Capturing Comfort in the Time of Instagram

Split screen of Dhriti, an Indian American person with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome wearing hand splints, and Xari, a fat and dark-skinned Black woman with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with culturally-appropriative images and white women with the ideal “Instagram body.”

This article was published in Fantasy Issue #87 | Summer 2020

Split screen of Dhiriti, an Indian American person, sitting at their desk and Xari, a fat and dark-skinned Black woman, lying in bed. They’re messaging each other through Instagram about their similar feelings around chronic illness.

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A series of Instagram posts show white models getting henna, posing at the Taj Mahal, taking photos with Indian, and performing other activities. Dhitri posts a sad message on Instagram and and Xari messages them to see if they’re okay.

A DM conversation sits over a patchwork of images. Toward the top, there are a lot of posts from Instagram models. As the conversation progresses, the imagery shifts. Xari is writing in her notebook. Dhriti is on a video call with Xari, showing her a camera and visibly giving tips. Xari tells Dhitri about her “comfort couture challenge” for disabled people. 

Xari posts her “comfort couture challenge” to Instagram wearing clothes she designed for max comfort and accessibility. The middle section of the comic shows the disability community on IG showing support for the challenge through selfies, comments, and shares.

A series of panels shows Dhitri sitting down at their desk opening a package and note from Xari. They begin tearing up and smiling. Dhitri is wearing special finger splints that resemble henna designs, which Xari saved up to get custom made for Dhitri.

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A comic drawing of Ashanti Forston, a Black artist with short brown curly hair and white wire-rim glasses, as she holds her right hand up
by Ashanti Fortson
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Ashanti Fortson is a cartoonist and illustrator with a love for kind stories and fantastical settings. Their work explores transience and reflection through a tenderhearted lens, and a good comic essay will always brighten their day. They’re the spider-saving sort. You can connect with Ashanti at ashantifortson.com or on Instagram @ashantifortson.