Erin Gibson gets Feminasty with us, talking feminism, empowerment and the future of women


Learn how to be Feminasty with Erin Gibson. The comedian’s collection of essays won’t just make you laugh — they will educate and inspire.

If I had a time machine — heck, I’ll even take a hot tub time machine — and could toss one book back to my adolescent self that could offer me some guidance that school counselors and well-meaning but not-as-insightful-as-I’d-like adults weren’t able to? It would be Erin Gibson’s hilariously informative Feminasty: The Complicated Women’s Guide to Surviving the Patriarchy Without Drinking Herself to Death.

Flipping through, it is impossible to get through 10 pages without either laughing hysterically or slamming the book down emotionally, saying “I knew it” or “I feel this” or “Erin, hold my beer.”

Culturess got the chance to speak with the delightful author behind this much-needed guidebook, who has already delighted many with her work on Throwing Shade, a podcast Gibson hosts with Bryan Safi.

It’s safe to say Erin Gibson is very knowledgeable about women’s issues and has very good points on how to dismantle the patriarchy. As a comedian, she brings humor to subjects that are controversial and honestly, difficult to discuss. But she’s also researched every single topic in this guide, hitting point after point with wit and ease. From Mike Pence and the #MeToo movement to learning how to embrace the amazing woman that you are, this is a book for every sister, mother, friend, co-worker — any woman, anytime.

How soon can we get Feminasty in schools for young girls everywhere to read? I feel women will wish they had this decades ago (and wish men had, too).

“I made it very palatable, and by palatable I mean it’s full of guttered humor. So that it’s not just guys who are maybe interested in becoming a human being who could pick up the book and there would be language in there that wasn’t over their head and very accessible as far as like understanding what we go through.”

There is information in here for everyone. Can you tell us what the journey was writing Feminasty? And how did your work with Throwing Shade influence it?

“All the things that I decided to write about were things that I had been covering for the past seven years. So I went back and looked at all the things that I had covered over the last seven years on Throwing Shade. And I started to see the pattern — Oh, this subject came up again. Oh, we’re dealing with this again. I think with the struggle of women’s equality in this country, it’s very cyclical. It does have an upward slanting progression… like we can have credit cards now? You know in Louisiana if you are a widow — still — if you’re a widow, if your husband dies, your children get first rights to the property, not you. There is still stuff out there that you can’t even believe it’s still happening because, you know, there’s a lot to tackle.

But um, you know, I’ve been immersed in this for so long and uh, and I thought these are the most important things to tackle right now. I alluded to this at the end of the book to all the stuff I didn’t get to talk about, which is not a comprehensive list and it’s very long.”

You do cover so much, and there is still so much to still get to. In your book, we’ve got Mike Pence, #MeToo, battles with your sister, which by the way thank you for getting real about sister battles.

“It’s weird! It’s almost like shameful to talk about how rowdy my sister and I were.”

But that is the reality of it, too.

“Yea. I think it’s even worse than women because my parents didn’t necessarily do this, but we definitely were compared all the time to each other by other people constantly and that created an invisible competition that we had and so we were always fighting for attention, clothes, boys, all that stuff.”

There is so much of that — competition between women. You hit it in the chapter Backstabbing B-tches, women who are not looking out for other women. You even had a quote mentioning how we need help replacing them with better women. Were you nervous or worried saying things like that in this book?

“I wasn’t nervous about most of this stuff in the chapter because it’s coming from a very much personal and a research aspect. So you could have the gut thought that like women aren’t misogynists, but hopefully, after the chapter I’ve proved to you how they can be.

Let me just say this. Women are raised with such f—cked up ideas and hate and all this stuff and I almost don’t blame them. What I do blame them for is if you’re an adult and you are making decisions and you choose to continue to be that way, I can’t accept that and I am here for people who want to learn and change and be part of the movement towards women being treated equally in the world. And if you’re not on board with that, then you’re not worth my time.

I was a little bit nervous about writing the chapter about lesbians because I am not a lesbian. But I just saw these doctors and these studies come out about how lesbians are essentially only lesbians because they’re, well, make any excuse rather than the fact that they just love other women.

