Tuesday, July 24, 2007


By: Osvaldo Macedo de Sousa

During my twenty e five years of investigation and production of events in the field of graphic humour, for several times I was confronted with the issue of absence of women in my events, in events of others, or in the press.
On more than one occasion I tried to organize a forum on this issue, to make an exhibition ... but never had the necessary supports, since this is an "uninteresting" theme. The opportunity came around now with AmadoraCartoon, one of the sub-components of the Festival, of which I am the Curator.
I contacted more than a hundred women-cartoonists over the five continents (of 30 countries) and only got a reply from two-dozen artists (of 9 countries). On the other hand, only successful women were contacted (there are no data or records about the other...), when 90 to 99% of them stand only by the intention or the dream, those being the ones that would have more to say about the difficulties and obstacles they found.
The Cartoonists there answer my are: Anja Brand-Heemskerk (Netherlands), Antónia Toneva Beeroo (Bulgária), Catherine Doherty (Canada), Cesarina Silva (Portugal), Donna Barr (USA), Elena Steier (USA), Eve Miles (USA), Elizabeth W. Pankey (USA), Gerrie Hondius (Netherlands), Horacek (USA), Ioana Nikolova (Bulgária), Jan Eliot (USA), Joanne Applegate (Australia), Karen Fulk (USA), Martha Montoya (Colombia), Megan Kelso (USA), Nani (Adriana Mosquera) (Colombia), Neda Gougouchkova (Bulgária), Nezhna Filipova (Bulgária), Ourideia (USA), Raquel Orzuj (Uruguai) , Sepideh Anjomrooz (Irão), Signe Wilkinson (USA), Susan Kelso (Canada), Susan Moreno (USA), Trina Robbins (USA)


"Your approach really is dreadful" ironizes Gerrie Hondius. Donna Barr satirizes: What a peculiar question. I suppose it is as much a man's job as laying tile or cooking spaghetti." Are we, or are we not, in the field of irreverence? We all know that a woman's brain and intelligence is absolutely equal to a man's, that in creativity there is no difference among races, genders, or ages ... there's no need to tell me that. However, the truth is that there are almost no women in this profession.
I know it sounds a sexist question, but when we look at the history of caricature/cartoon of different countries, very seldom women's names emerge. Why is this so ?
"Your question – Trina Robbins writes – is the answer: It's a male-dominated field, and as in every male dominated field, men traditionally don't want to give up their boys' club. Look at the Taliban as the most extreme example of a boys' club: they're so threatened by losing their power if women possibly gain equality that they prevent them from reading, going to school, holding jobs, even being seen in public!"
"Caricature is not a man's job, - adds Antonia Toneva Beeroo - but it has been accepted as such due to the bold content, which some caricatures have to convey."
"Always I ask myself: Why there are not famous women cartoonists? – writes Nezhna Filipova - May be the calling, the chosen for woman in this live to be "mama" and amiable is stronger and moor important? When I make my cartoons I-not feeling in different, masculine world, because for me the cartoons and comics are one kind of language, one manner to expressing. I think that this language has not (is not) masculine or feminine."
Sepideh Anjomrooz considers: "I think the cartoon is like a communication bridge that draws us nearer. it goes beyond geography border on this bridge we talk about what there has to be and what there is not. In my opinion, cartoon is not special for men; it is not the men's job! Because the cartoon have root in thought not in sexual. But it is true that the number of female cartoonist is less than men. Not only in Iran but also all over world. This is not due to culture but I think, to the nature of woman who is more focused on aesthetics and emotions."
However, I think that the Colombian women go right to the point of the question. Martha Montoya considers that " Family and society influence girls not to go on that direction ". Para Nani "there are no professions only for men or for women, the same way medicine started being practised by men but step by step women also occupied this field until it became natural. The same will happen with cartoonism, little by little many more women will integrate this field."
The presence of women as creative in the area of graphic humour is after all the history of their fight for their rights of equal access to any profession, the right to their own opinion. This fight for their place in any profession does not have to do with quota-attributions as ironically politicians deride the matter. This fight is only educational, but it still is a war with side effects.


