As a woman, a black woman no less, I have lost count a long time ago of all the times men either completely disregarded my thoughts and opinions and/or tried to explain something to me that I already knew (and honestly probably tried explaining to them some time prior).
As a teenager, when I told a boyfriend at the time that I did not like The Simpsons I was told I was not smart enough to get it.
As a college student, a male professor told me, in front of the entire class, that I would never do anything important in my life because I was too quiet and passive.
And these are only the moments in my life that stand out. This does not include the times my own father has disregarded what I have said to only ask my husband the same thing. Thankfully, I have never been attacked physically, or sexually.
“Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don’t.”
I had so much hope in this book. I was looking forward to reading a book where I was like yes girl, yes!
That did not happen.
The book started off strong. It started off with stories of when the author was explained things by men. A story of where a man approached her talking about her own book but he had no idea she had wrote it. He never actually even read the book but proceeded to explain it to her. It took the man several explanations from another woman to get that he was, in fact, talking to the author of a book he never read.
The was probably the only essay that I truly “enjoyed” and could relate to.
The book went on to preach the magic that is feminism and all the great things it had done. Please do not get me wrong, women who have fought before me for my right to vote. For control over my own body; for the right to have affordable birth control… I believe in women’s rights and that anything a man can do a woman can do. That a woman should not be penalized in life for not having a penis.
Apparently, if it weren’t for feminist, gay couples would never have the right to get married. That marriage equality isn’t a thing because in heterosexual marriages there is no equality.
This book drives home that men are essentially evil. While I do agree that abusive men use violence to control the women in their lives. I cannot lump all men into a category. I cannot lump my husband and son into those categories. And I would hate for an adult woman to “attack” my son one day just because he is a guy.
I agree that if you are going to tell women how to not get raped you should tell men that you cannot rape women. But despite what the book says, I do not walk around being afraid that I will be raped or murdered. I honestly can not remember a time, even as a teenager or young 20-something where I was actually afraid I was going to be raped. Do women really walk around like that? How do you live like that?
Obviously, the book just fell short for me. Everyone book has a target audience, I clearly am not feminist enough to be that audience for this book. As a mother of both a daughter and a son, I would hate for someone to think less of my daughter simply for being a female. And I would hate for someone to assume my son is some kind of privileged monster just because he is a male. I want my daughter to be able to be able to stand up for herself and defend herself. I want my son to respect women, in all aspects.
I do hope for a better future for women. But I do not believe that future should include demeonizing men and praising feminist activitist for all the major changes in the world.