Badass Arab Comic Series Smashing The Patriarchy By Giving Pop Art Images A Feminist Update

We love a good patriarchy-smashing project, especially when it involves art and can infiltrate social subconsciousness in a unique way. We came across this awesome illustration series on, which featured the awesome images and talked to the mastermind behind them. The woman, who preferred to remain anonymous and goes by the name “comicskilljoy” as a play on the phrase “feminist killjoy”, is a writer and artist  whose mission is to change the conversation about feminist issues in the Arab region. She is also a feminist research with a bachelor’s degree in Arts and a master’s degree in Gender and Women Studies in the Middle East and North Africa.

Through her interests gender, feminism, migration and social movements, she is working to reflect those interests and to recycle pop art, communicating and deconstructing the system of oppression in Arabic through the images.

“Kharabish Nasawiya (feminist doodles) aims to occupy a feminist space online, where feminism is not demonized but rather celebrated. It aims towards recycling pop art found on the internet and give it a feminist tone and message in Arabic,” she told StepFeed.

“These comics aim to expel from my body the patriarchal venom I am injected with everyday by interacting with the outside world. They also make me laugh, because feminists kill joys have their own types of joys as well,” says the description on the Facebook Page.

The illustrations are also made to be an antidote to the typical sexist and homophobic jokes and slurs seen in Arabic culture. She said the aim is to “subvert this dominant violent practice and use humor itself as a tool to critique patriarchy and capitalism.”

Some of the captions are familiar to those of us even in other parts of the world, touching on annoying and gendered traits that just need to be eliminated altogether:

Him: Smile, you will look so much better if you smile.
Her: Go away, everything will be so much better if you just go away. 


“Hello? Weight police? I would just like to let you know that my body is not anyone’s business, whether I lose or gain weight, get taller or shorter, whether I am dressed or naked, my body is none of your business. Bye!”

Kharabish Nasawiya is also consciously designed to be a safe space for women and those who want to fight against patriarchal norms, while providing a place for discussion about the themes presented in the illustrations.

“We live in an extremely violent world. Society still polices and punishes everyone who does not conform to its standard of femininity or masculinity. Most of the time, neither the public nor the private present a safe space for women and those who subvert the imposed normative gender roles,” she told StepFeed.

Other issues she feels passionate about discussing and deconstructing are sexual harassment and domestic violence, as well as the stigma around mental health and class issues. She has even touched on the #MeToo movement and how it has gone viral around the globe, enabling women to speak up about incidents they have previously kept silent for so long due to the fear of backlash and not being believed.

The artist says her commentary on the pop-art images are meant to stand against the normalization of harmful messages around these issues, but there is one particular demographic she feels strongly about representing through her work.

“My basic aim is for women, non-binary people and trans people in the MENA region to look at those comics and relate to them. I want them to wake up and while browsing social media to see comics that do not practice violence against them, stories they can relate to,” she said.

She wants her images to be shared by many in order to spark discussion, and even challenge our own privileges, and even start a debate.

“The illustrations in these comics are downloaded from the internet, some of them have very patriarchal messages written on them. So I download them, either create a new collage out of them, or just change the message in them into a new feminist one. It is the same concept of recycling. So basically the aim is to recycle women hating garbage into feminist art. But also the aim is to take nice pop art work from the internet that has no political background and make it feminist,” she writes on the Facebook page.

Whether it is talking about menstruation, being single, or even white feminism, Kharabish Nasawiya has something for everyone both in the Arab region and beyond. Be sure to check out the Facebook Page for the awesome images being posted, which have English translations in the captions.

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