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Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit is the author of 15 books, among them Men Explain Things to Me, as well as essays and atlases.  The tagline on the home page of her website describes Solnit as "writer, historian, and activist."  Men Explain Things to Me is a slim volume of essays including the essay that lends its title to the volume.  I don't remember where or how I first came across Men Explain Things to Me, but it has been on my to-read list for quite a while.  It begins with the essay of the same title which is a deep exploration of the phenomenon now popularly referred to as "mansplaining."

The essays in this collection explore a number of ideas that share a common theme: society's silencing of women in a multitude of ways.  There is the silencing of women's voices through social mores ingrained in women from childhood through adulthood that condition the devaluation of the female voice.  Solnit also traces much of the violence that men commit against women to the patriarchy's need to control women in that violence and murder are the ultimate silencing of women.  Solnit also writes that although the root of violence is gendered (i.e. perpetrated overwhelmingly by men), this fact is often overlooked and seldom studied.  If a major risk factor for violence is not even acknowledged, how can society as a whole address it in an effective manner so as to eradicate it?

Solnit's essays are well-researched with statistics and facts to back up her positions.  And this collection is a thought provoking and empowering volume.  It is deeply engrossing and highly readable.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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