Book Review: Men Explain Things to Me

Two book reviews in a row?!  Whaaaat.  I’m feeling so erudite.  Honestly, though, this book really made me think.  It’s probably the most academic book I’ve read in a while and definitely the most feminist.  I picked it up because I found the title funny and assumed it would be a humorous take on the gender divide.  Once I dug into it, however, I realized it was a serious, researched response to the struggles faced by women.  Normally, I would put something like that down so I don’t feel like I’m still at school/work when I’m reading, but this kept my attention.

Feminist is not a word I typically use to describe myself.  While I believe in equal rights for women, I am not an actively campaigning for women’s rights.  I think women have made great strides over the years, and I’ve personally had no cause for complaint.  But Solnit’s collection of essays got me thinking that there is more progress to be made.  Why, for example, do we constantly stress to young women the many ways in which they can protect themselves from date rape, but we never collect the men on college campuses to say “hey, don’t date rape”?  We put the burden on the victim, rather than the potential culprit.

This book, which can be read in one sitting, will shift your perspective.  It’s about looking at women and immediately assuming they’re smart rather than waiting for them to prove it.  It’s about training men to understand that “sexual entitlement” is not a thing.  And it’s about understanding that even if the response is that not all men behave that way, they all need to have this idea reinforced because all women – not just some – live in constant worry of the few who do.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

men explain things to me