9 Feminist Books To Help You Deal With Mansplainers, Because No One Should Have To Put Up With Another "Well, Actually"
Pretty much every women is familiar with mansplaining. You know, that phenomenon where a man needlessly explains something to a woman... or "corrects" her by repeating exactly what she just said... or speaks over her before she has the chance to say her opinion at all. Mansplainers don't listen to you, they don't take your credentials or experience into account, and they can't seem to fathom a world in which a woman would be more knowledgable than they are. And mansplainers are sadly, everywhere. Most of them don't even seem to realize they're doing it.
Every single woman I know has been on the receiving end of mansplaining, and many have to deal with it on a daily basis. It's an experience that can fall anywhere on the spectrum between annoying to demeaning to downright intolerable. Sometimes it seems like the barrage will never stop.
When I'm at the end of my rope, I've found it helpful to read the experiences of strong women who have dealt with this kind of harassment. (Because, yes, it is a form of harassment.) Books have often served as a reminder to myself that I'm not alone, and they've given me the tools and information to stand up for myself.
So, next time a dude sends a "Well, actually..." your way, you're going to be prepared. Here are nine books that will help you deal with mansplainers:
'Men Explain Things to Me' by Rebecca Solnit
'Shrill' by Lindy West
This memoir is a must-read for, well, everyone. West brilliantly captures all the turmoil of being a woman in today's world. She is particularly sharp in the chapters about trolling and harassment, and her coping mechanisms and advice might be useful to you, too.
'Bad Feminist' by Roxane Gay
It just takes one look at Roxane Gay's Twitter feed to know that she is an excerpt at shutting haters down, though, of course, she shouldn't have to be. In Bad Feminist, Gay writes about womanhood, race, assault and more, and makes keen observations about privilege that are especially relevant when thinking about how we talk with one another.
'Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion' by Michelle Dean
In Sharp, Michelle Dean profiles 10 brilliant women who will certainly inspire you to speak up against mansplainers: Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm.
'The Mother of All Questions' by Rebecca Solnit
OK, so once you've read Men Explain Things to Me, you can't miss this newer release from the same author. In this book, Solnit continues the conversation about the many ways women are silenced by men.
'Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain' by Abby Norman
In Ask Me About My Uterus, Abby Norman illustrates the urgency of remedying the problem of mansplaining. Norman, who suffers from endometriosis, recounts her struggle to find a doctor who would take her pain seriously in this horrifying book about the sexism that exists in America's medical system.
'Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black' by bell hooks
Books by bell hooks are required reading for every feminist. In Talking Back, the author and activist charts exactly how women can rise up against the patriarchy and white supremacy.
'Sex Object' by Jessica Valenti
Jessica Valenti is a leading voice in the conversation about feminism in the United States, and her memoir Sex Object is a brazen indictment of sexism and the way it pervades every single moment of women's lives.
'Vox' by Christina Dalcher
In this forthcoming novel (out Aug. 21) set in a near-future dystopian America, women are only allotted 100 words per day. It's mansplaining to the extreme — and it's more realistic than you want to believe possible.