Super-Feminists vs. Feminist Villains: The Comics of Kate Beaton

by Emma Tilden

Kate Beaton is a Canadian comics artist and the creator of “Hark! A Vagrant,” a hilarious history inspired comic strip.  Some of her feminism-based comic strips include “Strong Female Characters 1 and 2,” which stars Georgia O’Queefe, Susan B. Assthony, and Queen Elizatits, 3 empowered superheroes who are “Fighter Pilots.  Feminists.  Friends.”  (As well as proud members of the Mile High Club!)  Together, the 3 battle stereotypes, eat cookies, and argue for the appropriateness of their superhero outfits.  

Beaton also pokes fun at the widespread fear of feminist ‘man-haters’ and ‘bra-burners’ in her comic strip “Straw Feminists” whose title clearly references the ‘straw man’ fallacy of misrepresenting an opponent’s argument in order to undermine it.  In “Straw Feminists,” two children are terrorized in their rooms by the scary ‘feminists in the closet,’ monsters who come out at night to corrupt the children, telling them that “all men are garbage and women are never wrong.”  The Straw Feminists burn their bras and *gasp* don’t shave their legs!  

“Equality is shit!” they say, “I won’t stop until women have it BETTER than men.”  “When I become president, I’m going to chop everyone’s dick off!!”  Fortunately, the children are saved when their parents run into the room and chase the snake-tongued, spider-legged feminists away with a broom.  The children are safe for now.  (Although in the next comic, Sarah and her mom encounter the feminists while shopping for a training bra: “You don’t want a training bra little girl.  You want all the men in the world to be dead.  Come with us to the moon where we’ll blow up the earth.”) 

Some of Beaton’s work is on display in Maryland at the Mansion at Strathmore in an exhibit called “A Shared Universe: The Art of Comic Books” until June 8th.  Check it out soon! 

A Shared Universe: The Art of Comic Books On view through June 8 at the Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, Md. 301-581-5109,

You can also see her work on her website, “Hark!  A Vagrant,” at  

Images courtesy of Kate Beaton at  

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