The National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author delivers a collection of essays that serve as the perfect “antidote to mansplaining” (The Stranger). 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. “In this series of personal but unsentimental essays, Solnit gives succinct shorthand to a familiar female experience that before had gone unarticulated, perhaps even unrecognized.” —The New York Times “Essential feminist reading.” —The New Republic “This slim book hums with power and wit.” —Boston Globe “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 “Essential.” —Marketplace “Feminist, frequently funny, unflinchingly honest and often scathing in its conclusions.” —Salon
There are other ways women have been made to disappear. There is the business of naming. In some cultures women keep their names, but in most their children take the father’s name, and in the English-speaking world until very recently, married women were addressed by their husbands’ names, prefaced by Mrs. You stopped, for example, being Charlotte Brontë and became Mrs. Arthur Nicholls. Names erased a woman’s genealogy and even her existence.
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Violence is one way to silence people, to deny their voice and their credibility, to assert your right to control over their right to exist.