As you know I’m a huge fan of Liv Strömquist’s graphic novels. They are interesting, educational, humorous and very feminist. So I had high expectations for “I’m every woman”, the third graphic novel by her that I read. It was all what I wanted it to be. It was interesting, educational, humorous and feminist. But still it disappointed me. Don’t get me wrong. I really liked this comic as well but it didn’t live up to my expectations.
In “I’m every woman” Strömquist talks about (heterosexual) relationships, about bad partners, unknown wives and societal hierarchies. Among the men whose relationships she discusses and whose behaviour she criticizes are well-known artists, politicians or scientists such as Albert Einstein, Phil Spector, Elvis Presley, Stalin or John Lennon.
While that was all very interesting the comic appeared like a enumeration of anecdotes and lacked continuity for me. As my bookclub and I discussed: We also felt sometimes as if the historical accuracy was bit off and that Strömquist failed to include details that didn’t fit her narrative of the lives she describes.
Moreover, sometimes her vocabulary also felt a bit problematic to me. She uses terms like “developing country” or “third world” that are reinforcing a eurocentric and hierarchical perspective instead of the more neutral term “global south”. In her description of the racist harassment Yoko Ono had to face she also repeats a racist slur towards people of Asian descent. Of course her aim was to criticize this treatment but it still felt like a unnecessary repetition of racist language to me.
Despite these flaws reading the graphic novel was an entertaining and fun experience. The reason that I am such a big fan of Strömquist’s work is that she manages to perfectly mix feminist criticism, popular culture and scientific analyses to discuss her topic. However, this time the comic lacked the analytical part for me.
Overall “I’m every woman” was still a great and enjoyable read. But sadly it just didn’t live up to the standard that I set for Liv Strömquist’s graphic novels after reading her previous works.
Did you know that I also occasionally write posts about feminism? You can find them here, if you’re interested.