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Plural selves, queer and comics

Plural selves, queer and comics

I’m so excited that my second article about my relationship with comics is out in the world, in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics special issue on mental health and sex. The first one on feminist comics I shared about here. And the Graphic Medicine talk that kicked this all off is here.

This article is all about plurality, how it relates to queerness, and how comics can be a helpful way of exploring it and articulating it to others.

This is the abstract:

This article explores how comics and other graphic formats constitute a useful means for people to explore and articulate experiences of plurality. First the literature on plural selves is presented, drawing from therapeutic and self-help work around exploring and embracing one’s inner parts (children, critics, parents, alter egos, etc). This is linked with mad pride movements to reclaim pathologising psychiatric diagnosis like Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously Multiple Personality Disorder). This is then linked to queer theoretical and activist perspectives by considering how depathologising plurality follows similar endeavours in relation to (homo)sexuality, kink, and (trans)gender. Plurality of self is related to the wider queer endeavour of challenging stable, fixed identities and critiquing neoliberal capitalist individualistic ways of comprehending the self. Finally, comics and graphic formats are reflected upon as one key potential way for people to explore their own plurality and to articulate their plural experiences to close others and wider audiences. Examples are provided of the author’s own comics and zines in this area.

You can read the full article here, or contact me for a copy if they run out of e-prints.


Meg-John Barker is the author of a number of popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including Queer: A Graphic History, How To Understand Your Gender, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and IF You Want To), Rewriting the Rules, The Psychology of Sex, and The Secrets of Enduring Love. They have also written a number of books for scholars and counsellors on these topics, drawing on their own research and therapeutic practice.

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