Vajournal: Feminist Interactions and Interventions
Written and Illustrated by Isabella Bunnell
Published by Cicada Books ISBN 978-1-908714-47-3
Review by Georgia Luckman
Isabella Bunnel is the author and illustrator of Disappearing Acts (Cicada 2016). Her distinctive, detailed watercolour artwork has featured on fashion ranges by Boden and book covers by Penguin/Random House.
Her new book The Vajournal is a canvas on which to explore feminist rage. Thought- provoking activities invites women to engage with and challenge accepted perceptions of womanhood in a playful but meaningful way.
This book is printed in a textured matte with a feel that reminds you of the handmade. The title is embossed with metallic.
As an almost pocket sized diary it is perfect for travelling on the go. Bunnell limits the illustration on this front cover to pinks and blues, the ‘gender colour stereotypes’, loudly addressing preconceptions of how a journal should be designed.
As you turn over the page your eyes hit the brazen end-paper. Women move across the page, not as decoration but as symbol for the themes within of the book. The book follows, daringly colourful with alternative orange figures and blue and green vaginas to name a few.
Statistics are made fun. Each page will amuse, educate, and facilitate expression of feminist ideas and happenings. You are encouraged to write in it, draw in it and explore with it.
Similar to the Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith, the book encourages reader participation. On this page above you are asked to draw breasts. There is no right response!
If it was to your fancy, there is a page listing everyone who you have slept with, and then who you want to sleep with. Although with 109 interactive pages you decidedly have many to pick from as they do not follow a sequential narrative.
The Vajournal is beautifully constructed, empowering and original. It could be the perfect gift for yourself or a friend.