Men Explain Things to Me

Men Explain Things to Me

Book - 2014
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In her comic, scathing essay "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters. She ends on a serious note: the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, "He's trying to kill me!" This book features that now-classic essay with six complements, including an examination of the great feminist writer Virginia Woolf 's embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women.
Publisher: Chicago, Illinois : Haymarket Books, [2014]
ISBN: 9781608464661
Branch Call Number: 305.42 S688m 2014
Characteristics: 130 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm


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Dec 28, 2018

This is why I never explain anything to a woman if I can help it. I let her ask the questions, like being interrogated by the police. True-life example: I'm in the auto parts store, picking up a gallon of Prestone. A woman asks me if the store brand isn't as good as Prestone. Now I could give an answer about the corrosion prevention properties of Prestone, or something, but I say, "I'm sure it's fine." (That's a true statement.) She asks why I'm buying Prestone, then. I say, "My father used Prestone, and I use Prestone." Also true, but not an explanation.

But, that did work to her advantage. She wanted some kind of validation for buying the store brand, and I gave her that. I also gave her the idea that I didn't really have any good reason for buying Prestone, but that doesn't matter to me.

Aug 24, 2018

I think she tries much harder than some feminists to be balanced and not totally berate men but I also think that she misses the point that men can also be abused. It is not ALL about women. However, it is probably mostly about women and a lot of what she says is true.

Marlowe May 29, 2017

I found this to be a frustrating, yet important, read. As a woman, I have encountered too many instances where a man thinks I need something explained. That as a woman, clearly I should defer to his manly expertise. However, I never considered the roots of this phenomenon, or the true depth this problem runs. The long held belief that men are superior to women, and as a result can control our lives. That men can control our voices, our actions, and ultimately control if we live or die. This was a very thought provoking read that I highly suggest to all women AND men. Feminism too often these days is confused or garbled or straight out degraded out of its true meaning: equality. Solnit gets straight to the point, offering a plethora of examples of how women's voices and bodies are still controlled by men, and how this gender inequality must stop.

cals_joe Mar 15, 2017

Powerful collection of essays.

JCLAmandaW Dec 28, 2016

An excellent collection of essays that anyone interested in learning more about the effects of our culture on women should read. While some essays are rather blunt, others require more thought as she delves into historical context behind sexism and gender roles. Overall a short book and a great read.

Sep 02, 2016

Joins the growing shelf of feminist memoir/essays, alongside recent standouts like "Bad Feminist," "We Were Feminists Once," "The Argonauts," and "Shrill."

The title essay gives me LIFE. Solnit takes something small and amusing (a Man Explaining Things To Her) and reveals the undercurrents that mansplaining shares with violence against women. It's a short book, but allow yourself time to pause and think, because you'll want to do that a lot. A few of the essays veer into less inspiring academic territory, but if you are like me, you'll YES, MAMA your way through the whole thing.

Jan 22, 2016

A good collection of essays highlighting woman's place in the world, the war to quiet women and the power of ideas. Solnit doesn't bash men; she writes persuasively that equality is good for all of us, and we all have work to do in fighting gender stereotypes and confronting violence against women. Hundreds of years of women essentially being their fathers' or husbands' property doesn't leave societal consciousness immediately--changing views about gender issues and civil rights takes many lifetimes. We can't stop speaking up.

Sep 18, 2015

I would give this book somewhere between 3 and 4 stars; I did enjoy it but I'm not clamoring to buy my own copy to read over and over. It is thought-provoking, experience-affirming, and says some really important things about our culture, feminism, and power. I think the three strongest essays are the title essay, 'The Longest War,' and the final essay, 'Pandora's Box and the Volunteer Police Force.' They were both timely, bringing up aspects of women's experiences that are very relevant, and timeless, not relying too heavily on "current" (which at time of reading means "two or three years old") news events. I also enjoyed the essay on marriage equality; I would be interested in knowing what Solnit would add to this essay in the wake of this summer's Supreme Court rulings.

The essay on Virginia Woolf was the weakest part of this book for me. The tone and subject of this essay did not seem to fit well with the others. Also, being mostly unfamiliar with Woolf's writings, I think a lot of Solnit's arguments and comparisons went right over my head.

Apr 26, 2015

loved this - many laugh-out-loud-in-recognition moments

will be reading more Solnit

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