The age-old problem of diverse representation in media is that we rarely seem to find truly complex characters, even when we do see the occasional badass black female attorney, fierce queer lady scientist, or happily-coupled trans woman activist. Canadian art duo Iris Glaser and Katrin Leblond are trying to recapture some of this complexity with their new feminist coloring book Color Her, which gives its audience the option to create their own "uber-woman."
The coloring book features illustrations of 12 different types of female icons, from mythological characters like Medusa and the Hindu goddess Kali, to real people like Frida Kahlo, to character archetypes like "Funky Grandma." The illustrations come in a spiral-bound book with the heads, torsos, and legs of each character separated. The idea is that you can mix and match the body parts of the different icons to create a woman that reflects more than one archetype or facet of your personality.
Glaser and Leblond are designers, artists, and moms themselves who sought to provide "a fun and creative tool for young girls to explore images of women beyond the princesses and ballerinas of traditional coloring books." Of course, it's plenty of fun for adult women, too. I personally self-identify as a Medusa-Kali-Showgirl.
According to its press release, "Color Her invites us to discover and play with the myriad roles we inhabit as women." As such, the book features plenty of diverse representations of both race and gender presentation. Plus, two more books are planned for the series: Color Him ("'cuz guys need progressive icons too") and Color Them ("in which you can mix and match the figures from Color Her with Color Him").
Here are a few different uber-women from the book in action. (And if you don't find the right head, torso, or leg representation for you, worry not! The book offers a blank page template where you can draw in your own self-portrait to mix in with the characters.)
1. Cat Robot Goddess
2. Double Puff Rainbow Queen
3. Fairy Kali Showgirl
4. Forest Fairy
5. Handy Grandma Skater
6. Mermaid Handywoman Robot
7. Modern Medusa
8. Saint Frida
You can purchase your own copy of Color Her here.
Images: Courtesy of Color Her (10)