Men Explain Things to Me (Solnit)

Solnit combines current events and the work of writers like Woolf, Faludi and Freidan to position herself in what she calls the gender wars. She’s both pragmatic and passionate. And you know what? She’s absolutely right. Even though I think that she (like others) makes too much of the significance of social media traffic (that a certain hashtag is trending means something; it just doesn’t mean everything), her point that we are saying things we wouldn’t say 50 years ago and that we have words for things (rape culture, date rape) that we didn’t and couldn’t name 50 years ago is well-taken. Solnit’s precise and straightforward essays (several of them begin with wonderfully metaphorical passages), particularly “Worlds Collide in a Luxury Suite,” made me see connections among colonialism, capitalism and our rape culture. I cannot recall, at this point, what I thought of Anita Hill’s testimony when I first heard it, but I am quite sure that I wish I’d read this first. Better yet, I wish I’d kept quiet.

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