Writer: Chelsea Cain // Artist: Kate Niemczyk // IMAGE
Meet Me In The Stall, It’s Going Down
Man-Eaters is the funniest journey I’ve had with my uterus. Chelsea Cain done took everything and created a metaphor out of oppression. The most interesting part about this storyline is how deeply ingrained the maintenance of “femme outbreak” has become. From the hormonal water to hiding from officers coming to sustain them, periods (as natural as they are) have always been political. My favorite part about the series is this consistent analysis of how preteens and early teens are not allowed to move about womanhood in a way that is not demonized.
This issue contains an underlying metaphor of private exploration. A bathroom is used as a method to project an example of womanhood. The idea that all women meet at “the bathroom”. Things go down in “the bathroom”. (High key true) But when we explore the idea of a bathroom within Man-Eaters, we recognize a femme’s various levels of comfort within this space. Those who “speak freely” of their womanhood, those who experience womanhood similarly, and those who consider it private. Each is worthy of its own story and is represented metaphorically through the stalls and characters.
Everything I See It’s Going Down
Not much different from the other issues, the art style remains consistent, bright and funny. It carries enough weight to be amusing and keep the points compelling to the reader. What I continue to appreciate about this series is that even through its darkness, the bright colors contrast well within the story. This battle between stereotypical femininity versus the oppressive experience of being a femme. Femininity is innately political. The art style often challenges the parts society “normally” finds repulsive.
The idea of turning into this monster upon getting your period, and having to hide in a bathroom where other people are comfortable with your monstrosity. I love how the bathroom is not painted to seem like this dark disgusting place as it usually seems. (Unless it’s just a New York thing). It feels like a place of fellowship and understanding. This outlook on the bathroom – specifically pertaining to womanhood – brightens the world of some femmes who might feel awkward going to the bathroom together.
I am happy about the usage of brightness. I also like to appreciate the dark color schemes that are projected outside of things directly related to womanhood. The colors fill a different role in building suspense and play a huge part in conveying the contrasts between society’s different views of womanhood. One thing I hope to see in future issues is the merging of both of these visuals. A bright narrative exploring dark color schemes in order to create a sneaky suspense. Man-Eaters gives you the bright when its dark, and the dark when its dark but I’d love to see it give the dark when it’s bright. That feeling of self doubt that exists in the midst of the hormone swings.
9 Cramp-less Periods out of 10
Reading Man-Eaters? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.
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