"I can see that you are very busy, but I had to tell you that you would be so much prettier if you wanted to smile" (Market Gossip, Jean Henri de Coene, 1827) - Chronicle Books / Rijksmuseum

  • One day, exasperated by a man explaining his own joke to a woman, Nicole Tersigni posted an image of a 17th century painting, with this caption: "Maybe if I take out my breast, they'll stop Explain my own joke to me. "
  • The success was total, so much so that today she has made her tweets into a book, Men to Avoid in Art and Life , to be published on 25 August at Chronicle Books.

It's a couple chatting in a living room, on two wicker armchairs. The man in the black suit, cigarette in his right hand, is seen from behind, his body leaning forward. The woman, in a gray dress, is set back, her body back, her left hand resting on her forehead. The painting, painted at the end of the 19th century, is by Simon Glücklich, and suggests a thousand interpretations. But the caption added by author Nicole Tersigni makes it quite explicit, and funny: "Let me explain your own life".

This is the first reproduction of the book Men to Avoid in Art and Life (which could be translated as "The men to avoid in life and in art"), to be published on August 25 by the US publisher. Chronicle Books (currently only in English). A book that takes up the inventive and laughing tweets of Nicole Tersigni, alias @ nicsigni on Twitter.

"let me explain your lived experience to you" pic.twitter.com/SFekR3M5jB

- nicole tersigni (@nicsigni) May 9, 2019

How the idea came to him

Works of art transformed into feminist memes, good for equality between women and men and pleasant to the zygomatic: it is a year ago, on social networks, that Nicole Tersigni invented this concept . “That day I was tired and stressed, and I saw a guy explain his own joke to a woman,” she told 20 Minutes . This is something that has happened to me countless times online. I wanted to laugh at it, so I google typed "woman surrounded by men" (which is what I feel sometimes, both online and offline) and saw a image of a woman holding her bare breast, surrounded by men. And I thought it was really perfect ”.

The aspiring comedian adds to Jobst Harrich's painting this caption: "Maybe if I take out my breast they will stop explaining my own joke". His tweet collects nearly 100,000 likes and retweets.


if I take my tit out

they will stop explaining my own joke back to me" pic.twitter.com/WhJ7j21kgk

- nicole tersigni (@nicsigni) May 6, 2019

Five types of men

A few days later, he was asked to write this book, in which five figures of really tiring men are examined:

  • The "Mansplainer" that could be translated by the Mecsplicator  : the one who "mansplain", who teaches a woman something she knows perfectly, pretending to know her better than she.
  • The “Patronizer” which could be translated by “  The paternalistic infantilizer  ”: he discredits women by referring them to their bodies and their emotions.
  • Thecomedian  " who after a sexist line says that "it was a joke", or who uses his bad humor to harass you. "He's the guy who tells you to calm down when you're not laughing at his sexist, racist, or grossophobic jokes. Or who exclaims: "You really have no sense of humor!" There were lots of guys like that in the circles I went to and it's tiring. At least if they were funny! », Comments the author.
  • The “Concern Troll”, which we could call in French the “  Troll falsely benevolent  ”, gives advice in a falsely benevolent manner. He looks a lot like the 'Paternalistic Infantilizer': 'The main difference is that a' Concern Troll 'uses bogus arguments to criticize and belittle you (for example by telling you that he basically agrees but that your angry tone may turn you off the audience). Whereas the “Patronizer” uses your emotions against you, ”explains Nicole Tersigni.
  • Finally "  The expert in female sexuality  " ("Sexpert"), who thinks he knows better than you female sexuality.

"You may have a doctorate in the field, I see it written in the Wikipedia article that I just skimmed over ..." (- Chronicle Books / The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh"

As you might expect, Nicole Tersigni doesn't make everyone laugh. Vexed men tried to shut him down. But good news, “there were also a lot of men who stood up for the book, who found it super funny, recognized themselves in it and promised that they would try to be more aware of these behaviors. the future ".

Feminism and humor being two great passions of Nicole Tersigni, combining them came to her quite spontaneously. For a long time she took theatrical improvisation lessons, she says, where she learned how to use comic springs. She also has experience as an activist for the cause of women, as a volunteer at the Christian Association of Young Women.

“Humor has always been my most common way of resolving embarrassing or uneasy situations,” comments the author. Who adds: “Making someone laugh is a way of better passing criticism, disguised as jokes. As one great writer once said, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh or they will kill you." "

Cover of the book “Men to Avoid in Art and Life”, to be published August 25 from Chronicle Books. - Chronicle Books - Chronicle Books


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  • Paintings
  • Painting
  • Sexism
  • Feminism
  • Discrimination
  • Culture