among cartoonists, feminist mobilization galvanized

Bastien Vivès, or the straw that broke the camel’s back. For many comic book professionals, the debate and mobilization in December, which led to the cancellation of the author’s exhibition during the fiftieth edition of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, marked a turning point and came to reinforce the feminist momentum that has emerged in recent years in the Franco-Belgian comics sector. Accused in a tribune of “promoting rape culture”the 38-year-old cartoonist is also targeted, because of three of his works, by an investigation for dissemination of child pornography images.

After personal positions taken by certain comic book authors and two petitions launched by art students from Angoulême and children’s rights activists, the movement saw the emergence, in mid-December, of a collective against violence in the middle of the 9e art. To his credit, a column entitled “The reasons for anger”, published on December 17 on the site Mediapart and which brought together more than 500 signatories and many supporters outside the seraglio, particularly from the sphere of feminist activism, very active on social networks.

[La] put in the spotlight [de Bastien Vivès] at the Angoulême festival is symptomatic of a global context where the struggles against sexism and sexual violence are still struggling to be heard and recognized”writes the collective, which today claims 220 members “come from all sectors of comics”. In the wake of its creation, social accounts were launched around the hashtag #metooBD to relay anonymous testimonies.

“Pay your bubble”

Since the international spark of 2017, there had not yet been a #metoo movement to speak of in comics in France. “ We have chosen this term because it is significant for the victims, the aggressors and especially the society which evolves on these questions. This debate goes far beyond our milieu.explains to World a member of the collective. Booming segment of the book market, “comic strips have taken an important place in the cultural field and prescribe representations”completes Johanna Schipper, author and doctoral student at Bordeaux-Montaigne University but also a member of the Creators of comics against sexism.

This other collective had already begun several years ago a difficult work of compiling facts of trivialized sexism, harassment and sexual violence in the community, published in a section called “Pay your bubble” on its site. Born in 2015 in reaction to the project ‘overwhelming and misogynistic’ of the Belgian Comic Strip Center to mount a collective exhibition entitled “La BD des filles”, the group of Creators, which brings together some 250 authors, had already made itself heard, from January 2016, by denouncing the absence of women in the selection of the Grand Prix of the Angoulême festival.

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