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Men Explain Things to Me

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  15,827 Ratings  ·  1,960 Reviews
In her comic, scathing essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.

She ends on a serious no
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Paperback, 130 pages
Published May 20th 2014 by Haymarket Books
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Shelley yes, many times. For instance, I was on the Board of Directors of a non-profit. When I would offer suggestions, there would be a silence. Often in the…moreyes, many times. For instance, I was on the Board of Directors of a non-profit. When I would offer suggestions, there would be a silence. Often in the same meeting, a man would offer the same suggestion and the response would be "That's a great idea". They could not seem to "hear" the idea if it came from a woman. I observed this happening when other women spoke up as well...(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Paul Bryant
Oct 19, 2014 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it
This book is so depressing that I had to read this one at the same time to prevent me from spiralling down into despair.

You may have heard of the title essay, which is funny and deservedly famous. But in the second essay the floor suddenly drops away and we’re falling into the vile pit of misogyny. The second essay is called “The Longest war” and is about men hating, silencing, injuring and killing women.

Ah misogyny, men hating women. It’s like oil – every time you think we may be running out o
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Amy
Jun 09, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
I've read this essay and others by Solnit all prior to their inclusion in this slim little tone with the exactly right-sized lettering on its cover. I am hugely adoring of her writing, so this review is less about the essays themselves (all fantastic) than the fact that it is a discrete volume you can, and should, be toting around in public.

Ladies, read it on the subway.

Two nights ago I was coming home from a lovely summer's walk to a favorite bookstore, where I snapped up the book. I took it ou
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Patrick Brown
Jul 07, 2014 Patrick Brown rated it really liked it
The titular first essay is required reading for humans, especially men. I enjoyed (is that the right word?) the rest of the book as well, though I felt the essays were best when they were most direct. My only quibble with the book is that the essays weren't meant to appear together, which led to some unfortunate repetition, right down to quotes from primary sources that appear in multiple essays. Still well worth the time.

One note: The best part about reading this as a book? No comments section.
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Navessa
Feb 15, 2016 Navessa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Navessa by: Deborah Markus

This collection of essays is a relatively quick read at 130 pages. And no, it’s not just 130 pages of funny anecdotes depicting unwitting men explaining things to Solnit that she already knows. In fact, after the introductory essay, there’s no further mention of such behavior.

What follows is what I would call a crash-course in why feminism was so important in the past and also why there’s still a critical need for its existence today.

So prepare yourself before diving into this. Solnit’s knack
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Rowena
Mar 29, 2015 Rowena rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
"Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they're talking about. Some men."

Men explain things to me all the time, whether it be in person, online, in classroom, on dates, and at work. And my female friends tell me the same thing. Of course I have often been left wondering what it is about me that make these particular men believe I know nothing about the subject? It can't just be my gender,surely? It often is but often their actions are often racialized. This book
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Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
Jan 29, 2016 Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE) rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE) by: Navessa
"Having the right to show up and speak are basic to survival, to dignity, and to liberty."

Well, this is a really interesting analyze of these "little nothings" that imprisons women in straightjackets, unfortunately leaving the way open for physical or mental violence. You may not want to see it, but it's here, it does happen, and vigilance is mandatory in my opinion. As I sometimes ask my friends, what kind of world do you want to live in? Is it okay to let people act that way, to agree tacitl
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Diane
Apr 18, 2015 Diane rated it liked it
Do not be fooled by the cutesy title — this is a dark and serious book.

Men Explain Things to Me is a collection of essays about feminism, sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, poverty, class warfare and gender inequality around the world. It's a heavy load, my friends.

To say that I was under a misapprehension about this book is an understatement. A friend mentioned how amusing the title essay was, and I assumed the whole book was like that — funny stories about t
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Meave
Mar 26, 2014 Meave rated it liked it
It ... didn't go where I thought it would. It starts out strong, she ends on a decent note, but it meanders in the middle in a way that makes me wish it hadn't been a book at all. It's good writing, and the points she makes are important, but overall it was just a little, I don't know, unfocused? Lackluster? Something about the third quarter, all that Woolf/Sontag musing, that lost totally lost my interest. I was hoping for more connection, something sharper.
michelle
Apr 30, 2015 michelle rated it did not like it
not really sure why i even finished this book. probably one of the biggest and earliest red flags for me was when she said that "violence doesn't have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender." that's cool and all but as a woman of color i'm exponentially more likely to be assaulted than a white woman and part of the reason behind that is because of fetishizing — done primarily and more or less inducted into the world i live in by, you guessed it, white men.

solnit
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Debbie "DJ"
Feb 01, 2015 Debbie "DJ" rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, feminism
When I bought "Men Explain Things to Me," I thought I would be learning about men's thoughts on gender roles/issues. Wrong. The title refers to how men have a confrontational confidence that no matter what the subject they are right. Solnit explains how this has silenced many young women in the same way as being harassed on the street. I found myself thinking of a male friend of mine. We've had many discussions, as he is Republican, and I, Democrat. There were so many times when he would "explai ...more
Deborah Markus
May 22, 2015 Deborah Markus rated it really liked it
I didn't know this book was a collection of essays when I first sat down with it. I thought it was an expansion on the title essay. I would have enjoyed this book more if I'd known what to expect, so in case you didn't know, either: this book is a collection of feminist essays.

