Are you bummed about the election results, or at least the electoral results? That was a rhetorical question. Of course, you are! While action is currently going and necessary, self-care is also a priority. If you are scoffing, think of it like this: if you have taken care of yourself, then you can better attend to the important social and personal issues at hand. One great source of self-care that is cheaper than seeing a therapist: coloring. In particular, coloring vulvas, because it’s your pussy and no one else’s.

The Post Structuralist Vulva Coloring Book_Elly Blue & Meggyn Pomerleau_Microcosm Publishing_2016The Post-Structuralist Vulva Coloring Book

Elly Blue (editor), Meggyn Pomerleau (illustrator)
Microcosm Press
November 8, 2016

“Deconstruct your gendered ideological apparatus while coloring” is the tagline for this coloring book that landed in my mailbox a few weeks ago—which means this review is based on an advanced copy from the publisher, kay. But more about cheeky lines – the dedication page reads “we hope this book inspires you to ambush the patriarchy”—and there’s pubic hair right in the middle of the pages. I did laugh out loud.

The coloring book is peppered with quotes from your favorite post-structuralists: Foucault, Kristeva, Derrida, Baudrillard, and other names of a mostly continental variety. Oh, and Butler. Of course. Accompanying these quotes is post-structuralist vocabulary like: interpellated, bricolage, deconstruction, liminality, performativity, etc.

A myriad of vulvas appear throughout the book. Some of them are very literal, while others are more surreal: in the traditional sense of seeds, flowers, and other signs of fertility, but also in the less conventional sense: vulvas as candle flames, vulvas in the cosmos, vulvas in Princess Leia’s buns, vulvas as dinnerware, and even vulvas as the crucified Jesus Christ. Also, there’s a mermaid with a vulva, which I think is really important because I have often wondered how mermaids have sex. There’s also the mosasics that are so pervasive in adult coloring books. Seriously, why are mosaics the distinction between adult and children’s coloring books? All I want are Barbie coloring books where I can color in garish make-up and Lisa Frank coloring books that look like Rainbow Brite threw up on them.

I would contemplate giving this book to favored students, but I think it may terrify them, because we still fear vulvas. Trump’s electoral win proves that. Thus, this is not the book for your friends who are just starting down the path of continental philosophy and staring at you with wide eyes that barely conceal their shattering brains. No, this is for your academic geeks who were crying “it’s the hyperreal” when Trump became the president-elect of America. Even one of the marketing notes for the book reads: “Helps generations of college graduates recover from overexposure to literary theory.”

If you friends, like me, need solace, buy them this book. Or maybe buy a shared copy and pass it around for everyone to pick their own pages to color; create a compilation of vulvas as colored by the various feminists in your life.

For a test run, I decided to color a page depicting a female rocker with a vulva guitar. Blazened across the back is the word “cyborg” which made my Donna Harraway loving heart pitter-patter. I used four different tools on this page: Papermate Flair M pens because I am addicted to these pens which are more or less tiny markers, Crayola Supertips, Crayola crayons (because no other crayon can compete), and a Crayola map pencil. (Admittedly, I am loyal Crayola fangurl.) I decided to color the female rocker like Courtney Love because her overall look reminded me of her during her Kinderwhore years. While there was a little bleed through, I was pretty impressed. The pages are not double-sided, so you don’t have to worry about bleed through to the picture on the other side. I also saw no bleed through on the page behind this one. Overall, these pages are like a pantyliner in terms of bleed through. Be cautious and change them frequently—a need that is aided by the perforated pages.

Now that I have colored one page, I want to color the whole damn thing. I think I will turn it into a sort of feminist scrapbook and use the blank pages behind each coloring page for various feminist ephemera.

Here’s the page with a little quote from Hole’s “Celebrity Skin.”

colored page from Post-Structuralist Vulva Coloring Book by Ginnis Tonik