Justice

These Comics Perfectly Capture Misogyny in Modern Dating

On a personal and artistic level, artist Camilla Engstrom seems to understand the struggle that women face when they try to have relationships with men.

That's why she created a series of comics featuring Husa, a nude, vivacious character who explores the popular sentiment that modern dating sucks. But what makes her comics particularly interesting is that Engstrom doesn't simply blame it all on hookup culture and dating apps like Tinder.

Instead her art dives deeper, revealing the way that interpersonal interactions between genders are often tinged with sexism and misogyny. And it's not just in her imagination – the majority of millennial men are pretty damn sexist.

In an email interview with ATTN:, Engstrom discussed the origins of Husa and why women should never settle for bad sex.

ATTN: What's your background in art and design?

Camilla Engstrom: I come from a fashion design background, and at one point I thought I wanted to be a creative director. I've always been drawing and painting at home since I was a kid but it wasn't until a couple of years ago I decided to 'come out of the closet' and end my career as a miserable fashion designer.

ATTN: Could you give me a little background info on your main female character?

CE: Her name is Husa. She was born in 2014 after me being sick and tired of drawing fashion figures for work. I basically just wanted to draw something silly and funny — I can't stop drawing her.

ATTN: The comics that stand out to me the most are the ones where your female characters interact with men. They seem to capture sexism or misogyny in these daily interactions and relationships with men — could you explain where that comes from?

CE: Men constantly upset me. I'm a feminist and as long as there is inequality, men/the patriarchy is going to upset me. What is driving me insane amongst so many other things are rape culture, violence (war, hate crimes, terrorist attacks, etc.) and other things like women getting less paid than men. That, and it takes so much more energy and effort to make yourself heard as a woman than if you were a man. The world is fucked up, and women need to take more space and support each other. It used to really make me an angry and bitter person, but now I just draw instead. It's way more peaceful.

ATTN: Where do you get inspiration for these scenarios?

CE: Some of my cartoons are about my own failed relationships or unhappiness I feel in current ones. But most of the time it's just scenarios I make up in my head or hear from friends. Some of the scenarios can be a little depressing and tragicomic, but I try to add some humor to those, too.

ATTN: Why do you draw your characters nude?

CE: Clothes make things so stiff and serious and again, I want to keep it light and funny.

ATTN: What do your drawings say about sex? Do you consider them “sex-positive?”

CE: Husa loves sex and she thinks women should be more selfish and vocal about their sexual needs. Men can get very defensive and insecure if they get criticized in bed but fuck it, they need to hear it. Every woman deserves good sex. If your partner is not able to sexually satisfy you, it's usually a sign of poor communication. Don't settle with bad sex. It will make you a frustrated bitter person when you deserve to blossom!

Tickle painting by Camilla Engstrom

ATTN: Are there recurring themes in your work?

CE: Yes, I think so. There's a lot about relationships to men and to 'myself'. Husa reflects my innermost weird and twisted sides.

ATTN: Do you think the disconnect between partners is a male/female specific problem or do you think that it can happen in homosexual/lesbian relationships, too?

CE: I've never been in a relationship with a woman, so I can't answer this question, but I could assume that lack of understanding and communication will cause disconnect in any type of relationship.