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Encyclopedia > Dykes To Watch Out For
Several characters in Dykes To Watch Out For. From left to right: Mo, Sydney, Ginger, and Samia.
Several characters in Dykes To Watch Out For. From left to right: Mo, Sydney, Ginger, and Samia.

Dykes To Watch Out For (sometimes DTWOF) is a comic strip by Alison Bechdel. The strip began in 1983. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (605x733, 174 KB) Summary A panel from the comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (605x733, 174 KB) Summary A panel from the comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For. ... This article is about the comic strip, the sequential art form as published in newspapers and on the Internet. ... Alison Bechdel (born September 10, 1960) is an American cartoonist. ...

DTWOF documents the life, loves, and politics of a fairly diverse group of characters (most of them lesbians) living in a medium-sized city in the United States, featuring both humorous soap-opera storylines and biting topical commentary. The strip is carried in a number of gay and lesbian newspapers and posted on the web.[1] A lesbian is a woman who is romantically and sexually attracted only to other women. ...

According to Bechdel, her strip is "half op-ed column and half endless, serialized Victorian novel". Characters react to the contemporary events, including going to the Michigan Womyn's Festival, Gay Pride parades and protest marches and having heated discussions about day-to-day events and political issues. The strip is one of the most successful and longest-running queer comic strips. The Michigan Womyns Music Festival (MWMF) is an international feminist music festival occurring every year in August in Michigan. ... The gay pride or simply pride campaign has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, that sexual diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered. ... The word queer has traditionally meant strange or unusual, but it is also currently often used in reference to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual communities. ...


Main characters

Some readers have speculated that the town the main characters live in is based on Minneapolis, Minnesota. The central characters include: Nickname: City of Lakes Motto: En Avant (French: Lets go!) Location in Hennepin County and the state of Minnesota. ...

  • Monica Testa (or Mo), the central character, a politically committed lesbian feminist with a tendency to whine. Previously a worker at Madwimmin Bookstore who then worked briefly at Bounders Books and Muzak (a parody of Borders Books and Music) while earning a library science degree before getting a job as a reference librarian.
  • Lois McGiver, a sex-positive activist, drag king, a clerk at Bounders Books and Muzak (formerly at Madwimmin) and housemate to Ginger and Sparrow, currently dating single mother Jasmine, mother of transgender teenager Janis (originally introduced as Jonas).
  • Ginger Jordan, a struggling academic and English professor at Buffalo Lake State University, whose star student Cynthia is interning at the CIA despite coming out to her parents. Ginger is currently dating Samia, a Syrian Muslim chemist in a marriage of convenience to a man. Ginger and Sparrow own a house together, but Ginger is househunting with Samia.
  • Sparrow Pidgeon (birth name Prudence), a women's shelter director and New Ager-turned-atheist, who identifies herself as a "bisexual lesbian" and is currently involved with a straight Jewish male activist and stay-at-home dad, Stuart Goodman, with whom she has had a child, Jiao Raizel (or J.R.). Lois and Stuart are currently homeschooling Janis and J.R. (Longtime readers were shocked to find Sparrow had dated Lois briefly during college.) [2]
  • Clarice Clifford, a workaholic environmental lawyer, and
  • Toni Ortiz, a CPA and business manager, who stayed home for several years to raise their son Rafael Clifford-Ortiz (or Raffi). Toni and Clarice have had a committment ceremony in the backyard, a civil union in Vermont, and a marriage at City Hall. They are now deciding whether divorce really requires separate residences.[3]
  • Sydney Krukowski, an amoral yuppie Women's Studies professor with a compulsive spending habit, Mo's lover and recently a breast cancer survivor.
  • Jezanna Ramsay (formerly Alberta), manager of the late gay and lesbian bookstore Madwimmin Books, which also employed Mo, Lois, and Thea, a Jewish lesbian with multiple sclerosis who was Sydney's lover in college. Since the closure of Madwimmin due to financial pressures, Thea and Jezanna seldom appear. We have learned that Jezanna now teaches English as a second language, and Thea is teaching art to kids.

Only some of the characters' surnames are known, since such names appear only when it is appropriate to the dialogue (when Ginger and Sydney, as college instructors, are addressed as "Professor Jordan" and "Dr. Krukowski," for instance) and are not established from the beginning. Lesbian feminism is a cultural movement and critical perspective, most popular in the 1970s and early 1980s (primarily in North America and Western Europe) that questions the position of women and homosexuals in society. ... Borders Books and Music ( NYSE: BGP) is an international bookseller based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ... Library science is an interdisciplinary science incorporating the humanities, law and applied science to study topics related to libraries, the collection, organization, preservation and dissemination of information resources, and the political economy of information. ... In sexology, some people use the term sex-positive to describe an attitude towards human sexual behavior that regards sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation. ... A drag king performance troupe Drag kings are female-bodied or -identified performance artists who dress in masculine drag as part of their routine. ... Transgender (IPA: , from trans (Latin) and gender (English) ) is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies that diverge from the normative gender role (woman or man) commonly, but not always, assigned at birth, as well as the role traditionally held by society. ... The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ... There is also a collection of Hadith called Sahih Muslim A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Persian: Mosalman or Mosalmon Urdu: مسلمان, Turkish: Müslüman, Albanian: Mysliman, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of the religion of Islam. ... A Womens Shelter is a place of temporary refuge and support for women escaping violent situations, such as Rape, and Domestic Violence. ... New Age describes a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture. ... Homeschooling – also called home education or home school – is the education of children at home, typically by parents or guardians, rather than in a public or private school. ... A workaholic is a person addicted to work. ... Environmental law is a body of law, which is a system of complex and interlocking statutes, common law, treaties, conventions, regulations and policies which seeks to protect the natural environment which may be affected, impacted or endangered by human activities. ... For other meanings of CPA see CPA (disambiguation) Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are accounting professionals of the United States who have passed the Uniform CPA exam, which was developed and is maintained by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and have subsequently met additional state requirements for licensure... An agent or representative of musicians and/or recording artists, whose main job is to supervise their business affairs, and the proper handling of their financial matters. ... As unregistered cohabitation Recognised in some regions Recognised prior to legalisation of same-sex marriage Netherlands (nationwide) (1998) Spain (12 of 17 communities) (1998) South Africa (nationwide) (1999) Belgium (nationwide) (2000) Canada (QC, NS and MB) (2001) Recognition debated See also Same-sex marriage Registered partnership Domestic partnership Common-law... Official language(s) None Capital Montpelier Largest city Burlington Area  Ranked 45th  - Total 9,620 sq mi (24,923 km²)  - Width 80 miles (130 km)  - Length 160 miles (260 km)  - % water 3. ... Yuppies (or young urban professionals and young upwardly mobile professionals[1]) is a market segment whose consumers are characterized as self-reliant, financially secure individualists who do not exhibit or aspire to traditional American values. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ... Breast cancer is cancer of breast tissue. ...


