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Divorced by time and progress from whatever socially progressive message it may once have had, but are really no more than the normal bumps on the road of every day. At this point they’ve been married for eleven months.
By doing so, it has encouraged a culture that treats every slight as a mortal wound and every bother as a tragedy; it echoes (or is echoed by) the petulant cry of a nation that can’t develop, say, a healthy resistance to advertising, or a stable relationship with another human being based on compromise and understanding. Irving is utterly content to wallow in filth, watching TV.
Guisewite appears to remain on the fence about which female stereotypes she wants to indignantly shatter and which she wants to giddily indulge in.
Equal pay for equal work, but can’t we gals still go shopping?
Guisewite again: I get way more feedback from people who say that they love Cathy because she’s not afraid to admit that she doesn’t have it all together every day […] they say it’s refreshing to read Cathy and know that there’s somebody else out there who’s still hauling around a 40-pound purse full of dreams. And yet Cathy AACKs her way through her job, her relationships, and her shopping obsession, puzzling over Irving’s “male brain” and turning every visit to the mall into a sweat-soaked, cookie-fueled, nuclear-grade emergency.
The central relationship in Cathy’s life is her love/hate affair with consumption.
Her one redeeming personality trait is her silence on how abjectly dull her husband is.
Irving was Cathy’s long-term boyfriend for many years, until Guisewite decided to reintroduce Cathy to the dating world; then, after a string of cardboard beaus, she decided to marry Cathy off to expose a rich new vein of comedic material.
By saying to women, “Don’t worry, I feel bad about my weight too,” Cathy is saying, “Feeling bad about your weight is something that women do,” and excluding positive, healthy thoughts from the realm of “what women do.” By saying, “Ha ha, sometimes I buy too much stuff, just like you do,” she is saying, “Shopping compulsively is a trait of women in general,” and excluding those who exercise self-control as or at least not “normal” women.In the mid-1970s, Guisewite was a successful advertising copywriter with typical insecurites about her love life, her relationship with food and her weight, and the hassles and stresses of work.She doodled little characters expressing her angst on letters to her mother, who pushed her to submit to syndicates. And so every petty dilemma in a woman’s life, every mundane struggle and boilerplate annoyance, suddenly became an “AACK!What was once a novel voice of understanding to a generation finding its way is now a shrill whine that grates on the ears of a new generation. At first I thought he was playing video games, because both of his hands are engaged, but the second panel punches in to reveal a remote control (or Wiimote) in his hand.Every remote control that I’ve ever used was designed to be operated one-handedly. Yet Irving cradles the remote in his left hand and jabs at it with his finger.
Re-enter the longsuffering Irving, the “nice guy” with no identifiable personality beyond his general “maleness” — in other words, an aversion to housework, an impatience with shopping, and an affinity for gadgets: Irving, and in fact the entire male species in ‘s universe, exists merely to frustrate women. Never named, never personified except by her attempts to batter Cathy’s willpower, she typically tries to push a product on Cathy that Cathy doesn’t need.