Solidarity Through Sketches: Belgian Artist Reminds Us That “Women Issues” Aren’t Actually BizarreBy Abigail T
Human beings are complicated. We have a wide range of emotions, different ways of thinking, diverse histories, etc. Although this applies to everyone, one demographic that perhaps gets the most shade for being “problematic” or “difficult” is women. Yes, it’s a product of an inherently flawed system, but that doesn’t make it right. And doesn’t everyone struggle to figure themselves out? We ladies shouldn’t be shamed for it just because we’re women!
Belgium-based comic artist Bella Sriwantana finds humor in everyday situations and shares them on her Instagram, bella.illustration. She shares the ups and downs of being a woman, allowing her followers to relate to each other through shared experiences. The comics are cheeky, fun, and beautifully drawn; here are some of our favorites.
All images courtesy of bella.illustration on Instagram.
Being an adult isn’t just about earning our own money and becoming more financially independent. Unfortunately, it also comes with a ton of responsibilities in the form of little tasks that are, for the most part, anxiety-inducing and often dull.
Who else hates booking appointments via phone call? Like, it’s the digital age. Can’t we fill out an online form and show up at the doctor’s office at the appointed time? Why do we have to talk to another human being?
The fitting room mirror
This is a shopping struggle everyone can understand. It’s really frustrating when you try something on in the fitting room, and it looks fine in the mirror. Then you get home, and the mirror in your room tells a different story.
You have to remember that the fitting room is decked out with lighting that would make you look great. The mirrors are probably angled a certain way that brings out the best in everyone standing in front of it. Tricky!
The stereotype placed on women is that we rarely say what we mean and that men should read between the lines or even try to read our minds. This next comic about Valentine’s Day depicts that stereotype too perfectly.
This guy is pretty smart to know that his girlfriend would probably want a gift. She just doesn’t want to burden him by asking for too much. And when you think about it, love is the best give to receive on Valentine’s anyway.
TikTok has become such a black hole of content that once you start scrolling, you just can’t stop. We can’t even begin to tell you how much time we’ve lost because we “wanted to take a break for a few minutes” by scrolling the app.
This comic is so true. It really does feel like we spend 84 years on TikTok in one sitting. After checking out whether it’s a bones or no bones day, after watching ten different cooking hacks and attempting to learn a TikTok dance.
As women living in this world, we need to stand together. Nobody deserves to be insulted, no matter their gender. Whenever someone insults us, it’s no big deal. But when it comes to our friends, we are the protective BFF they need us to be.
“Listen up, bullies. The only person who’s allowed to insult my bestie is me. If I ever catch you so much as look at her the wrong way, you bet I will poise myself for an attack.” This is our world; you just live in it.
Angsty teenage phase
When we were 13, we thought we were so cool. We listened to no pop music – strictly Dashboard Confessional and Vampire Weekend. We painted our eyes really dark, and we despised anything “girly.” But things change when we grow up.
Looking back, why did we have to gatekeep these things and deprive ourselves of the finer things in life? Being a girl is so fun. Amazing women dominate pop music, and pink is a great color! Not that we don’t still love black too.
Shades of pink
No, there is not just pink. It can be baby pink, beige, rose, rose gold, nude pink, and many other shades. This is what makes choosing lipstick, blush, and highlighters so hard! But of course, some men will never get it.
You can’t possibly equate coral pink with rosy pink. They have completely different undertones! Coral pink has orange undertones, while rosy pink veers towards red. That’s right; we know what we’re talking about. Although, with that blue dress, it would be hard to pick the wrong pink.
Be cute for ourselves
Girls don’t need to wear makeup all the time, but when we do, don’t assume we did it for anyone but us. A lot of the time, we get all glammed up just so we can feel good. We’re not trying to impress anyone else!
Yes, Bella! If you need to put on full glam just to retrieve your mail, you do you! Whatever makes you feel good and empowers you! You don’t need a reason to dress cute; “because you want to” is reason enough.
Time is a construct
The holidays are always anticipated—parties, gifts, fireworks, food. There’s so much to look forward to. But once the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s, what then? Yes, it’s January 1. What is the plan? What do you do now?
