Comics must avoid gender stereotypes

After the accident involving a 61-year-old woman who was frightened by the sight of a cockroach (Driver spooked by cockroach crashes car; Jan 30), I have seen a few comics in The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao about the incident.

I found the comics hilarious initially, but on closer look, I discovered that the people shown to be scared by the cockroach were always women.

I was appalled by that because, by showing a woman, the comics send the warped message that women are socialised to show fear, while it is not socially acceptable for men to have fears.

I believe that comics should be funny, but cartoonists must be careful of the impression the comics might leave on people, such as gender stereotypes.

For example, these comics on the cockroach incident may strengthen the notion that women are afraid of insects and cannot handle such minor adversities.

We need to allow the younger generation to realise that both genders can have fears.

Wee Ai Lee Ginnie, 14

Secondary 3 student

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2018, with the headline 'Comics must avoid gender stereotypes'. Print Edition | Subscribe