Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Published May 20th, 2014 by Haymarket Books
Paperback; 130 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, Feminism, Essays, Gender Studies
Source: Library / Part of the Bout of Books 13 Challenge
Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.86
My Rating: ★★★★★
What starts off as an essay about how [some] men presume to know more than women regarding All The Things and don’t hesitate to say so continues on into even more serious topics like the unimaginable amount of rapes that happen every second and the amount of violence against women. (A woman is beaten every nine seconds in this country. Nine seconds.) In her essays, Solnit hits the nail on the head on why we fail to address what needs to be done about it when she says, ” If we talked about crimes like these and why they are so common, we’d have to talk about what kinds of profound change this society, or this nation, or nearly every nation needs. If we talked about it, we’d be talking about masculinity, or male roles, or maybe patriarchy, and we don’t talk much about that.”
While I hesitate to say I enjoyed reading this (because really, who enjoys reading things about their own oppression) I will say that these things needed to be said. I only had one small issue with some of the essays and that was the way they meandered here to there seemingly jumping wildly from topic to topic but I suppose that is par for the course given that this topic affects to many different areas of our life. That being said, it’s a short book and easy to read in one sitting and I think every woman should do so at some point in time.
What’s the matter with manhood? There’s something about how masculinity is imagined, about what’s praised and encouraged, about the way violence is passed on to boys that needs to be addressed.
Rebecca Solnit has also written other nonfiction works such as The Faraway Nearby, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, and A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise from Disaster. In 2003, she received the Lannan Literary Award.