There’s nothing like the holidays to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside yet also spiral into existential dread thinking about the rapid passage of time. Come the new year, you have to put away the nice dresses and champagne and just get back to life again.
Dog > boyfriend
Sorry to all the boyfriends out there, but if your girl has a dog, you’re always going to come in second. You just can’t compete with man’s best friend. Your girlfriend is always going to love the dog more than you.
It’s hard to resist cuddling with your pets and showering them with affection. Aside from occasionally dirtying your home, they basically do no wrong. Boyfriends, on the other hand… we can’t say the same about them! Jokes aside, boyfriends are also great.
Dog people, unite! In this house, we agree that dogs are superior to cats, that it’s a lot more fun to play with our pups than cats, and that dogs are generally the sweeter creatures. This next comic describes this comparison perfectly.
Dogs really are the best. We don’t deserve them, yet they give us their unconditional love for a lifetime. Cats disappear in the middle of the night and only come back when they need our food. Okay, they aren’t that bad! They’re cute; we’ll give them that.
For women, there is so much pressure and anxiety around turning 30. For some reason, society just sets the standard that if you’re a woman in your 30s, still single, and still figuring out your career, you have not reached your potential.
Ladies, remember there is no “should” in any of this. It’s okay to still be figuring it out — that’s just life! You figure it out as you go. Also, you don’t need to be in a relationship to be a whole person. Be the best you for yourself first.
This is one thing men will never understand. Being on your period is terrible and we can never find the good in it. Laving the house is a struggle because you’re scared of leaking. Every time you stand up, you think your clothes are covered in red.
Yes, girls actually do this every time we are out and on our period. That’s what friends are for — to check if we have stained our clothing. Also to provide a spare pad or tampon when we need it.
The new generation
Remember being a 14-year old wearing skinny jeans and a long t-shirt, a cardigan, flats, and an owl necklace? You’d wear your hair super straight, and your bangs would cover your eyes. Have you seen what 14-year olds today look like?
The new generation looks more our age than we do! They’re all so stylish, and they grow up so fast. They’re all basically models, and every time they go out, it’s like they’ve dressed for the New York Fashion Week.
The duality of women
The mailman or the Uber Eats guy has probably seen us at our best and worst. Because of this, we can safely say we’re practically besties. Every time they knock on the door, they do not know what to expect.
Sometimes we’re dressed all cute when we answer the door, and other times we’re in sweats and a ratty t-shirt, with our hair in a four-day bun that is more sticky than messy. Get you a woman that can do both, right?
The Starbucks cup
This isn’t just a girls’ problem because everyone has experienced this at some point. Somehow we’re always given a new name every time we place an order at Starbucks. Even if you have a really common name like Karen, you could still end up with “Jarvis” on your cup.
You would think that Bella is a name nobody can mistake, but apparently not! So if you have a complicated or unique name, you’re better off just lying to the barista about it. If they manage to get “Bella” wrong, imagine what they could do to your name!
Anyone who wears glasses will know the pains of wearing a mask. Yes, it is always important to follow health and safety protocols, but masks make our glasses fog up so much that they could turn into a safety hazard.
The chance of tripping down a flight of stairs is the same whether we take off our glasses or keep them on with the fog covering them. The only viable solution would be to start wearing contact lenses. But many of us will continue with our obscured vision.
Always room for dessert
Abolish the stereotype that girls are so concerned about their weight and eat very little. We eat until we are full, thank you very much. And even then, you had better believe we will always – always – have room for dessert.
We love how surprised and then unimpressed the boyfriend looks between the two frames. He looks so done with his girlfriend’s BS. But we girls are allowed to eat what we want as long as it makes us happy and feel good!
Testing mom’s patience
What’s the point in being a child if you don’t test your parents’ patience every once in a while? That’s just part of the package deal when they decided to have a kid. Especially a self-proclaimed drama queen like the girl in this comic.
As far as we’re concerned, this is the only correct response to your mother telling you to sit like a lady. But of course, we’re not exactly shining examples of the perfect daughter. We can see how other people would just adjust their position and not further upset their mom.
