Getting Catty, by Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.

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15 Responses

  1. Russ Rogers says:

    I don't think "Cougar" is a dehumanizing pejorative foisted upon women by a patriarchal society in an effort to dehumanize them and steal or limit their power. It's a metaphor. It's a word that suggests a great, prowling, feline (thus feminine) strength, power and yes, sexual appeal. Like Catwoman. And I'm talking about the Julie Newmar/Ertha Kitt, comic book type Catwoman. Not that sad socialite, Jocelyn Wildenstein, addicted to plastic surgery catwoman. It is no more or less dehumanizing than the terms "Stallion" or "Stud" to describe sexually available men. Frankly, I find "Stud" a little more degrading. But I'm a guy.Even the insensitive blogger who commented on women at the SDCC concluded, "The woman erupted into a fit of rage, berating the security folks and launching into a bullshit tirade that you usually only hear from dinks in supermarkets or department stores." [The boldface is mine.]Why is the term he chose for ignorant and rude people "DINKS?" This is synonymous with "DORKS," "DICKS," "PRICKS," "TOOLS," "COCKS" and "KNOBS." All these insults stem from the perception that the male genitalia is rude, stupid, ignorant, selfish, laughable and without consideration for anything but it's own base self-gratification. Sure there are insults based on female genitalia too. But those generally imply a sense of cowardice or calculated evil, not laughable stupidity, buffoonery or oafishness!Frankly, I do find Penises more laughable than Vaginas. They are so exposed. Vulnerable. There are only two states for a penis, comic or pornographic. Like a silly sock puppet or a vaguely threatening meat-bat. Vaginas are far more mysterious and yes, aestheticly pleasing. But, I have to admit, I have a male-gaze. OK, maybe these pudenda-based put-downs are metaphors too. The penis is either comic or threatening, and yes, I find mine to be occasionally selfish and stupid. Vaginas are hidden (thus cowardly?) and mysterious (hence calculating?). I'm not saying that makes these insults acceptable. Pigeon-holing people with put-downs is patently preposterous, improper and impolite. I'm just trying to understand the logic (if there is any) behind these insults."Cougar" may be a stupid word, a silly concept. It might even be a slur, even if I don't see it that way. I'm a guy, with the male-gaze. Let the people who are being categorized determine if something is offensive or insulting. Hey, I wasn't offended by the Frito Bandito. But I'm not Mexican … and I was seven years old. But "Cougar" is a meme that has caught on. It will be hard to shake. It's pounced upon our society like a mountain lion attacking a horse. Personally, I find the term, "Cougar," less offensive than "MILF" or "VPILF." But somebody can already see a term that has some traction. <a href="” target=”_blank”> is already up and running web site!And, all in all, I would rather be a Cougar than a Chicken-hawk (in either sense of that word).

  2. Kathy Pearlman says:

    Sir, a "DINK" (quotes mine) is "double income no kids" – the people who feel that shopping is a hobby. Not necessarily synonymous with "DORKS," "DICKS," "PRICKS," "TOOLS," "COCKS" and "KNOBS." Granted, my knowledge may have slipped a bit, but I believe you went off the deep there about DINK… Ms. Riggs happens to be a DINK, not by choice, BTW, so you better watch it…

    • Russ Rogers says:

      Although D.I.N.K. is a clever acronym, Double Income No Kids, it's also only recently coined. And I don't think that's the context the blogger used the word "dink". Especially since earlier in his offensive, misogynist tirade (and you'll have to look it up. He's not worth quoting here again) he claimed that the women he found most annoying were too unattractive to be married or even in relationships.I point you to the Online Dictionary of Playground Slang:dink n. Synonym for penis or prick; common derogatory comment about someone such as "He's a dink", circa. 1960's Note: California said to have used "dick" at that time and apparently still does. USA (Minn.)I will say that the Dictionary of Playground Slang puts "dink" as 1960s slang from Minnesota, which is my era and location. Maybe "dink," meaning "dork" or "prick," is local slang and isn't in common parlance as I assume.