Strip Collections

The strip has had a number of strip collections, including:

  • Dykes to Watch Out For (1986)
  • More Dykes to Watch Out For (1988)
  • New, Improved! Dykes to Watch Out For (1990)
  • Dykes to Watch Out For: The Sequel (1992)
  • Spawn of Dykes to Watch Out For (1993)
  • Unnatural Dykes to Watch Out For (1995)
  • Hot, Throbbing Dykes to Watch Out For (1997)
  • Split-Level Dykes to Watch Out For (1998)
  • Post-Dykes to Watch Out For (2000)
  • Dykes and Other Carbon-Based Life-Forms to Watch Out For (2003)
  • Invasion of the Dykes To Watch Out For (2005)

The first of these collections contains miscellaneous, individual strips; the serialized story centered around Mo begins halfway through the second collection, More Dykes to Watch Out For.

Beginning with the third book Bechdel began including graphic "novellas" at the end of each book. Some have been flashbacks, such as the tale of how everyone met in Unnatural Dykes To Watch Out For, or Serial Monogamy, Bechdel's humorous "documentary" on lesbian relationships. But most have advanced the plot in new and interesting ways, such as Raffi's birth at the end of Spawn of Dykes to Watch Out For. Trade paperback of Will Eisners A Contract with God (1978), often mistakenly cited as the first graphic novel. ... A novella is a narrative work of prose fiction somewhat longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. ...


While not a compilation, The Indelible Alison Bechdel: Confessions, Comix, and Miscellaneous Dykes to Watch Out For (1998) includes many of the strips Bechdel published in calendars, a timeline of the strip to date, and a fanciful "tour" of the "factory" where "Dykes To Watch Out For" is produced.

Literary references

As with Bechdel's popular autobiographical novel, Fun Home, DTWOF includes many literary allusions. For example, the name chosen for Sydney Krukowski references Stanley Kowalski, a character from A Streetcar Named Desire. Sydney also drinks Loch Lomond, a favorite drink of two characters from The Adventures of Tintin. A panel from Fun Home. ... Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), with Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois Stanley Kowalski is a character in Tennessee Williamss play A Streetcar Named Desire. ... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ... The Loch Lomond Single Malt is a Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky produced by the Loch Lomond Distillery in Alexandria, Scotland, near Loch Lomond. ... The main characters and others from The Castafiore Emerald, one of the later books The Adventures of Tintin (French: ) is a series of Belgian comic books created by Belgian artist Hergé, the pen name of Georges Remi (1907–1983). ...

Contributions to popular culture

The strip popularized what is now known as the Bechdel Test, also named the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel's Law. Bechdel credits Liz Wallace for the test. The test appears in a 1985 strip entitled The Rule in which a character says that she only watches a movie if it satisfies the following requirements: Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ...

  1. It has to have at least two women in it, who
  2. Talk to each other about,
  3. Something besides a man.

The name Mo Movie Measure is a misnomer as neither Mo nor the other regular characters had been introduced yet at the time of this strip's publication.

The strip is also the origin of the phrase "Does anal-retentive have a hyphen?" The term anal-retentive (or anally retentive, anal retentive) derives from Freudian Psychology, although in common usage the original meaning has been altered. ...


  1. ^ Bechdel discusses the changeover from self-syndication to the web on the official site.
  2. ^ This was revealed in flashback in the story at the end of Unnatural Dykes to Watch Out For (1995).
  3. ^ Strip 502

External links

  • The Definitive Website of Dykes To Watch Out For
  • DTWOF archive at Planetout.com

  Results from FactBites:
Alison Bechdel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (446 words)
Alison Bechdel (born September 10, 1960) is an American cartoonist best known for the comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For, which chronicles the lives of several lesbians and their friends.
She applied to many art schools but was rejected and worked in a number of office jobs in the publishing industry.
In addition to Dykes to Watch Out For, Bechdel has also written and drawn autobiographical strips and has done illustrations for magazines and websites.
Dykes To Watch Out For - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (606 words)
Several characters in Dykes To Watch Out For.
Dykes To Watch Out For is a comic strip by Alison Bechdel.
The strip documents the life, loves, and politics of a group of characters (most of them lesbians) living in a medium-sized city in the United States, featuring both humorous soap-opera storylines and biting topical commentary.
  More results at FactBites »



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