Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Big Feminist BUT: A Review

I've informed you all of The Big Feminist BUT kickstarter.  I received it in the mail last week, and I've just finished it (after a busy week in which I at first did not have time to read it and then second forgot to read it.  It's just as good as I'd hoped.  I actually expected more.  Less Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret. references would have been fantastic.  I didn't see an iota of Margaret Atwood.  For the most part, The Big Feminist BUT provides multiple points of view on every writer's own experiences with being a feminist, or really just...living.

"Am I a Spinster Yet?"
The anthology could've opened with a stronger selection than "Pillow Talk" by Trevor Alixopulos and Vanessa Davis.  It's short, but it's...an interesting choice to include.

"Must Respect Women's Power, No Experience Necessary" was a fun way of giving us a male feminist perspective.  He's someone who would literally take punches for and from women for their safety.

Perhaps the best story is from Corinne Mucha on the cat lady spinster ideal.  I could not stop cackling at the same time as agreeing and being incredibly angry and sad.  Her piece "Am I a Spinster Yet?" brought a wealth and width of emotions.  Even I related to it as a man.  Though the spinster term is typically applied to women, I'm beginning to feel it.  Now men have biological clocks.

"Skadi's Wolves" provides not only the author a means of equal empowerment but also the reader.  I've never been too familiar with Norse mythology, other than Thor, Loki, Odin, and the Valkyries, so it was a nice change to see a female goddess from Norse mythology completely own and a modern woman take inspiration form her and apply to life now.

"Skadi's Wolves"
Jeffrey Brown's "Doesn't This Baby Realize We're Trying to Redefine Gender Roles?" is a perfect examination of the dichotomy that plagues women: biological nature vs. feminism vs. social structure.  Balancing these can be difficult and IS difficult, and Brown sums up the struggle in packed panels.

Andrice Arp and Jesse Recklaw's "The Labyrinth" debates the term "feminist" and ponders the better substitution "equalist" because that's what every feminist really is.  Arp even touches on gender-neutral insults as a side note.  How wondrous!  Very few feminist even bother with the idea of balancing gender-specific insults.  Think of any euphemism for reproductive anatomy, and you're on the spot for gender-specific insults.  It happens in the LGBQTA community, too.  Arp gets really meta, too:
"Sometimes the outcome is more important than the intent.  For example with all-female anthologies.  Perhaps there's still a need for them, but it's tricky--by including mediocre work, some of them backfire and end up being anti-feminist.  Let's say your intent is to refute the notion that women don't do good work, or that there aren't many women making comics.  If you publish  a collection of work that's not very good, you end up making a case for the idea that you're trying to disprove."
I'm impressed with The Big Feminist BUT, especially launching such a large-scale kickstarter with plenty of support.  (Side note: I noticed my hero Laura Hudson on the list of supporters!  I LOVE YOU, LAURA!)  The anthology is a quality and professional outlet for underground artist feminists.  And it's beautiful.  I only wish that I could have been a contributor.  :(

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