Monday, July 12, 2021

Men Explain things to Me by Rebecca Solnit - great summary

Men Explain things to Me  by Rebecca Solnit  is a collection of articles and essays . 
Each chapter in the book is a separate article, all of which together give a glimpse into the lives of women under the patriarchal system , and how it affects the world. 

Men Explain Things to Me (2008) 

The article "Men Explain things to Me" deals with the silencing of women, and specifically the idea that men seem to believe that as a premise, they understand better than women, no matter what the issue. The term " propaganda " was later coined for this conduct , and although Solnit does not use the term herself, this article is considered the basis from which it was derived, as Solnit is the first to describe the experience itself in such detail. An anecdote she shares in the article is about a case in which she was at a social event with cultural figures, and the host - a wealthy philanthropist - had a "conversation" with her in which he also completed her part of the conversation about her work as a writer. Although she told him she had written six or seven books. Later in the conversation, he asked her if she had heard of "The Very Important Book on Edward Moybridge."Coincidentally, a book that Solnit herself wrote. She tried to tell him that, but he was too busy telling her how important the book was. Her friend tried several times to tell him - it's her! Rebecca wrote the book you're talking about! - but the man insisted on telling. To them about the "important" book, so much so that Solnite was already convinced that there was another book she was unaware of on the same subject. , Only saw a review of it in the New York Times, but the man did not give up, and continued to lecture the two women on the contents of the book.

Solanit describes how such behavior is repeated in different professional and academic spaces, and some women have told her about similar experiences, when the common denominator is that there is an implicit assumption in front of men that women know less about the subject, even - as in Solanit's case when they actually "wrote the book" On the subject. 

In the article, Solanit describes the variety of ways in which women are silenced, and a number of cases in which women presented important information and were not heard, with dire consequences (e.g. in the case of national security regarding al-Qaeda information ). And how in society both women and men are so accustomed to it that it is usually difficult to put a finger on it. She writes that such silence is a violation of women's freedom, and ultimately an abuse of power. According to her, if women do not have credibility in the eyes of men, issues such as violence, death, abuse, harassment, and rape are reduced and pushed to the margins. Therefore, she concludes, silence is a dangerous phenomenon. 

The Longest War (2013) 

This essay focuses on violence against women . In particular, how women are at increased risk of being murdered, raped , abused and generally experiencing abuse by their spouses . It describes the social and legal contexts in which gender-based violence against women occurs, and how despite the monstrous numbers. For example, it is estimated that rape occurs in the United States once a minute, which amounts to millions of rape cases a year, and yet the issue is treated as a marginal issue, where each time courts and legislators find a different opening for harm against a particular type of victim. He is allowed. She argues that the tendency of society and the establishment to treat every case of rape (and other violence) as a private case and not as part of a complex of violence against women actually permits the blood of women and does not allow a solution to the problem. 

Solanit also describes how the online community encourages and sustains the violent environment, and talks about threats of public rape and murder as well as cases of public rape and murder, to shed light on the actual situation of women around the world. She writes about blaming the victim , and about political interests that perpetuate and even promote the status quo.

Clashing Worlds in a Luxury Suite: Thoughts on the IMF, Global Injustice, and a Stranger on the Train (2011) 

This section is Article Comment rape of Nafissatou medially by the president of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the former Dominique Strauss-Kahn . She writes that the IMF exploits former colonial countries in the same way that the world rapes and exploits marginalized women, and makes a parallel between the world and women and between the IMF and men, who exploit their relative power. 

In Praise of the Threat: What the Real Meaning of Equality in Marriage (2013) 

Solanit promotes in this chapter the idea that the violent response to the struggle for equality in marriage (the term for same-sex marriage in the United States) by conservative elements stems from a place of ideological misogyny . Her theory is that same-sex marriage threatens the traditional institution of marriage, because it takes place outside of traditional gender roles , and exists as an alliance between equals. That according to conservative thinking, it is so ingrained that marriage is hierarchical, in which women should be subordinate to men, that equality in marriage means ideological liberation for women, once this option embodied in same-sex marriage is adopted. Solanit, as implied by the title, encourages the existence of the apparent threat, to reach a state where women have equality in their relationships, something that historically has not been. 

Grandmother Spider (2014)

This chapter reviews the symbolic extinction of women throughout history and under the law. Solanit describes how the disappearance of women is like the weaving of the web of the world, without ever being caught in it. Specifically, she reviews marriage laws from England, where in the eyes of the law women were considered to own their husbands, genealogies that include only men, and how the social standard of capturing women to their pavilion contributes to their erasure from historical and other texts. 

Wolf's Darkness: Embracing the Unexplained (2009) 

This chapter deals with the influence of the writer Virginia Woolf, and on her quote, "The future is dark, and that's the best thing a future can be, I think." Facing an uncertain future, Solanit writes about the potential of the unknown, and the possibility of producing significant change, and that we must happily embrace that potential, instead of fearing uncertainty. 

Pandora’s Box and the Volunteer Police Force (2014)

The final essay is a combination of warning and call to action. Solanit stresses that the struggle for women's rights is far from over, and points to what she calls the “Civil Guard” on the Internet, all those people who sanctify and perpetuate the rape culture , to keep women “in their place” and make them afraid to take steps forward. She uses the Pandora's box as a metaphor for ideas of equality and justice, in the sense that once these ideas are released to the world from the coffin-like box that imprisons them, there is no way to return them to their hiding place. 

Solanit begins the book in a somewhat humorous tone, describing the embarrassing situations that arise when a sense of masculine superiority meets ignorance, thus silencing women’s voices, and continuing with descriptions of historical and contemporary oppression and violence against women. She ends in a serious tone, saying the main problem with silencing women who have something to say is that silence also happens when what they want to say is "he is trying to kill me!", So not only is actual violence a problem we must eradicate, but the conditions that allow oppression and violence are We are transparent, and although it seems to be a less acute problem, we must also recognize this problem in order to be able to address the more tangible problem, because the two are closely related.