Channeling absurdity into activism: blunt, woman-centered comedic essays aimed at generating female resistance and mutual support.
Throwing Shade podcast co-host and Funny or Die writer Gibson felt all fired up after reading Susan Faludi, so she decided to write a book about the beleaguered state of women in this country. A self-proclaimed “feminasty” whose superpower is “repackaging lady sadness into digestible comedy,” the author leverages her outspoken Southern persona and her less conventionally feminine characteristics (including a predilection for swearing and gross-out humor) as weapons in the fight for gender parity. In a series of rambling, casual essays, Gibson rages against those she sees as having committed or enabled crimes against women, with the most vituperation reserved for right-wing journalists and politicians, especially Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos. She unleashes a stand-up comedian’s audacity and calculated obscenity on recent topics like the legislative rollbacks on rape and abortion, the #MeToo backlash, and breast cancer profiteering, punctuated by her own bitterly hilarious tales of woe. She thinks we should all, male and female, be talking more about labia and herpes and teenage sex. The rhetorical purposes of the work are clear: Gibson seeks to lift up women at every opportunity, especially by changing the gender balance in political power: “We wait out their term, helping women who are in the crosshairs of their villainous laws. Then, we flush them out with a sea of overqualified women who won’t forget what they did to us.” In keeping with her goal that women pursue a “closed female monetary system” wherever possible, she offers a series of surprisingly earnest reviews of specific cosmetics from women-owned companies. Like much topical satire, the book would likely benefit from a live or recorded reading. Gibson is still sussing out her transition to the printed page, and this debut embodies her trademark awkwardness, but she speaks to a generation of women too angry to accept any cultural commentary that isn’t somewhat raw and deadly sincere under its veneer of sarcasm.
Flawed but funny diatribes from an emerging comedic voice.