You’ve probably never heard of Jackie Ormes and that’s a goddamn tragedy. But it’s not surprising—there is no “Jackie Ormes Omnibus” available on Amazon.com, no “Collected Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger,” no “Essential Torchy Brown.” She won no awards, can be found in no hall of fame, and is usually treated as “an interesting find” by comic historians. She’s become a curio, a funny little facet of history, undiscovered, even, by today’s wave of geek-oriented feminism.
Jackie Ormes was the first African-American woman cartoonist. Yeah. That’s who we’re ignoring. Her work for the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender—both incredibly influential African-American newspapers—was utterly groundbreaking and remains unique, even in the context of modern comics. Her first work, Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem, featured the adventures of the titular Torchy, a stylish, intelligent young African-American woman who (feigning illiteracy) boards a whites-only train car to New York City and changes her life. Torchy’s story is a great, irreverent window into the migration of Southern-born African-Americans to the North, a movement that defined 20th-century America—but it is also the story of a girl on her own, living her own life and making her own choices. Torchy was an incredible aspirational figure, the likes of which barley exists in modern comics: an independent, optimistic, fashionable and adventurous black woman. Ormes would later revive Torchy’s story in Torchy in Heartbeats, a strip that introduced international adventure into the heroine’s life. In Heartbeats, Torchy traveled to South America, dated idealistic doctors, battled environmental exploitation and confronted racism at every turn. She was, frankly, awesome.
And then there was Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger, her most successful and longest-running work. Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger was a single panel gag strip, like Family Circus—an illustration with a caption beneath it. Ginger was a beautiful, stylish young woman always accompanied by her little sister Patty-Jo, a clear-eyed, sardonic kid who spent most strips calling out the bullshit they endured on a daily basis as black women. Ormes’ talents shine through especially well in these little stories: her canny wit, the absolutely gorgeous clothes she drew her women in (seen also in her Torchy Togs paper dolls) and her skillful, succinct way of imparting to the reader just how goddamn stupid our society can be about gender and race. Patty-Jo is never shamed or taken down a peg for being an intelligent, outspoken little girl—in fact, she was made into a highly popular doll that wasn’t an obnoxious Topsy-style stereotype. She preceded Daria, Emily the Strange, Lian Harper, all those wry little girls we celebrate today—and yet, I see her on no t-shirts, can find her in no libraries. Patty-Jo is celebrated only in doll-collecting circles at this point, as the cute little symbol of a bygone age.
At Jackie Ormes’ height as a cartoonist, her work reached one million people per week. In the 1940s and 1950s, she reached one million people per week. She didn’t just surpass barriers—she leapt merrily over them. She introduced the general populace to a voice that had always existed, but was seldom heard—a voice that is still smothered today. She created African-American women who unapologetically enjoyed glamour, who pioneered their own futures, who refused to keep silent about the walls they found themselves scraping against every day. I haven’t even covered the half of it: Ormes was also an avid doll collector, served on the founding board of directors of the DuSable Museum of African-American history, and was targeted by the McCarthy-led witchhunts of the 1950s. Remember Jackie Ormes. Celebrate Jackie Ormes. Visit The Ormes Society and support the essential work they do. Keep her memory alive so that we may enjoy a million more Torchys and Patty-Jos in our comics—instead of the paltry handful we are offered today.
(First in a series on women in the comics industry.)
I did a project on Jackie Ormes- her work is was stunning and progressive. Look into her, you won’t regret it.
Since it’s summer and this mindset begins to pop up more, let us clarify something.
Girls being upset over being seen in bra/panties but not bikinis is not a double standard.
If she’s in a bikini, it’s what she consciously chose to wear and be seen in, in a public space, and like any outfit she was prepared to be seen in it by other people.
If you’ve caught a girl in her underwear, however, you’re probably trespassing in her bedroom, bathroom, or other personal space, where she should be in privacy, and she has every right to be upset if that privacy is violated.
It’s not about what she’s wearing or what it is covering, but rather her privacy and consent to be seen in the first place. Please respect that.
Omg, amazing that someone thought to explain this
*nods head* Good explanation.
