Having Trouble Understanding The Need For Feminism? These Badass Cartoons May Help


Feminism. It’s the word of the moment, it seems. Sadly, it has become a fad, a trend, and even a disliked movement and we think it’s in large part due to many misconceptions about why it still exists. The way it came about originally was because women banded together to fight for equal rights they did not have: the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to work, the right to have healthcare and so on and so on.

But because we live in a time of great digital innovation where we can literally create whatever we want, and we also enjoy many luxuries and freedoms that our female predecessors did not, there are many who think feminism is irrelevant. The thing about rights and movements is they are constantly evolving and may not always look the same. We don’t need to picket in the streets about the right to vote, but we sure as hell need to speak up about the gender pay gap, rape on college campus, female genital mutilation, sexism in the workplace and more.

The feminist movement looks very different today than it did back in the 60s and 70s. But because there are so many freedoms women enjoy on a daily basis, we are now seeing women (and we’re talking specifically about celebrities because they have a public platform where their voices reach thousands) who claim they aren’t feminists or don’t think it is necessary, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kaley Cuoco for example.

On the other hand, we have political candidates like Republican Carly Fiorina trying to redefine the very essence of what it is by taking action that is the opposite of what she supposedly believes. She recently said “a feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses” but doesn’t believe in abortion rights. So what that means is a feminist is a woman who lives the life Carly Fiorina chooses. Yeah, not buying it!


So if there is any confusion in your minds, or you are sick of hearing the heated discussions about this topic, then read on my friends! California artist Rebecca Cohen, who is absolutely a feminist, decided to draw a series of situational cartoons using humor to describe the often subtle and overlooked ways that make feminism absolutely relevant today.

Rebecca has an awesome range of illustrations in her repertoire including political pieces, deconstruction of the Disney Princess imagery, humor, and of course feminism.

She is also the creator of a rad series called The Adventures of Gyno Star which is centered around a female superhero who is dedicated to “fighting the forces of evil and male chauvinism”. But wait, there’s more. Remember when activist Bree Newsome took it upon herself to climb up the flagpole outside the South Carolina state capital building and take down the confederate flag instead of waiting for bureaucracy to take its course?

Many people were hailing her as a hero undeterred by the prospect of going to jail if it meant she could make even a dent in the race issue that is a dark cloud hanging over certain parts of America right now. Rebecca, also thinking Bree was a hero for her actions, literally drew her as a superhero, and it became a viral image shared by many on social media.


Well now we have some cool geek-girl style commentary to add to the growing number of voices that seek to dispel myths about feminism. Rebecca’s illustrations cover issues such as the way Hollywood studio executives continue to try and sell the lie that female-driven action films don’t sell, the way women are treated online by being disproportionately targeted or bullied simply for having a voice, and of course the way women’s appearances become fair game if they’re in the public eye.

The Berkeley-based artist told the Huffington Post why she chose to give her images a funny edge, rather than going down the serious route.

“Feminists get a bad rap as having no sense of humor, and I want to counter that image,” she said.

She has been influenced by many different types of women whose struggles may differ, but the common goal is equality.

Hearing from trans women and women of color and women with disabilities and women who live their lives at all these different intersections of oppression — that has hugely influenced and expanded the way I think about feminism,” she said.


She told Huffpost that she has received plenty of negativity and hate on Twitter, but it won’t stop her from doing what she does best. At the end of the day she is very aware of the struggles women face today across a whole spectrum of issues.

“If someone wants to look me in the eye and tell me that all people have the same rights and opportunities and nobody in this country is facing discrimination, they’re welcome to try,” she said.

To learn more about Rebecca, check out her personal Tumblr, and be sure to follow her artist page to see more of her incredible work which all has a challenging, intelligent and timely message.

And if you need a simple way to explain feminism, without the angst and a dash of humor, take a look at Rebecca’s cartoon illustrations below:











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