When the A.V. Club asked me to talk about what inspired me to get into comics, they meant for me to talk about a piece of media. Zara was that thing for me, when my brother bought it for me in New York in 2001. But I can’t talk about Zara without talking about the context in which I read Zara, as a tween suddenly on fire with the realization that my body was becoming a battleground. Since this comic was posted, I’ve been accused of basically lying in order to push an agenda, as if these experiences that make up my life are so unbelievable that I must have sensationalized them for some crass motive. I thought about juxtaposing the experiences of my white male schoolmates, to show how insulated and relatively uncomplicated their lives were at this time, as they related them to me. But I figured the bros in the comments would do justice enough to that, and they don’t disappoint.
Predictably, when asked to imagine a world where men have no power and no human rights, some men get REALLY testy. Cue the accusations of misandry, cue the common-knowledge that women are too catty, bitchy, passive-aggressive, hysterical, and shrill to run the world, am I suggesting that women are somehow BETTER THAN MEN? Blah burp fart.
HONEY is that world. And it’s a world full of horrors. But it’s a world lived on female terms. All I am asking is that you try to imagine it, and ask yourself if it is functionally any better or worse than the world we live in.
HUGE thanks to my AD Oliver Sava for sticking up for me and getting this thing published.
This one is a tough read. I was going to follow that up with something like “BUT a great comic.” It’s a great comic BECAUSE it’s a tough read. The topic is one that our society shies away from discussing openly. When we don’t openly talk about the situations and experiences presented in this comic, we as a society 1) deem them an acceptable risk/side-effect/cost of being a woman or 2) talk down women’s experiences and problems as being “blown out of proportion.” I think the format of the comic purposefully emphasizes the horrors of the subject matter, horrors that are not sensationalized or dramatized. This comic made me uncomfortable and angry and upset. You should read it.