Using humor to take up space for feminist comics in Finland during the 1990s and 2000s

  • Leena Romu (Speaker)

Aktiviteetti: Konferenssiesitelmä


In the 1990s and 2000s, three Finnish comics magazines were established for comics made by women: Naarassarjat [Female comics, 1992– 1993], Irtoparta [Detachable beard/Fake beard, 2001– 2007], and Nettinarttu [Web bitch, 2004– 2009]. The presentation analyzes their strategies for taking up space for women cartoonists in the predominantly male-dominated comics field.

The focus of the presentation is on the use of humor as an act of resistance and as a tool to disrupt conceptions of gender, such as fixed notions of gendered behavior and appearance. Firstly, the magazines used humor to posit themselves in the comics field by using titles that self-ironically play with gendered meanings. Secondly, the comics in the magazines utilized humoristic strategies to discuss gender, and especially a certain type of femininity which in the presentation is identified as ‘docile femininity’, following feminist thinker Susan Bordo.

By placing the magazines into their historical context, the presentation discusses how the magazines, and their comics reflect both the position of women comics artists and feminist thinking at the time in Finland. All three magazines were born of an urge to dedicate space for women only and they used strategic essentialism to accomplice this goal. However, during the 2000s, women comics artists moved away from the minority position, and the idea of gender as a binary system was replaced with more nuanced and inclusive ideas about gender and feminism.
Aikajakso17 elok. 2022
Tapahtuman otsikkoComics, Activism, Feminisms
Tapahtuman tyyppiConference
SijaintiGothenburg, RuotsiNäytä kartalla
Tunnustuksen arvoInternational

Nature of activity

  • Tutkimuksellinen