She survived the feminist revolution, Princess Diana’s wedding, shoulder pads, cell phones and YouTube. Now, after 34 years, newspaper comic strip Cathy is coming to an end. Cathy artist Cathy Guisewite is quitting, in part to spend more time with her 18-year-old daughter, who is entering her final year of high school.
For a cartoon about an (until recently) single gal and her dog, Cathy has drawn a surprising amount of controversy. Many considered it un-feminist when Cathy expressed reticence about initiating relationships; others thought it radical for a series of strips on a mom who loses her job after she went on maternity leave. Probably depends on where you stand yourself on the political spectrum.
But most of all, Cathy was about relationships: between Cathy and her overly protective mom, Cathy and her non-committal future husband, Cathy and her child-surrogate dog, Cathy and the roughly 3,000 losers she dated before marrying.
When it debuted, Cathy was pretty revolutionary. There weren’t many female cartoonists back then.
Cathy was a single twentysomething obsessed with trying to lose weight and navigating through the feminist revolution with the help of her best friend, Andrea, a militant feminist. She didn’t get much help from her womanizing boyfriend, Irving, but he eventually proposed nearly three decades later.
Whether you think Cathy was progressive or regressive in tone, there’s no denying that she embodied the voice of a generation of women stuck between their stay-at-home moms and, eventually, their text-obsessed daughters.
When Cathy got married, the whole country took notice. And though she never had kids, Guisewite said her writing tone changed when she herself got married and had children.
The final Cathy strip will run on Oct. 3, and you know what that means, mom: You’ll have to find a new comic strip to cut out and send to me. I’ll miss you, Cathy.
Photo: Universal Press Syndicate