I was a little nervous about that chapter because I didn’t want to seem like I was speaking on behalf of the community. But as a woman, I want to show that I’m an ally with a group that I’m not necessarily a part of day to day.

I wanted to do a chapter on trans women but I was really struggling with distilling it down to like one point. There’s so much happening with trans women right now and I just feel I couldn’t… really do it justice.

… I never want to feel like I’m like giving information on behalf of people, but rather saying I see what’s happening to you and I recognize it and I want to talk about it as your ally and as someone who wants to make sure this thing stops.”

What helps so much in this book is your research. You discuss timely topics in an informative way, and offer so many surprising facts — like the chapter on men overseeing the beauty industry was shocking but necessary to read.

“It is a recession proof industry. It is an industry that is so strong that a recession and cannot affect it.”

Have to say that’s a bit scary.

“I know! But here’s the thing. I don’t want to make it sound like you have to throw all your makeup in the garbage. I mean, I did and I made a commitment to only buy cosmetic brands from companies that are 100 percent owned by women. What’s funny is people are reading the book and they’re like I use this cosmetic brand I’ll be like no, they’re owned by Louis Vuitton. I’m bumming people out and that’s not my intent.

My intent is to be like, hey look at these men that you’re making very, very, very wealthy who are not great people… on the back of this [industry] that for me should be a closed monetary circuit for women.”

Honestly, with every chapter in your book, there are empowering messages and infuriating information. You write near the end that change may be hard to come by but “no one is asking you to change the world by yourself, so just start with your world.” What is the first step women can make right now who are unsure or don’t know what they could possibly do in their community?

“Look, I am trying to get my mom to run for office. She moved to a small town in Missouri to be close to her in-laws. I am trying to get her to run for city council and she and she’s like, I don’t know if I can do it. Anybody can do it. Anybody can do it. There are people out there with less charisma, less qualifications, but more competent out there doing something that she’s better at.

Just do it! Once you do it, it’s not scary anymore. It’s like riding a bike or anything. It was really scary at first, accept that, and then just do it. Maybe it is running for your PTA or helping a family who is struggling.

I remember there was a kid in my class, this is too dark, but there was a kid in my class in elementary school was getting the sh-t beat out of her. She was coming to school with like belt welts and stuff. And my mom helped her, she talked to her, and like gave her her phone number and was like anything I could do to help, call me.

I think it is inserting yourself even if you think it is none of your business. It can be anything.”

One of the last things I want to ask you is what has the response been so far to your book, Feminasty. How have women reached out to you regarding the topics of the book and what it’s meant to them?

“On Instagram, in particular, someone posted to their Instagram story a picture of the book and marked it with a geotag in Kuwait. She essentially made friends in Kuwait who were also reading the book.

… I had this guy email me, he’s a gay man and he said one of the things the book inspired him to do was to keep tampons in his house at all times. I just thought that was the sweetest thing in the world and I never even would have thought, it didn’t even cross my mind to tell guys that’s something they should do. But he was like, I always have them at my house. I never thought about what it would be like to be without a tampon and so I have like 20 of them under my bathroom sink.”

That is amazing. It is a small thing, but a major thing at the same time.

“Yeah. Another guy emailed me and was like, ‘Hey, I just emailed my sister because she had really terrible periods growing up and I was really mean to her. And I emailed her and I apologized to her.’

This book has obviously touched so many people, and in some ways, feels like therapy with the revelations people are going to have as they read it.

“What I am gathering from people… is they have like the manual to basically take a screen grab, and then give it to their boyfriends, and go here, this is what I need. Or read this chapter, this is how I feel about this. I know I am so tired of explaining my experience.”

I think we all are, which is why this book yet again needs to be shared endlessly. At the end of your book, you outlined what seems to be a sequel — Feminastier perhaps?

“Yeah. I have a lot more than say for sure. It was hard to narrow it down to these chapters.”

If Feminasty is round one of how we dismantle the patriarchy, we’re ready for Gibson’s round one, where she sets the table for the matriarchy — jokes, jabs, and justice for all.

You can pick up a copy of Feminasty now wherever books are sold. Check out to view upcoming book tour dates.