Monday, October 20, 2014

A Useless Woman

The Book of Genesis by Robert Crumb, is a comic-book style interpretation/narration of the Book of Genesis in the Bible. After reading Genesis, it became clear that Crumb was very anti-religion and a misogynist. Crumb seemed to be mocking the Bible in a very underhanded low-key fashion. Crumb portrays most of the women in the book as sleazy and mindless beings, rather than actually humans.
In chapter 39 of Genesis, Crumb talks about Joseph, a slave who was sold to an Egyptian master. Joseph is propositioned by his master’s wife several times for sex. When he refuses, the woman cries out and tells everyone that Joseph came on to her and has him thrown into the dungeon. Although this is an accurate depiction of Genesis in the Bible, Crumb takes it a step further than he really needs to with his illustrations of what is going on. In each of the comic boxes, the master’s wife is laying in some sort of seductive, sexual position on her bed. Crumb makes her out to be nothing more than an object that wants sex. The only thing that she says to Joseph is, “Lie with me!” It’s almost as if that is the only thing she can say when she is around him and all she wants is sex. After Joseph refuses and leaves, the woman cries out for others to help her without even leaving her bed. Crumb paints her as helpless and useless in his illustrations. The woman isn’t shown standing up on her own two feet until her husband comes back and embraces her.

Robert Crumb is clearly a misogynist who holds little regard for women and religion as a whole. His depiction of the woman in chapter 39 was incredibly offensive and ridiculous. The only thing that she wanted was sex and when she didn’t get what she wanted, she lied upon her bed in a seductive and vulnerable position. She didn’t even get off of the bed until her husband came to her aid. Crumb made her out to be a lot more useless than she probably really was.


  1. I have to say you got a really interesting topic about Crumb --- woman. The example you used in Chapter 39 is pretty well. I think the thing is that examples are important to us, but why we need to read these examples? It probably much better if you explore more your self-thinking in your essay. Yes, Crumb is disrespect to women, so what? you need to explain it. Your essay is too short to explain the topic.

  2. You missed something very important here - exploring the context more broadly would have helped. Pay attention not only to the way she is drawn, but to what Crumb shows us of her husband's behavior. We know that he is cheating on her - therefore, that she is angry and frustrated. We also know that her husband embraces her after her lies about Joseph - closing an interesting hypocritical circle that he's engaged in. Since your focus is so narrow, you should have picked up on this material and included it. Now, maybe you still think Crumb's portrayal is misogynistic, but there is a level of complexity here you needed to work with, and didn't. You simply didn't do much here. Focusing narrowly is good, but you need to pay attention to the details for that to work.