In her 1984 essay, “A Cyborg Manifesto,” Donna Haraway envisioned that digital technology would introduce a utopian space which would liberate women from gendered power dynamics. Despite such optimism shown by third and fourth wave feminists in India, political inertia and juridical failure to implement laws and justice for victims of gender violence, be they domestic violence or sexual assault, have manifested how the digital sphere has failed to become a post-gender space. On the other hand, the pervasiveness of online gender-based violence in social media and other interactive web platforms exacerbates women’s exclusion from the public political sphere. Against representations of gender violence and injustices online, Indian female comic artists have created counterpublics as a way of countering mainstream politics and the technologies of governance that have othered, ostracized, and discarded gendered victims of violence. Using the theoretical frameworks of Foucault’s biopolitics, Mbembe’s necropolitics, and Fraser’s “counterpublics,” this article aims to examine the representations of sexual violence, stalking, and gender discrimination within cyberspace. It focuses on how the feminist webcomic format in India is challenging female subjugation and advocating against the lasting physical and psychological trauma of gender violence through web comics such as Doddlerama, Sanitary Panels, and Priya’s Shakti. The article also analyses how the digital space in India has become a male-dominated, brahmanical space of surveillance, control, and discipline that offers limited agency and voice to women in India, and how female illustrators are reclaiming the digital space by creating their own counterpublic spheres of resistance.
"The (Counter) Politics of Digital Comics in India: Reading Literature of the Digital Space,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
6, Article 9.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss6/9