The League of Super Feminists
The League of Super Feminists has an eye-catching title, but it’s really a scrapbook-style collection of pieces covering media literacy and political awareness. It covers the kind of topics more young people should be aware of, including sexist stereotypes in popular entertainment, the Bechdel Test, the lack of role models for female friendship, unequal emotional labor, the focus on appearance and sexual portrayals, gendered expectations of behavior, and an explanation of intersectionality.
Written and drawn by Mirion Malle (translated by Aleshia Jensen), it’s a set of illustrated essays with cute characters talking to the reader, explaining issues and providing facts. It has the tone of a smart older sister (or aunt) telling the reader how things work, as you’d expect from a cartoonist with a graduate degree in sociology. It’s not just about expectations placed on young women; it also calls out, for example, how many characters we see are white and thin and the need for same-sex relationship portrayals.
It’s an argument for thinking about what one sees. My favorite part, of course, was the encouragement to criticize and comment on what’s out there. I wish some of the topics were gone into in more depth, including the need for different roles for female characters beyond just “the girl”. When certain topics are simply mentioned, or attitudes asserted, in a way, it’s replicating the problems it’s addressing. But there’s only so much that can be done in this starting point. Those who are going to object to making young people aware of these topics aren’t going to be convinced, no matter how much data is provided.
The League of Super Feminists should be in every library, particularly in schools. It came out last fall but is reoffered in the latest Previews catalog as Diamond code JUL21 1570. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)