Men Explain Things To Me Summary & Study Guide

Rebecca Solnit
This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Men Explain Things To Me.
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Men Explain Things To Me Summary & Study Guide Description

Men Explain Things To Me Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit.

In her book, Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit describes her own experiences with men who just because she’s a woman have different expectations and a harsher set of standards for her. Right from the beginning the readers are treated to an incident in which a man is stunned when he realizes that the book he was bragging about and declared to be important was written by Rebecca. Without saying a word to her, she knew exactly what he was thinking. He turned ashen, mumbled and walked off. The question of how this young woman could have possibly written such an important book was written all over his face. Rebecca had to enjoy the moment.

But this light anecdote is just the tip of the iceberg because Rebecca expands her book to much more serious matters. Women have been silenced through the years. Over the centuries, women have been berated and beaten into silence. Men have much more control over a silent woman who doesn’t threaten his status quo. Women who have been abused know that they face retribution, disbelief and even violence for reporting that they’d been sexually abused.

Women are raped at the rate of every 6.2 minutes, a statistic that is particularly jarring with the additional knowledge that many rapes are not reported. In the U.S. today’s woman is savvy and sophisticated and is well-aware that when she reports a rape she will be facing harsh skepticism from the cops who interview her followed by the ordeal of a court trial during which many rape victims are depicted as sluts or delusional or even bitter for being rejected by the accused. One erudite professor asked a colleague why a rape investigation was being launched since only one woman reported it. The woman knew she was raped and who did it but it wasn’t enough for the professor.

The United States has made great strides in the furtherance of women’s rights beginning in the 1960s with the publication of Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique. The book shed light on the oppression of women and their inequality with men. Words like misogyny, sexism and chauvinism became part of modern discourse. The many decades since feminism was born has shown great progress in societal mores and group think, in legislation, law enforcement and in the judicial system. Marital rape and date rape was recognized as real crimes. It was no longer a man’s personal business what he did with his wife in his own home – it was domestic violence. Other pioneers in feminism that greatly impacted the movement and influenced author Solnit were Virginia Woolf and Susan Sontag who believed that venturing in the darkness into the unknown can have unexpected - yet positive - results.

The women of first world countries are fortunate to have laws and society behind them in seeking full equality with men. However, in regions like the Middle East, parts of Asia and in developing nations, women virtually have no rights – no right to be heard or educated or to even show their faces.

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