Updated: Oct 9, 2018
Feminism is a movement to eradicate sexism and the diffused patriarchy still present in our society via gender roles & double standards that mostly empowers men over women. There’s no “Big Bad” group called "THE Patriarchy” out there pushing for male supremacy. But….what if there WAS?
As a feminist, I know that feminism itself is a movement to eradicate sexism and to do away with the diffused patriarchy still present in our society via gender roles & double standards that mostly empowers men over women. There’s no “Big Bad”, to use a “Buffy” term, group called "THE Patriarchy” out there pushing for male supremacy over women. But….what if there WAS? What if, instead of things getting better, they became much, much WORSE for women? What if we lived in a world where our systems of government became the “Big Bad Patriarchy”, mandating compulsory standards for living on Earth & making gender roles LAW for women that, if not followed, they would be punished severely?
That is the world of “BITCH PLANET”, penned by the clever Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of CAPTAIN MARVEL, with art by Valentine De Landro.
BITCH PLANET depicts a world that is the stuff feminists have nightmares about; it is a men’s rights (re: supremacy) activist’s and misogynist’s wet dream. In Kelly & Valentine’s dystopian world, patriarchy not only wins, it has become the law; this is a world where if found guilty of being “non-compliant”, whether for the crime of being too intelligent, not being a good-enough wife, not feminine enough, not skinny enough, along with crimes like murder and being Black while breathing, women inmates are taken from Earth and flown to a prison planet called the “Auxiliary Compliance Outpost”, or “Bitch Planet” as it’s colloquially called on Earth. They are stripped down, made to wear prison rags that have their version of the Scarlet Letter sewn into them: NC for “non-compliant”, and made to run and jump through hoops, put through physical, mental, & emotional abuse by their jailors until they repent their ways, as well as being used to entertain the cis-hetero-normative male majority, like slaves being used to entertain the Roman mob as gladiators back in antiquity.
The world of BITCH PLANET isn’t really that dissimilar from the real world, if you think about it. Art does imitate life at times, and the book does serve as an allegory of the current climate within not just the States, but around the world:
The Fathers, as the GOP, doing all they can to destroy our education system, economy, take away basic rights +privileges from the poor, and strip women of all gender equality and reproductive rights, & keep the populace sedated with patriarchal indoctrination via legislation, and with help from mainstream media
The Auxillary Compliance Outpost as the Prison Industrial Complex, which jails mostly men AND WOMEN OF COLOR
Media personalities, the men and women who work at Bitch Planet, Penny's old teacher, Mother Siebertling, as contemporary men and women who actively and subconsciously subscribe to and perpetuate patriarchal norms and mores
those who actively protest and fight against them, like NC prisoners Violet & Meiko
those in the middle who just want to live their lives, like NC inmate and former athlete Kamau
and those like NC inmate Penny Rolle, who may not assign a label to themselves, but fight just the same because society has “mandated” that they are outcasts for not being THEIR standard of woman.
Filled with great art, complex and fully fleshed out women of color characters, and afterwords by smart feminist writers, BITCH PLANET is definitely THEE must-read book for everyone. BP has certainly inspired THIS Black sex positive Blerd feminist to remain vigilant and #noncompliant.