Time Travel Tuesday: New Year’s Resolutions and Cathy

January 3, 2012

Happy New Year everyone! Sara at Brown Paper Bag and I thought we would start off with a little Time Travel Tuesday for ya’ll. This week Sara writes about her disdain for the comic, Cathy, and the societal stereotypes about single women and their “habits” that unfortunately often play into our New Year’s Resolutions. Over at BPB, I wrote about Color Field painter, Morris Louis, who was deeply inspired by the recently passed painter, Helen Frankenthaler. Although I didn’t explore it too much in my post, Louis and his friend, Kenneth Noland, secured a solid place in history for their painting techniques, although it was really Helen who developed them.

Both of our TTT topics can be approached at from a feminist perspective, or at least from a lady’s perspective:  Helen was a pioneer in painting that gained less acclaim in her lifetime than her male counterparts, ostensibly because she was a woman. Cathy, on the other hand, is an infamous character in American culture, yet her contribution is mainly reiterating existing societal expectations for women and the ever-present “female neuroses”. The dynamics of gender roles in both of these two female cultural icons are definitely worth a deeper look. Thanks to Sara for this!

Normally I would write about something that I like for Time Travel Tuesday, but with New Years recently passed and resolutions that people make, I was somehow reminded of the comic Cathy.  The daily strip unfolded the tales of Cathy, a slightly overweight, perpetually single woman (who got married in 2005).

Perhaps it was the focus the long-running comic strip (which ended in 2010…with a pregnancy) had on issues of dieting, weight loss/gain, shopping, nagging mothers, and meeting the perfect man. These are things that culture places and emphasis on and are often the focus of a new year.

What I find the most problematic about Cathy is the stereotypes and expectations that this comic perpetuated into society. The role of women, sexuality, and this idea that there is a correct path to move forward in life is upsetting.

So, as you make your resolutions and venture forth into 2012, remember you don’t have to look at a Cathy comic as a guide!

All images via Go Comics.


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