"I'm in a "man's" world everywhere I go. - declares Donna Barr - ? All women are born into a combat zone -- we have to fight every minute of our lives. And where are OUR medals, may I ask? Hm? And combat pay!"
Other artists re-assert: " Everything, everyone, every day" (Catherine Doherty); " I do feel live in man's world, but that can be changed around if I know that I am a spiritual soul and the soul doesn't have sex identification " (Antonia Toneva Beeroo); "Yes. In Little ways, mostly. I ignored it " (Signe Wilkinson); "Always. Mostly, the cartoonists themselves make me feel this way. Just today I got a post from a (male) cartoonist on this email list of comics people that I'm on, who described comics as a "young *men's* field." He didn't even think about using the word "men!" He automatically *assumed* it was all-male!" (Trina Robbins).
"Being Uruguayan - replied to us Raquel Orzuj - I was brought up in a continent with an ancestral "machist" culture, encouraged by the Spanish and the Portuguese colonization ..., that created an American identity of masculine power, relegating the woman to psychological, sociological, cultural, economical, and other developments and resistances that distinguished on the long run her womanly identity". Nani confirms this latin-machist propensity: "Yes, my own colleague drawers, but I think this is normal as man tends to defend his territory since he has a bit primitive way to understand life".
"I have been a portrait artist for 30 years - Eve Myles says - and a caricature artist for 20. I do not publish cartoons. I've always worked in malls. In the beginning, very often people would ask me, "The artist, where is he?" and be amazed when they found out it was the artist. This is not true nowadays. As far as customers are concerned, I find that I can sell flattering portraits and caricatures easier to women. Men usually want more hair if they're bald, but will accept the work without any flattery on my parte."
Of course not all have had the same experiences, some had better luck in their contacts, other suffered the question of "quotas"... Very curious is the testimony of Jan Eliot: " When I was first trying to get syndicated I had an editor say to me “ We have Lynn and Cathy, why do we need you?” He was referring to Lynn Johnston and Cathy Guisewite, the cartoonists who create “For Better or For Worse and “Cathy”, respectively. He was implying that two women cartoonists was enough to fill some sort of “quota”, as if the field of cartooning did not need more than just a couple of women. Since there seems to be no limit on the number of men who can be cartoonists, this seemed quite unfair to me. A cartoonist is a cartoonist".
"However, in the world of cartooning, men still outnumber women. At most events where cartoonists gather, the women are lost in the crowd, or assumed to be the wives of the men. It can be intimidating."
"My husband had a unique experience at one of these events. He was riding in a hotel elevator during the annual National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards conference, the annual meeting of the NCS, our largest organization of cartoonists in the U.S. He was wearing a conference name tag, and was asked by one of the other men in the elevator what cartoon he did. He replied, “Oh, I’m a spouse”. The man looked at him for a minute and then said, “You know, there are a couple of gay guys in my neighbourhood, and it doesn’t bother me at all.” To this man, having a wife – a woman – who was a cartoonist was so inconceivable that he assumed my husband must be gay".
It is usually said that behind a great man there is also a great woman, but I never heard the contrary, i.e. that behind a great woman there is always a great man. Perhaps because most men do not admit that their wives may also be successful or even out pass them, reason for many divorces. But, there are also great men behind great women, who support them, who encourage them, and therefore deserve a special word, as they are also undervalued by their gender companions. However, we are not here to talk about men.


Religious tradition tells us that man was created first, and then was the woman, as if the egg came before the chicken. In humour I don't know who came first. It is said in the Bible that God had sense of humour, but who laughed first, Adam or Eve? The snake surely did not.
In most cases women only emerge in graphic humour during the last decades, with May '68 movements and its consequent liberalization of customs and uses. It's true that Olympe de Gouges (1748-1793), at the time of the French Revolution, wrote in the Declaration of Rights of Women and Female-Citizens "Woman, wake up! The reason bell tolls. Recognize your rights: the powerful nature empire is no longer wrapped in prejudices, phanatisms, superstitions, lies ..." but she was very wrong.
The case of North America is different, as Jan Elliot wrote; "There have been women in cartooning since the creation of the art form " Trina Robbins, the historian of women-cartoonists in the States, adds: "The earliest woman cartoonist I have found was Louise Quarles, who did a Sunday strip called "Bun's Puns" (It's in my book “A Century of Women in Cartooning”) around 1901. She was quickly followed by people like Rose O'Neill, Grace Drayton, Kate Carew, Jean Mohr, Marjorie Organ, Margaret Hays, etc -- all before 1910."
However, in the U.S.A. the cartoon, in its French concept of caricature with social-political intervention, is often confused with the comic strip, and other forms of use of drawings in the press, of comics, and even animation. If the comic strip triumphed, as the natural born of editorial cartoon, it was in this field that women best introduced themselves to survive along the years. Only very seldom women editorial cartoonists succeeded in escaping the masculine siege, and still today they are a rarity, although they win everything, attaining with all merit the Pullitzer Prize, as happened with Signe Wilkinson and Ann Telnaes.
As regards the rest of the world, it's a different story. In reality, my knowledge is not very deep, but then ignorance is general since names of women do not appear in the History Books I have had access to.
They start appearing as from the 1970's, Yes, Claire Bretecher emerges bit earlier in France. In relation to the countries of the women-cartoonists that replied to us we can quote their testimonies: "In my country - says Colombian Nani - the reference I have is Consuelo Lago, she has a character called "Negra Nieves"; "In my country, Uruguay - writes Raquel Orzuj - there is no tradition of women in graphic humour. Some experts consider me as the pioneer". So, in Central and South America, the fight is recent but has already achieved some targets.
In Iran we know there are four women-cartoonists, in Turkey a similar number, in Croatia about half-a-dozen, in Eastern European countries they are emerging now, as relates by the Bulgarian Nezhna Filipova - "Caricature and comics in our Bulgarian press exist before 50 years. Before this period – only humours pages in our periodical publications magazines. For women cartoonists in this ancient period there is not testimony". Neda Gougouchkova adds: " I am one of the first women, working in the area of cartoons in Bulgaria. By the beginning of the 70s of the past century, cartoonists in Bulgaria where men predominantly and some of the most popular names were those of Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Vendov, Stoyan Vendev, and also Todor Tzonev, who was an extremely talented student of Iliya Beshkov. Even today, he is one of the celebrated names in the area of cartoons and satirical plastic arts. As I am one of the first female cartoonists, I can share, that after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts (taking Placard as a major), I participated for the first time in a cartoon biennale entitled "Motor, Cars and Environment", which was held in 1979 in the exhibition rooms of Bulgarian Union of Artists, and I won the Satirical Placard Award. Immediately afterwards, in 1981, I won the Young Artists Award at the Knokke Heist Biennale in Belgium and at the humour and Satirical Arts Biennale in Gabrovo (Bulgaria). After that, I took part in many cartoon exhibitions both in Bulgaria and abroad. After 1985-1988, other female cartoonists started exhibiting, but their names appeared only temporarily." I think there are nowadays half-a-dozen registered at the Bulgarian Cartoonists Association.
In most cases the 1970's are mentioned as the time women-cartoonist started emerging as professionals of graphic humour. In Portugal, the case I know better, we find women participating in Humour Halls in the first decade of last century, and then in the 1920's. They are plastic artists who grabbed the opportunity of humourists' irreverent initiatives to impose themselves in the difficult and masculine field which was the then plastic arts. In reality they are not humourists, eventually they use a tone of irony, a social-picturesque tone, nothing more, as is the case of Maria Adelaide de Lima Cruz. Mamia Roque Gameiro published some illustrated anecdotes, but fundamentally she dedicated herself to short stories, and to child illustrations. Angela Caldas, Guida Roque Gameiro Ottolini, Maria Fernanda, Maria Luisa Pinto Rodrigues, Marinela, Otília, are signatures that appear on very rare humoristic drawings. The first woman to publish in the Portuguese press in a frequent and interventive way is Maria Almira Medina.
Caricaturist, specialist on charge-portrait, with a synthetic modernist draw, published her drawings in the Sintra Newspaper. This in the 1940's/1950's when the Salazar dictatorship drove away the aesthetics masters of humour drawings, so this young artist appeared as a whiff of fresh air and was immediately admitted by her pears, two prizes having been awarded to her. However, it was not easy to subsist on this art, so she had to withdraw, re-appearing only sporadically, mainly after the Revolution of 25th April, always in the same newspaper, which was owned by the family.
In the meantime some women emerge in the area of illustration, the child stories strip ... In graphic humour, it took almost half-a-century before another grand name emerged in the caricature art, her name being Joana Campante. This in the 1990's, then disappearing into teaching and other illustration branches, since the market is a difficult one. Meanwhile the charge-portrait of college degree books brings artists like Mimi, Cesarina Silva, the local press published cartoons of Amelia Correia, and in illustration Cristina Sampaio works in the border of cartoon ...


