The Gender Fence

Cartoon by Barry


If you argue with the more intelligent conservatives about gender issues, sooner or later you are challenged with a famous quote from G. K. Chesterton:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

That argument makes sense as far as it goes; but what it ignores is why the “modern type of reformer” wants the fence taken down. It ignores the possibility that the person wanting the fence taken down is reacting to real and immediate pain, and that there might actually be some urgency in the situation.

Transcript of cartoon.

This cartoon has two panels.
In the first panel, a genderqueer person whose gender presentation is ambiguous, is talking to a suburban-looking man wearing a polo shirt. There’s a old-fashioned wooden rail fence running between them.

CAPTION: How they see gender.
GENDERQUEER PERSON (sternly): We need to dismantle this fence.
SUBURBAN MAN (cheerfully): Whoa! Let’s not rush.

The same scene, except now the post of the fence is going through the genderqueer person’s back, pinning them to the ground, and they are in agony.

CAPTION: How I see gender.
SUBURBAN MAN (cheerfully): Whoa! Let’s not rush.

Posted in Feminist cartoons, LGBT cartoons |

Maternity Leave vs Profit

Cartoon by Barry


This cartoon was done in collaboration with my friend Becky Hawkins. I did the writing and lettering with Becky’s help, Becky did the drawing with me helping on layouts, and I did the gray tones.


Panel 1
A woman in a collared shirt and black pants is talking to a businessman in a fancy suit.
WOMAN: Businesses oppose paid maternity leave because you put money above women’s health!
BUSINESSMAN: We care deeply about women! We’re against paid leave because it’s bad for women!

Panel 2
The businessman has pulled a mother, holding a crying newborn, into the panel.
WOMAN: Women need time off to recover after giving birth.
BUSINESSMAN: Nonsense! Just look at Tiana here… She can’t wait to get back to work. It’s patronizing of you to say otherwise!
TIANA: So tired….

Panel 3
BUSINESSMAN: Paid maternity leave makes hiring women more expensive – and that means companies will discriminate against hiring them! Have a heart!

Panel 4
The businessman violently shoves Tiana off-panel.
WOMAN: So we’ll give paid leave to new mothers AND new fathers!
BUSINESSMAN: But that would cost MONEY!

Posted in Economic cartoons, Feminist cartoons, Health care, Labor rights & Unions |

People Grow Old, Excuses Live Forever

Cartoon by Barry


This cartoon was created in collaboration with the wonderful Becky Hawkins.


Panel 1
A young man (20s or 30s) is talking with cheerful optimism to a woman who is about 60 years old. In the background a female secretary works on a laptop.
MAN: The reason most executives are male isn’t sexism. It just takes time for women to get promoted! In thirty years lots of top executives will be women!
WOMAN: Do you ever get deja vu?

Panel 2
A caption says TEN YEARS EARLIER. The same woman, who looks about 50, is listening to a different cheerful man talk. In the background, a different female secretary works on a computer with a flatscreen monitor.
MAN: The reason most executives are male isn’t sexism.

Panel 3
A caption says TWENTY YEARS EARLIER. The same woman, now about 40, is listening to a different cheerful man. In the background, a female secretary works on a computer with a huge boxy monitor.
MAN: It just takes time for women to get promoted!

Panel 4
A caption says THIRTY YEARS EARLIER. The same woman, now about 30, is being talked out by a cheerful man with a big mustache. But the woman has turned and is listening to the secretary in the background, an older woman working on an electric typewriter.
MAN: In thirty years, lots of top executives will be women.
SECRETARY: Do you ever get deja vu?

CAPTION FOR ENTIRE CARTOON: People grow old, excuses live forever.

Posted in Feminist cartoons |

How Rape Makes Women Poorer

Cartoon by Barry


This cartoon was inspired by “Yes means yes” is about much more than rape, by Amanda Taub.

The cartoon is in flow chart form.

Panel 1 is labeled “START HERE,” and shows a fashionable hipster man talking on a cell phone. He has a Van Dyke beard.
VAN DYKE: Come to the city and stay with me for the conference! You’ll meet important people!

