MAKERS Profile

Cathy Guisewite

Creator, "Cathy" Comic

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Cathy Guisewite on coming of age during the women's movement and the struggle to balance new values with tradition.
Cathy Guisewite is the creator and cartoonist behind the long-running nationally syndicated comic strip "Cathy," one of the first mainstream comics created by a woman. Appearing for the first time in 1976, the strip ran for 34 years, chronicling and finding humor in the title character’s eternal struggles with weight, love, work, and her loving but overly involved mother. For Guisewite, it channeled the obsessions and conflicts of an everyday American woman caught between society’s traditional expectations and new feminist ideals. Guisewite grew up in Midland, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English in 1972. By age 26, she had already made quick strides in the advertising world, becoming the first female vice president at the W.B. Doner & Co agency. She submitted “Cathy” for publication at the urging of her mother with whom she shared the “scribbled stick figure drawings” that she had started doodling to vent her daily frustrations. The strip was immediately picked up for syndication in 1976, and within a few short years, Guisewite was CEO of Cathy, Inc., overseeing the strip, books, TV and mountains of “Cathy” merchandise. Guisewite is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Reuben Award for “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” from the National Cartoonists Society in 1992. In 1987, she received an Emmy® for “Outstanding Animated Program” for her first animated special, Cathy. Before Guisewite retired the strip in 2010, it appeared in approximately 1,500 newspapers worldwide.

More From Cathy

Comic Confessions
Guisewite on how divulging her insecurities and relationship anxieties through "Cathy" proved therapeutic and resonated with women everywhere.

An Unusual Beginning
Guisewite's lack of experience as an artist made her an anamoly among cartoonists. 

Family Power Balance
Guisewite remembers how each of her parents had power in their own way. 

A Mother's Advice
Guisewite recounts her mother's wisdom. 

The Nightmare of Swimsuit Shopping
Guisewite jokes about the yearly torment of swimsuit shopping.

The Underwear Situation
Between hair, clothes, and plastic surgery – more appearance choices for woman have only meant more stress and less time. 

Even Harder to Have It All
Guisewite points out that the pressures on women have only increased over generations.

The Guilt Complex
Guisewite lists the four things women are prone to feeling guilty about - and a fifth one she discovered later in life. 

I'm Not Really a Feminist?
Guisewite refutes the notion that a woman needs to adhere to particular rules to be a feminist.

Too Many Messages
Guisewite talks about using her comic strip to point out conflicting media messages for women.

Building Connections Through "Cathy"
Guisewite discusses being awed by her ability to help other women through "Cathy."

Deepest Insecurities Go Public
Guisewite recalls the dread she felt the first day "Cathy" was published in newspapers.