Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

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Rebecca Solnit

For a couple weeks this past August the quote, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them” from Margaret Atwood had been eating at me. So when I saw a woman reading something entitled “Men Explain Things to Me” I was intrigued. I asked if I could take a look at it. After reading a couple lines from random pages I was sold and I bought it the next day. Rebecca Solnit gave me perspective on the Atwood quote that just would not leave me alone. Violence is a predominantly male phenomenon, and women fear it far more than men do, with good reason. The book also showed me how marginalized women are and always have been. They disappear in bloodlines, which are traced back through fathers and fathers’ fathers. Mothers and sisters are small twigs whereas men are the strong limbs and trunks of family trees. This book helped me understand why feminism needs to exist, and why it’s in both men and women’s best interest that it succeeds.

Choice quotes:

“[O]ne of the best journalists I know is afraid to walk home at night in our neighborhood. Should she stop working late? How many women have had to stop doing their work, or been stopped from doing it, for similar reasons?”

“[E]xplaining men still assume I am, in some sort of obscene impregnation metaphor, an empty vessel to be filled with their wisdom and knowledge. A Freudian would claim to know what they have and I lack, but intelligence is not situated in the crotch…”

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