In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, women and survivors everywhere have been speaking out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. But not all of them are saying the same things — as a new series of comics from the Nib poignantly and painfully articulates.
One of the most vocal responses from women to news surrounding the scandal was a challenge to victim blaming in the form of the #MeToo hashtag. But despite its visibility and virality, the hashtag also drew criticism for its limitations, such as its focus on the experiences of white women at the exclusion of other communities of survivors. It was also criticized for putting the impetus on women to rehash the kinds of performative expressions of trauma that we’ve seen from other hashtags in the past, like #YesAllWomen.
Over at the Nib, a site dedicated to political and cultural commentary through the medium of webcomics, a group of comics artists expressed their emotional reactions to, frustrations with, and reservations about the current conversation surrounding sexual assault.
The participants — Angelica Frausto, Amanda Scurti, Shing Yin Khor, writer Jay Edidin with artist Dylan Meconis, and Kendra Wells — each speak to a different aspect of the conversation, addressing its complicated angles and nuances through their art. Some point out the need for men to take action in order to actually make substantive change. Some point out that cultural codes of silence and refusal to step in and take action reinforce the alienation survivors feel.
And several take on the problems with #MeToo directly. As a transmasculine survivor, Edidin writes, “The only place where it feels like there’s room for me in #MeToo — is falling through its cracks.”
“I’m tired of performing trauma,” Wells writes, “for people who haven’t cared and continue not to care.”
Overall, the comics convey a sense of weariness, wariness, and exhaustion — an ironic comfort for those who have struggled with similar feelings in the wake of the Weinstein scandal and subsequent widespread fallout.
You can read all five comics at the Nib.