7 New Books That Continue To Prove Women are Funnier Than Men
The authors of ‘New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay’ recommend a pantheon of funny women writers
“Women aren’t funny. Ever heard that ridiculous statement? As Tina Fey retorted in her indisputably hilarious book 2011 Bossypants, “It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”
Not only are women obviously funny, they’re capable of being many different kinds of funny. From silly and absurdist jokes to wry and erudite satire, we love books that showcase their unique voices, diverse forms and mastery of wit. These 6 books are of course a mere sliver of what we could have included from the last year alone.
As the co-authors of the book New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay, we’re so proud to add our own voices to this proud pantheon, with our satirical vignettes that subvert tired porn and cultural tropes to feminist (and funny) ends, imagining a world where women get what they really want: equality. Until that day comes, we’ll continue to tirelessly celebrate and amplify funny women like the ones on this list.
How To Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings: Non-Threatening Strategies for Women by Sarah Cooper
Sarah Cooper’s fierce and funny collection of satirical work advice for women everywhere could sadly be interpreted as genuine advice by a terrifying number of human beings. Cooper, an ex-Googler, has written a pointed and poignant examination of expectations for women in the workplace. This book will leave you on the floor laughing — but also crying, because it’s 2018 and we haven’t gotten far enough. Featuring fun illustrations by the author herself, anti-inspirational sayings like “Your imposter syndrome will never be good enough,” and Men’s Achievement Stickers (example: “Stopped Myself From Explaining Something I Didn’t Understand), How To Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings proves that women’s anger about workplace inequality can be channelled into smart, satirical humor.
Hey Ladies!: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Michelle Markowitz & Caroline Moss
If you’ve ever gotten an email with the subject line “Hey Ladies!” you know what you’re in for — an increasingly expensive bachelorette party planning chain that devolves over the course of several hundred emails. Born out of a popular column on The Toast, writers Michelle Markowitz & Caroline Moss hilariously detail the emails between a group of eight friends in the year leading up to one of their weddings. In between all the logistics are pitch-perfect satirical details about each character, snarky side texts between them responding to the main threads, and lots and lots of heightened moments you’ll recognize (and probably cringe at!) from your own life. You can read the entire book in one laugh-filled sitting, then go back to pull out your favorite sections to savor later — maybe each time you get another email?
The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature by Viv Groskop
Have you ever read Russian literature and thought, “Wow, this is actually filled with really good and not terrible life advice?” Journalist, critic and comedian Viv Groskop, who has studied Russian literature for 20 years, is the one person who did. So she wrote The Anna Karenina Fix, a clever, funny and truly helpful self-help memoir hybrid, filled with lessons learned (or not learned) by characters in Russian novels and their authors. It is a joyful read that you’ll love if you’re into Russian literature or even if you know nothing about it. And if you’re in the latter camp, you’ll want to read some immediately. Only a true master of words, culture, life and comedy could write this, and we’re so glad Viv did.
Everything’s Trash, But it’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson
Like much of the best humor since the dawn of time (and all of the books on this list), comedian Phoebe Robinson’s second collection of essays is as funny as it is necessary. Robinson finds the funny in the darkest of times and themes (one particularly notable essay covers hiding her large amount of debt from her parents until after she’s paid it off), and seeing her unique perspective on comedy, work, and the current state of the world inspires and educates. These are dark times, but thankfully Everything’s Trash is like a stuffed animal — in that will make you feel all right and you’ll throw a tantrum when you can’t find your copy.
Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words by Kimberly Harrington
Kimberly Harrington is a noted copywriter and satirist whose skilled words make brands or break blowhards, but in her debut book Amateur Hour, Harrington looks inward as much as outward. Musing on everything from how her love for social media can lead to potentially problematic parenting conundrums to the often lonely tragedy of miscarriage, Amateur Hour is a feisty, arresting collection of essays that bring intimate laughter and tears often in the same breath. In a world of endless mommy tell-alls that feel like the literary equivalent of house chardonnay, this is top-shelf whiskey.
Decorating a Room of One’s Own by Susan Harlan
This beautifully laid out and illustrated book is an incredibly funny, detailed homage to the homes in some of our favorite stories. Harlan, a college professor at Wake Forest University, has turned her discerning eye and lovely prose to a very funny premise that combines an Apartment Therapy-esque voice with the narrators and characters of classic literature. Some of the gut-busting chapters include “Jay Gatsby’s Desperately Sad McMansion of UnFulfilled Dreams,” “Stella and Stanley’s Not Overly Welcoming New Orleans Walk-up,” and an interlude centering on a conversation of underwater living between Grendel’s Mother and the Sea Witch from the original fairy tale version of The Little Mermaid. Harlan’s prose is as vivid as the comedic pictures she paints, and putting this book on your coffee table shows off your command of design elements as well as the narrative structure of Moby Dick.
Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesca Ramsey
Franchesca Ramsey unwittingly stumbled into celebrity — and activism — when her YouTube video, What White Girls Say…to Black Girls, went mega-viral. Ramsey’s charm is that she’s not afraid to own up her mistakes — and she admits in this book that she’s made a lot (like, a lot-a lot.) This collection of humorous essays covers everything from her in-defense-of-“sluts” showdown with Jenna Marbles to natural hair to her “accidental” activism. Though the topics aren’t light, Ramsey’s easy-breezy delivery is. Toward the end of the book, she takes it a step further and supplies a glossary full of not-so-simple concepts like white feminism and ableism, along with an activism primer. Read this if you want to laugh and change the world.
About the Authors
Caitlin Kunkel, Brooke Preston, Fiona Taylor, and Carrie Wittmer are the authors of New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay, based on the mega-viral McSweeney’s piece of the same name. They created and edit The Belladonna, a comedy and satire site by women and non-binary writers, for everyone. Their writing, together and separately, can be found in The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s, and many other places across the vast internet.