Excuse my French here, but I FUCKING HATE that this is the answer to many women who come forward with their sexual assault stories, as if sexual assault is something WE’RE supposed to actively ward off, and if we don’t dress like Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale, well then we had it coming, didn’t we? Cue this amazing satirical skit I recently found on the BBC, which perfectly sums up how inconceivably backwards this logic is.
And yet, there I was, walking down 9th Avenue, feeling a fleeting pang of guilt, as if this outfit was to blame, followed by anger with myself for feeling that way at all. Which is where I turn to you guys, have you ever felt that way in a similar exchange? Guilt, which then turns into anger at the source of that incorrectly-placed guilt?
Anyway, back to the crux of this post — Men Explain Things To Me. I just have to say, I love how Salnit’s brain works. This collection of essays reads quite personably, ranging from the relatable, to the scathing, to the factual and back to the relatable. It made me rethink and evaluate a lot of my previous conversations with male bosses, coworkers and friends alike — examining everything from tone to word choice to blatant interrupting and silencing, particularly during conversations where it was assumed wrongly that I didn’t know what I was talking about. What I found particularly eye opening too, is perhaps how subconscious some of this behavior is, which isn’t to say ALL men DON’T realize when they’re doing it because many DO, but in the case of many well-intentioned, feminist dudes, sometimes it’s as simple as realizing you should let me finish when I have something to say. Not because I’m a woman. Not because it seems polite. But because I’m a human being with a mind I’d like to share.
On that note, I’ll end with a favorite excerpt from Solnit as she’s a much more eloquent writer than I:
“Many women fight wars on two fronts, one for whatever the putative topic is and one simply for the right to speak, to have ideas, to be acknowledged to be in possession of facts and truths, to have value, to be a human being. Things have gotten better, but this war won’t end in my lifetime. I’m still fighting for it, for myself certainly, but also for all those younger women who have something to say, in the hope that they will get to say it.”
Have you guys read Men Explain Things To Me? Would love to hear your thoughts!