I’m baaaaaaack//Review of Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Helloooo, it’s me! Sorry it’s been so long since I last posted! I hit a bit of a reading rut but I’m back in action. Here’s my review of Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me.

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After a man decided to explain psychology to me even after I told him repeatedly that I got my bachelors degree in that exact subject, it seemed only fitting to make Make Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit my next read. In this collection of related essays, Solnit employs humor to offer a rather cutting analysis of the problematic discourse that occurs between men and women. Specifically, she focuses on the assumption that many men make that they are all knowing and women are not and how this wrongful assumption is rooted in cultural inequality that that continues to perpetuate the inferiority of women.

To put it simply, Solnit’s analysis was absolutely spot on. She eloquently explain what it means to be a modern women, from the casual, everyday sexism, to the very real fear of being raped and murdered, with a level of clarity that any manplainer wishes he could achieve. Her explanation of the many ways in which women are silenced by men was heightened by her use of personal anecdotes and specific examples from men “cutting you off at the dinner table or conference” to “threatening you if you open your mouth” (Solnit 140). Ultimately, Solnit strikes the perfect balance between a frightening survey of what it means to be a woman in today’s world, a call to action, and a light at the end of the “thousand-mile road” (Solnit 140) that keeps us moving forward.

My only criticism of the essays was the chapter entitled “Woolf’s Darkness,”which focused entirely on the work of Virginia Woolf and how her works tied in to modern feminism. Maybe it’s due to my own ignorance when it comes to her work, but I felt as though the chapter was a bit too tangential and interrupted the flow of the incredibly argument that Solnit built upon throughout the chapters the preceded and followed “Woolf’s Darkness.”

Men Explain things to Me is an incredibly powerful collection of essays that accurately captures the need for modern feminism. From the every day microaggressions to the terrifying rate at which women are being permanently silenced by men, Solnit’s work is an incredibly important piece of social commentary that everyone should learn from.

5 out of 5 stars

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