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The Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men, and the IFs, ANDs & BUTs of Feminism

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Women now regularly run for the highest offices in the land, BUT turn the channel and we’re bombarded with Teen Moms and Real Housewives. Women can have any career they want, BUT they still have to contend with the tick tick tock of their biological clocks when it comes to their love lives. Of course, these days women can also choose not to have children at all, BUT will t Women now regularly run for the highest offices in the land, BUT turn the channel and we’re bombarded with Teen Moms and Real Housewives. Women can have any career they want, BUT they still have to contend with the tick tick tock of their biological clocks when it comes to their love lives. Of course, these days women can also choose not to have children at all, BUT will they really ever be truly fulfilled if they don’t? We know what we’re supposed to do if a guy turns out to be “not that into you,” BUT what if he is? What do we really mean when we start a sentence with the disclaimers, “I’m not a feminist BUT…” or “I am 100% a feminist BUT…” ”What do our great big “BUTS…” say about where things stand between the sexes in the 21st Century? The Big Feminist BUT is a black and white comics anthology, featuring stories by: Charlie Jane Anders (Editor, io9.com), Gabrielle Bell (The Voyeurs, Lucky, Regular Best American Comics Contributor), Jeffrey Brown (Darth Vader and Son, Chronicle Books), Emily Flake (The New Yorker, Lulu Eightball), Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic, Skin Horse),Hillary Florido (Regular Show, Two-time Best American Comics Notable Comics Recipient), Justin Hall (No Straight Lines, Fantagraphics), Josh Neufeld (A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, Pantheon), Sarah Oleksyk (Regular Show, 2012 Eisner nominee for Ivy, Oni Press), Vanessa Davis (Make Me a Woman, Drawn & Quarterly), Ron Rege (Cartoon Utopia, Fantagraphics), Lauren Weinstein (Girl Stories, Henry Holt & Co.), Trevor Alixopulos (Hot Breath of War, Mine Tonight, Sparkplug Comic Books), Andrice Arp (Regular MOME Contributor, Fantagraphics), Liz Baillie (Freewheel, My Brain Hurts, Microcosm Press), Ric Carrasquillo, Abby Denson (City Sweeth Tooth, Dolltopia, Green Candy Press), Barry Deutsch (Hereville, Amulet Books), Suzanne Kleid (NPR, The Believer Magazine), Beth Lisick (Everybody into the Pool, Helping Me Help Myself, William Morrow Paperbacks), Stina Lofgren (Contributing Illustrator/Author to The New York Times and Galago/Ordfront Magazine), Ulli Lust (Today is the Last Day of the Rest of your Life, Electrocomics), MariNaomi (Kiss and Tell, Harper Perennial), MK Reed (Americus, First Second Books), Corrine Mucha (2012 Ignatz Winner for The Monkey in the Basement and Other Delusions), Shannon O'Leary (Regular contributor to The Beat and Publishers Weekly, Pet Noir, Manic D Press), Virginia Paine (Sparkplug Comic Books, publisher), Kai Pfeiffer (Electrocomics, Publisher), Mark Pritchard (Too Beautiful and Other Stories, Cleis Press), Joan Reilly (Hi-Horse, Alternative Comics, The Pekar Project, Smithmag.net), Jesse Reklaw (The Night of Your Life, Dark Horse Comics), Kat Roberts (Act-i-vate), Lisa Ullmann (The Ricky Gervais Show), Angie Wang (Contributing Illustrator to The New Yorker and The New York Times), Jen Wang (Koko Be Good, First Second Books), Dylan Williams (Sparkplug Comic Books), Sari Wilson (Pushcart Prize Nominee), Andi Zeisler (Editor and Co-founder, Bitch Magazine).


