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Book Review: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit


This is definitely worth reading though, somewhat tragically, little that Solnit discusses comes as a surprise. I felt the beginning and end of the collection had the best essays and in the middle, some felt a bit repetitive, though in certain ways, that may be the point. It's a quick read, and one I would recommend to men especially. Solnit is not hostile towards men in general, frequently commenting that many, if not most are decent and allies to women, yet the fact that enough are not is worthy of deeper consideration. The violence women have faced and still face, often in silence for fear of being disbelieved or injured further, the indignities, the physical and mental abuse, the everyday harassment, the alterations to our behavior not to "make ourselves" victims, the fact that male power is often used to keep women in their place, to diminish and subjugate, and I could go on... All of these points and more are valid and true and not facts that most men have to spend much time contemplating. Even those who claim to be feminists, who see women as equals, who go to Women's Marches, who follow Roxane Gay on Twitter, cannot understand what the world can be like for women. Rich women and poor women, women of any race or ethnicity. We walk into a garage holding our keys in case we'll be assaulted. We don't listen to music too loudly on a run so we don't miss someone coming up behind us. We try not to engage with cat-callers not to provoke them further. We are called honey and baby by strangers and if we're not grateful, we quickly turn into bitches and sluts. We have to think about what we wear, about where we go, about when we will be there, during daytime, when it gets dark, whether there will be other people around, whether we will be safe. We are told not to shower if we are raped, because it gets rid of the evidence (which is so often not used against perpetrators). We endure mansplaining and manspreading (and frequently manchildren).

Has this turned into a scary feminist rant? Oops...No, not oops, because that's the whole point, isn't it? Women do not have to be silent.