Ladies, there’s absolutely no shame if you are one of those people who would look nice going to social events but look drab going to work. It is just where your priorities lie, and there is nothing wrong with that!
Especially with the remote working trend increasing because of the way the world is right now, it’s basically the new normal to be working in your pajamas. Save the nice dresses and the makeup for when you actually go out!
When Netflix is concerned
This is another problem that doesn’t only apply to girls. We’ve all been here before. Binge-watching old episodes of a show while lying on the couch in our PJ’s and scrolling on our phones. Netflix always seems to get concerned when that happens.
Whenever Netflix checks in on us after five hours to ask if we’re still watching Friends, it makes us die a little inside. Yes, Netflix, we are still here. We haven’t moved in five hours. You got a problem with that?
Some women are out here getting proposed to with a diamond ring. Other women only care about one kind of ring – a doughnut ring. Here’s the best part about this – both rings are equally great! We would be happy with either, preferably both.
This guy really knows the way to his girlfriend’s heart. She doesn’t look like someone who would turn down a box full of doughnuts. In fact, we get the feeling she definitely would appreciate dessert more than an engagement ring.
Who are you again?
You know how we could bump into someone we know in public and act as if we’re besties? And then we walk our separate ways and turn to our boyfriends and tell them that we have no idea who that was?
Oftentimes, we know the face, but we can’t remember the name. Meanwhile, the other person seems to know every detail about us. We’re over here like, “Oh hey… you! It’s been so long since we last met! How’s your… life going?”
People are really out here texting “HAHAHAHA” or “LMAO” when they’re not actually laughing. Nobody means anything they say anymore; you can’t even trust when a person texts you that they’re laughing at your joke! Okay, we know; we’re being dramatic.
We all send laughing emojis while actually, behind the phones, we look bored as heck. You could go through an entire emotional conversation with someone over text and be involved in a million other tasks. That’s probably why texting isn’t the best form of communication.
Girls, of course, aren’t the only ones suffering from this new skin problem caused by wearing masks. Guys are also having issues with maskne, or mask acne. It is because we often wear a mask for long periods of time.
You would think that being indoors more often rids you from having to do any skincare, but that’s actually not true! It would help if you kept up your skincare routine no matter what was happening. But even those who stay consistent have had to struggle with some maskne.
Not a green thumb
Some people are just born as natural caretakers. Any plants and animals they have under their care always flourish. This next comic is relatable for those who can’t seem to keep even a cactus alive. We are this type, sadly.
Show of hands, how many of you readers have a windowsill lined with dead and dying plants? Maybe it’s time you accepted that you just don’t have a green thumb. Maybe stop buying more plants and go for plastic ones? We’re talking to ourselves here.
Diet starts tomorrow
You would think the new year would be a good time to make some lifestyle changes. You know, things like exercising daily and starting a new diet. But we all know that it only lasts the first three days of the year.
We’d also be rolling in money if we had a dollar for every time we said, “Diet starts tomorrow.” We’d make even more money for every time we said, “I’m going to sleep early and go for a run tomorrow morning.”
Ladies, you know what we’re talking about. We make weird faces when we’re putting on our makeup. We’ve been watching far too many beauty gurus on YouTube, and they all make the same faces. Like the fact that we can’t seem to close our mouths when we’re putting on mascara.
We make a fish face when applying contour and bronzer, and then we smile without our teeth to put on blush. Then, we contort our lips every which way to apply lipstick and gloss. That’s a lot of looking ugly in order to look pretty!
Sometimes when we’ve hit a wall with something, we take a nice long shower. There’s not really an explanation to it, but there’s something about being in the shower that helps get the creative juices flowing.
Maybe it’s the sound of the water trickling down that kind of replicates nature. Or maybe it’s standing under the hot stream in our most vulnerable state. Great ideas just come in the shower, and we’re not going to question it.
Rich inner lives
While our exterior may project one image, that doesn’t necessarily translate to what’s going on inside. For example, we may be on the subway listening to music looking bored. But inside, we’re channeling our inner Britney Spears, slaying it onstage.
