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March 20, 1984 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-03-20

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0

OPINION
Page 4 Tuesday, March 20, 1984 The Michigan Dail

The Cathy

behind the

Cathy -Guisewite's comic strip
'Cathy' - the story of an aspiring
career woman-appears daily in
over 400 newspapers nationwide.
Daily editor Cheryl Baacke and
Daily reporter Georgea Kovanis
spoke with Guisewite, who is a 1972
University graduate, about her life
and the comic strip during a
women 's career conference in
Detroit last week.
Daily: How much of your personality
is really Cathy?
Guisewite: I probably am a com-
bination of all the characters. There's a
part of me that's a little stronger like
Andrea... I can certainly see things
from everybody's point of view. Cathy
tends to be my emotional reactions to
things. Andrea's the voice I hear when
I'm giving my speech in the living room
Dialogue
about what I'm going to say to my date
and Cathy is the words that actually
come out of my mouth when he gets
there.
Daily: How do you deal with your
problems? Is chocolate and food really
the best way?
Guisewite: The only time now that I
really overeat that much is when I'm
really up against a writing deadline for
the strip. And I just give myself per-
mission to go for it. I figure anything
that will get the strip done is worth it.
It's definitely not the best thing to turn

to but it's what I have done. I did it a lot
more when I was in college. I ate my
way through the University. I worked
at Drake's which was the worst job I.
could possible have. Whenever I made
a hot cinnamon role or a hot pecan role
for somebody, I would make two.
Anytime there was an order, I would
make two and eat one myself.
Daily: Do you get any kind of per-
sonal benefit out of doing this strip? Do
you feel like it gets out a lot of what you
have inside you?
Guisewhite: I'm not ordinarily very
outgoing and I think I turned to writing
in the first place because, like lots of
writers who aren't vocal, I can express
a lot of the things in the strip. Anytime
I have a real crisis about something or
just a confusion about something, the
best way for me to work it out or try to
get some perspective on it, is to do a
strip, even if they're not due. (The
strip) really forces me to try and look at
a situation in a different way and try to
find some sense of humor about it.
Daily: Why do you think 'Cathy' has
such broad-based appeal and why do
you think people identify with someone
who's constantly struggling to get
things right?
Guisewite: I think people like the
strip because it's just a relief to see
someone else struggling with the same
types of problems and isn't succeeding
every second. It makes you feel good to
see somebody else who's trying and
maybe doing worse than you are but is
still hopeful that tomorrow she's going
to get organized, get on top of
everything, cooperate, and lose
weight-ten, pounds by that night.
Cathy always has that blind hope about
things, and that's positive.
Daily: One of the most popular
sayings that Cathy has is that she has
"the worst 'of both worlds." What do
you consider the worst of both worlds?
Guisewite: I think a lot of people find
themselves spending half their time
trying to get their relationships going

right and the other half of their time
trying to get their careers going right.
And when you just feel like there are
problems in both of them, then you just
get to the point where you're never
solving them-that's where you are.
Daily: Do you think women, and men
too, get too worked up about their ap-
pearances, how they look, and what
image they project to people?
Guisewite: I think they get too
worked up about it, but I don't know the
alternative-except for having such in-

as well-are trying to find some balan-
ce between how much of your life you
give your job and how much of your life
you give your relationships. And that's
a very hard thing to work out. I feel
I've been able to do as much as I have
so far because the comic strip is all I do.
I have to remember to feed the dog, but
otherwise, every waking moment of my
day, this is what I do. I love it. I don't
have any other hobbies. This is what I
do for entertainment. But most people
want a little more normal life than what

CATHY
Uy Cathy Guisewite

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© 1984 Universal Press Syndicate. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Guisewite's comic strip deals with both the work and personal relationships

1'

comic strip
wouldn't have written about five years degree, the English major that
ago because it just wasn't happening, everyone today says is almost wore
thless. Were people saying "What arte
Daily: Where do you think 'Cathy' you going to do with a liberal arts,
might be five years down the road? degree?"
Guisewite: Boy, I don't have a clue to Guisewite: I was traumatized about
that. I'm not even sure where she'll be what I was going to do until my last
tomorrow afternoon. I know that I'll semester in college when I took an a
still be doing this as long as news- vertising workshop at the University and
papers run it. I love it. that just seemed so perfect for me. I.
loved the class. Once I took that class
Daily: It seems that 10 years ago, my last semester, I knew that wa6
feminists would have said Cathy is not exactly what I wanted to do. In fact,:I
accurately representing the feminist got a job as a result of that class. But
movement. Do you get mail like that up until that class, which gave me a
from people today? focus, I didn't have a clue. And I
Guisewite: Every now and then I do. changed majors every 10 minutes. I'
I get letters saying Cathy is too remember at one point thinking, "I'
vulnerable, she loses too much. That I become a biologist," me who'd flunked
have a chance to be presenting a more every science class I've ever taken.
positive role model. Another comment Daily: Was it difficult to adjust to a
I sometimes get is that with all the life of deadlines, the comic strip
space I have in the newspapers, now, I deadlines?
have a great opportunity to really at- Guisewite: I do remember in college,
tack more women's political issues. I promising God at term paper time if I
just have found that doesn't work. I'm could get through this last blue book I
better at writing about relationships would never enter a career that in-
which I think affects everything in the volved writing or deadlines of any kind.
women's movement, and job relation- My biggest coup, I think was doing a
ships, mother relationships. And I also written final on Ulysses which is a
think that I like to deal with a woman massive work. And I had never ac-
before she leaves the front door in the tually read the book. You know, I glan-
morning and I figure that if you can't ced at the Cliff notes. The entire class
get into your dress-for-success outfit was on this book. I had missed a lot of
that day, you're not going to be able to the classes, and had just never gotten
go out and take on any real stand in the around to reading this book and I
world. remember writing 25 pages on this
book. I think that that was great
Daily: Do you think 'Cathy' would training for this. And while at the time,
have been as successful 10 years ago as I thought, "how hideous to have to fun-
it is today? ction that way, on demand,"-I ac-
Guisewite: The strip started seven- tually sort of thrive on it. That's when I
and-a-half years ago and I think things really wake up--when the deadline gets
have changed a lot since it started. Sin-, pressing, and when somebody's saying,
ce the beginning there has always been you have to get this done right now. If Ix,
a real core of people who liked Cathy waited until I was inspired, it would be -
and identified with that vulnerability. years before you saw another strip.
But I think that women today are a little
bit more open to laughing a little. Dialogue is an occasional feature
Daily: When you graduated from the
University, you had the liberal arts of the Opinion Page.

