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The need for a female inner circle

SYTYCB entry

In the midst of Todd Akin ignorance, an article by Rebecca Solnit resurfaced this week on The Problem With Men Explaining Things. In it, she discusses the problem of mansplaining: that phenomenon by which many men assume – often wrongfully and patronizingly – that those they are talking to have total ignorance of the subject matter at hand. While everyone is susceptible to dealing with such behavior, it is an occurrence that is typically reserved for a female audience. In her article, Solnit recalls meeting such a man at a party who upon learning the topic of a book she had recently written, proceeded to tell her everything he knew about a different, “very important” book that came out on the same subject. As it turns out, he was discussing her book all along. She remembers her friend trying to stop the man’s lesson, recounting that “she had to say ‘That’s her book’ three or four times before he finally took it in.” Her story, besides reminding us of our own experiences with mansplaining, highlights the fact just because a woman is in a position to have a strong voice, doesn’t mean she will be heard.

We often measure society’s progress with regard to women’s rights by the number of women who occupy positions of power– whether it’s in the board room, elected office, or academia – but it is much harder to measure how influential they are, or how many of ...

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