shado sat down with Lebanese illustrator and artist Christina Atik to hear more about her aims and motivations for her series “It’s Not Nice For A Girl To…”
I created the illustration ‘This nose isn’t nice for a girl’ because of my sister’s love/hate relationship with her nose – which was due to a lot of comments she heard from people around her. Everyone would tell her that it wasn’t feminine, and that she should have it surgically fixed. I really tried to encourage her not to listen to anyone and to embrace her beautiful nose. After I made the first illustration, I decided to expand on it as a theme, as I began to realise how many times I had heard “it’s not nice for a girl to…”
I suppose this illustration series is my way of getting the frustration out, and I definitely did not expect so many to share it. I’m so humbled and happy so many women from different Arab and non-Arab countries could relate to them – although it is sad that we all go through all this pressure.
The only negative comments I have read online regarding these illustrations are related to body hair, and they are usually from men saying that body hair on a woman is “dirty” and unappealing. Another is the illustration about homosexuality – ‘It’s not nice for a girl to like another girl’ – and the criticism stemmed mainly from religious reasons. It has sparked some debate online and among friends, but I am happy about this. I’m just glad people are talking more about things like identity, body image, abuse, queer identity… It makes me happy to have participated in whatever small way I could.