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Leunig: female sexuality « Previous | |Next »
November 01, 2006

As we know conservatives argue that the culture industry's use of sexual imagery exploits and degrades women. On the other hand, we have pro-porn feminists who argue porn with positive female images is empowering. And the debate swings between the two extremes.

Is this image empowering?


Strikes me this is the character of the dumb blonde--all body no brains. She causes the sexual trouble but is unaware of role in it. Not a very flattering representation is it.? But it is a deepseated (unconscious) image in our patriarchal society.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 06:22 AM | | Comments (10)


I hope to be blogging that one soon, Gary. In case I don't get time: Leunig does seem to have a problem with women IMO. He seems to be for the "little guy", but with emphasis on the guy part. I can't draw any meaning from this picture other than that girls, or women, really are at fault - from naivete rather than evil, but still at fault. Also, he sets up such an extreme example, a straw woman. Who do you really see on the train dressed in what is essentially a bathing suit with heels? I see noone dressed like that, either male or female. Is he saying because the young teen/twentysomethings are sprouting a bit of muffin top they are equivalent to that?
I can't really see where he and Sheik Hillaly diverge on this one, except on the extreme nature of the Sheik's language.
He's (Leunig, that is) weird, dude.

I didn't have time to write about the image this morning cos of work. But your comments are on the mark.

Graphically the women also seems be something of dominatrix whilst the man is something of a weakling who desires domination?

Conceptually it is about negative freedom---a desire to do as I please and throwing off all constraint and convention. the sexual liberation assocaited with 1960s feminism often worked with that understanding of freedom as a right.

Well Leunig is not the only one who is saying "but the sheik had a point about women dressing skimpily putting themselves [their 'honour'] in danger".

Some people seem to think that while a man who rapes or commits other sexual violence is committing an immoral act, a woman who dresses skimpily (without regard to any context - could be the beach) is also committing an immoral act, but somehow a lesser one.

This is a kind of paradox because when you combine the man and the woman above the result is that the woman has been immoral as well as the man, so the man isn't required to take full responsibility for his actions, in effect exonerating him. That's a paradox by modern ethics because we believe in personal responsibility, not so much shared.

I agree with you Helen, Leunig and Hilaly are in agreement. Hilaly and many other significant religious figures have simply fixed up the paradox by saying well the man is actually not immoral at all because the woman's immorality apparently started it, bringing things back into a nice state where one person is clearly to blame -- the skimpily-clad woman!

Years ago I used to enjoy Leunig when his work was fey, vague, dreamlike and touched with fairy dust.

He's become a concrete literalist and usually makes no sense at all as he ranges from weird to slightly embarrassing then to me wanting to avoid him.

yes with individual ethics the individuals become responsible for their own actions. Leunig's finger is definitely pointed at the woman --not at the drunken pack of men on the last train home after the pub closes. They are excused by being invisible.

Presumably the men will be driven by their violent sexual urges and sexually assault the skimpily dressed woman.

So Leunig's cartoon embodies the old notion that scantily-clad women are "asking for it". Since it is feminism that has made that view unacceptable----no woman is "asking for it"---about 25 years ago then Leunig's view is pre-feminist.

It's a conservative perspective -- it reminds me of 1950s Roman Catholicism that railed against the libertarian ethos of the 1968er's.

I agree.

It was only fifteen years that Justice Derek Bollen said that a husband had a right to bully his wife physically into having s-x, and another Justice remarked that the rape of a prostitute was more like theft of goods unpaid for than an act of violence.

Remember that?

This women is a perfect candidate for muslimity....err translated to Aussie...Bag on the head!

interesting blog you have there. Very visual and witty. Congratulations.

I presume you are saying that she is a temptress who owns the weapon of seduction and whose flesh should be covered up.

It is interesting that Leunig is not acknowledging Australia's multicultural reality.

Shaymus is the only blogger i've ever read who publishes in Comic Sans mS. Which must be some kind of ...something or other.

Yes, he does draw his people in general, Ugly. So they are vulnerable I suppose. Laughable and almost a mirror.
Yes it all very well to acknowledge multiwhatwasityousaid but for christ sake if the sheilas have big noses! Let em be Muslims!

Yeah I like your blog too.