So Women is so much more than just a text on Dave Sim's view on Feminism.
Firstly, it's a continuation of the theme of inaction and consequences- Cerebus is, quite literally, completely unaware of all the things going on around him. he even raises and collapses the black tower in his sleep! Far more than that, though, is the recurring motif of various groups and people reading significance into his thoughtless actions such as throwing the baby when Pope or, now, carrying Missy around.
I also very much love the "essays" by Cirin and Astoria- especially if you view them as historic documents taken out of context. If you read them as random writings that weren't necessarily written in response to each other (or, rather, they were but not DIRECTLY) you get a really interesting and fairly complex history of these two ideologies.
I'm only about 3 issues in to this volume now, so will add more later. But I do have a question for all of you: Are the Astoria scenes with her Hairdresser and the clothing store supposed to have meaning beyond what a pushy, over-bearing, pompous person she is? Is it more meaningful than that or just character establishment?
In response to Menachem’s query regarding Astoria’s being “pushy, overbearing [and] pompous”:
I see her more as deliberate, instructive and calculating.
These aren’t scenes of a debutante on a shopping spree preparing for her coming out party. This is a woman preparing for what she has every reason to think will be the most important meeting of her life, and perhaps the last, as her life literally hangs in the balance. The clothes and jewelry she wears will send signals to her adversary and her followers before, during, and after her meeting with Cirin. She knows this and will make the most of it as would any tactician.
Take a look at those passages again. The hairdresser and shopwoman are corrected when they are wrong, or they have clearly misunderstood Astoria’s instructions. They are not scolded, but encourages to try harder. And in the shopwoman’s case Astoria simply takes the woman at her word and thereby comes to different conclusions than the shopwoman intended.
Of course, her instructions are lost on the servant class of Iest.
Anyway, as Women continues we come across one of the things I love about Cerebus, The cyclical nature of these events.
Cirin, Astoria, and Cerebus are about to, YET AGAIN, live through the "trial" events that come before an ascension. The idea that history is cyclical is nothing new, but what Cerebus does, eventually, is tell us WHY. Why does it feel like the characters have no choice, why must they relive these events time and again? Because they are characters in a fiction.
Women is the culmination of the rising action we've been feeling since Church & State abruptly ended. We're meant to think the action in Flight was the really "return to normal" for Cerebus, but it's this fever dream of complexity that is the true point, and it only gets more complex in Reads.