‘If you’re a dude, you may be tensing up’: the woman making art out of mansplainers

‘If you’re a dude, you may be tensing up’: the woman making art out of mansplainers

August 18, 2020

Comedy writer Nicole Tersigni got fed up of men explaining her own jokes back to her. So she paired their patronising comments with classical art – and went viral

It began with a tweet. Nicole Tersigni was scrolling through Twitter when she stumbled upon a man explaining one of her friend’s jokes back to her – something she’d experienced several times herself – and decided to make a joke of her own. “I got on Google Images and searched ‘woman surrounded by men’. Because that’s what it feels like when you’re online. That image popped up – the one where the woman has her boob out. I was like, that is hilarious and perfect.”

With her caption – “maybe if I take my tit out they will stop explaining my own joke back to me” – that image, a 17th-century painting by the German artist Jobst Harrich, became the first tweet in a thread that quickly went viral. Tersigni kept at it, finding more paintings of men talking to women and women looking vacant, and coupling them with deadpan captions in which men share their insights on topics such as breastfeeding and period pain. Tersigni’s agent, Rachel Sussman, suggested that the thread could be a book. As Tersigni says: “People get it and they want to laugh about it with other people who understand and have been there.”

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