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Remembering 'Cathy': Death of an anxious cartoon icon
After 34 years as a daily comic strip, the fretful 'Cathy' is coming to an end — leaving bloggers asking: Feminist icon or annoying loser?
 
"Cathy" is coming to an end this fall.
"Cathy" is coming to an end this fall.
AM Universal

After 34 years of angst, heavy sighs, and charges of female stereotyping, the comic strip "Cathy" is coming to an end this October. Creator and writer Cathy Guisewite, 60, says she's packing it in to spend more time with her 18-year-old daughter and her elderly parents. The daily strip, which appeared in 1,400 newspapers, documents the peeves and panics of a mildly pudgy career-woman searching for love ("Cathy" eventually married her boyfriend, Irving, in 2005). Both pro- and anti-"Cathy" bloggers had plenty to say about the strip's demise:

Goodbye, loser
"'Cathy' had the personality of a poorly drawn wet mop," says Evil Fizz at Feministe. "I honestly have no idea how it lasted so long telling the exact same five jokes over and over." This would-be feminist icon "just reinforced a lot of wretched stereotypes about women," from financial ineptitude to a "ridiculous" obsession with men.

Countless women saw themselves in "Cathy"
She survived the "feminist revolution, Princess Diana's wedding, shoulder pads...and YouTube." Whether you consider Guisewite's efforts progressive or regressive, her character "embodied the voice of a generation of women stuck between their stay-at-home moms and, eventually, their text-obsessed daughters," says ToniFitz76 at Babble. We'll miss you, Cathy.

Her place changed over time
"It's as good a time as any to put the old girl down," says Jessica Wakeman at The Frisky. When this "swinging desperate" gal debuted in the 70s during "an exciting and liberating time to be a single woman," she was admittedly revolutionary. But as singleness lost its stigma, this erstwhile icon became "I'll just say it...annoying."

Cathy's much-anticipated marriage was also her decline
Cathy only got married when "the strip's already-slim roster of 'reasons I will be alone forever and am therefore worthless' gags shrunk," says Maura Johnston at The Awl. "Surely Guisewite is cursing all the online-dating innovations her namesake missed out on by getting hitched" back in 2005.

Women can still relate
"[W]e're gonna miss the pudgy, swimsuit-hating comic character, if for no other reason than she makes us feel good about hating ourselves," says Emerald Catron at Lemondrop.

 

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