Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Call Me Ms.!

When it comes to buying Charlton romance comics, I usually break that old adage about judging books by their covers. With the cover on Love and Romance #21 (March 1975) can you really blame me though? I obviously picked it up merely for the cover -- but the corresponding story, "Call Me Ms." featuring a determined young career woman helped to round out the purchase.

Kay Rogers' number one priority is her career as an Assistant Account Executive at an advertising agency. Though we get the hint she does want romance in her life, she doesn't want to experience the regret her mother did and wind-up as a housewife. So when Mr. Wayne Hibbs comes into her life one fateful morning with an account for LipCreem, Kay tells him straight up her feelings on the subjugation and commodification of women.

Though Kay says she wont let her personal feelings get mixed in with business, she ends up going on a date with Wayne. They do talk shop, but inevitably a kiss ensues.

Naturally, a marriage proposal follows. Luckily, Wayne doesn't want her to give up her career. Kay vows to keep working, but reflects on how marriage will always be her number one priority.

Now I admit. This isn't the best written story in the history of comic books, but it does serve as an example of the discourse that surrounded the Women's Movement. Do I pursue a career? Family life? Both? It does send some mixed messages however. For example -- throughout the whole story Kay refers to her work as her "career." At the end though, she calls it a "job," which brings to mind somewhat negative connotations and maybe a little bit of resentment. Also, on the third page shown here, Kay blasts Wayne for assuming that women are constantly seeking men's approval. On the second to last page though, she seeks his approval concerning the LipCreem and her attractiveness level. Change of heart on Kay's behalf or bad writing? I will leave that for you to decide!

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