Sexist cartoons get dada

Today, a guest post from Etelka, the blogger behind the hilarious Wretched Refuse blog, which you all should read every day.


Thanks for letting me sit in, David! As I was telling you, I recently did some rooting around in a unique cranny of pre-manosphere media: sexist vintage cartoons. In the late ’40s and ’50s there were a lot of them published in books like this. (Some of the book covers that follow have been borrowed from the Vintage Sleaze blog here.)


My investigations had a purpose: I was blogging about castration anxiety, and I thought I might find some old cartoons that had something to say about it. Not likely. The vast majority of these artworks have two themes: Young women are hot, and old women are dried-up and useless.

stags2Often expressed in the same panel.

Some dramatize the existential terror that gnaws at the core of every PUA:

022Others offer date-rape fantasies:


Still, I’ve always liked looking at these old cartoons. There’s something uniquely voyeuristic about them. After all, they were never meant to be glimpsed by women. These cartoons are as pure a conduit into the male id as the girlie mags of the period.

I find they elicit a surprising range of emotion. Some give you a smug sense of how far we’ve come…


…if not in attitudes, then in comedic chops.

Others provoke meditations on whether we’ve come that far at all — and where we’ve ended up. This one reminds me of a certain dicey scene involving a thumb in the movie Bring it On.  (That being the dicey scene in which the guy cheerleader nonconsensually violates the girl cheerleader’s nether parts with said thumb.)


This cartoon invited men to snigger at the idea of uninvited vaginal probing; 50 years later, Bring it On invited teenage girls to do the same. Progress?

Feeling queasy yet? Gird yourself for a full-on dry heave with this one, previously featured on Manboobz:

Yep, it’s definitely the undiluted male id we’re talking about here. That’s why this next group of comics is so strange. They’re from this book:

Why is the guy looking behind the painting? To get a glimpse of her nipples? Ha ha… I suppose?

But that’s nothing to what’s inside. If sexist cartoons reveal the male id, then what are these revealing?


Ha ha! I guess!


Um… ha? No. No ha.





These cartoons aren’t just unfunny, they’re downright surreal. They remind me of those Nancy or New Yorker caption contest parodies where people deliberately put in non sequitur captions. (You’ll notice that the front cover of the “French cartoons” book up there doesn’t make any sense either.) If I were a psychoanalytic literary critic, I’d wind this up with something about how repressed urges can explode into incoherent displays of hysteria. (The non-funny kind of hysteria, obvi!) Instead, let’s conclude with one more mystifying example, this one from “Satan!” magazine.

tattooWhere? WHERE? It’s a question to ponder.

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on July 10, 2013, in are these guys 12 years old?, comics, consent is hard, creepy, evil old ladies, evil sexy ladies, funny, life before feminism, masculinity, no girls allowed, patriarchy, PUA, rape culture, rape jokes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 291 Comments.

  1. I’m a person who is not a toucher, and who is definitely not a hugger, but there are occasionally people whom I like to hug, and people whom I dislike to hug, and people whom I hug because if I didn’t it would be so much work to explain (Basically, “Oh yeah! I’m so excited that I just delivered your baby and you’re new parents and it’s so great, but thanks, I don’t hug.” is very awkward.) I also have a thing that I don’t like when people hug when it’s seemingly meaningless. I have friends who hug a lot, who always seem like the hug means something, and then friends who hug a lot, who do it basically as an exchange for saying hello, see you later, I’ll be back in five, ect… the people who just give them away without any attention paid to meaning, so it’s not meaningful, bothers me and I don’t hug them.

  2. And argh on “but you let him do it”. Yeah, and I’ll let my mother see me half naked as long as my twisted back is getting sports cream out of it, and my brother is allowed to do the playful punch thing — anyone else thinks they have permission to do either on those grounds, without explicit permission, isn’t getting a playful punch. (Ok, I’m more the verbal eviseration sort, but picture the few times I’ve lost it at trolls, at a volume that the whole block can hear or in a tone that has that “keep it up and see what happens” snarl)

    Lol, LBT, Biff’s talking through his teeth thing? Yeah, that’s my reaction to the randomly touching types.

  3. Urgh, that’s right, EROS. Biiiig side-eye.

  4. I admit, the only person I can really hug unreservedly is my husband. Even the kids, it takes a moment for me to go, “right, yes, hug!” and do so.

    And Argenti, it’s okay about your mom. Handshakes are about the most physical contact I’m okay with. And I’m glad you’re enjoying Bodily Reconstruction!

  5. Congrats, Dave, you have finally found a woman as stupid as yourself!

  6. Ok, I’m glad she didn’t upset or offend you or anything! And Bodily Reconstruction is awesome so far, the cover art is stunning, the digital does not do this justice, and my little M.D. sketch ^.^

    And love it being the “Harry Benjamin Health Center”, between my groan and my eyes nearly rolling across the floor, I’m lucky no one asked wtf I was groaning at because trying to explain that would’ve been fun!

  7. I have some “quirky” reactions to unexpected touching of an enclosing nature.

    It rarely happens twice, from the same person.

  8. Unimaginative: Also, I’ve been asking Pollock why he chooses to be obstruse, and he’s referring me to you.

    O-0? Why is he doing that?

    This is on some other thread? While you’re there ask the people we like to come on over.

  9. On this site we see the unholy triumvirate of David F, the craven herrretic Pecunium, and Howard B, leading the monsterous regiment of women (as the intelligent but nethertheless heretical John Knox aptly coined the phrase).

    He forgot about me! Hmph! ::sulks::

    God bless you all and amen. Yes this is drunken rambling, I admit it, but such is life.

    Hypocrite. Aren’t you at all concerned about damaging your witness? At this rate you’d be hard pressed to win your own soul.

    …Go away, Mr. Al.

  10. I’ve sort of got used to hugging all the time. Seems everyone does it as a greeting thing, so I’ll just roll with it. I used to feel uncomfortable with all this non-sexual non-intimate hugging, but as I said, I’ve gotten used to it. I felt getting used to it was just easier than trying to teach the entire world that I don’t want them to hug me, but obviously, YMMV on this one.

  11. Yeah, Dvärghundspossen, that was always my thing about it – it’s non-intimate when it’s done for a reason like greeting someone that you see all the time. And for me touch is intimate. Depending on the reason I just do it, but I don’t like people touching me, in general, except for people I’ve determined I trust enough to not hurt me, which is not very many people.

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