I just have to share

// 29 April 2008

This is an article by Rebecca Solnit called Men Explain Things to Me and it is in equal measure hilarious and frightening accurate. I advise reading it and enjoying it, and then recommending it to every man you know…

Comments From You

Helen gallagher // Posted 29 April 2008 at 4:52 pm

Yeah that really made me smile :D

Anne Onne // Posted 29 April 2008 at 6:10 pm

Hear hear. OMG, that man in the book reminds me of an uncle of mine… I suppose there really is one in every family, but dear lord!

Men really are socialised to be much more confident of their facts, anf both men and women are socialised to assume women know less than they do. I remember the research a while back that suggested women normally underestimate their IQ, and men overestimate theirs, and whilst IQ is dodgy at best, men do, overall get the message that it’s their duty to look knowledgeable (and funny), whereas women are supposed to stand there aaahing receptively and making the men look good.

Helen // Posted 29 April 2008 at 8:42 pm

Or that even if you do know better, it would be rude to say so :D

Eleanor T // Posted 30 April 2008 at 4:27 am

That was a BRILLIANT article which really explored a certain type of man we know all-too-damn-well. I’ve just started a new job and have already met at least four more of them… Sigh…

Lorna // Posted 30 April 2008 at 10:08 am

That article is amazing. Eveyone around you tells you it’s not happening, that you are being over sensitive, that you are making things up, that you have some other bizzarre hidden agenda, until you start to believe that you are wrong and delusional.

Tallulah Lines // Posted 30 April 2008 at 10:12 am

It’s always nice to read something like this and find women around the world writhing in the same anger as yourself and agreeing with you about a situation perfectly! The fact that I hadn’t even realised that my perceptions of men such as this were so apparently accurate in the past is testament to Solnit’s point in itself. I especially encountered men such as those discussed in a history class I took which centred heavily on politics and economics, where the ratio was around 12:3 men to women. It was incredibly hard to speak with confidence about a male-dominated strand of the discipline and in a male-dominated class. That is until a friend of mine reminded me that the female opinion or interpretation is just as valid! It’s a shame it needed to be pointed out to me but I haven’t forgotten what she told me and I’m certainly going to keep her words of wisdom with me in the future! We done Rebecca Solnit, and well done to my intelligent friend.

Anna // Posted 30 April 2008 at 10:57 am

What a brilliant and necessary article! Stroppy though I am, I come across this phenomenon ALL THE TIME. But I can’t help wondering if I’m complicit in it by deferring to being explained to.

Also I think there are some guys who you can ONLY relate to in this way – their social skills don’t allow them to interact with women on any other basis.

Juliet // Posted 30 April 2008 at 12:05 pm

Yes, a brilliant article. I loved it. I have come across countless men like this and I can’t fucking STAND them. I do agree with the point Anne raised, I think I have been complicit in often being too deferential. I’m working on that, but it ain’t easy trying to undo years of conditioning!

Hannah // Posted 5 May 2008 at 1:44 pm

Haha it is brilliant to let them go on for ages before humiliating them isn’t it? This reminds me of my ex(for good reason!)boyfriend trying to explain to me how the chinese language works on the basis of his brother’s taxi ride in SHangghai. I’m doing a degree in Chinese…he was entirely wrong. Unfortunately I’m not usually sure enough of my facts to stand up for myself, and of course for a woman to assert herself when she’s wrong would be made into a big deal, whereas it’s acceptable for men.

Anne Onne // Posted 5 May 2008 at 3:03 pm

It’s not fair for women to blame themselves for being complicit, though if they can, it’s good to try and shake programming whenever possible.

It’s always important to remember that the oppressed do things that are logical based on the position they are in. Women are wary of giving their opinion precisely because they are normally talked over, ignored, contradicted when they are right, and made a big deal of when they are wrong. It makes perfect sense that they just go with the flow or don’t speak up under this pressure.

On the other hand, if we can speak up, and fight these pressures, then more power to us!

But don’t ever feel guilty for doing what you feel necessary at the time for your safety or livelihood. Feminism isn’t about martyring women for our cause.

Sometimes you fight, and sometimes you sit tight. That’s the compromise of life.

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