Meichen Lu

PhD Researcher
UAL Affiliation: London College of Communication

My practice-based research is focused around two aims:
1. To use the vulva as the main character in graphic narratives to investigate perceptions of female genitalia.
2. To create new insights by applying female genitalia to characters in graphic narratives and challenge both the erotic and taboo stereotypes of vulvas in graphic images.
This research contributes to challenge the stereotype of the vulva’s historical, symbolic representation in graphic images and awaken the consciousness of female self-acceptance through directly visualising the vulva character.
The relevant comics of my PhD project include:
Aline Kominsky-Crumb’s autobiographical comic ‘Goldie: A Neurotic Woman (1972)’ is an example of such work and represents her own experiences of sex giving me an initial understanding of feminist graphic narratives
‘Fun Thing to Do with The Little Girl (1987)’ by Phoebe Glockner depicts her experiences of being raped by her mother’s boyfriend (Figure 7), graphically representing the girl’s body and her precarity
Julie Doucet’s autobiographical dairy comics “365 Days” which records Doucet’s daily life with full of insecurities, to-do lists, doodles, accounts of dreams, bad news, etc.
I will also use the UAL archives Comic Book Collections to explore the following categories: narratives method, graphical characters, comics aesthetics and the application of symbols in feminist comics, by examining existing graphic narrative works.

Research keywords: Symbolism, feminism, autobiographical graphic narratives, reflective practice.