them as not ignorant or bigoted but just plain evil!”

    Doesn’t the term “just plain evil” automatically include various specific sins like ignorance and bigotry — as well as unfairness and untruth? Seems like a catch-all, universal term of contempt to me.

  8. 8
    Dreidel says:

    > “But I don’t know why you think it’s a problem that a political cartoon uses negative caricatures as avatars of opinions the cartoon criticizes.”

    I didn’t say it was a problem — just pointed out that the angry intensity of your “negative caricatures” is a bit extreme, and never varies at all from drawing to drawing. So all of your cartoons are as predictable in their singe-minded extremism as a Trump campaign speech.

    I do find your catchy drawing style entertaining, which is why I keep coming back to see your latest cartoon. Your artwork has gotten steadily better over the years, especially with the addition of color.

    So I’ll keep lurking, never mind that our political views are polar opposites.

  9. 9
    Petar says:

    I depict them as not ignorant or bigoted but just plain evil!

    Doesn’t the term “just plain evil” automatically include various specific sins like ignorance and bigotry — as well as unfairness and untruth? Seems like a catch-all, universal term of contempt to me.

    Nope.

    You can be ignorant and bigoted without being evil. At least, that is very much what some people claim to believe about minorities who, for example, vote en block against the interests of homosexuals, transsexuals, etc.

    You can also be evil without being ignorant or bigoted. Well, some people would argue against the above, but some people would argue against anything (I should know) Are you are willing to argue that a priest raping a kid from his flock is a bigot for his belief that his own contributions to the Church’s fortunes outweighs the harm to his victim?

  10. 10
    Dreidel says:

    I normally don’t correct minor typos in my comments, but just to be clear in this case:

    The nonsensical word “singe-minded”in the second paragraph of my 6:28 pm comment is a misspelled “single-minded,” NOT “simple-minded.”

  11. 11
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    Dreidel,

    You’ve moved the goalposts from your original, “…all unwoke anti-feminists are stupid…” to “… ignorant and bigoted.” As I feel sure you’re aware, “stupid” means something completely different than “ignorant” or “bigoted” or both joined together as one giant evil robot from outer space.

    And so I will just point you to the cartoon at the very top of this very page as a cartoon that refutes your claim (and the only claim of yours that I’m addressing) that every cartoon on this blog depicts all anti-feminists, woke or otherwise, as “stupid” as you so precisely put it in your comment @2.

  12. 12
    Görkem says:

    ‘A more likely response would have been along the lines of, “Yeah, you blame everything on the patriarchy, but women like you *can’t* get any more radical…”’

    No, the most likely response is “Yes, do the truly radical thing, quit your job, get married, have kids, and prioritise the interests of wealthy English-speaking white people. Screw the system!”.

    The right loves to claim the mantle of radicalism when it suits them, rhetorically.

  13. 13
    LTL FTC says:

    It’s funny how “rendered speechless and stammering by your flawless argument” is basically non-existent in real conversations like the FaceTime here. Yet you can’t really have an editorial cartoon without it.

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    Although this cartoon isn’t the first, I really don’t do “the right-winger is at a loss for words” endings often. Usually my right-wing characters are smugly full of words to the very end of my cartoons.

    I’ve also done sympathetic characters at a loss for words in a cartoon, as in this cartoon, and this one.

  15. 15
    Mandolin says:

    I feel like the response to this is “and my husband’s last name came from his father. So?” It’s like women are only borrowing names, but a name that came from a father belongs to a man.

  16. 16
    Elkins says:

    It also treats women as strangely bereft of personal history, which I guess fits in with the general lack of recognition of women as people. I mean, yes, my last name comes from my father…but, you know, it has also been a name associated with me from the time I first entered the school system at age four and had it marked on all my stuff, learned to write it down on all my papers, answered to it during roll calls, etc. It’s not as if women suddenly awaken to consciousness sometime in their 20s and only then have a patriarchal surname appointed to them from some authority on high. By the time you reach adulthood, it’s been your name for years, and sure, if you don’t like or identify with it, you can change it, but it’s still the name by which you’ve probably been known for all of your life.

    Of course, it occurs to me that this is kind of a weird comment to write under my online name, which is actually…my mother’s maiden name. But nevertheless.

  17. 17
    Petar says:

    When we got married, both my wife and I kept our last names, because we had publications (mostly hers) and patents (mostly mine) We briefly considered changing our names to a mix of both (and we came with a kickass one, too) when it turned that one week before my 50th birthday, we were getting a daughter.

    Then she was born, and no one had time for nonsense like this. Now I regret it a bit. A Slavic last name is not something you want to be saddled with, in the United States. It’s not a problem yet, because our neighborhood is well, ours, but one day she may want to change it… If she does, it will be her call.

  18. 18
    Görkem says:

    Yes I think what this cartoon misses is that in fact many women do not have their father’s surname. (Many men, too, for that matter – my brother’s daughter has her grandmother’s surname, not her grandfather’s).

    It’s as Mandolin says, most surnames will have been passed through a man at least once in the family history, but it is weird that when it is passed through a man this is considered definitional, but when passed through a woman only transitory.

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