An arrow labeled “If you’re a girl go this way” leads to a panel showing a young woman on the phone thinking “Should I go? I barely know this guy.” There are two paths leading from this panel: “YES, GO” and “DON’T GO.”

“DON’T GO” leads to a panel marked THE END, where we see an IMPORTANT PERSON IN A SUIT AND TIE speaking to VAN DYKE.
IMPORTANT PERSON: Whatever happened to her? I thought she was talented.
VAN DYKE: I tried helping her, but she’s SO standoffish.

“YES, GO!” leads to a panel of the young woman and Van Dyke in a bedroom. He is grabbing her and she’s trying to fend him off.
VAN DYKE: Aw, c’mon, don’t tease!
There are two routes out of this panel: “STAY IN HIS APARTMENT” and “FLEE HIS APARTMENT.” “STAY IN HIS APARTMENT” leads to a black panel labeled “HE RAPES YOU.” “FLEE HIS APARTMENT” leads to a panel of the young woman sitting on a sidewalk, shivering, in the dark, labeled “you’re broke on the streets of a strange city.” Whichever path you choose, they both lead to…

A panel marked “YOU GET BLAMED.” Fingers point at the young woman.
FINGER 1: She must have wanted it!
FINGER 2: What did she expect to happen?

The “YOU GET BLAMED” panel leads to an arrow marked “TIME OFF TO HEAL,” which in turn leads back to the THE END panel.

Going all the way back to the “START HERE” panel, there’s one more route in this flow chart. From “START HERE” (“Come to the city and stay with me for the conference! You’ll meet important people!”) choose “IF YOU’RE A BOY, GO THIS WAY.” A young man on the phone says “Thanks! I’d love to go!” We then see him at a party in the city, with lots of networking going on; the IMPORTANT PERSON is saying to him, “we should collaborate.” An arrow marked “YEARS LATER” leads to a panel of the now less young man, clearly now an important person himself, giving a speech at a podium.

YOUNG MAN: I never benefited from sexism… I just worked harder than my rivals!

Posted in Barry's favorites, Feminist cartoons |

Rape and Consent – Affirmative Consent Explained

Cartoon by Barry

Further update: And a third try at finding the right punchline to this cartoon! (Scroll down for the first two attempts).


The second try:

Sometimes I don’t get cartoons right the first time. After I’d posted this one online, David Feldman emailed me suggesting that the punchline would be better if it focused more on past acts than on future plans. He was right, and after a bit of emailing back and forth, we came up with a new punchline.


For those of you who are interested, here’s the cartoon with the original punchline:


If you purchase this cartoon for reprint, be sure to let me know which punchline you prefer. :-)

The cartoon shows two young men chatting. The man on the left is Asian and punky – he has his hair shaved into a mohawk, a nose ring and an earlobe plug, and tattoos. The man on the right is probably white and has a van dyke beard and a shaved head, and is wearing a black vest over a turtleneck shirt. There are six panels.

Panel 1
BEARDY: In the old days, rape was when a thug jumped out of bushes, not this “date rape” and “affirmative consent” nonsense!

Panel 2
BEARDY: If we define “rape” so broadly, how can I know I’m not “raping” a girl I’m hooking up with?

Panel 3
PUNKY: It’s really not hard! If she acts like she wants sex, by yanking your pants down or saying “fuck me now” – if she’s going for it just as much as you are – then you’re golden!

Panel 4
PUNKY: But if she’s so drunk that she can’t walk straight or talk clearly, then she might be too drunk to know what’s going on, so don’t fuck her. Or him, for that matter.

Panel 5
PUNKY: And if she passively “gives in” to sex, check that things are cool before going any further. Why is that so hard?
BEARDY: Because!

Panel 6
PUNKY: Because what?
BEARDY: Because she might say no!

Alternate punchline:

BEARDY: Because it’s impossible that anything I’ve done was rape!

And the original punchline:

BEARDY: Because then I might not get to fuck her!