Trina Robbins replies for the Americans: " I don't think the earliest women cartoonists had any problems --certainly not the problems I face today. The comic strip was such a new field that nobody yet thought of it as "male" or "female," and there were quite a few women drawing comics for the papers.". However, Jan Eliot adds: "Women were initially accepted as cartoonists, because they came out of the illustration field, where many women were accepted as excellent illustrators. It was considered an appropriate field of study and work for women at this time, one of the few… and much of their work, and then their cartoons, featured cute children and pets. Additionally, many women contributed to the New Yorker, a magazine that became famous for its single panel cartoons of high quality. However, in the 1950s, after World War II, things changed in the United States. Men returning from war reclaimed the jobs that women had been performing in their absence, and women were encouraged to go home and begin families. This attitude seemed to extend to women cartoonists, and when the successful cartoonist society – The National Cartoonists Society – was founded in the 50s women were excluded. Many women had difficulty-finding editors to take their work. Dale Messick is an excellent example… her name was originally Dahlia, and her comic strip “Brenda Starr” was rejected by many editors. When she changed her name to “Dale” (a name that can be male or female) and sent it in by mail rather than submitting in person, her work was immediately accepted for publication. “Brenda Starr” is still published today. Hilda Terry also had a unique experience trying to coexist with male cartoonists. She published a strip about a teenage girl called “Teena”. She was blackballed from the National Cartoonists Society despite her excellent success, and when travelling with male cartoonists on a tour to entertain military troops they abandoned her while she made a trip to the bathroom. They would go on stage without her, get on planes without her… she really had to fight to compete with them. She was eventually accepted into the NCS, partially because of the influence of Al Capp and Milton Caniff who favoured her admission, and then she nominated Gladys Parker and her other women cartoonist friends, finally breaking the gender barrier in the NCS."
As regards Europe, the testimonies of the Bulgarians, Ioana Nikolova and Neda Gougouchkova, are enlightening. The first one writes: " In the past the women-caricaturists were not so popular because there were many – men -caricaturists whose names were already won recognition. On the other hand, many newspapers and magazines preferred mainly men-caricaturists because they thought that the woman wasn't good enough at the field of the arts because of her specific nature. I write to you about it because of my personal nature and experience. Of course, if a woman caricaturist believes in herself, she will not give up, despise the sexual discrimination." The second one adds: " The difficulty of being a woman in this type of art is that most men think this occupation is not meant for women. Generally speaking, they got used to it with time. I have never been prerswed, less the exception of someone, who did it "for love"!?"
Of course I did not expect to be told that the pioneers suffered the sorrow of torture, or exile. Things are more soft, more subtle, and naturally many artist may still today complain about the same. It is also true that such barrier exists for many young men trying to start a career ...


