They Say I'm Different

Today, this post will cover the two volumes of Culottées, a comic by Pénélope Bagieu first published as a blog on Le Monde from January 2016 through October 2016, then in two books in September 2016 (the first 15 portraits) and in January 2017 (the last 15).

And that’s why they say I’m strange

Culottées is a series of portraits of 30 exceptional women who have distinguished themselves by breaking away from the codes of their times, either by their choice of profession, by their way of life or by their convictions, in short by doing what they wanted instead of following what society wanted them to do.

The style is classic for Penelope Bagieu, and one recognizes its feature, in the portraits themselves, and in the magnificent double-page images that conclude each portrait in the two books. What is particularly peculiar in these stories is that there is a lot of text, and the images are in the end either there to illustrate the point, or so that the woman illustrated by the portrait can express her opinion (often in a humorous/sarcastic/ironic tone) about the situation described. In the end, it is full of finesse, we learn a lot about these women and the obstacles they have to face and cross to achieve their passion, and we quickly feel sympathetic for them.

In short, I recommend reading the portraits, either on the blog which, at this time, is still online, or by buying the two books for those who like me appreciate the reassuring and permanent contact of books.

Below, the list of portraits in each of the two books.

Culottées, book 1

  1. Clémentine Delait, bearded woman
  2. Nzinga, queen of Ndongo et du Matamba
  3. Margaret Hamilton, terrifying actress
  4. Las Mariposas, rebellious sisters
  5. Josephina van Gorkum, stubborn lover
  6. Lozen, warrior and shaman
  7. Annette Kellerman, mermaid
  8. Delia Akeley, explorer
  9. Joséphine Baker, dancer, resistant, mother of a family
  10. Tove Jansson, painter, creator of trolls
  11. Agnodice, gynecologist
  12. Leymah Gbowee, social worker
  13. Giorgina Reid, lighthouse keeper
  14. Christine Jorgensen, celebrity
  15. Wu Zetian, empress

Culottées, book 2

  1. Temple Grandin, interpreter for animals
  2. Sonita Alizadeh, rapper
  3. Cheryl Bridges, athlete
  4. Thérèse Clerc, realistic utopist
  5. Betty Davis, singer-songwriter
  6. Nellie Bly, journalist
  7. Phulan Devi, queen of bandits
  8. The Shaggs, rock stars
  9. Katia Krafft, volcanologist
  10. Jesselyn Radack, lawyer
  11. Hedy Lamarr, actress, inventor
  12. Naziq al-Abid, "good family" activist
  13. Frances Glessner Lee, crime miniaturist
  14. Mae Jemison, astronaut
  15. Peggy Guggenheim, in love with modern art

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