A B S T R A C T
This dissertation explores the mainstream success of a new wave of Swedish female cartoonists borne out of the feminist zine community between 2004 and 2016. These cartoonists have contributed to a change in perception in Sweden about comics as a medium and their potential to introduce current feminist discourse into mainstream media and reach a wider public.
The study identifies a commonality in these comics of the parodic and liberating humour of the carnivalesque; a literary tendency proposed by Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakthin which expresses frustration and discontent with the structure of society through a certain ritualistic humour which in the context of these comics expose dominant gender structures and offer new ways of performing femininity. Despite working independently for the most part, the power of their work lies in the way they expand on (even imitate) each other, often picking up on a specific subject or area of critique where another left off, with the effect of combining their individual voices into one great voice.
The phenomena is investigated through a series of questions: What Swedish political and cultural preconditions allowed for these usually marginalised feminist zine makers to become part of popular culture? How do they communicate feminism in ways that appeal to a mainstream audience? How, if at all, does their work influence or improve women’s lives in Sweden?