Rebecca Solnit on 'Mansplaining'

Rebecca Solnit is sometimes thanked — and sometimes blamed — for the word “mansplain.” Solnit’s 2008 essay “Men Explain Things to Me” helped give birth to the term, which has been canonized by the Oxford online dictionary, been translated into multiple languages and inspired countless memes.

In her new book, “The Mother of All Questions,” Solnit continues her incisive commentary on the ways women are silenced and other kinds of repression. In my phone interview with her for The Washington Post, she talked about the evolution of mansplaining and how all of us can learn to be heard.

Photo credit: © Adrian Mendoza
Here's also a question about writing, which didn't make the Post story.

You’re also a writer who uses language quite precisely, whose goal in part is “to describe nuances and shades of meaning.”  Is this a frustrating time for you?
There’s no golden age. It feels like in a legendary time people were more thoughtful. But human folly and glibness has been everywhere. We had McCarthyism when my parents were young, we had Father Coughlin when they were children, who was a right-wing anti-Semitic demagogue. There’s always been people peddling simplistic solutions and people accepting truisms that don’t describe reality. Just to call things by their true name is really powerful, to have lies called lies. Truth and accuracy are things we really need as operating procedures as we go forward.

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