Posted in Barry's favorites, Feminist cartoons |

Really Good Careers

Cartoon by Barry

Description of cartoon: The cartoon shows a woman holding a child’s hand, in a fairly dismal-looking city area, standing on a sidewalk at the entrance to a building. Above the entrance is a sign that says “Really Good Careers.” To the right of the entrance, a smaller sign says “An equal opportunity employer.” The entrance is shaped like a male silhouette; it seems apparent that the woman and her child could not fit through the entrance.

This cartoon is also available in black and white.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Feminist cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

The Modern Sisyphus

Cartoon by Barry

The first panel has a close-up of a Black person’s hands pushing a boulder uphill. The title of the strip, “Modern Sisyphus,” is written on the boulder.

We see a black woman, wearing casual office clothing, pushing a boulder uphill. A few yards above her, at the top of the hill, a white man stands listening with his arms crossed.
WOMAN: I realize that you never owned slaves or raped anyone. I’m talking about systematic racism and sexism, okay?

The woman has pushed the boulder to almost the very top of the hill.
WOMAN: Yes, I’m qualified to be in my job… No, I don’t hate white men… No, sexism and racism didn’t end thirty years ago…

The woman has lost her grip on the boulder and watches, appalled, as it quickly rolls back down the hill. The man walks away, disappearing off the right side of the panel.
MAN: If you just stopped focusing on these things, you’d be happier… I gotta go now.

The woman stands looking down the hill in the direction the boulder went, slumped a little.

Still slumped a little, the woman tiredly walks downhill.
WOMAN: Sigh…

Posted in Anti-racist cartoons, Feminist cartoons |

The Wage Gap And Women’s Choices

Cartoon by Barry

The scene: Two women talk. One wears a black skirt, the other has a ponytail.

Panel one
BLACK SKIRT: the WAGE GAP has nothing to do with SEXISM! women are paid less because they make different CHOICES.

Panel two
BLACK SKIRT: HAVING A FAMILY, for example. many women take time off from work to take care of children or elderly relatives…

Panel three
BLACK SKIRT: so women work less. or work part-time. or need more flexible jobs. and as a result, they get paid less. but what does that have to do with SEXISM?

Panel four
PONYTAIL: couldn’t MEN do half of that unpaid work?

Panel four, tiny subpanel in the corner
PONYTAIL: okay, i’ll let someone ELSE raise my kids.
BLACK SKIRT: what kind of LOUSY mother does THAT?

Posted in Economic cartoons, Feminist cartoons |

Street Harassment

Cartoon by Barry

This cartoon is available as a print or a poster on Redbubble.


(Each of the first nine panels shows a black-haired woman walking in a public place at different times and in different outfits. In each outfit, a different stranger on the street is making a comment to her. She looks very unhappy with the comments. Panel 1 starts showing her from fairly far away, but each panel gets closer up on her face until panel 9.)

Panel 1
Man in doorway: Damn, beautiful!

Panel 2 (woman is waiting at bus stop)
Guy sitting on stoop: You got a number?

Panel 3
Man grabbing woman’s arm: Suck my cock!

Panel 4
Grinning older man: Smile! You’re so pretty!

Panel 5 (Woman is carrying groceries)
Man in car: Hey! I’m talking to you! Fuck you then!

Panel 6 (Woman is riding bike)
Man: DAMN, sexy, you’ve got a fat ass.

Panel 7 (Close up on woman’s almost wincing face).
Off-panel voice: Just stop and talk. I just want to talk to you.

Panel 8 (Closer up on her face, which is turned away from the viewer.)
Off-panel voice: What’s your name? C’mon, tell me your

Panel 9 (Very far shot of woman, walking hunched over with her hands in her jacket pockets).
Off-panel voice: I’d fuck the SHIT out of that.

Panel 10 (Woman at home, in her bedroom. A cheerful man in the background, wearing pajamas and sitting on a bed, talks to her; she has her back to him and looks miserable.)
Man: If women on the street said I look nice, it’d make my day!

Posted in Barry's favorites, Feminist cartoons |

Bitch If You Do, Broke If You Don’t

Cartoon by Barry

Bitch if you Do, Broke if you Don't

Posted in Economic cartoons, Feminist cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |