Published in Jul 2020 / Updated in Nov 2020
We’ve all heard this word at least once before yet most of us don’t know what it means, besides being a part of so many jokes and critiques of feminism. What does mansplainingmean? Did women make it up or imagine it? Well, let me explain to you what mansplaining is all about;
What Is Mansplaining?
Mansplaining refers to when someone of the male gender explains something to a female in a rude or condescending manner. The word gained popularity in early 2008 and has been around ever since. In 2010, it became one of the New York Times ‘Words of the Year.’ In 2014, it was officially entered the online oxford dictionary. So yeah, this term is pretty popular or was.
During its time in existence, the term has grown to amass a wide range of criticism and has dropped greatly in its worth. But why so much hate for such a simple term? And why is the concept of men explaining things to women so bad?
Mansplaining And Feminism
Mansplaining started as freedom for women who found themselves constantly being belittled by men. It was their way of identifying that what was happening wasn’t just ‘in their head’, and that they weren’t alone. Feminists adopted the word. People often associate it with feminist thinking.
However, the term ‘mansplaining’ has begun to lose a lot of its original value, as people have started to misuse it. As a result, the word no longer holds the same importance it used to. It has now become the butt of many jokes. And most womenno longer feel the connection to it they once had.
Men Explain Things To Me
The most famous example of mansplaining dates back to famously feminist writer Rebecca Solnit’s book, ‘Men Explain Things To Me.’ She recounts the conversation between her and a party host who tried to talk over her about a book he had ‘read’. Her friend tried unsuccessfully to point out that it was, in fact, Rebecca’s own book. The book goes on to analyze the limitations women face and her own personal account of men ‘explaining’ things to her.
Solnit acknowledges that this is something every woman faces at least once in their lives.
She says ‘the battle with ‘Men Who Explain Things’ has trampled down many women’.
Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me
Is The Term ‘Mansplaining’ Sexist?
Many people have argued that mansplaining does not exist and to imply that it does is in fact sexist. While some people have agreed with this point of view, others have argued that this is simply another way for men to avoid acknowledging the plight of women and the role they play.
While the word could be seen as being sexist on the front, an analysis of the term itself shows that mansplaining is not in any way sexist towards men. It merely seeks to acknowledge a common thing most women go through and attempts to bring that into the limelight. You can only view the term as sexist if you don’t understand what it means. Similarly, the Netflix show ‘Dear White People’ is sometimes mistaken for being racist towards white people by people who haven’t watched the show.
Does Mansplaining Exist?
The big question is, does mansplaining as a concept even exist? Did women make it up because they are paranoid and afraid of successful men? Recent studies show that women get interrupted more than men. Men are more likely to interrupt women to gain dominance or assert power.
So yes, mansplaining does exist; even in those men who see themselves as ‘sympathetic’ to women. Especially among them.
To quote the famous author Alexis M. Smith, ‘Even men who should have known better – overeducated types who probably considered themselves feminists – had no compunction explaining things to me.’
Alexis M. Smith, author of Glaciers
A lot of people will read this article and they’ll say, you’re only saying this because you’re seeing this through the eyes of a woman. Am I to see it through a man’s eyes instead? Lesson learned, don’t be a mansplainer.