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Content Matters: How Web Comics Such As Ma Vie Est Tout à Fait Fascinante And The Museum Of Mistakes Can Improve Women’s Representation And Presen

2214 words - 9 pages

Pénélope Bagieu is a French writer and illustrator born in 1982 in Paris, where she still resides. After studying at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris (E.N.S.A.D.), and at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, with a specialty in animation, she found an illustrator job after graduation. She created ads for feminine magazines, among other things. She started her web-comic Ma vie est tout à fait fascinante in 2007 as a mean to keep drawing for pleasure and share her funny stories with people other than her close friends (Florent, interview "Pénélope Bagieu, 25 ans, illustratrice rigolote"). Bagieu’s Ma vie est tout à fait fascinante was ...view middle of the document...

Her web-comic is still activated, even though its is less updated since 2013. Yet, Bagieu has gained a cult status among her readership and her popularity was founded on, and has been consolidated by her wide presence on the internet and the press in general. Her privileged status, in spite of being a women, allowed her to tackle issues she was interested in, especially stereotypes associated with women in contemporary western society.
At first glance, Ma vie est tout à fait fascinante could appear as aimed toward a very feminine, ‘girly’ audience, and would suggest to some extend a humorous “chick-lit” content void of any political agenda, and based on clichés of romance, gossip, and quest for the perfect attire. Indeed, Bagieu’s style is colorful, her characters are very ‘cute’ (in lack of a better word), and she narrates her own life in a way that her digital avatar appeals to an audience interested in reading stories about how she owns too many shoes, how she might have drank a little too much at the party last night and made a fool out of herself, or how she still hasn’t changed the light in her bathroom after a month. In other words, the first impression the reader might have is that Bagieu tells mundane stories to which readers, more particularly women, can identify with. The familiarity of the topics presented by Bagieu promotes a female readership. This is, women who are usually not the targeted audience of comics can be more easily drawn towards comics that speak to their preoccupations, and so might appeal to a public who is not traditionally used to the comic format.
Taking advantage of her recognition, and thanks to her presence on several social networks, Bagieu progressively encourages her readership to read other comics. Contrary to some other web-comics artists, her website does not have a blogroll. Rather, Bagieu published on her blog on May 18, 2008 a comic entitled “Le Pénélope Book Club” in which she confesses that she used to know nothing at all about comics, but that in the past few months she has been filling up that gap. As a result, her post advertised three analogue comics that she recommended. She promoted comic books several times via her blog. In addition, since 2009 she has been working with the feminist online magazine “” where she has a video blog called “Chroniques BD” (Comic Books Chronicles). She talks quite regularly about comics that have caught her attention. What is noticeable is that she does not limit her selection to girly comics in spite of what could be expected from the content of her web-comic. On the contrary, she expand her horizons and introduce her audience to very diverse comics dealing with topics such as a zombie apocalypse, the Beat Generation, or a childhood in Montreal during the Quiet Revolution. By using her ethos as a mean to convince people to read comics even though they might not be comics’ readers yet, she prompt people to get out of their comfort zone and look for...

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