The comic strip Cathy debuted in 1976. I was 10 years old and just starting to read newspapers on my own. It was often the only image of a professional, self-reliant young woman I saw, and not just on the comics page. Sometimes she was unsure about how to proceed, but she never moved back with her parents or relied on them to pay the bills.
I think, 32 years later, we forget just how groundbreaking Cathy really was. Cathy also reflects our culture in another way: the main character’s love-hate relationship with food, dieting, and her body.
This week has been different, however. Cathy seems to have begun to travel a path of self-acceptance.
Tuesday Cathy wrestles with gaining 6lbs. Instead of her typical panic, part of her is actually fine. Part of her, though, feels that she should be panicking. The rest of the week has played out in a similar vein; it’s not that Cathy feels bad about gaining weight, she feels she should feel bad for gaining weight.
Note, this is a teeny tiny baby step. Cathy is not preaching fat acceptance. But it is a step. Maybe she’ll take more.
(Some of the comments on www.cathy.com are positive too, but others are pretty negative, so you might want to check your available Sanity Watchers points before reading the comments.)