A nonfiction book by Tressie McMillan Cottom.

Tressie McMillan Cottom

In these eight piercing explorations on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom — award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed — embraces her venerated role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society.

Ideas and identity fuse effortlessly in this vibrant collection that on bookshelves is just as at home alongside Rebecca Solnit and bell hooks as it is beside Jeff Chang and Janet Mock. It also fills an important void on those very shelves: a modern black American feminist voice waxing poetic on self and society, serving up a healthy portion of clever prose and southern aphorisms as she covers everything from Saturday Night Live, LinkedIn, and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality, and Trump rallies. Thick speaks fearlessly to a range of topics and is far more genre-bending than a typical compendium of personal essays.

This debut collection — in all its intersectional glory — mines for meaning in places many of us miss, and reveals precisely how the political, the social, and the personal are almost always one and the same. (From New Press)

From the book

The first dream for my imagined future self that I can recall starts with a sound. I was maybe 5 years old and I wanted to click-clack. The click-clack of high heels on a shiny, hard floor. I have a briefcase. I am walking purposefully, click-clack-click-clack. That is the entire dream.

I dreamed of being competent.

I have never felt more incompetent than when I was pregnant. I was four months or so pregnant, extremely uncomfortable, and at work when I started bleeding. When you are black woman, having a body is already complicated for workplace politics. Having a bleeding, distended body is especially egregious. I waited until I filed my copy, by deadline, before walking to the front of the building, where I called my husband to pick me up.

An hour or so later, I was in the waiting room of my obstetrics office. I chose the office based on the crude cultural geography of choosing a good school or which TJ Maxx to go to: if it is on the white, wealthy side of town, it must be good. For many people I am sure the medical practice was actually good. The happy, normal, thin white women in the waiting room every time I visited seemed pleased enough. The nurses' hands were always warm when they stuck one up your vagina. The doctors were energetic. It was all I knew to ask for.

From Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom  ©2019. Published by New Press.