In public, this woman is poised and put together. But you just know that when she’s home alone, she doesn’t hold back. She holds entire concerts in her living room while she’s vacuuming the carpets. We’re right there with her!
Do you remember when you were a kid, and you would ask your mom if she had seen your favorite hoodie? She’d say, “Look in your closet,” and you’d say, “It’s not there!” And then she’d rummage around in your closet and pull out what you were looking for.
Maybe little girls would constantly ask their moms where things are. But asthey grow up, they turn into their mothers. They develop the natural ability to locate anything you think is missing. And when they become mothers, the cycle repeats.
All the tea
What is life without the occasional drama? Some people enjoy spilling the tea, and others just enjoy stirring up new drama. Some pretend they don’t care, but inside they really want to know the latest update. This comic sums it up.
As much as you say you don’t like drama, chances are you’re going to be sucked into it when something new pops up. Whenever someone comes up to you and says, “Hey, did you know…” – that usually means you’re going to drop everything to listen to them spill the tea.
Everyone can relate
Night owls, raise your hands! Here’s to the people who get up to virtually nothing throughout the day but spend the nights awake until the morning scrolling through TikTok and Instagram. We don’t know what causes this, but we know everyone can relate.
Can we talk about how the dog in this comic looks so done with Bella? That dog knows full well that the reason she’s tired is because she couldn’t put the phone down last night. The dog isn’t even surprised.
Show of hands, who does this when they need to get up early in the morning? One alarm just isn’t enough, so you set up multiple alarms, each between one to five minutes apart, ensuring you wake up on time.
Sometimes the snooze button is the enemy. You hear the first alarm, snooze it, and then sleep through it the next time it rings. So what’s the point of setting up multiple alarms if you’re going to stop the first one and sleep through the second one?
You know when they say “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips” to shame people from eating too much food? Well, we might heed this advice when it comes to some food items, but it will never apply to French fries.
If we could have things our way, we would have an unlimited supply of fries for the rest of our lives. We’d be swimming in fries, eating fries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We’re here for a good time, not a long time!
As we grow older, life sifts out the people in our lives and leaves only the very close few. They become your ultimate circle, the ones you can count on and be yourself around. It’s always quality over quantity, but it can feel a little sad sometimes.
Just remember that even though you may not have a large group of friends, the people you do have are definitely there for you whenever you need them. They’re good for you, and they help you grow to become a better person.
Some people are lowkey hypochondriacs. They experience an illness symptom, like a headache or a little cough. They Google the symptoms, and they spiral down the rabbit hole. Most of the results bring up possible things that could lead to their demise.
The key to this is to not trust WebMD. It’s always much safer and reassuring to get a doctor’s opinion. Just make an appointment so that the doctor can tell you what’s really wrong with you and give you the right meds to heal you.
Having to wear masks these days has its own perks. While it can be annoying to have to cover up our faces, they help hide our real reactions and opinions of others. Nobody can tell what you’re saying or doing under that mask.
In reality, it was not good to see you. But we’re going to pretend like it was anyway, because you can’t tell that we’re actually super disgusted behind our mask. Fake pleasantries say goodbye, and then we can relax the muscles of our upper face.
Here’s a throwback to early in the pandemic when everyone was panic buying toilet paper. While it seemed like the whole world was doing this, there were some people who were still in denial about the severity of the virus.
This girl probably thought, if we don’t panic, it won’t happen. Unfortunately, this couple went home to discover the next day that they weren’t allowed to leave the house, and they had to use other things as toilet paper because they very quickly ran out.
Wear it, girl
We have all heard or been told to wear what “suits our body.” Maybe we even went so far as to use one of those online charts with the different body types, picked what we thought fit, and then proceeded to Google what clothes look good on an “apple-shaped body.”
Well, we’re over it! We are going with Bella’s advice on this and firmly putting a stop to the negativity. If we like something, we’ll wear it, and wear it proudly! Anyone who thinks we “can’t” wear a bodycon dress is invited to keep it to themselves.