We Heart: Nicole Tersigni Shows the Absurdity of ‘Mansplaining’ Using 17-Century Art

Nicole Tersigni’s “Men to Avoid in Art and Life” started as a viral thread on Twitter and has become a top 25 best selling picture book. (Amazon)

Just one year ago, writer Nicole Tersigni was an unknown comedy writer based in Detroit, and a mother to an 8-year-old daughter.

After a long day of taking care of her sick child at home, she decided to mindlessly scroll through Twitter and came across a tweet featuring “a dude explaining to a woman her own joke back to her”—something she’s experienced many times, she told The New York Times.

The tweet inspired her to create a Twitter thread in which she captioned old paintings in order to reflect all-too-common interactions women have with men.

The thread quickly went viral—it was retweeted over 27 thousand times, including by celebrities like Busy Philipps and Alyssa Milano. Soon after, a literary agent reached out to Tersigni and suggested she turn her viral Twitter moment into a hardcover book.

The rest, just like the paintings, is history.


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As the title suggests, each chapter is organized around a different “type” of man to avoid, like “The Mansplainer” or “The Sexpert.”

(Chronicle Books)

Tersigni’s humorous writing is immediately relatable to the many women who have dealt with these types of men. The strength of her book comes from its witty reflection of both real life and social media, allowing the reader to connect with Tersigni’s experience or—if they are one of these “types”—take a good, long look at their actions.

(Chronicle Books)

By taking a good (and humorous) look at the kinds of everyday nuisances women face online, Tersigni helps her reader identify different types of “men” through the lens paintings found at prestigious art museums.

Using this angle, Tersigni combines art history with social media to create someone almost every woman (and maybe some men!) can get a great kick out of.


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About

Sarah Rosenberg is an intern at Ms. Magazine. She graduated from Los Angeles Pierce College in June 2020. She holds an Associate of Arts for Transfer degree in Journalism and two Associates of Arts Degrees for Arts and Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Science, respectively. She has previously worked at Pierce College's Bull Magazine and Roundup Newspaper.