The latest in a long line of Instagram-serialized comics that have been turned into books, Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal makes a worthy addition to the 21st century graphic novel canon. Full of lively characters and a philosophy of inclusivity, Woman World is an utter delight to read.
The premise here is simple: Woman has inherited the earth. For decades, all babies born have grown up to be female-identifying, including the oldest woman in the book’s cast: a grandmother who was assigned male at birth, and who happens to be the only person alive who remembers when there were men. Now, stores and shopping malls remain like ancient ruins, collapsed with capitalism, and women in cities develop new ways to reproduce in an all-female society. A child finds a DVD of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and develops a harmless obsession, believing the Kevin James character to be a representative sample of the creature that was Man.
Much of Woman World focuses on the day-to-day problems that arise when one attempts to reorganize society entirely, but perhaps more compelling are the love stories that weave in between Dhaliwal’s major players. There’s the couple having relationship problems and confiding in others, and the others who may or may not have romantic interests in them. There are newcomers who fall for village stalwarts, and people who don’t have many romantic inclinations at all. These relationships ebb and flow over the course of Woman World, and Dhaliwal leaves none of them unsatisfactorily resolved in the end.
Readers who come to Woman World expecting either the dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale or the portable feminism of We Should All Be Feminists may come away disappointed. Although it is a feminist text, and an intersectional one at that, Dhaliwal’s graphic novel is not a treatise on feminism. Its lessons are subtle, and may be overshadowed by the humorous situations in which its younger players find themselves. But being feminist doesn’t mean that Woman World needs to preach a message that’s applicable in the real world. Trust, it does just fine on its own.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.
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