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Rebecca Solnit hoists 'endless war against misogyny'

Posted August. 26, 2017 07:03,   

Updated August. 26, 2017 07:21

"The power of feminism can be found when the masculine side frowns. The similar misogynistic hate crime, which recently happened in Korea, can also be found in the U.S. as well. Therefore, we must not give up and stage an endless fight by delving into the patterns of root cause, and not consider these crimes as individual cases."

As a globally renowned American writer who wrote the feminist essay "Men Explain Things to Me" in 2014, the 56-year-old writer Rebecca Solnit visited Korea. Her visit came at a time when her three books - "The Mother of All Questions," "Hope in the Dark" (Changbi) and "Wanderlust: A History of Walking" (Banbi) - were all recently translated and published in Korea.

Solnit is famous for coining the term "mansplain (man+explain)," which pinpoints proud men always trying to explain everything to women from her book "Men Explain Things to Me."

At a cafe in Seoul on a Friday morning, Solnit said, "I always write about 'walking."

"I write 'breaking stories,' which depicts trailblazing untrodden paths and seeking new roads I never walked. The word "breaking' is commonly used when describing an urgent news, but I like to use the word as a "new and out-of-the box."

In 2004, the first editions of "Men Explain Things to Me" was published, along with the "Hope in the Dark," and "Wanderlust: A History of Walking," which hit the shelves in 2000. In particular, her "Hope in the Dark" gained high popularity among those who opposed Trump after his inauguration last year. As a social activists since the 1980s, she used to say, "I promised to my friends that I will learn how to impeach a president in Korea."

"The word 'mansplain' was a borrowed expression‎. Instead 'privilivious' is the term coined, combining 'privilege' and 'oblivious,'" she said. "This is a word coined for those who wield their privilege without knowing that it will cause pain to others. Trump is a classic example of this word."

Her recent essay suggests promising opportunities for young women. "We should not eval‎uate the success and failure of feminism annually," said Solnit.

"Hope is not an optimism. Hope is based on uncertainty," she said. "An attitude contemplating the need to take action amid uncertainty. This is my definition of hope."


Taek Kyoon Sohn sohn@donga.com