Intimate, Yet Broad - A Look At The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic by Emma

The Mental Load by Emma is like a box of assorted Danish biscuits – while some taste like semi-hardened butter, so sweet and soft in the way they crumble under on molars, some you just want to chuck in the bin. Still, within this work, you can feel Emma's passion, frustration, and pain (with a bit of disdain) about the themes surrounding this book. As a reader, sometimes that is all you can ask for.

The Mental Load takes a broad, yet intimate look at typical problems faced by women in the western world. It also examines the types of mindsets that cause and perpetuate these problems. From men's "lazy" attitudes to domestic chores to doctors' lack of respect for the woman body during childbirth. From the unchecked killings of minorities by police to subtle workplace discrimination women face. From media manipulations during riots to wide economic disparities in the society..., The Mental Load sets out in a humorous way (with the aid of drawings), numerous examples of compromising situations women and minorities face on a day to day basis.

The Mental Load excels in giving us details of how women are shortchanged by the present cultural hive-mind. To its credit, it also suggests little ways things we can all change things for the better without losing our minds. Also, Emma isn't scared to say when she doesn't see a pertinent solution to a particular problem. This is refreshing in a book.

The term "feminism" is a controversial term for a good reason. And books like this always have their men bashing section. The Mental Load is no different. I believe the book gets most things right about the cultural upbringing that makes most modern men what they are. However, I feel it makes the same mistakes men and women make when hurting and itching for a change, which is using few extreme examples to indicate the spread of an insidious behaviour that needs to be rooted out in other people. The instinct of this mindset is always to look out, never within. Ultimately, this always results in divisions and tragedies - it never ends up with the goals we have in mind.

However, with authors like Emma striving to bring inclusivity, understanding, and compassion, I hope we might all come to a good path where who you are and what you look like no longer defines how your life is going to turn out.

The Mental Load is a book that won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it does a decent job of not just achieving what it sets out to do with simplicity and candour

Many thanks to Seven Stories Press for review copy.

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