In her distinctive comedic style, Phoebe Robinson’s essay collection gives us her perspective on how our society has fallen into a state of absolute trash, while also pointing out some things that are not trash.
Examples of trash: mistreatment of women of color in male-dominated career fields, the failures of non-intersectional feminism, trying to find a life partner via dating apps, fake pockets and tiny pockets in pants.
Despite living in a world where we are inundated with reminders of our failure to achieve a level of mutual respect and tolerance of one another, Robinson reminds us all of two crucial things. Firstly, to take a critical look at how we participate in a toxic patriarchy. Secondly, to laugh and find humor in the midst of all the trash. Robinson speaks candidly about some of her personal low points and models the ways that we can leverage hurtful experiences to participate in positive change. She talks about serious issues with comic relief and a desire to not just make people laugh, but also encourage readers to engage with moments of discomfort and shame in a meaningful way.
If you’ve listened to Robinson on one of her podcasts, 2 Dope Queens or Sooo Many White Guys, her book induces an equal amount of laughing out loud and affirmative snaps.
My favorite excerpt from the book, Phoebe’s tough-love pep talk to feminism:
“Feminism, you honestly just have to do better. I know you’ve heard this a million times and a million ways, but you have to figure it the fuck out and do better. Yes, you. The onus is not on those you’ve consistently excluded to fix this. And trust me, it needs fixing, and I’m not talking about relying on repeating the same “remedies” of the past. Meaning, I don’t need the sorries. I’m not interested in the #NotAllWomen defense. I have no desire to engage with your expression of guilt as a sign that the state of things bothers you. Show us it bothers you by behaving differently. Act as if you understand that inclusiveness is what feminism should have been about since day one. And not because you’re hoping you’re going to get a pat on the back for doing what you should’ve done in the first place. Okay? …Give me something to root for. Give me and all women of color, queer women, trans women, lower-class women, something to root for. Most importantly, give us love, because while you’ve been hard on us, the love has been in very short supply. Give us the love we deserve and we’ll root for you forever.”