“Men and women are just different. E.g. women eat salad and men eat steak! If a man eats lettuce he dies instantly.”
By Elyse Simich
Hitting the shelves this month is the new book No to Feminism by writer and SBS comedian Rebecca Shaw. The “70 reasons why feminism is bad for you” is comically illustrated by Melbourne artist Fury. The passages and illustrations perfectly satirise arguments against the feminism movement. Each passage is linked by a common thread: the word “feminism” is always spelt wrong; a parody of the poorest arguments against the movement.After coming across the Tumblr page Women Against Feminism — a page which features women holding up signs stating why they don’t believe in the movement — Rebecca Shaw decided to create a parody Twitter account in response. “[The Tumblr page] kind of came up out of nowhere and then I noticed it started getting talked about on social media and… there were a lot of serious articles written about it and discussions around it,” Rebecca says. “Feminism can often get bogged down in serious conversation because it needs to, since it deals with a lot of serious issues. But I was going through a bout of insomnia at the time and listening to a lot of US and UK people talking about it as well and decided I wanted to do something funny about it. So, I just thought I would try and make a parody Twitter account, which wasn’t something that I’d ever done before but I just had the idea to take the ideas from the Women Against Feminism movement and turn it on its head.”
The success of the Twitter account was not what she was expecting. “I just assumed that I would do a few tweets and it wouldn’t go anywhere. So, then I would kind of give up on it because I wasn’t instantly successful, which I always do,” she laughs. “It kind of hit a nerve and took off. I got some well-known followers. There’s some US writers and actors who I respect that follow it. A lot of Australians as well. It kind of just kept building over the last couple of years and every time I thought it might be time to shut it down, more terrible stuff would happen, so I kept it going.”
And the success of the Twitter account spurred the creation of the book. After being approached by publisher Affirm Press, Rebecca picked 70 of her favourite tweets to appear in the book. “The year before, my friend Fury, who’s an artist in Melbourne, had illustrated some of the tweets just for fun and had sent them to me just to be funny. And so when [Affirm Press] suggested doing [the illustrated book] I immediately thought of Fury,” Rebecca tells me. For her, one of the most exciting things about this book is being able to bring Twitter into the real world. “I guess I sometimes forget how small Twitter is in the real world. It’s been so important in my life and a lot of the people I know are on it, but in the real world it’s a very small minority that actually use it regularly. So the idea that [the book] is now a real tangible thing in the world is pretty cool.”
No to Feminism is out now and available to purchase from most bookstores.
Photo credits: Affirm Press, Ravishly.com