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A woman's born to weep and fret

Mansplaining!

Such a great word. I expect most of you are already familiar with the term, but because every time I think that someone proves me wrong, and because I think it's fantastic, I elaborate.

Mansplaining isn't just the act of explaining while male, of course; many men manage to explain things every day without in the least insulting their listeners.

Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate "facts" about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.

Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!

Think about the men you know. Do any of them display that delightful mixture of privilege and ignorance that leads to condescending, inaccurate explanations, delivered with the rock-solid conviction of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation?

That dude is a mansplainer.

Sadly, many of these dudes are our bosses or supervisors or other authority figures to whom we cannot give much crap. But if it's someone you know in a social setting, etiquette experts agree that the appropriate thing to do is to roll your eyes and say, "Oh, please, mansplain to me some more."

You are doing him a favour. Friends don't let friends foster mansplaining.

ETA: Follow-up talking about why I don't think a gender-neutral term accurately describes the privilege behind this behaviour.

No one seems to know who came up with this term - I myself saw it in several places prior to writing this post - but the most likely antecedent is this article by Rebecca Solnit.

Comments

ext_204729
Feb. 12th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
I know this thread is almost a year old now, but I have such a great Mansplaining story to share you guys!

I was discussing a scene in Sin City with a male friend, wherein a female cop is disturbed while lounging around her house in nothing but a g-string.

ME: That was total crap, if you wanted to be lazing around the house all day and thought you wouldn't be disturbed, you'd wear the comfiest undies possible!
DUDE: Why? Most girls find g-strings as comfortable normal underwear.
ME: What? But they're not that comfortable. Certainly not in a lounge-around-in-my-undies way.
DUDE: YES THEY ARE. I heard a girl say she found g-strings comfortable this one time!
ME: But... I WEAR g-strings, and you don't, and I'm telling you they're no more comfortable...
DUDE: YES THEY ARE.

So basically, Dude tried to invalidate my experiences with MY OWN GOD DAMN UNDERWEAR.
(Anonymous)
May. 16th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
mansplainin' makes me rabid
That is so classic. I am an American foreign woman in another country and it is way worse, even,where I am living. Most of these men are back in the 1950s. I try to avoid interaction with men here for that reason. They are really atavistic. I recently had one guy (who could have stepped out of a redneck exploitation movie, all he needed was a wifebeater and a six-pack and a dog to kick, LOL, but he was a lawyer) tell me that there were a lot of big important "forts" in a particular American state. Now. At this time, not during the Civil War or something. I said I knew for a fact that this was not true. He said it WAS true. Now, I worked for the military, had a clearance, I know American history, I tested out with an IQ of almost 150, and I know where the larger and more sensitive facilities are. This guy didn't even know there was more than one state with "Virginia" in its name, was not American, and had never worked for the military, but damn he had a PECKER and knew how to USE it. Yessirree bob, little lady! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! throttlethrottlethrottle

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