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Women now regularly run for the highest offices in the land, BUT turn the channel and we’re bombarded with Teen Moms and Real Housewives. Women can have any career they want, BUT they still have to contend with the tick tick tock of their biological clocks when it comes to their love lives. Of course, these days women can also choose not to have children at all, BUT will t Women now regularly run for the highest offices in the land, BUT turn the channel and we’re bombarded with Teen Moms and Real Housewives. Women can have any career they want, BUT they still have to contend with the tick tick tock of their biological clocks when it comes to their love lives. Of course, these days women can also choose not to have children at all, BUT will they really ever be truly fulfilled if they don’t? We know what we’re supposed to do if a guy turns out to be “not that into you,” BUT what if he is? What do we really mean when we start a sentence with the disclaimers, “I’m not a feminist BUT…” or “I am 100% a feminist BUT…” ”What do our great big “BUTS…” say about where things stand between the sexes in the 21st Century? The Big Feminist BUT is a black and white comics anthology, featuring stories by: Charlie Jane Anders (Editor, io9.com), Gabrielle Bell (The Voyeurs, Lucky, Regular Best American Comics Contributor), Jeffrey Brown (Darth Vader and Son, Chronicle Books), Emily Flake (The New Yorker, Lulu Eightball), Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic, Skin Horse),Hillary Florido (Regular Show, Two-time Best American Comics Notable Comics Recipient), Justin Hall (No Straight Lines, Fantagraphics), Josh Neufeld (A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, Pantheon), Sarah Oleksyk (Regular Show, 2012 Eisner nominee for Ivy, Oni Press), Vanessa Davis (Make Me a Woman, Drawn & Quarterly), Ron Rege (Cartoon Utopia, Fantagraphics), Lauren Weinstein (Girl Stories, Henry Holt & Co.), Trevor Alixopulos (Hot Breath of War, Mine Tonight, Sparkplug Comic Books), Andrice Arp (Regular MOME Contributor, Fantagraphics), Liz Baillie (Freewheel, My Brain Hurts, Microcosm Press), Ric Carrasquillo, Abby Denson (City Sweeth Tooth, Dolltopia, Green Candy Press), Barry Deutsch (Hereville, Amulet Books), Suzanne Kleid (NPR, The Believer Magazine), Beth Lisick (Everybody into the Pool, Helping Me Help Myself, William Morrow Paperbacks), Stina Lofgren (Contributing Illustrator/Author to The New York Times and Galago/Ordfront Magazine), Ulli Lust (Today is the Last Day of the Rest of your Life, Electrocomics), MariNaomi (Kiss and Tell, Harper Perennial), MK Reed (Americus, First Second Books), Corrine Mucha (2012 Ignatz Winner for The Monkey in the Basement and Other Delusions), Shannon O'Leary (Regular contributor to The Beat and Publishers Weekly, Pet Noir, Manic D Press), Virginia Paine (Sparkplug Comic Books, publisher), Kai Pfeiffer (Electrocomics, Publisher), Mark Pritchard (Too Beautiful and Other Stories, Cleis Press), Joan Reilly (Hi-Horse, Alternative Comics, The Pekar Project, Smithmag.net), Jesse Reklaw (The Night of Your Life, Dark Horse Comics), Kat Roberts (Act-i-vate), Lisa Ullmann (The Ricky Gervais Show), Angie Wang (Contributing Illustrator to The New Yorker and The New York Times), Jen Wang (Koko Be Good, First Second Books), Dylan Williams (Sparkplug Comic Books), Sari Wilson (Pushcart Prize Nominee), Andi Zeisler (Editor and Co-founder, Bitch Magazine).

30 review for The Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men, and the IFs, ANDs & BUTs of Feminism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    I was so, so excited about this book. Combining my two favourite things, of course I had to pick it up. However, it majorly lacked a lot of things, firstly, there was no representation of anything other than heterosexual white feminism...No woc, no trans women, no bisexuality, I think there was some queer issues sprinkled in there. The first half of the book was a riot. I was talking about redefining sexuality and spinsters and motherhood, but it got to a point where I realized there wasn't any I was so, so excited about this book. Combining my two favourite things, of course I had to pick it up. However, it majorly lacked a lot of things, firstly, there was no representation of anything other than heterosexual white feminism...No woc, no trans women, no bisexuality, I think there was some queer issues sprinkled in there. The first half of the book was a riot. I was talking about redefining sexuality and spinsters and motherhood, but it got to a point where I realized there wasn't any other representations of ANY other kinds of women. Intersectionality is probably the biggest thing happening in feminism right now, it's exciting, we're demanding representation of women and inclusiveness to share stories and this book completely forgot about it. Mega disappointment. Still good for a laugh, but not what I expected from a feminist book that was structured around sharing women's stories in 2014.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bunny

