May 17, 2016 – A “self-funded cartoonist” named Ben Garrison has set Twitter ablaze after posting his most recent attempt at “satire”. The editorial cartoon features a caricature of First Lady Michelle Obama along side one of GOP Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s current wife, Melania. In the drawing, a frowning, overly muscled, masculine-presenting Mrs. Obama is contrasted with a smiling, demure, beauty pageant version of Mrs. Trump. Next to Mrs. Trump, in large type, is a variation on her husband’s campaign slogan: “Make the First Lady Great Again!” The implication being that the current First Lady has somehow diminished the country’s global standing. The image prompted a quick backlash across social media. Critics excoriated the cartoon for trafficking in well-worn racist stereotypes about black femininity and as well as the sexual objectification of women in general.
Garrison defended the cartoon calling it an attack on what he termed the “tyranny of Big Government.” As the First Lady is a ceremonial title with no federal authority it is less clear how contrasting the perceived physical appearances of Michelle Obama and Melania Trump is a commentary on executive overreach. Garrison’s Twitter timeline consists mainly cartoons endorsing various conservative positions on issues like immigration, political correctness and social justice. Typically, these images depict Trump as a heroic figure taking on progressives and causes like “censorship”, the “wage gap myth” “diversity quotas” and “safe spaces.” More often than not the cartoons go out of their way to deride, along with Hillary Clinton and “Big Government”, racial & ethnic minorities, anyone identifying as LGTBQ and/or anyone disagreeing with any of Trump’s positions.
While some Twitter users like Marcus Wesson suggested Mrs. Obama’s Ivy League credentials made her an ideal FLOTUS, one astute commenter objected to the sexism of forcing women to compete with one another:
‘Oddly, they feel the need to denigrate Michelle to prop up Melania, when that’s so not the point. But they’re too stupid to [understand] that.’
For his part, Garrison appears unbothered by the controversy going so far as to call his detractors “cry babies” who fail to recognize the satirical value of his work.
So is the Michelle and Melania cartoon “satire” or “racist af”? Funny or Offensive? VOTE and COMMENT below…