I’ve been wanting to read this for years, and my TBR Jar finally plucked this from the pile. There’s just something about that cheeky title that draws you in, but I never got around to it. Unfortunately, my first impressions of the titular piece were very underwhelming. It’s about seven pages long, plus an updated postscript. I wanted a lot more from the ideas the book was titled after. Luckily I at least knew going in that this was an essay collection that would be exploring a variety of topics related to feminism, so I didn’t expect the whole thing to be an expansion of that first essay, but I definitely wanted more from it.
Actually, most of the essays in the book are stronger and more well thought out, pack more of an oomph, than “Men Explain Things to Me.” She writes eloquently about art, and how sometimes criticism is stifling, and that we should treat discussion of art as an opening and not seek to find the answers and put all art in a box. She writes scathingly about violence against women, in an essay densely packed with true stories and statistics. But, like the essay about the French head of the IMF being brought low on charges of rape, some of them are dated. Even the essay itself needed a postscript where she explained he wasn’t as thoroughly taken down as she initially hoped. But she is a good writer, and it still felt worthwhile to read the essay. She uses this conceit where she talks about various non-human organizations and countries and gives them genders, essentially comparing the state of world economics to the crime of rape. It’s very effective.
Some of these essays were more relatable than others, and a lot of them were really dated. This is an author that most of her stuff is timely, and should be read close to when it’s written. There were a few essays that still feel very relevant, even though they were written years back. I would still be interested to check out her newer stuff, though.