    Received via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. I expected a lot from this comic when I requested it. As a Tumblr user (Tumblrer?), I get great joy from some of the comics that often appear on my dash. Funny, moving, heartfelt, thought provoking. When I find a book that seemingly can compete with what I have to hunt for on the internet, I dive for it. It would appear I expected far too much from this book. This was my favorite piece in the book, and it was, I believe, the last Received via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. I expected a lot from this comic when I requested it. As a Tumblr user (Tumblrer?), I get great joy from some of the comics that often appear on my dash. Funny, moving, heartfelt, thought provoking. When I find a book that seemingly can compete with what I have to hunt for on the internet, I dive for it. It would appear I expected far too much from this book. This was my favorite piece in the book, and it was, I believe, the last comic. It's simple. It's thought provoking. It's jarring with its message that requires no caption. It's just a little bit perfect. This is what I expected from the whole book. I don't want complete perfection, but I want a little bit of it. Instead, I got convoluted, overly complicated, poorly composed, and disjointed. I hate to say all of that, because I respect artists, I respect the time and energy they put into their work. But if I were to see 85% of these comics online, I would continue scrolling and not wonder what other works they had done. Very disappointing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Extremely uneven. For me the highlights were the pieces by Beth Lisick, Barry Deutsch, Sarah Oleksyk (in particular the artwork), Jen Wang and Andi Zeisler. So that's like five good ones out of something like thirty? With the exception of the above artists, this collection didn't feel fresh or nuanced at all. In at least one case the style was so cluttered and just... eye-watering that I couldn't focus on the page long enough to read it (Ron Regé Jr... no bubble letters, please). More important Extremely uneven. For me the highlights were the pieces by Beth Lisick, Barry Deutsch, Sarah Oleksyk (in particular the artwork), Jen Wang and Andi Zeisler. So that's like five good ones out of something like thirty? With the exception of the above artists, this collection didn't feel fresh or nuanced at all. In at least one case the style was so cluttered and just... eye-watering that I couldn't focus on the page long enough to read it (Ron Regé Jr... no bubble letters, please). More important though, was the lack of mature, thoughtful content on feminism. The concept purports to be an examination of the statement "I'm a feminist, but..." - which would be great! Unfortunately hardly any of the pieces actually addressed the supposed theme, and many who tried made statements that felt outdated, and that missed the point. It's really too bad, and now I'm left wanting a collection that actually does what this one only set out to do.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Bad title (ha ha), very uneven collection. I read it to see comic pieces from people I liked like Corrine Mucha and Jeffrey Brown, and I did like those pieces and a couple others, sure. The collection is dedicated to the "fourth wave" of feminism but if this is what the fourth wave is all about, well… okay, but it doesn't feel like anything particularly new. If it is about questioning earlier questions of feminism (the "ifs, ands and buts of feminism") through comics, okay… but it's not all that Bad title (ha ha), very uneven collection. I read it to see comic pieces from people I liked like Corrine Mucha and Jeffrey Brown, and I did like those pieces and a couple others, sure. The collection is dedicated to the "fourth wave" of feminism but if this is what the fourth wave is all about, well… okay, but it doesn't feel like anything particularly new. If it is about questioning earlier questions of feminism (the "ifs, ands and buts of feminism") through comics, okay… but it's not all that funny or insightful. To me, anyway.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leo

    It's always hard to rate an anthology. This had more misses than hits, but there are a few really great comics. Most of them, unfortunately, fall flat before the conclusion, leaving me wanting more or asking more questions when the original one wasn't answered. That being said, it had a mix of all kids of art styles and types of story telling, and it's very likely you'll enjoy comics I didn't and vice versa. The comics I really enjoyed: "Am I a spinster yet?" "How to make a man out of tin foil" "Que It's always hard to rate an anthology. This had more misses than hits, but there are a few really great comics. Most of them, unfortunately, fall flat before the conclusion, leaving me wanting more or asking more questions when the original one wasn't answered. That being said, it had a mix of all kids of art styles and types of story telling, and it's very likely you'll enjoy comics I didn't and vice versa. The comics I really enjoyed: "Am I a spinster yet?" "How to make a man out of tin foil" "Queer, eh?" "Skadi's wolves" "Prostitutes: For teens" "Untethered" "Boy's life"

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarra

    I picked it up last night, got to "both sexes" on the first page of the introduction, and put it back down again. Feminism's 4th (and further) wave has no room for gender binarist bullshit that makes whole swathes of people invisible. And then I read that the afterword is written by the horrifyingly abusive and oppressive Hugo Schwyzer? I'm not sure I'm ever going to pick this up again. Even though I backed this on Kickstarter, I might just end up donating it to a thrift store.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shayna Ross

    I was hoping for some inspirational and empowering reads, and some of them were quite delightful; however, it was a convoluted mash-up at best. When an anthology is put together, especially in comic form, there needs to be some kind of flow with themes and ideas. I just couldn't see how many of the submitted work even fit the mold that I was expecting (but then again, maybe I didn't know what I should be expecting?). All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Veta

