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Secure Your Deal: Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays (Best of Granta) - Limited-Time Specials!

Jun 15, 2024 07:15 pm
Secure Your Deal: Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays (Best of Granta) - Limited-Time Specials!
Category: Feminist Criticism
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Title: ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Women’ for the Twenty-First Century
Content: I have adored Rebecca Solnit’s writing since I found her wonderful book exploring an activity almost all of us do, or have done, and take for granted, though some of us have a passion for it – walking. Her book Wanderlust, A History of Walking showed what a fine, broad, interesting mind she has, exploring the biology and evolution of walking, the development of walking for pleasure instead of necessity, cultural attitudes to walking, the sexual politics of walking, walking as resistance and political action, and much much more. So I knew I was going to be absorbed, educated, enlightened angered and amused by Men Explain Things To Me and Other Essays, a collection of investigations into various aspects of the relationship between men and women, and into the workings of a society which has clearly shown of late how far we still have to go In the first, title essay, Solnit looks at ‘mansplaining’ though she doesn’t use the term , with a laugh-and-wince encounter with someone who clearly was all mouth and no ears. The Longest War explores the dark subject of rape. “We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this Earth, though it’s almost never treated as a civil rights or human rights issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern. Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender” Worlds collide in a Luxury Suite takes the issue of power and domination into the relationship between capitalism, the IMF, and the way the developing world has been exploited and held back. She links this story with the personal one of Dominique Strauss-Kahn formerly head of the IMF, and the African chambermaid he was charged with assaulting In Praise of the Threat looks at the changing history of marriage, and how same-sex marriage, without the historic inequalities of marriage between the sexes, metaphysically may make for a recognition that a marriage should be between equals. Which is not what marriage has traditionally been. Grandmother Spider examines the invisibility of women within much genealogy. Look at the Bible, as example. All those begats, almost all men. Where are the daughters in the list, where the mothers? “Fathers have sons and grandsons and so the lineage goes, with the name passed on; the tree branches, and the longer it goes on the more people are missing: sisters, aunts, mothers, grandmothers, great-grand-mothers, a vast population made to disappear on paper and in history” Woolf’s Darkness is a celebration of Virginia Woolf, and her willingness to face the darkness – her own and the world’s, and to engage with the mysteriousness of life, and the not-knowing. This is probably the most poetic of the essays. By which I mean that it takes the reader, by flash of unknown and surprising juxtapositions, as poetry does, into seeing the non-linear nature of our lives “We know less when we erroneously think we know than when we recognise that we don’t. Sometimes I think these pretences at authoritative knowledge are failures of language: the language of bold assertion is simpler, less taxing, than the language of nuance and ambiguity and speculation” Pandora’s Box and the Volunteer Police Force is a celebration of feminism, which, as Solnit points out is not just about changing women’s lives for the better. We (men and women) are on a journey here “Feminism is an endeavour to change something very old, widespread, and deeply rooted in many, perhaps most, cultures around the world, Innumerable institutions, and most households on Earth – and in our minds, where it all begins and end” “I think the future of something we may no longer call feminism must include a deeper inquiry into men. Feminism sought and seeks to change the whole human world; many men are on board with the project, but how it benefits men, and in what ways the status quo damages men as well, could bear far more thought” Thought provoking, articulate, beautifully written; thoroughly recommended
Title: Short, but a very efficient read!!
Content: i had my doubts about this book based on how short it was, but i’m pretty sure that was the point. This really is an amazing read, which provides several essays and statistics on women’s experiences with injustice in the hands of our male counterparts. This discourse of injustice is dissected into many different subject matters including rape, SA, violence, and brutality in the hands of infamous politicians/well-known reputable people and other notorious people. This book also very much takes a firm grasp on the topic of feminism. But most importantly, this book stresses out the severity of the lengths women go to avoid all of these predicaments and our feelings and attitudes towards being subjected to this torment in our entire lifetime. How the system IS NOT put in place to benefit us at all in the slightest. But it shines some appreciation on how far we as a society have come, to slowly and slowly get rights and get more people on board with abolishing all things bad about it. The reason i give this book 4 out of 5 stars is because of how heavy and deep the conversation of sexual assault and violence was. I do advise looking into trigger warnings before reading this book, but overall it was such an amazing read!! it is a really good intermediate feminist book. I WOULD DEFINITELY READ IT AGAIN
Title: A challenging & exhilarating collection of essays
Content: I've been a fan of Rebecca Solnit since I read [book:A Field Guide to Getting Lost|76479], which astounded me with it exquisite language, deep learning and fascinating connections. Men Explain Things to Me had all of this, but it was a much more challenging book. I had read the title essay once before. But reading it again was another reminder to try to spend more time listening than I do talking. This is one essay that I think most men would benefit from reading again and again. In fact, I think that this is a book most men should read at least once. Most of the rest of the essays had me questioning what it means to be a good man. Many of the essays resulted in difficult and honest self-reflection, examining failures and looking for ways of improving. The final two essays were stunning, and both are essays I know I'll be returning to. "Wolff's Darkness" was a felt like a return to everything I loved about A Field Guide to Getting Lost. I found it exhilarating. It was an examination of how to find a way in an uncertain by relying on hope rather than false certainties. Perhaps the most challenging essay was "Pandora's Box and the Volunteer Police Force." It fundamentally changed my idea of what a revolution is. This is an opinion I've held for almost 30 years, so changing my mind was no small task. This is about as far from a self help book as you can get. There are no easy solutions or magic roads to happiness here. Nevertheless, I'd recommend this to anyone interesting in becoming a better person and working towards a better world.
Title: Just a short story plus other stuff
Content: The book is not what it says on the tin, unless you read the tin carefully, then you discover the other stuff. I thought it was going to be a full book about mansplaining. It wasn’t.
Title: Thought provoking and devastating
Content: It's a challenging read as a male reader. As a queer man, I have always tried to rally on the side of women as I felt a sense of kinship in our isolation as mistreated histories. But reading this and getting to hear figures and more examples that just what is shown in media is quite harrowing. In a way, it's unsurprising as every female in my life at one point or another has related to me tales of their feminine struggle. I feel like readings such as these should be on the curriculum for all children in all schools to make these conversations more widely available and discussed.
Title: Some of these essays were fabulous, but very America ...
Content: Some of these essays were fabulous, but very America focused. Sometimes without more knowledge it was hard to get into them e.g. the Virginia Woolf essay.

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