Anyone who has ever had a conversation with a know-it-all knows how flustering and frustrating that can be. But somehow, the know-it-all man comes equipped his own special brand of arrogance and aggravation.
In her blog post entitled "Men Explain Things to Me" over at AlterNet, Rebecca Solnit relates her experiences with men who hold forth with great authority on subjects that they know nothing about.
Rebecca Solnit writes with an irony so wry that you don't know whether to laugh or cry, or as the old blues song counsels, laugh...just to keep from crying. But she takes it deeper than a few anecdotes about everyday sexism.
Every woman knows what I'm talking about. It's the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men's unsupported overconfidence. -- from Men Explain Things to Me
She then goes on to show how this silencing of women's voices and women's perceptions has had catastrophic effects on human society.
Her thoughts provoked a large number of reader responses including a lot of angry rebuttals from angry men. Predictably, the women who disagreed with some of her points provided more nuanced and more thoughtful disagreements.
After you read her blog post, browse the comments for further insight into how far we have to go before gender equality is a reality.