Intersectional and non-human self-representation in women’s autobiographical comics

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Informed by life-writing, comics, feminist and disability studies, I consider autobiographical comics in which the categories of ‘female’ and ‘woman’ are directly opposed by the authors’ visual-verbal representations of themselves as avatars. Specifically, I discuss animal representations in Jennifer Hayden’s The Story of My Tits and Kaisa Leka’s I Am Not These Feet, as well as a less precise non-normative self-representation in Allie Brosh’s (Hyperbole and a Half) Adventures in Depression. I argue that comics is a medium of fundamentally intersectional self-representation, so that during experiences of illness, disease or disability, comics artists are compelled to self-represent in ‘freaked and Othered bodies’ that highlight particular aspects of their experiences not easily accessed by more normatively encoded bodies. That is to say, the categories of identity that structure composition, analysis, and histories of women’s autobiographical comics may be insufficient in describing identities that emerge and disrupt during experiences of illness and disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-432
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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