Some of the writing here makes for some pretty brutal reading. Much of it had me jumping up and down, shouting, "YES! FINALLY, SOMEONE ELSE IS SAYING THIS! IT'S NOT JUST ME! THIS IS TRUE!"

Passages like this one:

It's not t
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Leah
Aug 21, 2014 Leah rated it it was ok
Solnit's popular essay that was floating around the internet for a while was important enough for me to remember some years later when this book of the same name came out. I was hoping that this 124 page volume would be full of embarrassing stories of feet in the mouths of men. I bought this on a day of several of these interactions, hoping it would be an ally and coping mechanism. It starts off with that essay, but then goes into talking about the ways in which women are victims of sexism by wa ...more
Jilly
Oct 05, 2016 Jilly rated it really liked it
Not a funny collection of mansplaining, but a serious look at why feminism is still important in today's society.

Women's liberation has often been portrayed as a movement intent on encroaching upon or taking power and privilege away from men, as though in some dismal zero-sum game, only one gender at a time could be free and powerful.
But, we are free together or slaves together.
Lata
Nov 30, 2016 Lata rated it really liked it
Shelves: auth-f, 2016-read
Men Explain Things to Me is a collection of essays about the experiences of women in America. There are nine essays in this collection, with the first giving this book its name. I cannot write about this book without saying that even though none of the concepts, sentiments or facts are new to me, I still found myself getting emotional while reading. I was reminded of a number of my experiences over the years, from my childhood onwards, that made this a slow and, at times, difficult read.
Note: T
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Maxi (slothreads)
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A couple of weeks ago I had an unfortunate conversation while I was at work. Not many of you know that I work as a receptionist in a really big company.
I work part-time, and, basically, I'm the first person someone sees when he/she enters the hall. I always tried to be clean, in order, with my clothing all ironed and shit.
I'm good at my job, I started like 10 months ago and never heard a compaint. Until a couple of weeks ago.

My boss basically told me that, yes, I was really pretty but I had to
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Ivonne Rovira
Jan 07, 2017 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
What an inspirational book! Rebecca Solnit writes brilliantly about mansplaining — although she doesn’t like that term — but the true value of this slim volume of essays comes with the way she connects the dots: mansplaining, rapes, las madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, the lauding of a rose-colored “traditional marriage,” and domestic violence all emerge from a belief that women aren’t full citizens, worthy of respect, of the right to speak, of the right to her own opinions, of the right ...more
Thomas
Dec 07, 2014 Thomas rated it really liked it
Chords, nerves: the thing is still circulating as I write. The point of the essay was never to suggest that I think I am notably oppressed. It was to take these conversations as the narrow end of the wedge that opens up space for men and closes it off for women, space to speak, to be heard, to have rights, to participate, to be respected, to be a full and free human being.

If you come across an ignorant person who pretends that sexism does not exist or that feminism has no merits, please direct t
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Jude Watson
Oct 15, 2015 Jude Watson rated it it was ok
What a mixed bag. The title essay works best for me because it actually discusses the author's personal experiences with getting talked over by men although she obviously knows a great deal more than them about things. The Woolf/Sontag essay is interesting too.

Everything else reads like an intro feminism pamphlet with a focus on rape and DV, but with poorly done intersectionality, especially around race and colonialism. The more she talks about global issues with a sweeping brush, the more unco
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Julie
Mar 09, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
I need some time to absorb this before I can write a quality review, but reading Men Explain Things To Me filled me with nauseating recognition, righteous, helpless anger, and yes, that last djinni in the bottle, hope.

I'm really struggling to channel my outrage over the kidnapped girls in northern Nigeria and the world's continued apathy over the subjugation of women and girls everywhere. In reading METTM and reliving all the stupid, maddening ways I've been condescended to, all the times I've
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Trish
Apr 10, 2015 Trish rated it really liked it
I liked the title of this and truthfully I thought it would be Solnit relating or interpreting the difference in how men and women approach an issue, a problem, a situation. I can always use that, tone-deaf as I tend to be, as I have taught myself to be. I am curious about how men think, but that is all. I don't weight it differently...or at least I hope I don't weight it less than my own view.

This short book of essays or blogposts is rather thoughts from a female point of view which I am alrea
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Hadrian
I've only read the title essay, but I could tell this is something very important. I won't need to explain why.
Hazal Çamur
Sep 20, 2016 Hazal Çamur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feminizmin sadece kadınlar için değil, erkekler için de var olduğunu ve aslında her iki tarafa da hizmet etmeyen sistemden kurtulmamız gerektiğine dair güzel bir eser.
Bu eseri hem kadın, hem de erkek bireyler okumalı. Ama benim bu eserde en çok sevdiğim yan, içimin bunca karardığı şu dünyada başarısız girişimlerin bile çok uzaklarda bir ışık yaktığını kanıtlarıyla anlatması oldu.
Her yaştan okura tavsiye ederim.
KimberlyRose
Dec 17, 2014 KimberlyRose rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fic
I'll give this author one thing: she has a consistent writing style and voice. Like her book Wanderlust, I had the same ping-pong experience: from "wow, that's a gem of a thought--I love it!" to "I am slightly recoiling from this seemingly one-sided presentation and somewhat condescending tone" to "so... incredibly... bored."