The reactions to this question are curious because they are very contradictory, even within the same country, as for example the testimonies of Signa Wilkinson, who says: " Now it is not a problem being a woman ", whilst Trina Robbins guarantees - "Yes, difficulties definitely still exist, and I think there's been very little change in mentality, although there are more women cartoonists drawing comics in America today than ever before. However, most of these women draw for the "indies," and if you look at mainstream comics, where the money is to be made, you'll find almost no women."
Catherine Doherty observes: " I wouldn't say "difficulties". It's just the way it is and has always been. Men's work is valued more." Martha Montoya is even more radical - "I would say main difficulty also is that press still believes is a men's world therefore they will not follow the career of a woman. A cartoonist that happens to be a woman has a hobby, a men that is a cartoonist is a "very smart person." The same says Raquel Orzuj: "If you wish to succeed in Uruguay you have to be a .... man ! I believe that is the same internationally."
Ioana Nikolova is more moderate: " There are difficulties yet but they are not so great. There is and some change. However, that change isn't enough although it is positive. It does not put the man-caricaturist and the woman-caricaturist on equal terms. The woman is always behind the man. (There are much more women-caricaturists today than 15-20 before)".
Jan Eliot submits - " Newspapers seem to be more open to women cartoonists, and there are more female editors. Even fewer political cartoonists are female, and some women have used androgynous names or initials to hide their female identity. Nina Paley, who published “Nina’s Adventures” as an underground comic for many years, once told me that there was extreme sexism in the underground comix field. Things may be opening up for women at this point, but the comment “we have Lynn and Cathy, why do we need you?” was made to me just 15 years ago. One problem that still exists is that most of the syndicate salespeople who sell comic strips to editors are male. There is a question in my mind as to whether they are genuinely interested in what we women do, if they represent us with as much enthusiasm as they represent the men. In addition, most of the syndicates are fairly conservative, while women’s humor is usually quite liberal. Women don’t embrace traditional values or gender roles like the conservatives do. Women like to tackle social issues, are more interested in personal relationships and social values and less interested in slapstick humor and action than men. I sometimes wonder if the salesmen appreciate our humor. In addition, the National Cartoonists Society is still 94% male. Though women are accepted into the organization, it is difficult to feel included, get attention or be taken seriously."
Nani is still incredulous - "I believe that the world tends to become more tolerant, yet sometimes when somebody sees my work and asks: - Did you do this? Who wrote the text? Who guides you how to do it? - it is difficult for them to believe I dedicate myself seriously to this profession".
Cesarina Silva is optimistic - "Yes... in general, one may say that sensibilities have developed and receptiveness to novelty has grown !"
On this issue I will not express any opinion. But at least will say that during the last years I have been working in this area I have discovered that little by little more women-artists have entered the field.


My own calculations show that worldwide they are less than 1%, that in most countries they are 0%, and eventually in others they may reach the 5% that Antonia Toneva Beeroo defends for Bulgaria. The U.S.A. also claims 5%, yet the percentage of the Cartoonists National Society is false since it counts cartoonists' widows as cartoonist-members. As editorial cartoonists I think there are between 2 to 4 in the States, a country with thousands of newspapers. The most curious is the case of Iran, a country that, due to its religion, is considered to be intolerant towards women, towards humour. As Sepideh Anjomrooz tells us - today, the number of professional women cartoonist, are too less, maybe about 3 or 5 cartoonist who cooperation with humour magazines ".


Most don't know, and try to excuse the editor from the lack of women presence in this profession. Donna Barr, with gentle irony, guarantees: " All editors are scam artists who will try to steal your work and cheat you. It's because they're editors, not because they're men or women " Martha Montoya asserts: "Main problem is Male Editors. First most of the editors are male therefore they see their world only through their eyes. Have dealt only with one woman Editor who understood my cartoon and had to battle (yes battle) for the committee to approve it. Another one who decides on cartoons unfortunately have been told for many years that the world only appreciates male oriented cartoons"
Here lacks the testimony of the thousands of artists who could not break the barrier. And though some professionals, who already achieved their place in the press, undramatise the question, referring that what is worth is quality, I don't believe it. I know great women-artists who, in spite of their quality, are not accepted, thus being driven to go round the obstacles and search for alternatives in illustration, or other more specific themes. Therefore I ask the ones that succeeded.


Catherine Doherty felt offended by my insinuating that women are pushed to feminine themes: "I am a dyke (lesbian) who looks like a boy and passes as a boy on a daily basis. There, thankfully, is not much "feminine" about me. I would never buy into the idea that sex and gender have anything to do with one another.. hat is...being FEMALE has nothing to do with being FEMININE. I feel like you questionnaire is geared towards heterosexual, feminine women. Be careful to include all types of women. I don't relate to women who draw in a tentative style and write from a heterosexual or mainstream viewpoint." OK, understood !
Meanwhile Elena Steier has a different opinion: " Everyone figures a woman needs to draw like a woman and do women's subjects. Editors expect women to stick to women's subjects, no matter what sex the editor might be". And Susan Kelso – "We're never forced to do feminine themes. However, we are expected to be very politically correct and cannot make fun of women that same way we do men".
Each one with her own experience, no rules. However, there is a thematic trend in women-cartoonists, which is to publish in feminine magazines ("I think that many women prefer to work for feminine magazines, - writes Neda Gougouchkova - because, assuming they are solving big issues, they feel stronger, or they are probably fighting for "feminine" domains of influence such as the areas of fashion, cosmetics, hairstyling and cooking") to develop themselves editorial ghettos of feminisms, or lesbians ... ("Because the main marketplace - writes Martha Montoya - has not accepted that the world has changed so we all have had to create our own world our own magazines, our own associations, etc...")
" Probably – escreve Susan Kelso - because they have a better idea of what their female readers want and know how to position the information correctly – There's nothing worse than a male editor or writer telling women what do and how to do it..." Ioana Nikolova – "In These "magazines for women", women find their own world and atmosphere. Besides, a woman easier recognizes women's interests than a man, for example".
But is there specifically a different humour between the feminine and the masculine gender ?


