The Daily Mirror’s Mandy

// 23 January 2009

I came across a cartoon sequence in the Daily Mirror today titled Mandy, charting the adventures of a robust blonde with a cleavage fighting to either get out of, or stay in, her dress (it hasn’t decided yet). You might already be familiar with the illustrations, but for the uninitiated Mandy is described as “a maneater and girl-about-town,” who “doesn’t let her life as a single mum get in the way of having a good time.” Here’s a sample of Mandy’s shenanigans from today’s paper:

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I’m not sure about the Mirror’s fictional creation. Why? Because of the six cartoons offered by the paper each day, Mandy is the only female character who has her own comic strip. She is juxtaposed with veteran Andy Capp, Horace and Scorer to name a few, giving the distinct impression that she has been shoe-horned in so that the Mirror can’t be accused of not catering for a female readership.

It seems that in creating Mandy the Mirror has not only made her into the traditional big-breasted blonde caricature that populates the tabloids, but has also attempted to tick all the boxes in the hope that she encompasses as many female lifestyles as possible. She’s not only a sexually liberated “girl-about-town man-eater,” but she is also an independent single mother. The Mirror might believe they have broken some sort of taboo here (you haven’t!), and while I realise a cartoon is usually by nature an exacerbation of reality, what I don’t understand is why the Mirror felt it necessary to make Mandy such a densely concentrated comic creation instead of offering more for a female readership.

When it comes to comics “male” seems to be the default, with female characters rarely represented as damsels to be rescued (and thus to demonstrate the superior intellectual and physical abilities of the men folk) or as humorous fodder.

Comments From You

Eleanor T // Posted 23 January 2009 at 10:24 pm

Nemi! I love Nemi! I have cut-outs of her cartoons on my fridge because they make me laugh so hard.

And SHE’S a feminist. :)

Kez // Posted 24 January 2009 at 10:04 am

At least she keeps her clothes on, unlike some newspaper comic strips I recall seeing, where “strip” seemed to be the operative word. (George and Lynne, anyone? I also seem to recall one called Jane, although it may have been just a bad dream.)

Kirsty // Posted 24 January 2009 at 12:47 pm

George and Lynn makes me despair – last week they had a strip with George washing up, and Lynn coming up behind him in her underwear, whispering ‘Can I do anything for you?’. The next frame was her washing up, while he’d disappeared. Oh dear.

As far as female-centred strips go, I love Em in the London Paper – she never fails to make me smile.

mezumi // Posted 24 January 2009 at 2:43 pm

nemi rocks!!! safe to say she would kick those pappy mysogeonist cartoons hallfway to middle earth. :)

Mephit // Posted 24 January 2009 at 3:20 pm

Not a bad dream, I remembered it too: Jane was the Daily Mirror’s “forces sweetheart” from WW2.

According to wiki, I can’t have seen the original (cos it ended in ’59!) but I must have seen it in the form of “Jane – daughter of Jane”, one of the Mirror’s attempts to bring her back.

Kez // Posted 24 January 2009 at 7:43 pm

Mephit – yes, that must have been it. I do remember that her clothes seemed to have a habit of – oops! – “accidentally” falling off. All the time.

Emma // Posted 26 January 2009 at 11:23 pm

I loathe Scorer – tacky illustrations of breasts peeking through lace/tiny bikinis, and a conveniently turned naked body. How titillating! They’re like adolescent sketches, only not as fun. Urgh.

Florence // Posted 27 January 2009 at 12:55 pm

It would be nice to see more central female characters in comics – I’ve always liked Mandy Capp (her original name, btw, before fans of Andy Capp got all enraged… *sighs) even though I’m in a different class/race bracket. Nemi is cool, but again, she’s the only one in her newspaper (though one could say ‘This Life’ does feature some women’s-perspective humour).

nyeah // Posted 7 February 2009 at 4:26 pm

these are cartoons for blokes so why are you complaing when there is youtube?

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