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Report to Readers: Is it sexist to call a woman a lapdog?

Among the many, many letters to the editor we’ve received in recent days about Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s vote against a gun control measure last week was one that caught me by surprise.

The letter, published yesterday, came from a Concord writer who objected to the cartoon drawn by Mike Marland on Wednesday’s Opinion page.

It showed Ayotte as a lapdog to National Rifle Association honcho Wayne LaPierre. She’s sitting on his lap as he pats her and says, “Go-o-od girl!”

Our critic found the drawing sexist.

“Marland drew her head positioned in the crotch of this pinstriped caricature sitting in his NRA thrown and stroking her head and she paws at his thigh and eagerly wags her tail. This suggests a combination of subservience, sexuality and gender roles that is highly offensive.

“Would Marland have ever drawn this cartoon replacing Ayotte’s head with the head of a male senator? I don’t think so,” he wrote.

The cartoon was certainly harsh – Marland was clearly disgusted by Ayotte’s vote. But was it sexist? If New Hampshire had any men (or any other Republicans) in its congressional delegation, might Marland have depicted them as lapdogs too? (“Go-o-od boy!”)

I asked Marland if he’d ever drawn a man as a lapdog in the same way. He was pretty sure he had but couldn’t immediately find one for me.

After all, he noted, he’s drawn 5,000 cartoons for the Monitor over the years.

A couple years back, Marland published an enormous collection of his work, Tweaks Pokes and Dope Slaps , and while I was able to quickly find all sorts of embarrassing depictions of men (Bill Clinton in his underpants, Dan Quayle as Mr. Potato Head, a shirtless John H. Sununu with a Seabrook tattoo on his chest, George H.W. Bush as Judd Gregg’s teddy bear, a naked Steve Merrill as the emperor with no clothes), I didn’t see any lapdogs.

That said, the notion of depicting politicians – men and women alike – as dogs is apparently irresistible to cartoonists.

Check out the accompanying images: Sarah Palin as a pitbull, John Boehner on a leash, Mitt Romney infested with fleas, and on and on.

Was Marland’s Ayotte cartoon out of bounds? Let us know what you think.

Legacy Comments17

Question to Editor Belman: Would the cartoon be outrageous (if everything in the cartoon remained the same except there was a evil looking Barack Obama grabbing guns that said more gun laws and the Jeanne Sheheen's face is in Obama's lap? I would say so. So fire Marland. Fire Marland now.

I think your response is way over-reactive. Cartoonists love the games of politics and I have seen much worse in a variety of newspapers. Marland may have offended the above commenter's sense of political justice, but I think the vast majority of readers got a chuckle, then turned the page and went on with their lives.

Nice try apologizing for Marland the Misogynst.

Felice, I am amazed that you can't answer your own question: Was it sexist? Absolutely and you know it was, but you are in complete cover up mode. You ignore sexism like the democrat party ignored racism. Klansman Robert Byrd was a big hero in the democrat party. Racism was acceptable as long as it was a democrat. You asked Marland the Misogynist to see if he had done a man in a lap and he couldn't find one out of the thousands of cartoons he had done. You allow this Marland the Misogynist to use derogatory words like teabagger when the correct word is Teapartier. I bet that the Monitor's Main Misogynist, Marland is elated you are covering his butt and thinks he can get away with anything now. PS the dog distraction doesn't work. Do the Right thing Fire Marland the Misogynist.

I think if she had been protrayed as a cat that would have been sexist. The Monitor is a liberal leaning paper and it upsets you read the Union Leader. The truth can be painful. Ayotte is a follower she will always be a lapdog which I actually find disrespectful to dogs.

I dont know that Marland could have protrayed Ayotte as a cat, or anything else for that matter.

So Tillie, to you, as long as you are a democrat it is A-Ok to be a misogynist and sexist. So it is Ok to be a misogynist and sexist because the Monitor is a liberal paper? If we are outraged by the disgusting cartoons by Marland the Misogynist we should go somewhere else because we are not allowed to express our outrage. Because we all know only liberals are allowed to be outraged and have free speech.

Speaks volumes, doesn't it????

Oc course Van. The left has their own set of rules. it is definitly okay to bash a Rep woman. Think Sarah Palin. In their eyes, hate rhetoric is justified if you are not a Dem. For them, if they deem you are not one of them, thus the enemy, you deserve to be shut down, called vile names and portrayed as evil. It is fun to watch them go around in circles trying to make excuses why it is okay to behave badly. Felice is a pro at that.

Rabbit, not only her have they also bashed: Jennifer Horn, Condi Rice. It is Ok to be a Monitor Misogynist. Felice is a pro at feigning innocence. She knows that this Cartoon is wrong and that the excessive use of the term teabagger is wrong but she feigns innocence.

It is OK for newspapers to be "liberal leaning" on the opinion pages but you seem to support reading things the you agree with. What did you write about Anthony Weiner? Bill Clinton? Both have low standards, deep flaws in their character. Shaheen, Shea-Porter and Kuster are lapdogs of the Democrats, Obama.

Tillie., All this anger against Sen. Ayotte but NONE for the democratic legislators who voted like she did. Based on " What people do - is a more accurate indicator than what they say': its apparent this hate campaign is not about public safety (please don't say "for the children" - bill clinton overused so much that it (unfortunately) lost much of its impact). By all indicators - its about partisan politics. If people really cared about public safety; they would encourage all of them to mitigate the constant flow of graphic violence imagery coming out of politically protected Hollywood.

We always seem to find the left finding excuses why any conservative woman, deserves to be attacked. Yet, attack any Democrat and the outrage is immediate and harsh. I remember the abuse that was inflicted on Palin. I am not a big fan of Palin, but I thought the abuse she and her family took from the left was disgusting. How we treat people now is based on their politics. A very sad state of affairs.

only if its a democrat.

Calling all women lapdogs would be mysognistic, calling one woman - who is fond of being used as a prop and appears to be poised to move out of NH politics and straight into the VP running- who is also doing the work of her funders and not the people of NH - a lapdog? No... Beside the fact that this is how political cartooning works. If it doesn't upset someone, it has little or no value.

Gotta agree with Tesha.... Little or no value...

Fire Marland he is just an misogynist. If a specific woman can think for herself and doesn't vote the democrat party line he hates them with passion. Just look at all his cartoons of Republican woman. Fire him, if you don't fire him it is just exhibit 1 that the Monitor looks the other way to cover up for democrat apologists and/or liberal flame throwers.

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