5 Badass Highlights From Mindy Kaling's New Book, Why Not Me?

Good news! Mindy Kaling's new book is out today. Even better news: Why Not Me? is all that we've come to expect from the creator and star of The Mindy Project: refreshing, confident, genuine, and, yes, absolutely hilarious.

If you read her 2012 New York Times best seller Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, then you already know the woman is a witty and whip-smart writer. Why Not Me? is full of the kind of vivid retellings of sticky social situations that makes reading her last essay collection feel like a long conversation with your funniest friend. Here, Kaling touches on everything from her extensive pre-red carpet glam routine to a steamy fling with a White House employee to her weird-as-hell relationship with soul mate/"soup snake" B.J. Novak.

But the most striking bits find Kaling turning her fearless eye on the comical ridiculousness of a culture still deeply mired in sexism. She nails the stereotypes, fallacies, and double standards that pervade not only Hollywood, but society as a whole. You'll find yourself nodding along in righteous indignation as often as you realize you're laughing out loud. Kaling speaks to the impatient feminist in all of us.

Here are five of our favorite excerpts.

1. She's not afraid to call bullshit on women's mags for peddling impossible beauty standards. In other words, presenting retouched images of surgically enhanced women as real and attainable.
"That's why when actresses are asked in interviews about their obvious, face-altering plastic surgery, they say things like, 'Oh, I would never get any work done. Then how do I look like this? I'm just getting a lot of rest, meditating, and staying hydrated.' One of the great things about women's magazines is that they accept that drinking water and sitting quietly will make your breasts huge and lips plump up to the size of two bratwursts."

2.
She only dates men who know what the word "feminism" actually means. Not so much to ask, is it?
"I want a guy who is a feminist, someone who knows that all that means is that men and women are equal. A man who admires strong women, like Hillary Clinton or Ruth Bader Ginsburg."

3. She's tired of actresses being pigeonholed by sexist typecasting.
Because that's just lazy screenwriting. We bet you'll recognize these roles that she describes to a T:
"Poor Maria:" "A lovely Latina 'regular looking' girl" who "has a heart of gold but is underestimated by everyone round her...except the handsome white CEO of the corporation where she sweeps the floors. Will he whisk her away like the dust particles in her bin?"
"The Abandoned Spinster Club:" "A confident workaholic woman named Marcia or Alex comes home to find her husband cheating on her in her own bed with his secretary. It's always the middle of the afternoon and it's always happening in her own bed... It's bad enough that it's happening but we need to wring out as much humiliation as we possibly can. 'You know what would make the cheating even worse? If it were happening in her own bed next to photos of their kids and stuff.'"

4.
She'd like to see more than two body types on TV. Because unlike the iPhone 6, women don't come in just two sizes.
"Most women we see on-screen are either so thin that they're walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture and eating whole pies." A few pages later: "In the United States, a woman who is 5'4" and a size 10 is probably more common than virtually any other body type. But somehow when she is on-screen, it's shocking to people."

5. She has no patience for the scrutiny of her brunching habits
(or the implicit "wink-wink" body shaming). Kaling remembers one horrific interview over brunch, during which the (male) journalist wrote down everything she ate and asked, "Not too careful with the calories, Mindy?" (We couldn't believe it, either, until we dug up the profile ourselves.)
"How do you answer such a question? Why would someone ask such a question?... I seriously doubt he would have said that to a slender woman. And there's no way he's saying that to a man. Because a man would respond: 'Are you seriously writing down what I eat and, like, criticizing me about it? Fuck off, dude.'"

Nobody messes with a girl's brunch time.
Advertisement