Ludewig, Julia: "Different beasts? National and transnational lines in the German-Indian anthology The Elephant in the Room." In: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 11.1 (2020), S. 52–73.
Added by: joachim (08/08/2020 02:36:19 PM) Last edited by: joachim (08/08/2020 02:49:07 PM)
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Ludewig2020
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Keywords: "Spring", Gender, Germany, India, Interculturalism, Style
Collection: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
This essay compares the contributions by eight Indian and eight German-speaking visual artists to the 2016 issue of the all-women magazine Spring, an issue in which they reflect on gender roles, the titular 'Elephant in the Room.' Searching for transnational and national trends, I zoom in on three larger aspects: themes, genre, and visual style. Transnationally shared themes concern motherhood and female beauty standards. However, while artists across national and cultural borders ruminate about voluntary non-motherhood and engage expectations of feminine attractiveness, they differ in the extent to which they describe actually lived motherhood. The issue also shows culturally-specific beauty ideals, such as the Indians' preoccupation with fair skin. In a similar way, artists from both continents use the genre of autobiography, but go to different depths with a notable 'Indian' preference to explore a grandmother's past. Visually, too, the artists show interesting commonalities such as the tendency to tell their stories in a traditional comics format, yet the surface aesthetics differ. Whereas the Indian artists tend to employ a polished, fine-arts style, several German-speaking artists relish expressive abstraction. I provide possible reasons for these differences and end with an appraisal of how women artists might try to access the comics scene in the future.
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