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Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
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Men Explain Things to Me (2014)

by Rebecca Solnit

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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
This was powerful, straight-forward, and impressive. While some of the essays weren't as interesting, the first few make up for them with their blasts of systems in the world. ( )
  mmaestiho | Sep 20, 2018 |
Another really insightful collection of essays. Some of it was kind of 101 level for me, but I would recommend this to people trying to get to grips with modern-day feminism or the concept of rape culture, for example. ( )
  wirehead | Sep 3, 2018 |
Short book of essays, including the titular one, about mansplaining and Virginia Woolf and hope, as well as about violence against women. I want to believe Solnit that we won’t go backwards, but when Russia is decriminalizing domestic violence I find it hard to sustain hope except as a matter of faith. ( )
  rivkat | Aug 31, 2018 |
Three things annoyed me about this book. One: Solnit said that gay men have been huge allies for women and women's rights. Haha, nope. Gay men are just as misogynist as straight men, and I really disagree with her that gay men as a whole have helped women achieve more rights. Two: it seemed like she didn't want her readers to think she hated men or that she thought all men were sexist. It kind of annoyed me that she tempered her argument this way. Three: The layout of this book got on my nerves so, so much. Throughout every essay a "relevant" quote, FROM the body of the essay, is reproduced in a huge blockquote, taking up half the page. This isn't an online news article! Don't do this! It's really distracting to turn the page and see a sentence that you just read in huge font. ( )
  captainmander | Jul 19, 2018 |
I sometimes find myself wondering what the purpose of books like this is. You're not very likely to buy this if you're a rapist, wife-beater and/or conservative politician (and even if you did, it's not likely to make you change ideas which were never based on rational argument in the first place); if you're a lefty-liberal petition-signing banner-carrying feminist then you know all this stuff already from the newspapers you read, and the only obvious reason to buy the book is to advertise your political credentials by displaying it on your shelf.

But that's missing the point, of course. This isn't written for Guardian readers or the religious right. The people for whom campaigning books like this are really important are the people the book is talking about - in this case women who are victims of male violence or unable to make their voices heard. Reading something like this, even if it is only setting out the problems and not really offering concrete solutions, helps you to realise that you aren't alone, that these are subjects that can be talked about and should be, and that talking about the problem openly and getting others to accept that it is a problem can be the first step on the way to changing the world.

Solnit writes with a good deal of understandable anger and frustration, but the points she makes struck me as fair and balanced - where there's a standard counter-argument she doesn't hesitate to stop and give it a fair hearing (before blasting it out of the water...). A worthwhile book, definitely. ( )
  thorold | Jun 4, 2018 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
For the grandmothers, the levelers, the dreamers, the men who get it, the young women who keep going, the older ones who opened the way, the conversations that don't end, and a world that will let Ella Nachimovitz (born January 2014) bloom to her fullest
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I still don't know why Sallie and I bothered to go to that party in the forest slope above Aspen.
Quotations
The difference between these online gamers and the Taliban men who, last October, tried to murder fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai for speaking out about the right of Pakistani women to education is one of degree. Both are trying to silence and punish women for claiming voice, power, and the right to participate. Welcome to Manistan. "The Longest War"
Kindness and gentleness never had a gender, and neither did empathy. "The Longest War"
Every woman who appears wrestles with the forces that would have her disappear. She struggles with the forces that would tell her story for her, or write her out of the story, the genealogy, the rights of man, the rule of law. The ability to tell your own story, in words or images, is already a victory, already a revolt. "Grandmother Spider"
It's the job of writers and explorers to see more, to travel light when it comes to preconception, to go into the dark with their eyes open. "Woolf's Darkness"
To me, the grounds for hope are simply that we don't know what will happen next, and that the unlikely and the unimaginable transpire quite regularly. "Woolf's Darkness"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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. [WorldCat]
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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-- because 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 updated edition of the book features that now-classic essay with others, 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, Solnit's recent essay on the remarkable feminist conversation that arose in the wake of the 2014 Isla Vista killings.… (more)

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