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Operation Liberate Men, Volume 1

Review

Operation Liberate Men, Volume 1

written and illustrated by Mira Lee

For Korean student Sooha, life is frustrating. People consider her too “boyish” because of how she looks and acts (the baggy clothes, the martial arts training) and insist she has to be more “feminine” to be happy and whole. Well, she doesn’t need their intolerance. What she does feel she needs is to get into a good high school, but she does poorly on her entrance exams, which gets her very depressed.

Then Sooha meets a beautiful person, but can’t tell if this individual is male or female. She’s annoyed that she isn’t sure, but she’s also attracted. This person, it turns out, is a boy named Ganesha, and he mistakenly takes Sooha for a boy, which gets Sooha angry. However, Ganesha means no disrespect. Actually, he wants her help to liberate men.

Liberate men? Sooha doesn’t understand.

Ganesha explains that he’s from a different world, where the women are supreme rulers and the men are slaves. Sooha thinks this world sounds pretty cool and agrees to go with him --- not to help liberate men, but to see the matriarchal world and how it works.

Once they’ve reached the world, they’re separated. And soon Sooha learns that a world where women rule over men is…well, it’s just like a world where men rule over women. It’s unfair and often horrifying. The men are constantly degraded, and Mira Lee makes a point of having them degraded in ways women have been and in some places continue to be. The men are denied education, raped, made to stay home whether they’d like to or not, and even killed if they aren’t pleasing to their women.

The people in this world also mistake Sooha for a boy, so she is forced to face the same prejudices and is brought up to the slave block to be sold. She fights back, showing that she refuses to be treated so badly.

Operation Liberate Men has many layers to it. For one, it’s actually quite funny at times, occasionally darkly so. For another, it can be very sad and touching. Nonetheless, its standout aspect, and what will catch the most attention, is how it deals with genders. It shows a very extreme switch of what we’ve seen in some cultures. It shows how absurd sexism is, whether it be against men or women. It also brings up questions about the forms of gender discrimination we face day to day.

In other words, Operation Liberate Men could be read exactly at face value and enjoyed. It could also be used for a topic of discussion about male/female relations and what gender really means in a society. Either way, it’s an intriguing and absorbing read.

Reviewed by Danica Davidson on October 18, 2011

Operation Liberate Men, Volume 1
written and illustrated by Mira Lee

  • Publication Date: November 6, 2007
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 197 pages
  • Publisher: NETCOMICS
  • ISBN-10: 1600092314
  • ISBN-13: 9781600092312