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Men who explain things

Every woman knows what it's like to be patronized by a guy who won't let facts get in the way.

April 13, 2008|Rebecca Solnit | Rebecca Solnit is the author of many books including "A Field Guide to Getting Lost," "River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West" and "Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities." A longer version of this article appears at Tomdispatch.com.

Dude, if you're reading this, you're a carbuncle on the face of humanity and an obstacle to civilization. Feel the shame.

The battle with Men Who Explain Things has trampled many women -- of my generation, of the up-and-coming generation we need so badly, here and in Pakistan and Bolivia and Java, not to mention the countless women who came before me and were not allowed into the laboratory, or the library, or the conversation, or the revolution, or even the category called human.

After all, Women Strike for Peace was founded by women who were tired of making the coffee and doing the typing and not having any voice or decision-making role in the antinuclear movement of the 1950s. Most 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 certainly gotten better, but this war won't end in my lifetime. I'm still fighting 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.

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