I finally purchased Bitch Planet collected edition series (books 1, 2 and 3) and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the series. The authors are Kelly Sue DeConnick (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel) and Valentine de Landro (X-Factor).
The series consists of three books: Extraordinary Machine, President Bitch and Triple Feature, with the last one being, stand-alone publication connected with the other two books through its depicting of the patriarchal world but shows a different set of stories and lives.
The Bitch Planet series narrates a dystopian world in which white men have managed to obtain complete power over women. Therefore, the ‘Fathers’ enforced a regime in which women must be compliant or they will be sent to another planet for sentencing, this planet is then called Auxiliary Compliance Outpost or Bitch Planet.
We get to meet women who were sent to the Planet and learn their stories through flashbacks, which reminded me of the Orange is the New Black in a way that authors interconnect present with the past. Some women were imprisoned because they murdered someone but some simply because they were not compliant in trying to look beautiful and please their men. What I liked about this series is a portrayal of Penny who shaves her head and is obese, but this look is what she sees as her true self. We learn this through flashes of her history and what lead her to the Bitch Planet. The way Penny also beats up the guards on the Planet is also very enjoyable too ?
The criticism of the advertising industry and its patriarchal connotation is present throughout series and it is absolutely brilliantly portraying impossible expectations that the advertisers impose on women. Therefore, we see adverts asking women to take the pill Agreenex which will make them compliant,
In addition, throughout this series we also see other adverts asking women not to eat, to make sure they are presentable, smiley and fun to be around. There is a whole set of these adverts throughout the series portraying ridiculousness of patriarchal advertising industry, and correctly showing that if any woman was to abide by everything then this would be the only thing she would have the time to do. However, what is also well portrayed is women who support the regime with posters they didn’t like to think and work, or an older woman who tells off an educated woman who just returned from Bitch Planet and mocks her education earned during the Free World lead by a woman, also imprisoned on the Bitch Planet. This reminded me of women who support patriarchal men who would denounce hard-won women rights, some because of stupidity but some simply out of jealousy. This lack of solidarity among women has been addressed in recent decades, but there are still plenty of women who don’t support other women and who try to pull up the ladder once they make it in the man’s world.
The books also have an explanation by authors on how the story developed and how they created it, and book 1 also has a list of discussion questions, which could be used in classrooms.
This series is an outstanding portrayal of patriarchal expectations of women, and how easily could all rights crumble if a group like these ‘Fathers’ emerged to power. The link with the Purge here is also apparent but not less relevant. Taking someone’s liberty and the right to personality is equal to purging them. While this collection was labelled as exaggerated when it was first published, with latest events I think that the authors are spot on and all of us have to be careful who we vote for and make sure we do vote and actively take action against misogyny in politics. I am absolutely sick of the fact I need to talk about this in the year 2019, but sadly we do.
Thank you for reading.