The (Old) Woman Question

Written by Athena Currier
Illustrated by Athena Currier

One of the cool parts of reading mini-comics is that because of their small size, creators can use them for a variety of purposes--getting readers interested in an ongoing character, telling one-shot stories that don't need a book to fill, or experimenting with ideas. In the case of The (Old) Woman Question, webcomic creator Athena Currier takes on the tricky subject of the way our society treats older women.

Currier uses the mini-comic format to good effect, mixing her own commentary with illustrations that are often quite comic, yet they get across the point of what happens when a woman ages. Whether it's using the Monopoly man to point out how older gentlemen are valued in the world or showing pie charts indicating that young men are most interested in chest sizes, the pictures help move the story along in a way that shows the ability of Currier to use the medium to tell her story.

Sure, this could be told in a traditional zine format in text only (and probably has been, as the idea itself is not exactly new). But it's the visuals here that grab the reader and make them want to find out what Currier has to say on the subject of gender inequality. Once we're hooked, Currier can then spring her surprise--she doesn't have an answer!

You see, Currier correctly notes that while men get to be with multiple women, older women are expected to be on their own, abandoned to the point of being the poster child for a service that will rescue them when they are alone as aging spinsters. There's just not a lot of hope for older woman in today's society, which is clearly wrong. On the other hand, there's also no magic bullet to save the day and rescue these women. There must be a better way--but what? Currier doesn't know and doesn't pretend to, either.

I've had this mini sitting around entirely too long, so it's unlikely you can find a copy. However, Ms. Currier does run a webcomic at Action Athena. It's worth checking out, as her storytelling skills are quite strong, as this mini shows. I haven't read much of it yet, but perhaps this review will make some of you interested enough to give it a try.