Men Explain Things to Me

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.

About the author

Writer, historian, and activist REBECCA SOLNIT is the author of sixteen books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory, including Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, (which began as her first TomDispatch essay back in 2003); The Faraway Nearby; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Wanderlust: A History of Walking; and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism and the Lannan Literary Award); and atlases of San Francisco and New Orleans. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a contributing editor to Harper’s and frequent contributor to TomDispatch.

Reviews

"This slim book — seven essays, punctuated by enigmatic, haunting paintings by Ana Teresa Fernandez — hums with power and wit."
Boston Globe

"The Antidote to Mansplaining."
The Stranger

"Feminist, frequently funny, unflinchingly honest and often scathing in its conclusions."
Salon

"Solnit tackles big themes of gender and power in these accessible essays. Honest and full of wit, this is an integral read that furthers the conversation on feminism and contemporary society."
San Francisco Chronicle Top Shelf

"Solnit [is] the perfect writer to tackle the subject: Her prose style is so clear and cool."
The New Republic

"The terrain has always felt familiar, but Men Explain Things To Me is a tool that we all need in order to find something that was almost lost."
National Post

"Where opponents would argue that feminism is humorless and superfluous, Men Explain Things to Me is a compelling argument for the movement's necessary presence in contemporary society. It approaches the subject with candor and openness, furthering the conversation and opening a new Pandora's box that's apt to change the way we talk about women's rights."
Shelf Awareness

"Solnit’s intimate understanding of how the twin bulwarks of language and silence fuel political agendas is only part of what makes her writing so exciting. The other essays in the collection complement the first (some are even stronger), but theirs is the poetic correlation of masterful storytelling. Ultimately Solnit’s interdisciplinary, patchwork narratives are drawn together by a single theme: hope."
The Baffler

"An engaging primer on the realities of mansplaining."
Bitch Magazine

"Solnit’s pull-no-punches observations... make this a valuable contribution to feminist theory."
The Indypendent

"A riveting collection of feminist essays."
Chicagoist

"A necessary read in these fraught times. Starting with the title essay, which went viral and inspired the ever-useful term “mansplaining,” Solnit writes powerfully about the ways in which power is wielded in today’s society, and brings awareness to the staggering inequalities that we wrestle with on a daily basis."
FlavorWire

"A brilliant, varied, and thoroughly enjoyable read—and definitely an addition to my list of feminist faves."
Lip Magazine

"Sharp-witted and bold... quintessential Solnit."
Publishers Weekly

"Sharp narratives that illuminate and challenge the status quo of women's roles in the world. Slim in scope, but yet another good book by Solnit."
Kirkus Reviews

"Fantastic" —Amanda Palmer