The Feminist Orchestra Bookclub discussion

Take It as a Compliment
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Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Take It As a Compliment is definitely a unique way to explore the issue of sexual harassment - in the form of graphic novel. Can't wait to hear what everyone thinks.


Casseroll Quick read and alarming. It's frustrating to see these actions happen and have it play out in your head. Nice layout. It was good to read stories from people from other countries as well. The first story I believe was about a girl in Spain or Italy, who got on a train then was sexually assaulted by 5 men under her dress or was it just 1 man with his hand moving around alot? That is hella nasty. It was sad that the girl EXPECTED others to come defend her though. I got the impression that she thought other people saw what was going on. You are being assaulted, MAKE NOISE. Cause a scene. Don't just take it. It is not for you to take. Let the pervert feel themselves up. That was frustrating. It was like reading some Japanese manga. Scenes from women/men on the train being sexually assaulted. Cause a ruckus.


Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Casseroll wrote: "Quick read and alarming. It's frustrating to see these actions happen and have it play out in your head. Nice layout. It was good to read stories from people from other countries as well. The first..."

I think the point is that unfortunately quite often victims of sexual assault freeze up, its a natural instinct that is hard to overcome and the victim is more likely to recede into themselves than shout out. Not to mention the stigma attached to women and sex and sexual assault. Plus there is the power of fear, you don't know these people, you don't know who is assaulting you, women have shouted out and no one has come to their aid, there is the fear that shouting out will anger your aggressor and endanger your life, in a tightly crammed space with limited visibility and the inability to move you have no idea if your attacker is armed. Screaming may seem logical but what is logical and what is instinct in a unexpected moment of assault filled with fear are not necessarily the same :(. It is naturally to want help but not to know how to seek it, especially when you're alone and you're attacker is potentially stronger.


Dani (danieadie) | 10 comments Read it really quickly and then went back and focused on the art work more, which made it even more hard hitting. I liked how diverse it was. Really sad and shocking read. I thought it was a blunt and effective way of getting a message across. It's a hard topic to discuss and it's a good way to highlight the issue. On the first story - I do get the frustration, but it's not on victims to make a ruckus. It's on perpetrators not to do it on the first place. It's also a terrifying situation and there is no guarantee that making a scene will result in help. Very sad all round.


Laura | 1 comments I liked that the style and layout was different for each vignette, but that there was a fairly consistent color palette (lots of purple and dark blue). It made me think that although there are similarities in the way that people experience sexual violence, there are also some significant differences (race and so on).

I wish there had been more explicitly queer/trans content. Perhaps there could be a follow up?


Charlott (halfjill) | 2 comments First of all thank you for choosing this book. I read it yesterday in one sitting and even though it is not too long it is not an easy read chronicling different kinds of sexualized violence/ assaults and other abuse. I did like the drawing style and colour palette used to tell these stories. I also liked that the stories actually did differ substantially and therefore showed different vignettes (even though I agree with Laura that some experiences were less visible than others).

But in the end of the book I did not actually know what to think. (Of course sexualized violence/ abuse is horrible - but I take that as a given sentiment in this group here.) The stories were mostly told "in the moment", mimicking the voice of the person in the moment of the abuse, and not going much beyond that. Therefore a more critical framing (regarding society) was not really established. As a reader with a) my own experiences of such violence and b) a long-term engagement with feminist thought and critiques I can substitue this framework, but how about other readers? If wanted a reader could look at the book and conclude that these are all insular experiences, horrible yes, but nothing systematic...

I appreciated the last pages, where Sanna listed a few tipps on how to support survivors and what to do. I think such a addition is very helpful for this kind of book. Still I'd have preferred a more empowering emproach overall (and "empowering approach" can mean different things of course).


Jean Menzies (jeanmenzies) | 115 comments Charlott wrote: "First of all thank you for choosing this book. I read it yesterday in one sitting and even though it is not too long it is not an easy read chronicling different kinds of sexualized violence/ assau..."

Atlthough the graphic novel just felt perfect for me personally I think those ideas are great - I would love to see more graphic novels that approach the issues brought up in Take it as a Compliment perhaps with more wider analysis. Take it as a Compliment I guess works best in tandem with non-fiction texts and further reading. As this was the authors first graphic novel perhaps they'd consider doing a follow up in the future; that'd be great!


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