King Kong Theory

Virginie Despentes

“I want to underline every word in this book,” Ruth texted Emily on the day she started reading King Kong Theory. Don’t let the word “theory” throw you:  Virginie Despentes’s blunt, epigrammatic manifesto has got to be the most riveting book of feminist theory we’ve ever read.  In essays about rape, pornography, prostitution and femininity, Despentes draws on her own experiences of being raped, of being a novelist, of being a prostitute, and of being a filmmaker, to illuminate the political and social condition of all women.  Her vision of feminism is at once utopian and practical: a rallying cry that, if we listened, could change the world. “Feminism is a collective adventure, for women, men and everyone else. A worldview. A choice. It’s not a matter of contrasting women’s small advantages with men’s small assets, but of sending the whole lot flying.”

King Kong Theory was originally published in the United States by The Feminist Press in 2010.  It will be available again from FSG in 2021. Right now you can buy it from Fitzcarraldo Editions

About the Author

Virginie Despentes


Virginie Despentes was born in Paris and now lives in Barcelona. Her recent biographical, nonfiction work, King Kong Theory has also been translated into English, and recounts her experiences working within the French sex industry, and attendant infamy and praise associated with the aforementioned Baise-Moi.

"Men adore pretty women--courting them, and bragging about it when they get one into bed. But what they actually love best is to watch them fall and pretend to pity them, or even openly delight in their humiliation."

-Virginie Despentes, King Kong Theory