Ivonne Rovira's Reviews > Men Explain Things to Me

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
3803671
's review

it was amazing
Recommended 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 to say no, of the right to her own decisions. Handling these issues separately serves only to obscure the issues of power and privilege at play.

Solnit didn’t coin the term “manplain”; however, her 2008 essay on TomDispatch.com on the phenomenon of men with only a cursory knowledge of a subject lecturing female experts predated the origin of the term, and Solnit has had a lot to do with alerting women to this ubiquitous form of patronization, “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.”

As she writes:

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.

…The battle with Men Who Explain Things has trampled down many women — of my generation, of the up-and-coming generation we need so badly, here and in Pakistan and Bolivia and Java, not to speak of the countless women who came before me and were not allowed into the laboratory, or the library, or the conversation, or the revolution, or even the category called human.


Too often women blame themselves, doubting what they know that they know in the face of an ignoramus’ steadfast certainty — just as women’s socialization to be good and quiet and polite could leave them at a disadvantage when dealing with violent men. The arrogance of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn or the Indian bus rapists and that of the mansplainer who begins Solnit’s collections of essays differ only in degree, not kind. Solnit’s book proves so excellent that it made me wish I’d read it sooner. I’m recommending it for my husband and my son and my daughter — and all my GoodReads friends.
28 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Men Explain Things to Me.
Sign In »

Quotes Ivonne Liked

Rebecca Solnit
“We know less when we erroneously think we know than when we recognize that we don’t.”
Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me

Rebecca Solnit
“Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don't.”
Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me

Rebecca Solnit
“If it’s not clear enough in the piece, I love it when people things to me they know and I’m interested in but don’t yet know. It’s when they explain things to me I know and they don’t that the conversation goes awry.”
Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me

Rebecca Solnit
“Women in the online gaming community have been harassed, threatened, and driven out. Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist media critic who documented such incidents, received support for her work, but also, in the words of a journalist, 'another wave of really aggressive, you know, violent personal threats, her accounts attempted to be hacked. And one man in Ontario took the step of making an online video game where you could punch Anita's image on the screen. And if you punched it multiple times, bruises and cuts would appear on her image.' The difference between these online gamers and the Taliban men who, last October, tried to murder fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai for speaking out about the right of Pakistani women to education is one of degree. Both are trying to silence and punish women for claiming voice, power, and the right to participate. Welcome to Manistan.”
Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me


Reading Progress

December 23, 2014 – Started Reading
December 23, 2014 – Shelved
December 24, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I accept your recommendation with gusto! Great review, Ivonne! Adding it!


Ivonne Rovira Lisa wrote: "I accept your recommendation with gusto! Great review, Ivonne! Adding it!"

It's wonderful, and it's short. LOL!


Nandakishore Varma This is already on my to-read list, and your review has strengthened my resolve to read it on priority.


Debbie "DJ" Wow Ivonne, fantastic review! Absolutely love the quotes you used, and especially that these men differ only in degree not in kind! As you know, I loved this as well, and wish everyone could read this one!

Side thought...was reading a review by a woman today, and noticed a pattern. If the book was not liked, there are apologies, mostly about themselves for not liking..."maybe it was just me," "read the book at the wrong time," etc. I have never seen a man say any of these things.


Nandakishore Varma Debbie "DJ" wrote: "Wow Ivonne, fantastic review! Absolutely love the quotes you used, and especially that these men differ only in degree not in kind! As you know, I loved this as well, and wish everyone could read t..."

REAL men don't APOLOGISE! (Macho music)

(I do, though. Mostly to my wife. :P)


Debbie "DJ" Haha! That's right, you better! (Soft rock)


Ivonne Rovira Debbie "DJ" wrote: "Side thought...was reading a review by a woman today, and noticed a pattern. If the book was not liked, there are apologies, mostly about themselves for not liking..."maybe it was just me," "read the book at the wrong time," etc. I have never seen a man say any of these things. "

Ever since college, I've never been able to understand the confidence that men have. I married at 21 as a college student, and -- ahem! -- my husband's grades went right up. And I noticed that what he thought was "good enough" I would not have turned in for love or money. (I graduated with a 3,8 GPA, and he was a B- student by nature.) Their confidence can be so vast that it borders on magical thinking.


Ivonne Rovira Nandakishore wrote: "Debbie "DJ" wrote: "Wow Ivonne, fantastic review! Absolutely love the quotes you used, and especially that these men differ only in degree not in kind! As you know, I loved this as well, and wish e..."

LOL!


Crumb This book hit me hard too!!


back to top