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No bad abortions: graphic abortion narratives as feminist discourse

Freeman, Cordelia and Nandagiri, Rishita ORCID: 0000-0003-4424-769X (2023) No bad abortions: graphic abortion narratives as feminist discourse. MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture, 2023 (10). ISSN 2003-167x

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‘Graphic medicine’ refers to the bringing together of biomedical discourses and comics in order to problematize power asymmetries within healthcare and medicine (Czerwiec et al. 2015; Green and Myers 2010). Within this, there has been increased attention on the topic of reproduction in order to challenge the medicalisation of reproduction and centre the experiences of people as they have sex, navigate contraceptions, become pregnant, give birth, and/or have abortions, among other issues. Abortion as an embodied subject in these texts has become a key symbol of feminist discourse. Whether created for political feminist reasons, as educational tools, or as emotional catharsis, abortion graphic narratives play an important and increasingly prominent role in shaping how we think about abortion. Narratives that portray abortion as a positive decision have been important for combating abortion sigma, challenging assumptions about abortion, humanising abortion seekers, and rejecting the idea that there is a simple binary of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ abortions. Here, we reflect on our own experiences as academics who have co-created graphic abortion narratives with activist groups. Cordelia worked with Fondo MARIA to co-create Será Deaseada, a graphic novel following three Mexican women as they seek abortions and Rishita worked with Asia Safe Abortion Partnership to co-create Nirnay, a series of six comics tracing women’s differing abortion trajectories in India. Through a reflective conversation we examine the power of the visual, our different processes of creating graphic narratives, and the challenges that come with it and conclude by setting out our framework for conceptualising our work as academics producing graphic narratives.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Author(s).
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2022 14:21
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 03:55

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