tv Rebecca Solnit Discusses The Mother of All Questions CSPAN April 22, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT
most victims don't according to the evidence. >> you are not supposed to tell about sexual harassment you write. >> yeah, there is often this sense of you are just supposed to suck it up, put up with it or you are told you just imagined it. we had a case at uber where a worker who left testified about working there for a year, experiencing frequent sexual harassment and having the human resource people be uninterested in responding in another way and telling them like it is this guy's fust time and nay compare notes and realize it isn't the first time and that would be another example. >> when did this topic becan come aof interest to you? >> it became a framework somewhere, god, you know, when wasn't it? i think there is a point we
reached a point there is other things. i grew up with misogyny. i have had hundreds of women come tell me their stories of being lawyers and scientists and having guys who know-nothing explain the profession. there is silencing that will keep them from speaking up so there is so much other science including beliting and excluding and if there are no women on the supreme court as we are not until a few deck aped -- decades ago then a woman's point of view isn't represented.
we have a senate that is 80% male in a county that is 57% female. there are more men named john who are the ceo of fortune 1500 companies than there are women. >> man-splaning? >> yeah. >> where did that come from? >> the bloger who made it was originally from los angeles. it was in response to a blog pu published in 2008 by valley times and the word was off and running. it is now in 34 languages including swedish and icelandic and it is pard of the language. it is in the oxford english dictionary. i am proud to have contributed to the language in that way.
>> do you think men do it on purpose? >> men is a huge category. i know a lot of wonderful and amazing men who only explain things to me i don't know and nay do. and you know, i think that some guys are clue less. it gets pretty ridiculouridicul. >> 202-748-8200 for those in the eastern central time zones. 202-748-8201 for mountain and pacific time zones if you want to talk to rebcca solnit. from your books, women in
politics must not be to f but not too masculine. it causes them to occupy a space that doesn't exist. >> we saw that with the recent election. criticized for things that don't come up for male candidates. like rape there is like a willingness to take white people on credit and to keep it there. anger is part of how men express being powerful and showing leadership so does that mean women can't have leadership or does it mean that we have to
redefine leadership but in the mean time it becomes a huge handicap for women candidates. >> 2016 election, do you you think there was a sexist angle to it? >> oh, my, god was there every. there are plenty of reasons to criticize health care for how she ran the campaign and lot of other things that happened but boy was there a lot of misogyny on the left and right. i still see men on social media who are what i would call extremely motional on hillary clinton and something about her and her run for the president that came to upset them. there is a lot of misogyny in how the media covered her and a level of policy directed to her.
and they didn't face the same kind of thing and then on the right there was a lot of open misogyny and language. you could look at the debates where trump interrupted her constantly and you know on the language about her not having enough stamina for the job and you know, it was coming from so many angles but we could spend half an hour organizing them all. >> rebcca solnit is our guest. the book, "the mother of all questions," first call is donna in irvine, california. donna, welcome back booktv. >> caller: hi. thank you, rebecca. i wanted to ask your opinion and observations regarding to recent elizabeth warren-mitch mcconnell
situation in the senate? with i tried to explain it to her and told her to shut up and yet she persisted. could you comment on that? >> it was an interestingly unpleasa unpleasant moment. one of the interesting things in the trump era is stuff that people didn't see is obvious. and mitch mcconnell's desire to silence elizabeth warren seemed to be well understood around the country and gave us the beautiful tag line nevertheless she persisted. that became a beautiful slogan. maybe it backfired on him. >> back to your book, feminism
need men. >> people criticize women for voting for trump but we don't ask only people of color to be anti racist. all women have been on the hook and that is understanding. or how women who have never been exposed to feminist behavior besides what they get on fox tv are not feminists. feminists means ensuring rights and economic and reproductive rights and stopping the violence and that all has to do with men. women can't build a separate wor world. it was interesting until recently we thought feminist was another thing that was women's
work but that doesn't make sense. women alone can't stop domestic violence, women alone can't stop rape and that goes back to blaming the victim where men need to get onboard. a lot of them have. it has been a really interesting era seeing a lot of men who get it, a lot of men who speak up about it and feel yes, it is their job to address this guy who is harassing a women on the street or call out those using appropriate languages and men refusing to be on all-male panels in academic spaces and refusing to be on white panels and stuff like that. i think a lot of men have gotten onboard. not everyone and that is a really hopeful sign. we are in the middle of a big feminist resurgeance or more than that moving forward in a lot of ways despite trump and
attacks on reproductive rights and men are part of it. i am thrilled. >> in your view, can you be a conservative and a feminist at the same time in >> depends on what you mean by conservatism. there is a lot of different kind. physical conservatism and a right wing ideology that hates women and doesn't want them to have equal rights. the attacks that say same-sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage and it has been argued against this marriage affecting this marriage and same-sex marriage is about the idea of equal access but equalty in marriage. if both parties in the marriage are men or women there is no
hierarchy. husbands were defined as bossers or owners and women as servants in terms of property and marital rape where the husbands had rights over the wife that were not resciprocal. you see conservative women being indigant about the bill o'rielly thing and you want to say that is baked in. fox tv has been attacking feminism and it was headed by roger ails who was a sexual predator worse than bill o'rielly was. so it is possible. but it doesn't seem to be what is going on for the most part.
