How do you become a woman? Het Wijfje (which translates as ‘The Female’ or ‘The Wifey’), offers real-life and ironic advice in drawings. This illustrated guide for women is a hilarious and disarming collection of cartoons by the Flemish Nele Sys.
Menstruating discreetly and kissing a goldfish
The story shows the road girls follow when they become women. And this trip through puberty is quite a bumpy one. It involves practising your first kiss (with the teddy bear or the goldfish) and getting your period for the first time (which happens, of course, when you’re at school). It’s about confusion, surprises, shame, love, being beautiful, penises and experimenting with sex. And of course about the quintessential female problem of how to menstruate discreetly in a public toilet.
Although the book is written in Belgian, the many illustrations make it easy to follow if you don’t speak this language. Moral of the humorous story: becoming a woman isn’t as poetic as it seems…
Nele Sys (1991, Brugge, Belgium) studied visual arts and graphic design at Luca in Brussels and Ghent. Het Wijfje – Een geïllustreerde handleiding voor vrouwen, is her debut book. Publishing house Xtra, ISBN 978-94-90759-88-9, 64 pages, €14.95.
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