Well ok Kesha, maybe it’s because you’re an auto tuned peice of shit who shouldn’t be famous, you have no Buisness being in the music industry, it’s not even your music you fuck, someone else wrote it for you to record and them to auto tune yourself. And it’s not at all good . It’s not positive either. So complain some more.
I don’t know if you know this, tumblr user koolkidseatgreens, but Ke$ha is a certified genius. She has an IQ over 140 and an SAT score of 1500. When she was younger she would go to the library and do research for fun. Ke$ha is a both feminist and an advocate for equal marriage/rights for people of any sexuality, being a queer woman herself.
Ke$ha is a smart, professional woman, and just because she sings songs about wanting to let loose and have fun every once in a while doesn’t make her a piece of shit.
Ke$ha’s songs are meant to point out the sexism in our media. She treats men the same way many men in the music industry treat women, and she is hated on for it. Relentlessly. She sings on multiple occasions about taking charge in a sexual relationship, of how she only uses men for their body parts. She sexualizes men to make them uncomfortable. She sexualizes men for a reaction, so that people can both see why women are so uncomfortable with their sexualization and also to point out the inequality between the sexes both in the media and in the world at large.
She is judged so harshly for singing about things that make many men famous.
If you listen to Ke$ha’s deconstructed album you will see that she actually has some talent, which may be hard to hear because she does in fact use a fair amount of autotune. This is because of her genre and because of the kind of music she chooses to create as an artist. Ke$ha may not write her songs, but this doesn’t meant she isn’t a good artist or a good person. This doesn’t mean she deserves your harsh words. Some singers are good at writing, but that’s hardly a requirement. Last time I checked whether or not you can sing has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a poet.
You should not be calling anyone a piece of shit, my friend, especially someone you’ve never sat down and had a conversation (or even taken the time to wonder about her feelings!), but if anyone deserves that kind of language it’s not Ke$ha.
You may think that by shaming women for expressing their sexuality and having fun every once in a while, that you are somehow abolishing sexism. That in weeding out the less ‘deserving’ women you are gaining our sex more respect. This is not the case, and the fact that you and many others feel such a strong need to shame this woman who has done nothing wrong, especially not to you, shows that we still have a very far away to go.
the principal at my school made an announcement yesterday that the girls need to start covering up and then i found this in the hallway
should i post this all over my school because damn
its not even “female body parts”
leg is body part
boy have leg
girl have leg
animal have leg
fish dont have leg
but its okay
because axolotl have leg
is axolotl leg over sexualised
can axolotl not wear shorts
i think axolotl can wear shorts if axolotl wants
When people of authority say things like “You’re distracting the boys” or really “the boys…” anything in regards to sexualizing my body. I always go
"It is my body. I am wearing shorts. I am not a sexual object
and I have more faith that the males of in my generation then you seem to.”
because, Fuck. Men are not wild animals. They are not ‘dogs’. The are fucking human beings. The ones who decide to make me an object need an attitude adjustment and you need to be talking to THEM. But can we stop fucking generalizing men a little. It is stuff like “boys will be boys” that simultaneously give some men permission and others not enough credit. Talk to your fucking youth. Teach them how to respect each other.
Instead of telling women that it is their responsibility to cover up and conform IN ORDER to earn that respect. Because it is not the male students who are saying this shit. If they were, the women would just up and tell them how we feel. But instead it is the authority, and they are silencing the women of the campus.
MEN ARE CAPABLE. MEN CAN DO IT. LET THEM FUCKING PROVE IT.
Because they are not animals
and women are not objects
and we are at a fucking STAND STILL because of policies and people like this.
SO HELL YES TO THIS POSTER. It needs to be everywhere. On bill-boards and classrooms and lockers and fucking school hand books.
one time a boy tried to pull my hijab off
i punched him in the face
closed fist, short swing, right in the jaw
there is a point where you stop trying to educate people and start making the consequences of their racist bullshit real fuckin clear.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister of Australia kicking ass and taking names (mostly Tony Abbott’s). [x]
CAN I GET AN AMEN!
a woman’s body is not for you. if she wants to cover it she should feel free and safe in doing so. if she wants to expose it she should feel free and safe in doing so. it is not an indication of her self-respect but an indication of her preferences for whatever reasons she chooses — none of which are your business or concern.