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Bad At Adulting Good At Feminism

Prudence Geerts
Mango Publishing
$18.99 SRP (print) / $5.99 (digital)

Comics On Relationships, Life & Food

Bad At Adulting Good At Feminism is a collection of single page cartoons by Belgian artist Prudence Geertz in which she opines on relationships, life, food, and related matters. In her introduction the cartoonist talks about her experience as an art student in Brussels. Memories of friends evoke happiness for her but Geerts doesn’t gloss over other matters. She shares that some instructors didn’t like her work and gave her a difficult time while another instructor threatened her with a demand for sex if she wanted to graduate. Rather than giving in to such demands she despondently left and resorted to working in dead end positions which created a depression due from all the turmoil. During this time at a call center job Geerts began to doodle and bit by bit a cartoon character that would embody her persona began to take shape. Currently the artist lives in a town which she describes as even smaller than they one in which she lived as a child, one “where all the kids knew each other growing up and today they still know each other…” These two points are worth mentioning because I believe they can share an element of isolation. Certainly the effect is obvious in the former. While I cannot speak about the decisions which led her to live in a small town I know from personal experience living in such locales can be peaceful if not boring and foster a sense of inner isolation when one is at all different from your neighbors. That’s not to say her fellow townspeople are bad but if you’ve used social media at all in the last decade then I think you know what I mean and I’m starting to digress. The need to connect with others more like herself is the motivating factor for the artist.

There is a lot more to admire about Prudence Geerts’ attitude toward life because she isn’t one to let anything keep her down for long. Using her cartoon alter ego, Geerts explores awkward social situations and pokes and prods at tropes of body image expectations versus the reality to show an unapologetic love of her body (acne, belly rolls, body hair, small breasts). Food – especially pizza – is a cause for humorous celebration in many cartoons. The one of her striking a seductive pose that had me laughing can be seen in the video below. The subject of menstruation is one which Geerts fearlessly takes on to deconstruct the taboo polite society has put on this aspect of women’s lives. Geerts also lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which is often difficult to diagnose. As with depression, CFS is frequently discounted by family, friends, and coworkers and can be socially isolating in its own ways. Taking a gentle yet honest approach Geerts shows that the reality of this kind of situation sometimes means being treated differently by people or even losing relationships. As someone who deals with several chronic conditions I found myself empathizing with these strips. Two in particular stand out. The first one is about the “is my life over now” reaction everyone has when receiving bad health news. The second strip is because of this important idea: “You don’t have to prove your invisible illness to ignorant people”.

Unsurprisingly the target audience for Bad At Adulting is millenial woman. However, there’s so much playfulness and delightful subversion of conventions in Geerts’ lighthearted style that other people can appreciate her positive messages.

Watch this short video from the book’s publisher for a glimpse inside Bad At Adulting, Good At Feminism! Look close and you’ll see the pizza pose cartoon that I did a spit take when I came across it.

Look for Bad At Adulting Good At Feminism at your local bookstore (ISBN 978-1-63353-758-3) or purchase it from Amazon.

Visit Planet Prudence, Facebook, and Instagram for more about Geertz and her work!

November 16, 2018
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