You may know mansplaining: it’s when a man explains something to a woman that she never asked to be explained. The explanation has to do a topic that involves women directly. It can often be a man explaining something to a woman who is the expert on a topic but he doesn’t care. Or maybe he “corrects” her but repeats what she just said.
It’s not really fair and often mansplainers don’t take into account that woman may actually be more knowledgeable than them. Some mansplainers may not even realize they are mansplaining.
This may have happened to you or a friend or a coworker before at different levels. It can be helpful to read the experiences of women who have experienced this harassment. These books can be empowering and remind you that you’re not alone. They also give helpful advice on how you can stand up for yourself.
So here are nine books that will help you deal with mansplainers.
1. Men Explain Things To Me By Rebecca Solnit
You may have heard about Solnit from her 2008 article “Men Explain Things To Me” which is one of the best essays about mansplaining even 10 years after its release (sadly). This book is the extended version of that article.
2. The Mother Of All Questions By Rebecca Solnit
Once you read Men Explain Things To Me by Solnit, be sure to follow it up with this one. In this newer release, Solnit continues the conversation about the many ways in which women are silenced by men.
3. Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman By Lindy West
This memoir is a must-read. West captures the turmoil of being a woman in society today. She talks a lot about the trolling and harassment that has happened to her. She also talks about her coping mechanisms for dealing with all of this without going crazy. Super useful!
4. Bad Feminist By Roxane Gay
So if you look at Gay’s Twitter feed you will know she is keen on shutting the haters down (even though she shouldn’t have to do this). In this book, Gay writes about womanhood, race, assault and much more. She talks about privilege in ways that are extremely relevant in the ways in which we talk about each other.
5. Sharp: The Women Who Made An Art Of Having An Opinion By Michelle Dean
In this book, Dean profiles 10 amazing women who will inspire you immensely. Their names are Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler and Janet Malcolm.
6. Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest To Make Doctors Believe In Women’s Pain by Abby Norman
In this book, Norman explains the extreme urgency to stop the problem of mansplaining. Norman suffers from endometriosis and she writes about her struggle to find a doctor who would take her pain seriously. She explains the horrifying sexism that exists in America’s medical system.
7. Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black By bell hooks
If you consider yourself a feminist, be sure to familiarize yourself with author and activist bell hooks. She writes many essays about feminism, sexism, and race in the world. In this book, hooks explain exactly how women can rise up against the patriarchy and white supremacy.
8. Sex Object By Jessica Valenti
In this memoir, Valenti leads a conversation about feminism in the United States. This memoir is an indictment of sexism and how it invades every moment in a woman’s life.
9. Vox By Christina Dalcher
This novel is set in a near-future dystopian America. Woman are only allotted 100 words per day (what?). It is a situation of mansplaining to the extreme, but it is actually more realistic than you would choose to believe.
We hope you enjoy some of these suggestions. Be sure to check out Goodreads’ list of Best Feminist Books (there over 1700 books on the list) for more recommendations.