The Big Feminist BUT: The Caveats of Gender Politics in Comics

By Maria Popova

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“Feminism is too important to be discussed only by academics,” Caitlin Moran wrote in her excellent How to Be a Woman and, indeed, gender politics permeate everything from our language to our capacity for love to our economy to how kids come to see the world. Luckily, Moran’s point comes wonderfully alive in The Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men and the Ifs, Ands & Buts of Feminism (public library) — a magnificent Kickstarter-funded collection of “the ideas, experiences and impressions of individual cartoonists and writers at a very specific moment in time,” titled after the all-too-familiar caveat of “I’m a feminist, but…” (or, occasionally, “I’m not a feminist, but…”). Self-described as “dedicated to the 4th Wave” (that is, to the era two generations after the Second Wave of feminism), the book — sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always delightful — pulls our most stubborn discomforts into a limelight of gentle but unshakable awareness.

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