Writer: Dayna Giehl
Are you too fat, too thin, too loud, too shy, too religious, too secular, too prudish, too sexual, too queer, too black, too brown, too whatever-it-is-they’ll-judge-you-for-today?
Bitch Planet is the place for you.
Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro challenge sexist and racist attitudes in contemporary society with Bitch Planet, an American comic series that follows a group of “non-compliant” women who are sent to a corrupt prison system on another planet. A “Council of Fathers” controls the prison system on Bitch Planet, reinforcing patriarchal values onto an all-female prisoner population. The women of Bitch Planet come together to combat the council’s exploitation of women and fight a central system of oppressive patriarchy.
DeConnick and De Landro introduce a diverse cast of characters that contest the stereotypical female roles that appear in mainstream comics. Kamau Kogo (Kam), Penny Rolle, Fanny, and Renelle—the main characters of the Bitch Planet series thus far—emphasize feminism, diversity, intersectionality, and accurate representations of women in the media.
The series is closely tied with the goals of the feminist movement. In Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, bell hooks defines feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” With Bitch Planet, DeConnick and De Landro make conscious efforts to challenge sexist norms within society by writing the female prisoners as strong women with an acute awareness of the complicated systems that oppress marginalized identities.
Bitch Planet is unique because of its focus on intersectionality and inclusive feminism. Intersectional theory examines how gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, and religion—among other socioeconomic categories—overlap to create unique identities.
Issue #3 of Bitch Planet focuses on the bold, beautiful, and bad Penny Rolle. A plus-size woman of color who challenges the corruption of the off-planet prison system, Penny encourages body positivity, diversity, and overall confidence for women. She is urged to comply with men’s desires and see herself through “the fathers’ eyes,” but she refuses to change herself for the satisfaction of her oppressors. She is criticized as “non-compliant,” but she and the women of Bitch Planet push readers to recognize how compliance with patriarchal values hurts society.
The series also offers a satire of the media and advertising industry, criticizing the normalization of sexism and racism within society. Society receives information through a channel called “The Feed,” The recurring back page of fake advertisements, “Hey Kids, Patriarchy!” parodies the messages that young women and men learn from sexism and racism in the media.
Bitch Planet is a progressive series that promotes an understanding of women’s unique experiences and promotes social justice. Join the conversation and pick up the next issue!
Are you WOMAN enough for Bitch Planet?