Matt Taibbi, back at Rolling Stone.
New Nonfiction (with commentary): 9 March 2015

Men Explain Things to Me: Take Two.

Okay, I was just working on a horrifically long post about Rebecca Solnit's essay collection Men Explain Things to Me.

I'm not going to post it.

Instead, here's a little anecdote I'm going to tell you. I so badly want to try for a third little CRjr, just because I have been so lucky and the first two little CRjrs are so great. But I have what Mr. CR and I call my "hierarchy of fears" on that subject. My fears about a new baby are, in this order:

  1. Down Syndrome (because I am OLD);
  2. Autism;
  3. Twins (because I am OLD, and I don't know how even young people handle that);
  4. Girl

Let's just say I don't think it's easy to be a girl. I am the mother of sons and I think it was meant to be that way.* And I say that even as someone who has been phenomenally blessed in her interactions with male family members, friends, and partners, as well as unbelievably lucky in her avoidance of violence at anyone's hands.**

So yeah, you know what? Just read Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me. (In fact, you can even read the title essay online, if you want to give it a try first.) If you like it, recommend it to other women and men. However else I felt about it, this passage, in a later essay, really got to me:

"When I was young, women were raped on the campus of a great university and the authorities responded by telling all the women students not to go out alone after dark or not to be out at all. Get in the house. (For women, confinement is always waiting to envelope you.) Some pranksters put up a poster announcing another remedy, that all men be excluded from campus after dark. It was an equally logical solution, but men were shocked at being asked to disappear, to lose their freedom to move and participate, all because of the violence of one man." (p. 77.)

Just think about that paragraph for a while. I did. I'm not saying it's a perfect book, but there's a few paragraphs like that, that should start to make it clearer why I'd fear having a baby girl. And that's just not right, I don't care how you look at it.

*Which is not to say I don't worry about my boys. I am a Champion Worrier, and if I told you the long list of worries I had for and about my boys this week alone, you would think I'm absolutely nuts. If you don't think that already.

**Really. If my mother knew some of the places I went by myself after ten p.m., she would keel over dead. I almost keel over dead sometimes remembering some of my risky choices. Luck. Pure dumb, good luck.