Mission at Tenth contributor Rebecca Solnit's latest offering, Men Explain Things To Me, is a collection of essays born from a blog post with the same title. The conversation spawned the term 'mansplaining' and evolved into being word of the year worthy by the New York Times and it's own website of actual accounts from women. Mansplaining is now embedded in a growing lexicon to deeper the understanding of the gender gap. Solnit's book uses cutting humor and brutal honesty to address the pervasive issues that haunt the divide.
Ultimately, Solnit's book successfully addresses the many forms of gender violence and oppression. It's release on May 27th proved timely in light of the recent misogynistic motivated tragedy at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
In a recent interview in Salon.com Solnit addressed the evolution of understanding violence toward women:
"The last essay of the book is very much about the fact that feminism is an attempt to change thousands of years of patriarchy, silencing, subjugation, erasure and containment of women. The fact that in less than half a century we’ve so radically transformed the social landscape is amazing. It’s one of the things that I’ve been trying to articulate in my mostly hopeful work. When I was born a little over half a century ago there was no “sexual violence,” “marital rape,” “domestic violence,” “sexual harassment,” “sexual discrimination.” None of those expressions existed and none of these things were treated as legal categories. “Kitty” Genovese could be stabbed to death in public and many looked away thinking the guy had the right to do it, because, it turns out, they thought the murderer was her husband or partner.
Ivy League colleges, where the power brokering of this country takes place, did not admit women, something we don’t talk about nearly as much as we talk about non-white people being barred from colleges of the South. When Anita Hill appeared in Congress. the current vice president was one of her attackers, but, something happened in between, and he’s been one of the main sponsors of the Violence Against Women Act. Some people say we can rest on our laurels. We haven’t won, we haven’t lost, we’re winning some of the battles — the war is not over."
Rebecca Solnit's facebook page serves as a forum to discuss the importance of understanding the #yesallwomen movement spawned by recent events that addresses that violence towards women affects all women. Solnit's book Men Explain Things To Me is available here.