This is part 1 of 3 in a series of comments on comics and how they are influencing the culture and the world at large.

The daily comics page, like commercials, are extremely important to the world. For those adults out there that are currently turning up their noses after reading the first line of this post…you’ll have to excuse me, but this is true. Let me explain:

(Now keep in mind, this is also for commercials{print and nonprint})

Comic strip creators look out at the world and hold a mirror up it for everyone else to see. They look at the things going on in our society, and then hyper-visualize it so that it is made more of than most people ever would. Then they display it right out there for everyone to see. The reason we laugh, cry, say “that’s wrong, or any reaction at all is because we can relate to it. If we can relate to it, it is because the creator has come very very close to the truth. When these things become very popular, they have touched the main nerve of pop-culture.

This is where it becomes scary….Once pop culture smirks, laughs, and then gufaws…it takes over the idea. Then it creates a reality around the idea to such a level that it actually changes and recreates our society in this hyper-visualized way.

Therefore, something very simple like a family eating dinner, shows the general public that this is the way that a family could eat dinner if everything went correctly. When pop-culture gets a hold of it, it say…we “Should” be eating dinner like this. Suddenly, that becomes standard.

A simple idea of this is: what came first Wholesome America or Norman Rockwell (for those of you who know or remember Norman Rockwell)

So, if a comic is talking or pointing it out…it’s something that is really happening in our society. We must examine this idea because it is not just on the surface, it has become a “normaly culturally accepted” thought.

With all of this said, I was reading the Comics a few Sundays ago (2 to be exact) and I noticed this crazy trend of sexism and gender inequality.  Here are three that were the most shocking!

We’ll start with Pickles. This is a great long running strip written by Brian Crane and it is one of those strips that you are happy is in the paper. This strip however shocked me.

First, this strip is about an “Elderly” couple and their retired senior life with their grandchildren and their relationship.

This particular strip was concerning since it dealt with the obvious problem of gender identity and gender equality. The woman in the strip bought a shirt for her husband. He, however, has never worn it because of the color. The color is “salmon” but to all other people it is “pink”.  The gentleman is obviously bothered by the color..since our culture and society tells us that pink is a “girl” color. (I mean they still to this day in 2012 put a pink hat on girl babies and a blue hat boy babies.)

To make him feel better, she explains that it’s not “pink” it’s salmon and salmon is a very[tough guy] aggressive, masculine color.” Did you see what just happened here?

To make him feel better she said he was masculine and that meant he is a tough guy and aggressive. Let’s review – we were just told that masculinity is aggressive and tough. Both of these words denote violence in some way, in fact when you think of a “tough guy”, pictures of gun totting, blood stained, destructive men come to mine. This is the violent destructive patriarchal man that is responsible for the destruction of our environment, wages war, and the power and control hungry man that inflicts domestic violence and causes rape. This man is the man that we are trying to eliminate out of our cultural context in order to create a more peaceful nonviolent world.

What this strip si doing is showing us the mirror to the current thoughts and ideas of our culture and society and then in the end, another man delivers the ultimate put down: “that’s a  lovely pink blouse you’re wearing today.” What does this mean to the socialized male – lovely – female word for females. Pink – female color for females. Blouse (though the shirt is obviously not a blouse but a polo) –  a female piece of clothing. He just called him a girl or female.

This then further shows us the scope on  gender that we are truly used to seeing in this culture and society of ours. One man will put another man down by pointing out all the ways he is emasculating himself, because if masculinity is the top of the food chain, then femininity is definitely below that. And if a man is identified as being below a man, he is the lowest of the low, he is insulted by being called a….woman. Showing just how messed up our society really is: the gender that creates life is below the one that destroys it.

What this comic has shown us is the reality of ourselves. Is this the reality we want to see?  Even if you don’t see this as our reality, there is no mistaking that this is our culture in black and white (well the strip is in color).
We must stop this idea of identifying gender in a color.

We must stop this idea of identifying men as one way of acting and women as another way of acting. Stereotypes and rigid gender norms don’t bring us any closer to coexisting happily; therefore, we must end it!

We must stop this idea that a man is aggressive and violent, or that is what we will get!

Opt 4 ending all things that promote gender violence.

Opt 4 not promoting ideas that hurt other people.

Opt 4 not promoting power and control in any of its forms.

Opt 4 destroying the man/woman box!