Men Explain Things to Me (#37/50)

Honestly, this book was a little underwhelming. The individual essays stood on their own pretty well, but putting them together in a collection just didn’t seem to “fit.” I wouldn’t *not* recommend this book, but I wouldn’t put it too high on the priorities list either.

Title – Men Explain Things to Me

Author – Rebecca Solnit

Page count – 154

The title of the book is also the title of the first essay. It’s about the phenomenon of “mansplaining.” The other essays touch on rape culture; the roles of race and gender in colonization; the “true threat” of marriage equality to traditional gender roles; the use of words and images in art and literature to silence and erase women; and the legitimacy found by “naming” the societal, political, and economic issues unique to women.

Listing the topics just now made me realize this book is probably only going to pique very specific interests. 🙂 It’s definitely not a book you pick up to read for fun.

I picked the following passage because it feels a little too “on the nose” considering the election process we’ve just been through (and continue to deal with). It is referring to the sexual assault case involving Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF, and Nafissatou Diallo, a hotel housekeeper in New York. The way the case was dealt with gives me hope, and the cruel irony of the man we’ve just elected president indicates we still have a long way to go.

“The United States has a hundred million flaws, but I am proud that the police believed this woman and that she will have her day in court. I am gratified this time not to be in a country that has decided that the career of a powerful man…matters more than this woman and her rights and well-being. This is what we mean by democracy: that everyone has a voice, that no one gets away with things just because of their wealth, power, race, or gender.” (p. 45)


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