    [2.5] not exactly my cup of tea

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jules

    The title is quite misleading, this is not about feminism at all, the whole book is a big butt. I’m not going to argue about the drawings of which most are childish as you can’t argue about art. The stories though aren’t telling us, the readers anything, there is hardly any moral philosophy. Most of the strips are talking about society issues not feminist ones and some even try to copy the political cartoons they made during WWs. I can’t recommend to anyone this book, the amount of small gems yo The title is quite misleading, this is not about feminism at all, the whole book is a big butt. I’m not going to argue about the drawings of which most are childish as you can’t argue about art. The stories though aren’t telling us, the readers anything, there is hardly any moral philosophy. Most of the strips are talking about society issues not feminist ones and some even try to copy the political cartoons they made during WWs. I can’t recommend to anyone this book, the amount of small gems you’ll find here is hardly worth the time and money you’ll spend on it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This book was awfully disappointing. It reads like a book by white cis women, for white cis women. It is perpetually binary, more often than not it's cissexist. I had hoped that perhaps the comics in this book might have addressed a well rounded and intersectional feminism, but with the exception of maybe two of the comics- and those only mildly- no such luck. I guess it was okay for what it was, though even that wasn't entirely clear; but it could have been so much more.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Josephus FromPlacitas

    Not many misses for an anthology. A couple poorly thought-out two-pagers very early on, and then some hippy dippy new age stuff with an art style I really don't like looking at by one other artist. But lots of clever, human pieces. Barry Deutsch's piece was the jewel in the crown: a brutal tale of a boy at summer camp -- perfect art and a heartbreaking story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Hines

    This anthology contains everything that's amazing about indie comics: intelligence, heart, courage, rawness, and daring. I can't recommend it enough.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Perspective. That's what we're so often missing in life. Seeing things from someone else's perspective is so key to understanding other people. Do you want to understand life in our culture from a woman's perspective? Read books likes this. Several women (and a few men) have come together and shared parts of their lives, parts of themselves, so we can all understand each other a little better. That's why books like this are so important. Buffy is referenced in the intro! Yay! I loved Manifes Perspective. That's what we're so often missing in life. Seeing things from someone else's perspective is so key to understanding other people. Do you want to understand life in our culture from a woman's perspective? Read books likes this. Several women (and a few men) have come together and shared parts of their lives, parts of themselves, so we can all understand each other a little better. That's why books like this are so important. Buffy is referenced in the intro! Yay! I loved Manifestation by Gabrielle Bell. I laughed so loud I'm glad I was reading this at home. Though this would have been a great book for Read Comics in Public Day. (Is that still a thing?) And the last story - Labyrinth was different - and interesting. I liked it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    LadyS

    This is a compilation of illustrations that are intended to provoke thought about feminsim and its so called quest for 'equality'. Many illustrations were too vulgar in my opinon. The author's opening statement was the most appealing part of this book. The author makes a profound statment about so called feminism of today which I found is the real point of this book . For instace, fighting for equality should not be fighting for "extra rights" or taking away the rights of men. She continues by d This is a compilation of illustrations that are intended to provoke thought about feminsim and its so called quest for 'equality'. Many illustrations were too vulgar in my opinon. The author's opening statement was the most appealing part of this book. The author makes a profound statment about so called feminism of today which I found is the real point of this book . For instace, fighting for equality should not be fighting for "extra rights" or taking away the rights of men. She continues by declaring that she doesn't need a movement to feel important or make a contribution [paraphrased] Valid points aside, I do not recommend this book. There are better books out there that exposes the blatant hypocrisy of said topic.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    As a feminist and a big fan of comics, I really wanted to like this book. However, in spite of a few really good submissions, the collection as a whole was disappointing. Some of the comics didn't make any sense, one of them I couldn't actually read, the order didn't make any sense and a lot of the comics struck me as decidedly unfeminist (like the one where the contributor complains that feminism is taking rights away from men). There were barely any mentions of women of colour or queer women, As a feminist and a big fan of comics, I really wanted to like this book. However, in spite of a few really good submissions, the collection as a whole was disappointing. Some of the comics didn't make any sense, one of them I couldn't actually read, the order didn't make any sense and a lot of the comics struck me as decidedly unfeminist (like the one where the contributor complains that feminism is taking rights away from men). There were barely any mentions of women of colour or queer women, and trans women were completely left out. A good number of men who contributed came across as whiny and I got quite bored. I was also unimpressed by casual Islamophobic comments about wanting to save Muslim women from their veils. [Free ARC from Edelweiss+]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Khalia