of an aspiring career woman.

credible personal confidence that you
just don't care how you look. Most of
the time, part of my mind is saying,
"Oh, my God, everything would've
gone better tonight if I'd worn the bet-
ter jeans." Not even a dress, just "Oh,
no, I've worn the wrong pair of faded
jeans."
Daily: What do you think is the
biggest problem facing aspiring career
women like Cathy?
Guisewite: It's a lot of things. I think
the idea women coming right out of
college get is that all doors everywhere
are completely open for you and that
problems have really been solved and
it's going to be a breeze. And in fact, I
think in most businesses there still are
real power struggles going on as far as
men really accepting women in serious
business situations. I think another
main problem is that women-and men

I lead-at least Cathy in the strip does.
Daily: Do you think Cathy's attitudes
and concerns are changing?
Guisewite: I think they have changed
a lot as mine have changed. In the
seven years that I have done this strip,
I've gotten a much different perspec-
tive on myself as a woman and other
women have gotten a different perspec-
tive on me. Over the years, I've gotten
a much broader sense of what women
are really doing and striving for. I
think that's reflected in the strip a little.
Last year, every woman I know started
getting pregnant. Women, who'd sworn
to me they'd be my single friends,
childless forever, suddenly they were
dropping like flies, getting married and
getting pregnant and while one part of
me was thrilled for them, another part
of me was saying, "Wait a minute,
you're my friend." That's something I

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

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Vol. XCIV-No. 134

420 Maynard St.
Arin Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
A vote can be worth
a thousand words

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ANN ARBOR offered a wide
variety of activities for the idle
student last Saturday. One could
revel in St. Patrick's Day festivities,
heckle the Nazis in front of city hall, or
participate in the Michigan
Democratic caucus. A lot of students
drank green beer 'and a pretty large
number jeered and. peered at the
Nazis, but depressingly few managed
to vote.
Though it's hard to gauge precisely,
probably no more than 10 percent of
the student population cast ballots.
This failure to vote can be attributed to
aspects of the caucus itself, such as in-
conveniently located polling places,
confusion over registration - and the
fact that a few students, at least, are
Republican. But the truth is that
students have a disturbing lack of
engagement with the political process.
A resignation to inevitable results
("What's one vote going to change?")
and ineffective representation
("Nobody in government thinks the
way I do") discourage voters in any
election, and surely persuaded many
to stay at the bar on Saturday. Next
week, University students will be able
to vote literally much closer to home as
MSA holds its annual elections. Let's
hope some of that resignation is over-
come.
Last year only 5,000 students

managed to vote, and that turnout was
a big improvement over previous
years. The problem doesn't lie in the
inconvenience of voting - booths are
set up in most dorms, the Fishbowl, and
the UGLi. And there can be little con-
fusion over registration - all one has
to do is present a valid ID. The
problem lies in a mentality that one
vote doesn't matter and that elected
representatives don't matter.
One vote can mean a lot. Going stric-
tly by percentages, it might not be that
decisive, but it is easy to turn one vote
into many simply by convincing others
to vote the same way. Throw a party in
honor of a favorite candidate and turn
one voice into ten or twenty. The point
is: get involved.
Those who don't vote because they
feel that MSA is not representative of
their views or the views of the campus
as a whole should be reminded that
representation isn't handed to anyone
on a silver platter, it must be earned
through participation in the electoral
process.
The more students that get involved
in student government, the better that
government will be at representing the
concerns of those enrolled at this
University, and the more effective it
will be at getting the administration
and faculty to listen to those concerns.
That's worth a vote.

k
,

0

,, ,

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Student voices need to be heard

To the Daily:
I attended the March 14 teach-
in on the proposed student code
for non-academic conduct at the
Union ballroom. We in the
audience used the entire question
and answer period to tell Prof.
Colburn, who is one of the code's
authors, that we opposed the
proposed code. The professor told
us that he felt we were splintered
and factionalized. Let me
respond that although we each
have our own views on the code,
we are all opposed to the ad-
ministration's propositions.
I have spoken with hundreds of
students about the proposed code
and the vast majority oppose it.
In fact, I have only met three or
four people who have said that
they favor it. We don't want to be
treated like second-class citizens.
We don't want any code that will

freedom and responsibility. What
we want is a true voice in how this
university is run.
Unfortunately, the ad-
ministration says that it cannot

and willtnot give us any of those
things that we desire. We as
students must join together not
only to oppose the student code,
but also to work for our rights as

students to have a voice in this
university.
- David Buchen
March 17
by Berke Breathed

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