>> can you be a feminist and pro-life? >> i think you can. but i think there are a lot of people are personally pro-life who want it to be an individual decision like tim kaine, hillary clinton's running mate. i understand the position life begins at conception but i think women's rights to control their own bodies is an incredibly important right and those two can get pitted against each other and women's body autonomy and self determination come first. >> host: joe, you are on booktv on c-span2 with author rebcca solnit. >> caller: thank you. i was wondering what rebecca thaw of the university that re-created the debates between hillary clinton and donald trump but with reverse roles? in other words, clinton took on
trump's role and trump took on clinton's role and clinton won re-creating what donald trump sa said. they said they expected misogyny to cause hillary clinton to lose the race but actually it was hillary clinton's word. >> who won the debates? a lot of people in the media and people i know thought hillary clinton won and i don't want to spend the whole half hour on someone who is no longer and probably never will be a candidate for office again. but you know, i don't know about the university experiment. of course, just as with the
media. i don't know what she is going to say and i know people at the university, my alma matter, want to prevent violent confrontations. it as a complicated thing. are they trying to prevent ann culter or a riot? those might be different things. in general, you know, i believe in people's right to free speech but advocating harm by others. there is a way we talk about the first amendment and free speech in the country and my mom would say sticks and stones may break your bones but word may never hurt you. you look at people being incited to violence at trump rallies and you know, in the case of judges
look unfavorably you know words can harm people in a lot of ways and to say they can't is to misunderstand how powerful language is. what we should do about the harm is different. words have power to harm whether it is excluding the dehumanizing of people or rallying other people to harm them physically or exclude them, you know regard them as subhuman, it a complex question. >> next call for rebcca solnit comes from ken in miami. hi, ken. >> caller: how are you doing, rebecca? thanks for taking my call. >> guest: good. thank you. >> caller: i have a two-part question. number one, who has had a manl
major influence on your question? if anyone. the first part is who has had the most influence on your writing and number two is in the last 50 years who would you name as the person who has the most influence on feminism? >> i would say george orwell, virginia wolf, james baldwin. >> what do they have in common? >> they all write about polit politics, beautiful essays and refused to -- orwell is a straightforward political writer although he wrote allegorical novels. the other three refused to let the personal and political, sort of beautiful subjected lyrical experience and kind of the
harshness of political realit s realities. if you write about politics it is dead language and not going to be beautiful and there is so many other things from marcos to jorge lewis who has been important for me too. i don't know about anyone one woman. so much of the work is about the power we have together and the way that something changes not because one person does something exceptional but because a million people come forward and tell stories and
stand up for what they believe in. that power of civil society has been center to my work. i don't think there is a single most important woman but i think that is contrary to this story that we need to tell. >> well, two contemporary names we know. betty fordarn and gloria steinham. >> you know, what gloria did was rally other people to do things. she was a catalyst but not exactly a leader even. she learned from people why worked with, spent years speaking with african-american women and letting them take leadership roles and letting them sort of set the agenda for her she writes about in her memoir. i don't know it is a valuable question because it is the work
of us all, whether it is showing up to vote, showing up in something like the women's march in washington the day after the inauguration this january, millions of people coming out of the closet as gay to make us realize that gays and lesbians are not some kind of dangerous other people you never met but are sort of friend, family, neighbors and coworkers that have been around us all along. i think these small collective acts are what really changed the world and what i want to pay attention to. not to big name leaders. >> rebecca, i would like to ask you, as a former victim of rape i have overcome my victimhood but some women say you can never forget and always have to remember and they blame me for
overcoming my victimhood and they say if i don't always blame the rapist, the rapist could do the same thing to other women and they put guilt on me. why can't we overcome our victimhood? why do we have to go in groups that are anonymous like lgbtq or holocaust? why can't we all overcome our victimhood? >> i am glad to hear you feel you are thriving despite being a rape victim. i am really sorry to hear you are a rape victim. i think people's experiences are different. we can't demand someone overcome something. we are not in charge of their inner emotional life. but i think something that is talked about more is resilience and 1-5 american women are a rape survivor and a lot of them
