A political cartoon is a cartoon that makes a point about a political issue or situation using caricature, symbolism and other techniques. These political cartoons usually try to influence the audience into siding with the author, which creates a sense of bias within the portrayal of certain political ideas or figures. The portrayal of certain political figures can be influenced by caricature, in which features of a political figure are exaggerated as a way of imitating or mocking said political figure in order to create a grotesque effect. Symbolism can be used in order to represent ideas or to further represent a political figure by using symbols in order to analogise a political figure with a certain object or animal.
Political cartoons don’t really offer multiple perspectives of a certain issue such as gender roles per se. Because one of the goals of the cartoon can be for the author to get the audience to side with them, usually only one perspective of a certain issue is shown, or if multiple perspectives are shown, there is bound to be a decent amount of bias within the representation.
The comedic effect that political cartoons achieve can be used to convey a truth. However, there are situations in which they can’t. For example, because of the exaggerated representation used in the cartoons, it’s possible that certain takes or positions may be taken out of context, and therefore may misrepresent the truth.
There is a certain level of understanding required to understand what an author is trying to get across in their political cartoon. If you have no idea who a person is, it’s hard to understand why the author makes certain decisions in their cartoon because the messages that they are trying to get across can usually be nothing more than “this good – this bad” if you don’t understand why they are being represented in that way.