Animation and Comics: The Adventures of Salwa

Salwa animation - IndyAct

The Adventures of Salwa is a campaign from IndyAct Lebanon to tackle sexual harassment and get girls and women to fight back and defend themselves (which the lead character, Salwa, quite literally does with her red handbag as her weapon).

Ali Fakhry, the communications director for IndyAct in Lebanon said they’ve received a great response about the campaign, but its been the work of many to make this campaign successful and to maintain it's success. “We made the design and we named it The Adventures of Salwa. We made a comic of a regular Lebanese girl. She is fighting against sexual harassment. Her comics teach lessons, explain her belief, and use a creative way to send a message that sexual harassment is not OK. The next round will help women lodge a complaint officially. It’s a cartoon, but it tackles a serious topic.”

So far, the first episode is available to watch and there are a few comics on the Adventures of Salwa Facebook group. We look forward to more!

Why we like It

We tend to cartoons and animation as being for children, but as we've seen through numerous examples, animation can talk to different kinds of audiences about a variety of challenging, complex issues. For adult viewers animation breathes new life into grim topics, and for younger viewers, it can make messages more palatable.The storylines discuss more graphic, less subtle, forms of violence, so viewers who do not follow Arabic will still understand the gist of the film.

We like the way Salwa reclaims superpowers and gives it to this diminutive woman. In a similar vein to comics like Dianne Dimassa's Hothead Paisan Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist flips the trope of woman as victim of male power into woman as strong, fearless avenger. Salwa is represented as a stereotypically feminine woman, with her high heels and red handbag, creating the impression that the ability to defend oneself is not restricted to physically strong, highly trained Super Heroes in flowing capes.  Salwa's strength and her conviction suggest that women of all shapes and sizes can fight back against sexual harassment.

Category: Visualisation of women's rights in the Arab World

Year: 2010 

By: IndyAct Lebanon

Source:  IndyAct news pages

Further links:
on Youtube 
Campaign website (under construction at the time of writing this blog post)
Campaign Facebook group