With the end of “Cathy,” fans of the funny pages will no longer be able to read about the perils of single life, dress sizes, and a mother’s tough-love advice — and for many, this is a cause for celebration.
Cathy — who’s been a mainstay of the comics for 34 years — has prompted some backlash from both sexes. For the female haters, the “Cathy” character reinforced the basest stereotypes of young women, as Cathy would spend a week’s worth of strips pouting over how she looked at a bathing suit or eating chocolate to cope with her perpetual loneliness. Also, for some reason she was never given a nose. For guys, Cathy was just, well, irritating. People really hate this comic!
“I like to think that ‘Cathy’ is the voice for women who can’t say, ‘I feel stupid about something silly, but it still really ruined my day,’” creator Cathy Guisewite told the Chicago Tribune in a story today.
It’s this cutesy approach to feminine insecurity, however, that has caused critics to cry foul. Many find the strip’s hesitancy to challenge Cathy with more substantial issues out-dated, or worse, misogynistic. Are there not more pertinent issues for Cathy to be worrying about?
The anti-Cathy movement, briefly revived by the news of the strip’s end, somewhat resembles the anti-Liz Lemon uprising detailed in Salon last April. Women took offense at the Tina Fey character’s fixation with food and her unrealistic approach to finding a relationship. (With “30 Rock,” however, the joke is probably on the critics: one gag had Tracy Jordan directly referencing a moment when Liz invoked the “Chocolate-ACK!” trope, which could indicate that the “Cathy” parallels are tongue-in-cheek, or at least intentional.)
But back to the Cathy hating. In the comments below today’s edition of “Cathy” on GoComics.com, one person cheers the cancellation. “Cathy is a neurotic wimp, unable to control her impulses, and thinks only with her stomach or her closet,” the commenter writes. “She couldn’t stick to a budget or a diet if her life depended on it, and I think the author made Irving marry her only out of pity. I mean, I’m going through the archives to see what else I missed, and yes, it’s the same budget/diet/fashion/hair/mom jokes over and over again.”
On a discussion board called “A blog for all those who hate the comic strip Cathy,” one poster wrote, “As a strong, independent woman I found Cathy repulsive. She was constantly feigning after men, ‘nourishing’ her fragile ego on bon-bons, and lived her life caught in the status quo. She was a cheap beach novel personified in a cartoon character. BLECH!”
The thread’s title refers to moonpuppet.blogspot.com, where one Cathy hater has transferred the ire inspired by the strip into “revising” it—or, rather, replacing Cathy’s resigned exclamation into expletives, obscene fat jokes, and an episode where she finds a homemade sex tape of her and her husband on the internet. What are you using that golf club for, Cathy?
So, when Cathy makes her last appearance in print Oct. 3, feminists can breath a sigh of relief. The funny pages will be that much stronger without her. Now we wait for the end of the terribly unfunny “Garfield.” ACK!