This is a small excerpt taken from Everywoman (Vol. 1, No. 2) that informs the structure of the entire exhibition. A cartoon taken from another newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, is curiously placed above a four-line untitled and unattributed poem with themes that parallel the cartoon. This placement is likely intentional as both these works are a commentary on the appearance of women. The cartoon mocks the appearance of an “ugly” feminist woman by arguing that sexual objectification would not apply to her. It is likely that this cartoon is responding to the Second Wave Feminist Movement. It represents the anti-feminist stereotype that some women are feminists because they are unattractive or masculine. The woman in the cartoon is old, overweight, and disheveled. The humor comes from the fact that this is “wrong” and unexpected for a woman because it subverts societal expectations for feminine bodies. In this context, the woman asserting individuality is seen as unreasonable.
The poem, by contrast, illustrates how men are unable to “look (women) in the eye” and see them as individuals (Everywoman, 7). The poem is a critique of the cartoon. It critiques the irony in the cartoon’s message. The cartoon’s argument that appearances can deny the need for feminist action proves the very necessity of it. The woman is being objectified because the cartoon relies solely on appearance to define her.
The newspaper is filled with juxtapositions like this. Everywoman takes images from other, well known, newspapers and magazines and uses them as proof that society is patriarchal. Then they go on to challenge the arguments of the images, mainly focusing on how humor about women are often insensitive and unfunny to women reading them.
Everywoman, vol. 1, no. 2, 1970.