While I certainly agree that the comic was done in poor taste, I definitely don’t think the woman in question was just simply pointing out all of the positive changes for modern women, or rather, that’s not all she was doing. If that was all she’d done, I would have had to agree with you. However, as it is, she went on to make claims as to how these positive changes relate to the necessity of men, which makes this an incredibly different monster in my opinion, and here’s why.
Feminism is about equality— it is not about the subjugation of one sex over the other, and to say or imply otherwise would be to malign all that women have fought for over the centuries. Unfortunately, this is exactly what this comic does, and not just because Dilbert decided a toaster was a better companion than a woman, although that certainly was problematic as well. Rather it is because the woman in the comic is not a feminist at all, not a real one in any case. In fact, her beliefs go against all that feminism stands for. She does to a man what men have done to women since the beginning of time: minimize the importance of the human being and the individual in favor of weightless stereotypical reflections of gender. Although the severity of her statements is debatable— a woman saying what she said holds little weight compared to a man saying the same things about women, if only because women don’t have centuries’ worth of oppression weighing down their argument — it is still a misrepresentation of feminism as a whole, and one that just screams “I was written by a man.”
While there are obviously women out there who truly believe men have little importance beyond their part in reproduction, I doubt this comic is a feminist critique on the hypocrisy of those women. Rather, I believe this comic represents how a man views feminism as a whole, or, in other words, what a man believes, and fears, feminists hope to accomplish with all of their “harpying” and “man-hating”: a matriarchal society in which men are made into subjugated second class citizens and women reign supreme. The reason I believe this is because there was no attempt at discourse between Dilbert and the so-called feminist. He simply made a motion to shut her up by replacing her with a robot, which I assume can be easily programmed by its owner to not say anything “problematic.” However, even if Dilbert had debated with the woman and supplied her, and his readership, with real feminist theory, I can’t say I would ever call the comic appropriate. After all, Dilbert is a man, and although men certainly can disagree with women, and are certainly open to, the image of a man correcting a woman about feminism in a mainstream comic in today’s social climate would be problematic to me, especially if that comic was written by a man. If the comic was written by a woman, however, and was about two women having a discussion about feminist theory, I think I would feel much more comfortable about it. But then, I don’t believe a woman would have so blatantly misrepresented feminist ideologies as the author of this comic did.
Ultimately, this comic is much worse than you originally thought. It isn’t just an attack on feminism, but an outright disregard for what feminism stands for and the perpetuation of confusion over what feminism means. If feminism was fairly represented and challenged in this comic, that would be one thing, but feminism wasn’t even given a chance. What was challenged was the sexist perception of what feminism is, and anybody who reads this comic will only walk away feeling justified in their ignorance. They will continue to malign all feminists as man-haters, as would-be oppressors, and any would-be feminists will continue to be pushed away from the cause based on a false belief.