Men Explain Things to Me

At first I found the book a bit challenging, the diction Rebecca Solnit uses, in my opinion, was a bit intimidating. But as I progressed through the novel, I found it much easier to read, understand, and throughly enjoy.

Through her essays, Solnit eloquently and successfully depicts powerful themes of gender and power. She enlightens her readers on issues all people should know about (and personally things I believe everyone should know and care about), but she mostly focuses on the problems women have faced in the past, what they continue to battle with today, and how feminism is changing and progressing slowly but successfully. She describes these feminism workings as a road that” maybe a thousand miles long, and the woman walking down it isn’t at Mile one” (page 154). But nonetheless, women are still marching down that lengthy path. I found myself overwhelmed at the vast amount of knowledge palpable in her work.

One key theme I noticed that seemed to appear in various chapters of the book is the epidemic of violence against women, and how the word mansplaining*** has lead to the silencing of women voices around the world, and ultimately prolonged the oppression of women. She uses recent examples such as the tragic Isla Vista shooting that occurred in May 2014, countless articles from past and current newspapers, court trials from women, and even her own personal experiences to illustrate the horrifying realities women have been subjected to. Solnit brilliantly confronts these injustices and elaborates on the origins of the ideologies, and how feminism has overcome some of the obstacles in the last few decades. She passionately encourages women to speak their minds and to not be confined by the limitations our patriarchal society has set up.

I suggest Men Explain Things to Me to everyone who wants to immerse themselves in a book that is truly enlightening and explores gender wars in a way that is bold, witty, and genuinely honest. I could quote a lengthy majority of the book but instead I’ll leave you with this one excerpt that sparked my own fem-fire. Enjoy(:

“His name was privilege, but hers was possibility. His was the same old story, but here was a new one about the possibility of changing a story that remains unfinished, that includes all of us, that matters so much, that we will watch but also make and tell in the weeks months years, decades to come” (page 50)

***Mansplaining: (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

By: Emma Bone

Emma Bone