are having deeply fulfilling lives, children, family partners, great creative work and the idea that you are raped and your life is ruined and you are just going to drag yourself miz miserablely along is a cliche but we have to leave room for individual experience. it varies tremendously. depends on if there are women who thought they were going to be murdered, women who were t tortu tortured, women who were deeply hurt, or women who were tortured or abused to death like the women assaulted in new deli india in 2012. i am glad to hear you are doing well. i think we need to let people
decide on their own how to handle their experience and just try to help them with their resources that might be available. >> from the mother of all questions, paget 9 7, pape is so calm n in our culture it is fair to call it an epidemic. what else can you call something that impacts 1-5 women and 1-75 men directly. >> yeah, that is something that freaks me out. domestic violence, assault, checking every 12 seconds in this country. is there any other kind of violence that was impacting a social group every 12 seconds you wouldn't take seriously? it is a crisis in that it deeply impacts a lot of woman's freedom and safety. a woman is murdered every 16 hours by a current or former partner. you know?
and fear of rape, fear of domestic violence, is a huge part of a lot of women's lives. we just had a case in san bernardino here near as we hit here in los angeles where an angry ex-husband went into an elementary school and shot his estranged wife and a disabled 8-9 year old boy in front of whole classroom of children. that is the way domestic violence harmed all those children and their families who have to deal with this horrific thing and that woman is dead. i really wish we would declare, you know, say it is a war and it needs to stop and it is an emergency and treat it as something completely unacceptable. but there is a way until recently everybody treated each event like it was a unique event
or blamed the victim or the guy must be ent -- mentally ill rather than say there was a pattern. once you say there is a pattern you can say what causes this pattern, who is committing these crimes, what would it take to stop them, what belief system is behind them? and you know, i think that is the part of feminism to supply the tools and a sense of urgency. >> let's hear from bruce in rural maryland. ....
woman president, you know, we we never had a majority of women on the court, men still earn a lot more than women. 80% of congress is male in the senate. more than that of congress. my concern is with establishing political equality genders and the imbalance has thus far been in favor of men overall. men's lives could be much better and change and those are compatible with feminism. the mother of all questions is not about women's expense men's, women's, and children's experiences. a lot of expectations of men in this culture can be really limiting and damaging on emotional range and expression on so many things.
we still live in a society where a woman is by man every 12 seconds and that worth paying attention to. there's a lot of angry men like this guy because they don't agree will just say i don't know what i'm talking about. rebecca, was there an incident in your own life where you regret not speaking up or not acting? back i wish i had been a little more feisty and when i was being patronized or excluded. there are times where you open up and i've been glad about it. no great telling example might be what was your mother like? she was a battered woman and still deeply convicted about men's and women's roles, expected different things for my
brothers than she did for me. in some ways, a wonderful person and easily unhappy. in a society where she had always been equal and been free of abuse, she might have been a profoundly different person which would have given me a profoundly different formative life. >> what about your father? that she was a battered woman. they were refugees and i can talk about public trauma becoming public and private, but there's an entitlement behind domestic violence and its unjustifiable. >> worded the name of this book come from? it was an title of an essay in harper's where i'm an author. it's a question that we all get asked that not your questions but why haven't you gotten with the program, why are you?
let me shame you before i push you back into the herd, like why aren't you married ? why aren't you successful ? why why aren't you doing what everyone else is doing? those are big questions. what brings you meaningful and satisfying life? who gets to decide? what are these big questions with often find women, countless women, women without children get criticized and children with women get criticized for not being enough is of a mom. those questions needed answers and you don't have to give one. it's those big questions about how we lead our life. >> rebecca, the author of the mother of all ti