Mansplaining is something that happens in our everyday lives, but people don’t actually talk about it and how it affects women. Even most of the men who initiate it don’t know that what they are doing is rude and just plain sexist. So for all of you who have no idea what it is all about, here is a breakdown.
So what is mansplaining?
Mansplaining is a mash up of the words “man” and “explain.” This, however, does not refer to every situation of a man explaining something to a woman. Men can explain things to women without being condescending or patronising.
What makes it different is when a man speaks over or interrupts a woman to explain something to her that she already knows. It’s making the assumption that as a man you know more and women need to have things explained to them.
For example, a woman starts speaking about a particular cricket match. But then a man interrupts to explain how cricket works to her even though she is a sports writer. There will even be instances where men will interrupt when a woman is speaking about her own personal experiences – making it seem like she can’t even be an expert on her own life.
Mansplaining is ultimately a gender issue that is based off a culture that places more value on the opinions of men. It may even be something that men don’t realise they are doing because it is an entrenched part of our culture.
What do you do when you spot a mansplainer?
Mansplaining can take place in a variety of situations. Whether it’s your colleague explaining your own work to you or someone on twitter suggesting how you should write your own articles, it can be tricky to find a way to respond.
If it’s a guy trying to explain feminism to you and why it’s unnecessary, it can be helpful to know some facts about the gender inequality in your country. If it’s someone explaining your own line of work to you, ask about a competing theory or ask a question about the topic he is trying to explain.
It can be the most annoying and frustrating thing to have a man mansplain something to you. So rather than letting your frustration fester inside, let the person who you are talking to know that this is an issue. Turn it around and explain to them that you know exactly what they are talking about and that in the future they shouldn’t assume that women know less than they do.