Hello and welcome to Comic Plug’s Woman Crush Wednesday (#WCW) – a weekly segment that shines a light on female series, characters, and writers. Pack your sleeping bag, and break out your compass, because this week we’re heading to summer camp with Lumberjanes.
Lumberjanes is a series about five adventurous friends, and their frazzled troop leader, who are trying to solve a supernatural mystery at their summer camp. The comic reads like a scout’s guidebook and every issue one of the girls uses her scout skills to solve the problem at hand. Thus far in the series our campers have proved themselves proficient at sailing, math, archery, and staying up late. Each girl is different and talented in her own way.
There has been no background information about the scouts, but on the surface Lumberjanes have a diversity that is lacking in many other comics. The girls represent an array of ethnicites, body types and styles. There has not yet been some over-the-top dramatic heart-to-heart regarding any of the girls ethnicities, social classes, or sexual orientations. Hopefully, the characters will become more fully developed to include more minority groups. Now, at the very least, it is commendable that they do not represent the usual female archetypes. There isn’t the pretty one, the bitchy one, the slutty one or the perfect virgin. Though they are different the girls have at least one thing in common: The Lumberjane Scouts Pledge.
The Lumberjane Scouts Pledge is a promise to be brave, honest, kind and to generally make the world a better place. I’m not sure what the target audience is for this comic, but with the foundation of the scouts pledge this is an excellent series for kids. The problems these characters face are not filled with typical “teen drama”. The story does not revolve around a girl’s quest for popularity or how important it is to have a boyfriend. This series is about friendship and in a world where kids are inundated with messages of how to be cool, or tough or sexy, a fun story like this is really important.
Also important is the lack of stereotypical gender roles in this series. The introduction describes a Lumberjanes natural curiosity about the world around them. An urge to learn about nature and how to survive there. One of Lumberjane badges is specifically for accomplishments in math. These two fields, science and math, are very male dominated. Possibly because of societies insistence that these “hard subjects” are difficult for women to understand. On the flip side, the boys in the story are not perfectly masculine soldiers. When the Lumberjanes meet the Scouting Lads the boys take on a nurturing role. They treat the girls’ poison ivy, and then serve tea and cookies. Kids should pursue their interests; even if they’re a boy who loves baking or a girl who collects bugs. This reversal of gender roles could give readers the confidence they need to learn about something that used to be “just for girls/boys”.
Lumberjanes is a great comic to read for all of these reasons, and for the simple fact that it is entertaining. No matter what age you are the story is fun and may even bring back memories of your own camp days. Friendship to the max!
What did you think about our #WCW this week? Who or what would you like to see featured? Let me know in the comments below!