The Big Feminist BUT: Corinne Mucha's "Spinster"

Do you like comics? Do you like feminism? Do you think it's bunk that publishers have no compunction about saying things like, "We can't sell a book with the word 'feminist' in the title"? Then you might want to know about a new comics anthology called The Big Feminist BUT. Editors Shannon O'Leary and Joan Reilly explain:

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? 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?

As friends of (and, full disclosure, a contributor to) the BFB, Bitch will be posting three comics from the anthology here over the three weeks, to coincide with the project's Kickstarter campaign, which runs through December and is offering lots of great incentives for backers, including original art, minicomics, and more. Today, Corinne Mucha ponders the meaning of the word "spinster."



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Comments

15 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Spinsterhood

I'm in the spinsterhood, (apart from the kids) and I love it. Yes, I knit! Yes, I eat meals alone! Yes, I write short stories!. I also earn my own income, I own my car, I am healthy and strong. And I AM HAPPY. Welcome to spinsterhood. It's a hoot.

I am sorry

But I find the term "spinster" offensive, ancient, a negative stereotype of real-life single people, and even at times misogynist and downright degrading. I am not crafty at all and personally fit none of the "stereotypes" that define the word. Life really is short and it would be even better yet if I had to stop defending my personal lifestyle consientious choice of living mate-free and child-free to every last busy-body I run into who insists that my life would be happier if I lived a heteronormative family lifestyle. The reality is that parenthood and even being in a committed relationship is not at all for everyone. It's why I am a feminist struggling and fighting for the rights of people everyday to live their lives of their true callings without apologies to the consistently, persistently judgemental. It IS moral to choose this kind of life, or just feel that it is a calling of one's life path. I find the word "spinster" more problematic than other words that are worthy of "reclaiming." If there was a different word for this project, I would support it.

Yeah...

Pretty sure that is what the entire comic was trying to say. It even explicitly says, "Today, it is more acceptable for a woman to never marry, but 'spinster' is still a derogatory term'."

this is the previous anonymous commenter

The first commenter made it seem that the word "spinster" was all positive and empowering. To me, it is not empowering at all. After taking a closer look at this project, it appears that the creator of it was indeed getting the message across that the word "spinster" is a tired old negative stereotype and irrelevant in this modern age of increasing numbers of the USA (and other countries') population are of people living alone, mate-less, etc. Despite my wariness and discomfort witht the word "spinster," I indeed reserve my right to change my mind and support this project. In all, an ongoing, creative conversation about this topic that isn't "preachy" is very much necessary.

Spinster cartoon and comments

The comic is very funny and wittily describes in its first half what I'm sure is a real experience for many women. Similarly, men who don't find it easy to get dates can feel like "failures" when comparing themselves to the expected "norm" or their friends (especially if they compare themselves to female friends who complain of having to expend energy rejecting the excessive number of men who pursue them). But in its second half, instead of rejecting the expectations of others and labels (like spinster, cat lady, and failure) imposed by others, instead of ignoring the opinions of others altogether and rejecting the concept of categorizing people in groups, all of which are clearly identified as the problem in the first half, the cartoonist embraces labels, categories and group-identity concepts in her so-called solution in the second half -- accepting the idea of being mateless as her likely destiny (since that's what other people say), and spinsterhood as not the worse thing that can happen -- as if she herself has no free will to determine her own identity and future, as if she has no awareness of what she herself wants and no ability to take action to achieve it. The right answer is to first ignore everyone else and rely on your own judgment, and then to become introspective (while observing those who are happy and unhappy around you). The cartoonist needs to decide what she wants for herself--now, in the short term future, and in the long term future. Ignoring labels, if she wants a life mate, or a series of shorter relationships, or if she wants to be alone, she should take action to achieve that goal (e.g., place personal ads, join social meetup groups, or avoid both). What needs to be embraced is individualism -- every woman uses her own judgment to decide what makes her happiest. If she wants to be alone but not overrun by cats, she can limit the number of cats, spay and neuter, etc. In all issues of race and gender and other false or superficial group identities, the solution is not turning a derogatory label into a positive label, but rather, promoting individualism -- everyone is free to be whoever they want to be, without labels.

>> But I find the term

>> But I find the term "spinster" offensive, ancient, a negative stereotype of real-life single people, and even at times misogynist and downright degrading.

The male equivalent would be a "basement dweller". Not a very glamorous term that, either.

I didn't find anything particularly feminist about this comic, when you think about it. Lonely singles who contemplate their existence and fulfillment can be found on both sides of the fence.

One man's reaction to the cartoon

The comic is very funny and wittily describes in its first half what I'm sure is a real experience for many women. Similarly, men who don't find it easy to get dates can feel like "failures" when comparing themselves to the expected "norm" or their friends (especially if they compare themselves to female friends who complain of having to expend energy rejecting the excessive number of men who pursue them). But in its second half, instead of rejecting the expectations of others and labels (like spinster, cat lady, and failure) imposed by others, instead of ignoring the opinions of others altogether and rejecting the concept of categorizing people in groups, all of which are clearly identified as the problem in the first half, the cartoonist embraces labels, categories and group-identity concepts in her so-called solution in the second half -- accepting the idea of being mateless as her likely destiny (since that's what other people say), and spinsterhood as not the worse thing that can happen -- as if she herself has no free will to determine her own identity and future, as if she has no awareness of what she herself wants and no ability to take action to achieve it. The right answer is to first ignore everyone else and rely on your own judgment, and then to become introspective (while observing those who are happy and unhappy around you). The cartoonist needs to decide what she wants for herself--now, in the short term future, and in the long term future. Ignoring labels, if she wants a life mate, or a series of shorter relationships, or if she wants to be alone, she should take action to achieve that goal (e.g., place personal ads, join social meetup groups, or avoid both). What needs to be embraced is individualism -- every woman uses her own judgment to decide what makes her happiest. If she wants to be alone but not overrun by cats, she can limit the number of cats, spay and neuter, etc. In all issues of race and gender and other false or superficial group identities, the solution is not turning a derogatory label into a positive label, but rather, promoting individualism -- everyone is free to be whoever they want to be, without labels.

The Big Feminist BUT: Corinne Mucha's "Spinster" | Bitch Media

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As a man, I adored this

As a man, I adored this comic. I am terrified by all of these things as well. I don't know whether I will ever be married. I strive to stay involved and fill my days with useful work and not worry, but I still worry. Our posturing is partly a defense mechanism against our own insecurity. PLEASE ASK US OUT IF YOU WANT.

The Big Feminist BUT: Corinne Mucha's "Spinster" | Bitch Media

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The Big Feminist BUT: Corinne Mucha's "Spinster" | Bitch Media

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The Big Feminist BUT: Corinne Mucha's "Spinster" | Bitch Media

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Re-inventing The Spinster

Hello bitchmedia,

I'd like to let you know about my new film, The Spinster, because it seems like there are lots of opinions here about the word. My film is a psychological thriller that follows a cycle vixen in search of true love into the dark, shadowy depths of romance. It portrays the lead character as a single woman in her 40s who is not only at the top of her game, but she takes revenge on men who've done her wrong. In my opinion, we need to take back these terms that are considered negative, and redefine them, and reclaim them as our own. Please check out my website, and our newly launched Kickstarter campaign if you have a moment. I'd be glad to blog about your comics in return. Thank you, Kristin (Director of The Spinster)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1698642756/the-spinster-completion-f...

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