  3. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    As a rule, terms comparing a person to the male special purpose is to say the person is stupid. All of the terms Russ mentions (and not to forget the glorious list the Yiddish language have given us) mean idiot or buffoon. Of the only two terms for the female Holy Temple of the Yoni that I can think of that are used to address people, one means "weakling" and the other is a far coarser term for "unpleasant person". I find the disparity interesting. I consider "cougar" to be a perjorative (implying that since one must GO hunting for what is desired, there are no sources ready to provide it), but I don't consider MILF to be one, thought it could easily be considered rude. A MILF is someone who wouldn't HAVE to hunt for companionship, while a cougar needs to. Heck, technically, I'm married to a MILF. I imagine several of us are.The big difference is that while ladies are grouped into "yes" and "no" piles when they reach the famous "A Certain Age", men are not. Men, in short, are allowed to age. Cary Grant remained a vital leading man, ever cast against progressively younger than he women. That's a topic that could carry a discussion.

  4. Kathy Pearlman says:

    Ah, thank you (I think) I stand, old and corrected.

  5. Hollie says:

    I just thought that "cougar" was the female version of "hound dog." Noted in passing — That's a rather silly song when Elvis sings it.

    • Mike Gold says:

      MUCH better song in its original version, as written by Lieber and Stoller and performed by the always awesome Big Mama Thornton. I was fired from a Chicago radio station for playing it. Check it out and then tell me why I was fired. I've never been able to figure that out. (BTW, I was rehired within 24 hours; perhaps they remembered I also wrote for a 50,000 circulation alt-weekly.)

      • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

        Look at a picture of the person who sang it. There' y'are. That's Chicago for you.

        • Mike Gold says:

          Right the first time.Of course, by that point in time it was more a matter of the program director than the city. He still thought rock'n'roll was a fad, and no doubt thought I was playing "race music."

  6. Elayne Riggs says:

    Yeah, it's interesting – most of the animal refs used for supposedly virile men – stud, stallion, hound – are not really feral creatures, are they?I think both Kathy and Russ are right – the misogynist hated seeing these older women at conventions, and considered many of them useless because (in part) he assumed they were childless, so in that context Double Income No Kids becomes an insult. And Vinnie provides the only context I can think of wherein I would consider MILF to be a compliment.

    • Mike Gold says:

      I'm not sure it's derogatory OR a compliment — depends on the context. I think the phrase is more "stupid," "easy," "trendy," and "shallow." Then again, as Vinnie points out, the concept does promote the alluring viability of middle-aged woman, something long denied in our culture.

    • Russ Rogers says:

      I was trying to point out the irony of a misogynist tirade ending where the ultimate insult is being compared to the male sex organ. The bogus blogger couldn't have been using the word "dink" to mean Double Income No Kids, because his complaint with middle-aged women at comic conventions stemmed not only from their infertility but their apparent lack of any romantic relationships. His BOGUS notion that women without men are not only useless, but lack any incentive toward maintaining social skills. I find this also ironic because a lack of social skills has been a stereotype of the male Con-geek for years. It's a stereotype that's confirmed recently, at least anecdotally, by such things as the Open Source Boob Project and the Free Hugs/Harassment debacles.

  7. Elayne Riggs says:

    This just in: Sarah Haskins and Current.TV add to the big-cat debate by talking about Panther Power!

  8. Anonymous says:

    WOW! To say I am insulted by this cartoon would be a gross understatement. I come here to ComicMix to read COMIC BOOKS, and about COMIC BOOKS and all I have read over the last few weeks are political swipes…Most of them being dominated by the "Pro-Obama" crowd.There is a reason that most celebrities, writers, and artists should focus on their craft, rather than wax political science philosophy. Especially considering that most of them, don't even know from which they speak, and in the process, lose 50% of their audience. If I wanted to read about the latest presidential race, I would turn to the newspaper, or cable news. I WANT TO READ ABOUT THE INDUSTRY THAT I LOVE…COMIC BOOKS!!!I beg and implore all of you contributors here at ComicMix…Please, please, please stop confusing this site with a place like "".