I am Non-Compliant
In the first part of 2015, I read through the first 5 issues of the dystopian comic Bitch Planet, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Valentine DeLandro. Each of the single issues was a stark story about a prison planet where women are sent for being “non-compliant” to the patriarchal standards of the dystopian society of the setting. Be thin, be beautiful, be feminine, be what men want – or be sent to Bitch Planet.
In the back of all these issues, past the fantastic faux vintage advertisements, there was always a short word from Kelly Sue, then a fantastic essay on feminism from a new writer each issue. Every issue, plus these essays, were like a giant feminist slap reminding me to stay aware, to fight inequality and strive to be intersectional. (If you haven’t figured it out by now, you should read this comic series.)
In addition to the essays, there were letters pages and a little section dedicated to showing the photographs people had Tweeted out of their NC tattoos. For the first time in my life, I saw a simple image that I would be proud to have on my body permanently, that would remind me every day that I am non-compliant just by being me, and that I won’t stop. So I got that tattoo, 3 months ago now.
Almost every day I see Kelly Sue on Twitter sharing someone else’s tattoo. Each one is its own little fuck you to the world. Even though there’s been some criticism (mostly from men) who think getting the tattoos isn’t wise, there’s still a tonne of us out there getting them. And Kelly Sue had this to say in her remarks at the end of issue #4:
I cannot say it any better than that. Kelly Sue and Valentine have created this incredible focal point for us all, and every morning I look at it in the mirror and try to hold my head high. I remind myself that it’s very okay to be non-compliant, and it’s the only way the world will change.