When something she writes strikes me, it strikes me hard! Like a kick to the bits! Such as the thought: why are women on the college campus told to stay inside after 10 pm
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Claire Tobin
May 08, 2014 Claire Tobin rated it really liked it
Before reading this book, I considered myself a feminist. I cared about (my) women's rights, signed petitions, spewed my fair share of angry rants, (and I have definitely been mansplained to), but there were so many things I wasn't aware of; what really happens to women on the sidelines and out of the public eye. Rebecca Solnit is one of the smartest writers whose work I've ever had the pleasure of reading. In this little book, she lays it all out there. I was glad to not see just {insert anger ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a slim volume that I read in one sitting, which is probably not the best way to absorb the sheer amount of information packed into 124 pages. If there is a feminism of the 21st century, surely Solnit is one of its voices. Her title essay, "Men Explain Things to Me," is one I'd read before, but I didn't realize it prompted another person to come up with the term mansplaining, a term which I myself have used although Solnit herself is not exactly sold on it.

These essays are well-researched
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Célia
Comecemos pelo óbvio: a capa de As coisas que os homens me explicam é fantástica. Por vários motivos, sendo que o maior deles é a sua ligação perfeita com o conteúdo do livro que se lhe segue. A imagem a preto e branco, juntamente com os fatos-de-banho das pessoas que retrata, remete para uma época (metade do século XX) em que o papel principal das mulheres continuava a ser o de mãe e dona-de-casa, sendo uma espécie de “propriedade” do marido. A sensação de liberdade que o salto do homem evoca, ...more
Jessica
Sep 10, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
Can I just say that the only negative reviews of this book I have read were written by men, and it's really hard for me to approach a man's criticism of feminism without making knee-jerk judgments about that man? I don't want men to tell me what represents good feminism or bad feminism, no matter how strong an ally he might be. I'm all for open conversation about how feminist ideas affect both genders, but I don't want men explaining the female experience to me. It doesn't get more "mansplainy" ...more
Ashley
Jan 05, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it
Lot of mixed feelings on this one. I think I would have liked it better if this was one of the first feminist books I read, but by the same token, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to someone starting out given what I know now.

I thought a lot of it was very high-level and didn't say anything new. Additionally, there were a lot of typical white feminism problems in the essays - reference to "Africa" rather than individual countries, over reliance on Middle Eastern examples or references, some i
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Atila Iamarino
Aug 17, 2016 Atila Iamarino rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminismo
Um livro que me deu agonia pela descrição da autora das situações que ela e outras mulheres passam por opressão ou agressão masculina. Uma grande parte do conteúdo eu já tive contato pelo Nerdologia sobre Sexismo, mas ler isso de primeira mão é bastante aflitivo. Leitura rápida e legal que eu já deveria ter feito há muito tempo, recomendada a todos que querem ter um pouco de empatia. Mulheres que passam por esse tipo de situação e piores regularmente. E homens que causam essas situações voluntar ...more
Meg
Oct 28, 2014 Meg rated it it was amazing
Rebecca Solnit is important to read, and one of my favorite authors. She makes incredible connections between capitalism and misogyny, and just gets it. After years of tuning out to the news because I could no longer handle daily reports from our joke of a media about rape, lost reproductive rights, and the overall ridiculousness of politicians whose success is built on sexism and greed, Solnit actually makes me - dare I say want? - to start paying attention again. Well, not really; I don’t thin ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Men Explain Things To Me, by Rebecca Solnit 3 19 Jan 20, 2017 03:46PM  
Eclectic Readers: Men Explain Things to Me 1 4 Jan 10, 2017 08:09PM  
Non-feminist Women Writers (or Artists or Actors) 6 26 Nov 18, 2016 05:06PM  
Some Men Do 2 65 Jun 07, 2016 05:40PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #16 Men Explain Things to Me 2 4 Mar 29, 2015 11:14AM  
The F-word: January NON-FICTION selection MEN EXPLAIN THINGS TO ME 26 93 Mar 06, 2015 12:51PM  
  • Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution
  • Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights
  • The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World
  • The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service
  • Feminism and Pop Culture
  • Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era
  • No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood
  • How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America
  • Heroines
  • The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure
  • The Essential Feminist Reader
  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman
  • Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism's Work Is Done
  • No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays
  • The Geek Feminist Revolution
  • Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work
  • Girls Will be Girls: Dressing Up, Playing Parts and Daring to Act Differently
  • Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It
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Rebecca Solnit is an American author who often writes on the environment, politics, place, and art. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications in print and online, including the Guardian newspaper and Harper's Magazine, where she is the first woman to regularly write the Easy Chair column founded in 1851. She is also a regular contributor to the political blog TomDispatch and to LitHub.

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“Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don't.” 73 likes
“Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.” 47 likes
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