The Millions

Caitlin Kunkel Wants to Turn You On—Equitably

In February of 2018, Caitlin Kunkel, Brooke Preston, Fiona Taylor, and Carrie Wittmer published a satirical erotica piece on the humor site McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. It was a series of vignettes that begin as common erotica scenarios but then turn into more feminist tales, like this one: “He calls me into his office and closes the door…to promote me. He promotes me again and again. I am wild with ecstasy.”

The piece went viral and an editor contacted the writers about turning it into a book. The resulting book, New Erotica for Feminists: Satirical Fantasies of Love, Lust, and Equal Pay came out just nine months later.

Although I’ve never met Caitlin Kunkel in person, I’ve gotten to know her in the virtual world over the past few years. We first met in an online group for female-identifying comedy writers, and I have written for The Belladonna, a site she founded with her co-authors in 2017. Kunkel has also written for The New Yorker and Live Wire Radio and developed the online satire writing program for The Second City. She also frequently tweets about writing and comedy.

I recently talked with her via email about co-writing the book, using humor to advance feminist ideas, and what writers she finds funny.

The original piece came out in February of 2018, and the book was published in November of 2018. In a publishing world where it can take years for books to come out, that’s really fast. What have been some positives and negatives to having a book come

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