    My main complaint lies in the fact that these comics were drawn only in black and white. I don't enjoy comics half as much when color has been abandoned. I remember three women: MariNaomi, Kristina Collantes, and Angie Wang, who seem to be the only Asians represented. I did laugh at Beth Lisick's strip, a pleasant introduction to her work. I would have been doubly disappointed if Vanessa Davis and Gabrielle Bell had not been included. I am surprised at the fact so many older voices were not incl My main complaint lies in the fact that these comics were drawn only in black and white. I don't enjoy comics half as much when color has been abandoned. I remember three women: MariNaomi, Kristina Collantes, and Angie Wang, who seem to be the only Asians represented. I did laugh at Beth Lisick's strip, a pleasant introduction to her work. I would have been doubly disappointed if Vanessa Davis and Gabrielle Bell had not been included. I am surprised at the fact so many older voices were not included. Could you imagine Mimi Pond and Lynda Barry sharing their perspectives on feminism? The fact that those two women lived during the second wave of feminism and have lived to see the third and fourth incarnations would have provided a richness. It would've been glorious.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlynn

    A bit of a meh read, to be honest. I liked the variety in art styles and perspectives/points. I thought some of them veered into the border of SWERF/TERF territory - I dislike long screeds about how *~*~*motherhood*~*~*~ is a woman's magical power, since there are plenty of women, myself included, who for various reasons cannot or will not have children. I am no less a woman for it. The good news about this collection is that it is a collection - you're bound to find something you like. I did, b A bit of a meh read, to be honest. I liked the variety in art styles and perspectives/points. I thought some of them veered into the border of SWERF/TERF territory - I dislike long screeds about how *~*~*motherhood*~*~*~ is a woman's magical power, since there are plenty of women, myself included, who for various reasons cannot or will not have children. I am no less a woman for it. The good news about this collection is that it is a collection - you're bound to find something you like. I did, but it seemed to me that the stuff that landed for me was outnumbered by what I didn't like or didn't have strong feelings about.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kamal

    This book was far too text heavy for a comic and this undermined its effectivity in some ways. Many stories, in order to pass on their feminist message became a "talk-head" comic book with very little character development, plot or description. Most of the comics contained are 'flat', i.e., they come off as diatribes, rants and/or manifestos. The whole thing seems a bit sophomoric, sadly. I certainly think that this collection was a good idea, but the execution was lacking.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joel Cuthbert

    Like all anthologies, consistency is a tricky thing, some portions I felt more effective than others. I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of insight and intellectual content such short vignettes could afford. Comics are a rich field for discussing gender and identity issues, with each artist adding thier personal lense in both visual style and story. A good addition to the female conversation in comics. A rewarding read to those interested.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    With the exception of one comic, I really enjoyed all of these, and the one I didn't enjoy was only because I couldn't read the lettering. I'm really getting to enjoy graphic nonfiction as a medium, and this one worked well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sasha Boersma

    Reading during the Weinstein mess and #metoo all over social media, so was in a headspace for this. Engaging collection of stories exploring feminism. I didn't love every contribution to the collection, but as a body of work I enjoyed it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brianna Sowinski

    I had this one on my library shelf for awhile (one of my just before Covid-19 check outs) and I kept putting it off, because feminism is so loaded and I didn't feel like a lecture. Nope, I was wrong. Great book with comics from many artists, wide perspectives, voices. Read it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarita

    Hugely variable in quality. Some really good pieces, some really problematic ones. I don't think it was well thought out enough as a collection for me to recommend it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eujean2

    An anthology is always a mixed bag, but I liked how the range of stories in this collection represent a sample of the range of feminism. (It could use even more intersectionality.)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Raisu

    Shallow. Uneven.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fatema Meamari

    Most comics were alright, some were average or neutral, a few were really good and cute.

  27. 5 out of 5

    elle buss

    this was pretty boring to be honest

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    A few of the comics were interesting.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maria Rowe

    I liked this overall, and the art was great. But I agree with other reviewers that it lacked diversity: most comics were from the white, straight perspective.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really liked some of these; others, not so much. It was more, hmm, conventional than I expected. Oh, and it introduced me to Shaenon K. Garrity, a new favorite writer - comix and sf!!

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