On Wednesday, I picked up Rebecca Solnit’s book Men Explain Things To Me. It’s one of those purchases I made quickly – not having heard of the book before – because I needed this book. The title alone spoke to something in me, something I had not recognized before, something I had experienced and had simply taken in as “normal.”
Plus, Rebecca Solnit’s book Wanderlust changed my life.
I’ve only read the first essay, but I feel something in me opening up, a light peering into shadowy corners and giving me strength. You know, the way good books do.
Here is my favorite paragraph from the first essay:
The battle with Men Who Explain Things has trampled down many women – of my generation, of the up-and-coming generation we need so badly, here and in Pakistan and Bolivia and Java, not to speak of the countless women who came before me and were not allowed into the laboratory, or the library, or the conversation, or the revolution, or even the category we called human.
I’ve seen this battle in churches, where women are not allowed to be pastors, in academia, where male professors and administrators patronize female faculty members or override their more-informed decisions, in relationships, where men speak for their wives, as if the women they love do not have voices of their own, on social media where men “shout” down women for having experiences that make them uncomfortable.
It makes me angry every time, and my hope is that Solnit will guide me through the anger and into action by helping me clarify my own experience and thoughts.
I can’t wait to read more of Solnit’s wisdom – tempered with the sharpest wit – and to find where I have let myself be silenced.
If you thought I spoke up before . . . 🙂
Women, have you felt silenced because you are a woman? When has that happened for you? What did you do?