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Men Explain Things to Me: Updated Edition with Two New Essays (2014)

de Rebecca Solnit

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1,669688,806 (3.93)5
"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 note-- because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, "He's trying to kill me!" This book features that now-classic essay with six perfect complements, including an examination of the great feminist writer Virginia Woolf 's embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women"--… (més)
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Very good, especially the extremely important titular essay. Very short. ( )
  Adamantium | Aug 21, 2022 |
In honor of Women's History Month most of my selections in recent weeks have been books about women or written by women or both. This was another that has been on my shelf for a while and the time seemed right to read it.

The world that Solnit (and the rest of us) inhabited at the time this book was published in 2014 has changed, an inescapable fact she herself has acknowledged online. Even for someone with her indomitable spirit, the Trump years were an assault not just on our forward progress, but our very sense of reality.

And yet there remains much of value in this book. The title essay, Men Explain Things to me, fully deserves the recognition it has received as an exploration of the lack of credence assigned to things women say or report or believe. Her observations far exceed the term "mansplaining", even if that is where she begins as she describes an incident where a man explains to her an "important" book - a book which she actually wrote herself.

Her thoughts on Virginia Woolf's embrace of the unknown future is another strong piece, one which I found especially meaningful since it casts my current despondency about so much of our world in a different light: “Despair is a form of certainty, certainty that the future will be a lot like the present or decline from it. Optimism is similarly confident about what will happen. Both are grounds for not acting. Hope can be the knowledge that reality doesn't necessarily match our plans.”

And running through the entire book are her observations about the struggles of women, gays and blacks to sustain forward momentum in their struggle for equality. Solnit has a talent for taking events and attitudes and reframing them into a perspective that is, generally speaking, more optimistic.

I've frequently pushed onto other people (and been reminded by them in return) the guidance that progress is not linear. Lately I've been struggling with that idea, whether the topic is national or international politics, culture wars, the climate, or the PT on my knee that is taking forever. Solnit is a good antidote to all that. ( )
  BarbKBooks | Aug 15, 2022 |
Another fantastic collections of essays from Rebecca Solnit. She has a great way of explaining vast subjects in easy to grasp understanding. ( )
  thewestwing | Aug 12, 2022 |
Kirja oli erilainen kuin odotin, mutta helvetin hyvä, välillä jopa karmea. Karmea, koska kirjassa käsitellyt asiat ovat oikeasti tapahtuneet. ( )
  AceVonS | Jul 14, 2022 |
pithy and profound. ( )
  ninam0 | Jun 22, 2022 |
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For the grandmothers, the levelers, the dreamers, the men who get it, the young women who keep going, the older ones who opened the way, the conversations that don't end, and a world that will let Ella Nachimovitz (born January 2014) bloom to her fullest
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I still don't know why Sallie and I bothered to go to that party in the forest slope above Aspen.
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Please don't combine this edition with earlier editions. This edition has additional essays.
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"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 note-- because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, "He's trying to kill me!" This book features that now-classic essay with six perfect complements, including an examination of the great feminist writer Virginia Woolf 's embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women"--

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