Smash the Patriarchy: A Graphic Novel

Helvetiq. Oct. 2023. 96p. tr. from Norwegian by Siân Mackie . Tr $19.99. ISBN 9783039640188.
Gr 10 Up–This exquisitely and carefully illustrated nonfiction graphic novel can be read as a primer on the history of feminism and patriarchy, or enjoyed in equal measure as a casual biographical version of a “Where’s Waldo” search-and-find book. Readers will enjoy spotting illustrations of feminist icons they recognize and hunting for descriptions when they see an unfamiliar face. The monochromatic end papers serve as a who’s-who of women’s history. The work begins with accessible and informative definitions of its main themes, and then dives back in time to Ancient Greece to describe the history of male and female roles. Next, the text dips into the way that the historically male-dominated fields of philosophy, medicine, psychology, religion, and science have sought to categorize and control women, and the impact this had on their access to education and participation in the job market. Finally, it shines a spotlight on female creators and freethinkers who pushed forward despite these obstacles and honors those who lost their lives in pursuit of equality. Jordahl’s illustrations do not shy away from the tough topics addressed in the text, depicting nudity, violence, and illness.
VERDICT This is a well-told and highly informative read. Highly recommended for young adult graphic novel and nonfiction collections.

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