A few weeks ago I had a shrill harangue going on about the nasty cartoons in the Bulletin from sixty years ago, for which they must be punished. I just wanted to mention that on the weekend I picked up a copy of The Penguin Petty, a 1972 collection of Bruce Petty cartoons which aren't dated but which are mainly very current (because they're full of cartoons about Billy McMahon, who was only politically hot for a few years in the early 70s) and some more 'timeless' ones, some of which appeared in international organs such as The New Yorker.
I was having a go at the Bulletin cartoonists for sexism and racism, so I feel I can't really let these cartoons by Petty go by without comment, though I can't quite put my finger on why I don't find these as sexist (they're not racist, of course, indeed there are no race issues touched on in the Petty collection except by a few degrees of separation). Here's one:
I actually don't think this is sexist. I think this is just a person in a difficult situation. 'Miss Melkin' made a mistake with her clay moisture, and no more I suspect. However this:
is a curious one, mainly because Miss Bellenger has such a look of calm, almost disdain, on her unremarkable face. She is not sexualised at all (in fact, she could be a longhaired boy) and nor is she ditzy or flustered by the situation. So, while I would have to say I still can't imagine a cartoon being produced at this time in which the trainee was a young man - who knows, maybe I'll stumble upon one - I also think we could regard this as a transitional cartoon in the field of 'women are shitty drivers' humour.
Obviously this stuff touches me because there is a body of thought which posits I am a shitty driver. Maybe so. But I am not as bad as my mother. Boom tish.