People, specially at work, are not used to face their activities seriously, i.e. with humour and frontality, and they suspect anyone who has a more humoristic, more irreverent, more philosophical attitude, since they feel disarmed in their frailties. This applies both to women and men.
As I said before, it all begins with education. Modern education has to do with the ideas expanded by the French Revolution where J.J. Rousseau ("Emile" 1864 - Oeuvres Completes v.2 page 149, Hachette) has a word: "Woman was made specially to please man. If, on one side, man should also please her, this is however a less direct need: his merit lies in his vigour; he pleases just because he is strong. /.../ If woman was made to please and obey, then she must be lovable to man instead of challenging him: her violence is in her charms; it's through these that she must make him find strength and make him use it."
Luther also asserted: "The worst ornament a woman may want to use is being learned" and Friedrich Hegal defended that "The woman may be educated, but her mind is not adequate for high sciences, philosophy, and some arts".
Whilst a man's education grows along with his muscles, a woman's education grows along with her sex. She is the procreative flower, frail and obedient. She should not think but rather take care of the generations to be, and according to the husband's standard. A man's Honour lies in his word, whist a woman's Honour lies between her legs. She must preserve this honour with a superficial mind, a charming, coquette, inebriating behaviour, but also serious and cold when needed. A woman with wit is dangerous.
Helga Kotthoff, intervening at the "Kasseler Kulturbahnhoff" on the theme "Don't women have anything to laugh at ?" gives us an idea about the evolution of women's capacity to laugh: "Boys and girls enjoy playing like clowns. But this alters the minute they start school. Girls abandon this role rapidly. Boys invigorate it, they remain clowns. And this continues the same way upon a stage. Why ? The one who plays/jokes is the centre of attentions, the audience looks at him or her. Besides, the joker also plays with social patterns. The one who jokes breaks rules, either of language or social. So, the joker becomes intellectually active, autarchic, and has its own view of the world. And this role is less adjusted to women than to men. Traditionally women should stick to just being fair and stay behind the scene."
The idea of a woman with humour is a nightmare for the man, as it destroys in him the idealized crystal shoe and the pink dress, and the ideal scenery for the violation of the virgin flower. A woman with sense of humour is a threat to the man's weak self-esteem. A simple jest, or irony, from a woman is enough to shrink all Tarzan's muscles. A woman with sense of humour is not serious, at least she is a venomous tongue, a liberal who questions all sacred values of society. At the minimum she must be negligent with her dressing, her make-up, in preserving her virginity and the holy marriage. A woman with sense of humour is like an adulteress. Have you noticed that the stereotype of a jestful woman in American "soaps" always have a ridiculous voice, a pathetic behaviour??? I know I sound like a feminist making a caricature, but aren't we speaking about caricatures ?
Baudelaire wrote that humour is a devilish thing, this because his ego was completely torn up by women's humour. Yes, women do have humour, more profound and worked out, and therefore it even gets painful to recognize the truth in their sarcasms, in the metaphors they use to turn the world and society upside down. But let us leave aside these abstract phantasies of mine - there again is a man trying to impose the image he has about women. So, let the women-cartoonists express their opinion.
" Women have their kind of humour of course, - says Antonia Toneva Beeroo - but it is not so different from the man's humor. It is just that man and woman have a hard time communicating between each other and that makes them fell they are so different in their expressions. Women have to be more reserved about what they say and do so they are not put in embarrassing situation, because the reputation of woman is more easily destroyed."
" I used to think so, - replies Gerrie Hondius - but not so much anymore. I have found that I have a great deal of male fans, and society has changed in a way that every kind of humour could or could not be appreciated by any gender. It's more of an individual thing, humour. It depends more on the kind of person you are, than on your gender."
For Donna Barr masculine humour is more bloody, more brutal, whilst Ioana Nikolaova accuses masculine humour of being too obvious. In reality, masculine humour is dominant, planetary, in the sense that it is centred on basic elements of dialogue among all men on this planet, i.e. in politics, with some sex, in military issues, with some sex, in economy matters, with some sex, in religious issues, with some sex, in sports, with some sex ... The man who doesn't have a joke thereon does not enter the dialogue. Men's interests are everybody's, and women's interests are only their own. Women tend not to talk about these fundamental questions of life, i.e. sports and sex, politics and sex... (at the end of all this I will surely be suspected of being gay, but I really appreciate a woman with humour).
" We are more sensitive about offending. - writes Martha Montoya – We are also careful about offending first ".
" Women’s humor is usually quite liberal. - replies Jan Eliot - Women cartoonists don’t usually embrace traditional values or gender roles. Women like to tackle social issues, are more interested in personal relationships and family humour and social values and less interested in slapstick humour and action than men. Women sometimes have a very special way of making fun of men, marriage, children, housework, bosses, fashion… because we have a special point of view. Some women cartoonists are especially good at “relationship humour”, jokes and stories about dating, marriage, friendship. We may do more of this kind of humour than men. When some men try to make jokes about women’s situations, it often seems false… because they are not living as women, they may not really understand out situation. They are not laughing WITH us, but AT us instead. Men seem to love golf jokes in the U.S., and the comic strips done by the older cartoonists are definitely sexist despite some attempts at improvement. "
"Well, I think women just have a different point of view on any theme. - defends Nani - For instance we're used to see women with big breasts and large hips, and the protagonist is always the man. I try to do the opposite, more normal women and situations where a man won't count because he doesn't know them."
Catherine Doherty draws the attention to the world of alternative comics: "In alternative you will find work by talented, not so heterosexual, not so dull women. Dianne DiMassa - HOTHEAD PAISAIN - A lesbian goes around violently righting the injustices of the world; Alison Bechde - DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR - A day in the life of several American dykes, some mothers, some transsexual, some butch, some femme...; Debbie Dreshcler - DADDY'S GIRL - Her work is about her personal experience with growing up with a sexually abusive father. It is powerful and chilling. Some of the best comics I have ever seen. Also, see her book "Nowhere"."
" I don't work about female themes. - Sepideh Anjomrooz writes - I think a cartoonist must thought about all of theme political, human, love, poor world, and many more of realities ... A cartoonist in Iran, is not permitted work portrait of the person who is on top of politic and also design on the basis of sex or a woman with out any cover, there are a red line for our cartoonist that to passing through made a problem, and so that print media are shat down. But she/he is free to works about another themes even the political and philosophical subjects."
Of course there is a feminine humour, the one made by women. But is it so different from men's? It depends on each one's hormones. They say we all have something of both genders, the percentage of each commanding who you really are.
Woman's sensibility, due to the physical-psychological concept of matriarchy, and also the education that is always present, makes her look at the world through a social perspective. As to sex, blood, sweat and tears, it's a matter for debate, it varies mainly according to the stages of life.
Most women (heterosexual, lesbians or other styles of living) have a more philosophical and intuitive view of life, stripping it off more through irony than through the obvious. However, when fundamentalisms emerge and grow in a fight, naturally immoderations happen, which have to be condemned by the other side...
And to finalise in a sexist way, we still have to bring a devastating question. Is there a feminine aesthetic way in this form of social-humoristic approach ?


Surely the issue here is not whether she is capable of using the paintbrushes, the pens, the info-tools, but whether she adopts preferentially a differentiated style in order to frame her message better.
" Women have their aesthetic in caricatures expressed in more moderate reflection of reality. - writes Antonia Toneva Beeroo - Women never go to extremes like man do, because they have a nature to protect their bodies which are naturally home for new life, and that makes them more cautious. Women have to be protected by men, so they can express their full potential in all they do".
Trina Robbins' investigation makes her say - "To a large extent, I think women tend to draw "prettier" than men, although here, too, there are exceptions, especially among the newer, younger indie women cartoonists. Perhaps they've broken the last sexual barrier, which says that women can't draw "ugly." One thing is definite, though: women for the most part do NOT draw snarling overly muscled superheroes-and-villains and grotesquely large-breasted women, all violently beating each other to a pulp". Today, according to the woman-cartoonist Signe Wilkinson - "It has been my observation that many women cartoonists prefer a simpler, more primitive line than the men."
"Yes, I also use a different aesthetic, - declares Nani proudly - it is not the woman-object that we've been accustomed to, like Bretecher I draw normal women, with hairy legs (we all have them), with our daily problems, with comfortable clothes, not a woman that exists only to please men, she exists to please herself."
Cesarina Silva summarizes the question - "Aesthetic in presentation and ethical in content ... are two types of aesthetics: the visual and intellectual. Perhaps the visual one is more utilized by men, exactly due to the relaxed way they regard feminine cautions; In the intellectual one ... rather than inciding upon thematics, women run away from the ordinary discriminatory humour ... because they are more human ... not because they are chaste !"

We can conclude that today, the future of women professionalized in cartoon isn't such a big deal. But it tends to improve. I mean, this is as worse as it can get, unless if there is a sudden Taliban regime, or any other fanatic of human stupidification. Cultural and educational questions must be solved. It is the time for women to revolt, to follow the examples of those who have won, and to educate men to respect them. One thing is sure, there is the need of a more radical humoristic look, both in a philosophical and psicanalitic sense: and those are the strangeness of female humor. Today, humor, satire and irony in mankind is more illustration than in intervening. Men are getting softer, more and more politically correct, working for the lobbies... Women, it's time to undress the "burqua" and laugh.

A Mulher no Cartoon 6

Por: Osvaldo Macedo de Sousa


As pessoas, principalmente no trabalho, não estão habituadas a encarar as suas actividades com seriedade, ou seja com humor e frontalidade, e desconfiam de quem tem uma postura mais humoristica, mais irreverente, mais filosófica, porque se sentem desarmados nas suas fragilidades. Isto é não só no mundo da mulher como do homem.
Como referi já anteriormente, tudo nasce na educação. A educação moderna está ligada a um ideário desenvolvido na Revolução Francesa, onde J.J. Rousseau ("Emile" 1864 – Oeuvres Completes t.2 pág. 149, Hachette) tem uma palavra: "a mulher é feita especialmente para agradar ao homem. Se, por um lado, o homem lhe deve agradar, é de uma necessidade menos directa: o mérito dele está na sua potência; agrada apenas porque é forte. /.../ Se a mulher é feita para agradar e para ser subjugada, deve tornar-se agradável ao homem, em vez de o provocar: a violência dela está nos seus encantos; é por estes que o deve obrigar a encontrar a força e a usá-la".
Já Lutero dizia, "o pior adorno que uma mulher pode querer usar é ser sábia", e Friederich Hegel defendia que "a mulher pode ser educada, mas a sua mente não é adequada ás ciências mais elevadas, à filosofia e algumas das artes."
Enquanto a educação do homem se desenvolve com os músculos, a da mulher desenvolve-se com o sexo. Ela é a flor reprodutora, fragil e submissa. Não deve pensar, antes cuidar das gerações futuras segundo o modelo do marido. A Honra deste está na palavra, enquanto que a dela está entre as pernas.
Ela deve preservar essa honra pela superficialidade do pensamento, do conportamento coquete, sedutor, inebriante, mas sério e frio nos momentos certos. A mulher com espirito é um perigo.
Helga Kotthoff, numa intervenção na "Kasseler KulturBahnhof" sobre "Haben Frauen nichts zu lachen ?" dá-nos uma ideia sobre a evolução do riso na mulher: "Os meninos e as meninas brincam muito aos palhaços. Mas logo que entram na escola, isto altera-se. As meninas bandonam este papel rapidamente. Os meninos fortalecem-no, permanecem palhaços. E isto continua também, no palco. Qual a causa ? Quem brinca, fica no centro, todas as observações são dirigidas a ele ou ela. Além disso, o cómico joga também com normas sociais. Quem brinca quebra regras, sejam elas de linguagem ou sociais. O brincalhão torna-se pois intelectualemente desperto, autárquico, tem a sua própria concepção do mundo. E este papel adapta-se muito menos às mulheres que aos homens. Tradicionalmente devem as mulheres ser belas e permanecer na rectaguarda".
A imagem de uma mulher com humor é um pesadelo para o homem, destruindo-lhe o sapatinho de cristal idealizado com o vestido cor de rosa, num cenário ideal para a violação da flor virgem. A mulher com sentido de humor é uma ameaça ao debil amor-proprio masculino. Basta uma chicota satírica, ou mesmo irónica de uma mulher para desinchar todos os musculos de Tarzan. Uma mulher com humor não é séria, é no mínimo uma lingua viperina, uma liberal que põe em causa todos os sagrados valores da sociedade. No mínimo deve ser uma desleixada no vestir, no maquear-se, na preservação sexual da virgindade e da sacralidade do casamento. Uma mulher humorista é como uma adultera. Já repararam que o esteriotipo das mulheres cómicas dos soup americanas tem sempre uma voz rídicula, com um comportamento patético ???? Eu sei que pareço uma femininista a fazer uma caricatura, mas não estamos nós a falar de caricaturas ? Nunca se deve generalizar, já que neste mundo há de tudo...
Baudelaire escreveu que o humor é satânico, isso porque o seu ego foi esquartejado, sem dúvida, pelo humor de mulheres. Elas têm sim humor, um humor mais profundo, mais pensado, o que naturalmente doi mais reconhecer a verdade da sátira, das metáforas que elas usam para descontruir o mundo, a sociedade. Mas deixemo-nos de fantasias abstratizantes. Lá está um homem a tentar impõr uma imagem da mulher. Deixemos as cartoonistas dar a sua opinião.
" É claro que as mulheres têm o seu tipo de humor - escreve Antonia Toneva Beeroo - mas não é assim tão diferente do humor masculino. O que se passa é que é difícil a comunicação entre homens e mulheres e isso fá-los sentir como são diferentes as suas formas de expressão. As mulheres têm que ser mais reservadas com o que dizem e fazem para não ficarem em situações embaraçosas, já que a reputação de uma mulher é fácilmente destruída. "
" Eu costumava pensar assim - respondeu Gerrie Hondius - mas agora já não tanto. Descobri que tenho imensos admiradores-homens e que a sociedade mudou de forma tal que qualquer tipo de humor pode, ou não, ser apreciado por qualquer dos sexos. É algo de individual. Depende mais do tipo de pessoa que se é, do que própriamente do sexo a que se pertence."
Para Donna Barr o humor masculino tem mais sangue é mais brutal, enquanto Ioana Nikolaova acusa o humor masculino como demasiado obvio. Na realidade o humor masculino é dominante, ou seja planetário porque se centra em elementos base de diálogo de todos os homens do planeta ou seja na política, com algum sexo, nas questões militares, com algum sexo, nas questões económicas, com algum sexo, nas questões religiosas, com algum sexo, no desporto, com algum sexo... Quem não tenha uma piada sobre isso não entra no diálogo. Os interesses dos homens é de todos, e os das mulheres é apenas delas. As mulheres têm tendência a não falarem nestas questões fundamentais da vida, ou seja desporto e sexo, politica e sexo... (no final disto ainda vão dizer que eu sou gay, mas eu gosto do humor feminino)
"Nós somos mais sensíveis ao acto de ofender – escreve Martha Montoya – e também somos mais cuidadosas em relação a quem ofende primeiro".
"O humor das mulheres é usualmente bastante liberal - respondeu Jan Eliot - as cartoonistas não aceitam os valores tradicionais ou papéis sexuais. Elas gostam de agarrar questões sociais, interessam-se mais por relacionamentos pessoais, humor de família, e valores sociais, e menos pelo humor de força e acção, que os homens. Por vezes as mulheres têm uma maneira especial de gracejar sobre os homens, o casamento, os filhos, o trabalho doméstico, os patrões, a moda... porque temos um ponto de vista especial. Algumas cartoonistas são especialmente boas neste "humor de relacionamento", piadas e histórias sobre namoros, casamentos, amizades. Nós fazemos mais este tipo de humor que os homens. Quando alguns homens tentam gracejar sobre assuntos de mulheres soa muitas vezes a falso... porque, não tendo a experiência do que é viver sendo mulher, puramente não conseguem perceber o assunto que versam. Eles não se riem CONNOSCO mas sim DE NÓS. Os homens na América aparentemente adoram piadas de "golf", e as tiras cómicas feitas pelos cartoonistas mais velhos são definitivamente sexistas apesar de algumas tentativas de progresso."
"Pois penso que a mulher tem um ponto de vista diferente sobre qualquer tema. - defende Nani – Por exemplo estamos habituados a ver mulheres com seios grandes e enormes ancas e o protagonista é sempre o homem, eu procuro fazer ao contrário, mulheres mais normais e situações que um homem não poderá contar porque as desconhece".
Catherine Doherty chama a atenção para o mundo do comics alternativo:- " Como alternativa, vamos encontrar trabalhos feitos por mulheres talentosas, não tão heterossexuais, não tão enfadonhas". Dianne DiMassa - HOTHEAD PAISAIN - Uma lésbica luta violentamente para corrigir as injustiças do mundo; Allison Bechde - DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR - Um dia na vida de várias lésbicas americanas, algumas mães, algumas transsexuais, algumas "femme" ...; Debbie Dreschler - DADDY'S GIRL - O seu trabalho trata a sua experiência pessoal de ter crescido na companhia de um pai sexualmente abusador. É poderoso e arrepiante. Algumas das melhores bandas desenhadas que já vi. Ver também o seu livro "Nowhere"."
" Eu não trato temas de mulher. – esclarece Sepideh Anjomrooz - Penso que um cartoonista deve ter pensado sobre todos os temas: políticos, de amor, pobreza no mundo, e muitas outras realidades ... A um cartoonista no Irão não se lhe permite retratar uma pessoa que esteja no topo da política, nem desenhar qualquer tema relacionado com sexo, ou uma mulher que não esteja coberta, há uma linha vermelha que nenhum cartoonista pode ultrapassar sob pena de ter problemas ou os jornais serem fechados. Mas ele, ou ela, pode trabalhar qualquer outro tema, mesmo que sejam assuntos políticos ou filosóficos."
Claro que há um humor feminino, o feito por mulheres. Mas será tão diferente do homem ? Depende das hormonas de cada um. Dizem que todos temos de ambos os géneros, dependendo a percentagens para a balança cair para cada lado. Há casos que não cai, tem silicone ou viagra... (desculpem a graça sexista, mas sou homem). Não se pode falar levianamente de esteriotipos, mas que há matizes, há.
A sensibilidade da mulher, pela sua concepção fisico-psicológica de matriarca, assim como pelo lado educacional que está sempre presente, leva-a a olhar a mundo mais pelo lado social. Quanto ao sexo, ao sangue, suor e lágrimas é discutivel, principalmente consoante os periodos da vida.
A maioria das mulheres (heterosexuais, lésbicas e demais estilos de vida) têm uma visão mais filosófica e intuitiva da vida, descarnando-a mais pela ironia que pelo obvio. No entanto, quando os fundamentalismos tomam espaço numa luta, naturalemnte cai-se nos excessos que se recriminam do outro lado...
E para terminar de uma forma mais sexista, coloca-se ainda uma questão desvastadora. Será que há uma estética feminina nesta forma de abordagem sócio-humoristica ?


Claro que ninguem está a colocar aqui a questão de se a mulher sabe usar os pinceis, as canetas, as info-ferramentas, mas se ela preferencialmente opta por um estilo diferenciado para melhor enquadrar a sua mensagem.
"As mulheres expressam nas caricaturas a sua estética através duma reflexão mais moderada da realidade. - defende Antonia Toneva Beeroo - As mulheres nunca chegam a extremos como os homens, porque a sua natureza torna-as mais cautelosas. As mulheres têm que ser protegidas pelos homens para poderem exprimir todo o seu potencial em tudo o que fazem".
A investigação de Trina Robbins leva-a a opinar – "Em larga medida eu acho que as mulheres têm tendência a desenhar "mais bonito" que os homens, embora aqui também haja excepções especialmente entre cartoonistas "indie" mais novas. Já que quebraram a última barreira sexual que diz que as mulheres não devem desenhar "feio". Uma coisa é certa, contudo: a maior parte das mulheres não desenha de um modo impertinente super-heróis e vilões musculados ou mulheres com enormes seios grotescos a lutarem violentamente até se desfazerem". Hoje segundo a cartoonista Signe Wilkinson – " Tenho reparado que muitas cartoonistas preferem um traço mais simples, mais primitivo, que os homens."
"Sim , tambem utilizo uma estética diferente, – declara orgulhosamente Nani - não é a mujer objeto a la que nos tienen acostumbrados, al igual que Bretecher, dibujo mujeres normales, con pelos en las piernas ( todas los tenemos) con problemas cotidianos, con ropa comoda, no es una mujer que exista para complacer al hombre existe para complacerse a si misma."
Cesarina Silva resume a questão – "Estética na apresentação e ética no conteudo...são 2 tipos de estética: a visual e intelectual. Talvez a visual seja mais explorada por eles,exactamente pela descontração acrescida em relação aos cuidados femininos; Na intelectual...mais do que incidir em temas, elas fogem ao vulgar, descriminatório humor... porque são mais humanas...não são pudicas!"


O panorama da Mulher no Cartoon, como saída profissional não é grande coisa, mas com tendência para melhorar. Pior não pode ficar, salvo se triunfarem os Talibans, ou outros fanatismos de estupidificação humana. São questões culturais e educacionais a resolver, mas se o homem tem que ser instruido nessa âmbito, são as mulheres que têm de se revoltar, de se imporem, de seguirem os exemplos das que já triunfaram. Uma coisa é certa, há uma necessidade crescente de um olhar humorístico mais radical, no sentido filosófico, e psicanalítico, e esse é o forte do humor feminino. Hoje o humor, a sátira, a ironia do homem é cada vez mais ilustração, e menos intervenção, estão a ficar moles, estão a ficar cada vez mais politicamente correctos, por compadrios, por lobbies... Mulheres, está na hora de tirar a "burka" e rir.

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