Arab News reports on an art show by Hana Hajjar:
Bravely breaking into a field that is considered to be male dominated not only in Saudi Arabia but also all over the world, 27-year-old Arab News cartoonist Hana Hajjar is holding her first caricature exhibition on Saturday at the Al-Tahliah Center in Jeddah.
Hajjar, who was known in the Kingdom first as a fine artist before beginning to publish her own cartoons in Arab News in 2005, said: “For years, male cartoonists made fun of women. It is our turn now to express ourselves and you can also say payback time is due.” She added that the cartoons on display vary from discussing social and political issues.
Related: This article from earlier this year has a wider look at female cartooners in Arabic countries, and perhaps predictably, there’s no pretense at being PC:
Similarly, cartoonist Hassan Bleibel from the Lebanese paper al Mustaqbal attributes the lack of women within this field, unlike the other plastic arts that enjoy a large female influence throughout the Arab world, to the fact that “there are some fields in which women do not excel and editorial cartoons is one of them,” explaining why he emphatically calls editorial cartoons “a male art”. Bleibel attributes the lack of female influence in this field to the fact that cartoon is a satirical art marked by severity and hostility as it portrays the negative aspects of particular individuals in society with whom the cartoonist clashes to the point of retaliation sometimes. According to him, such hostility is not appropriate to the nature of women, characterized by emotion and compassion. Another reason, he adds, is that “editorial cartoons are usually political, and women, in Arab societies particularly, rarely practice or deal with politics.”
But some people disagree:
Zaqi Shaqfa, a cartoonist at Jordan’s al Rai newspaper, maintains that despite the recent emergence of new [female] names in the field, their experience does not match that of their male counterparts. According to him, this is clearly due to “the Arab social traditions that did not enable women to be present in this field.” He associates this to the fact that “cartoon is a bold art that deals with socially sensitive issues that women are too shy to portray, criticize and deal with, such as Khula’[divorce in which the wife gives husband compensation], marital life and so on.”
Much more of interest in the link, including a challengingly selective list of female cartoonists from around the world.