Man Explains to Women How to Stop Mansplaining

I actually think Hugo’s breakdown of mansplaining is pretty insightful — it just doesn’t belong on a women’s website.

“Five Tips for the Mansplainers in Your Life” is written by a man about the behavior of men and addressed to a male audience. Guys, this essay is for you!

So gentlemen, take some time to read and think about what Hugo has to say about mansplaining. In particular:

When she talks, are you listening to what she’s saying or merely rehearsing your next line?

One of the hallmarks of mansplaining is that the ‘splainer is rarely really hearing what his interlocutor is saying when she speaks.

In my experience, mansplaining is characterized by a close-minded unwillingness to consider opposing viewpoints. When I talk to a mansplainer, I feel like I’m talking to a wall. A wall that really wants me to know how much it knows and how wrong I am.

Mansplaining is at its most insidious when it tries to explain women’s issues to women.

Men, of course, are not the only perpetrators of pontificating while oblivious to privilege. If we wanted to, we could employ an umbrella term: “privsplaining” – any instance of an oppressor explaining oppression to the oppressed.

I think the reason our culture has adopted the term “mansplaining” is because men are the most egregious privsplainers.

Society raises boys to compete and raises girls to compromise. Society also conditions us to equate knowledge with masculinity.Thus, guys are more prone to making shit up and then insisting that they are right even after someone busts out Wikipedia.

In the mansplainer’s mind, being wrong is accepting defeat, and accepting defeat is unmanly, and unmanly is feminine, and feminine is totally the WORST thing in the world to be ever, GROSS.

Hugo touches on this in his essay:

Are you using your supposed expertise to prove something about your manhood?

Masculine culture –- what Michael Kimmel calls “Guyland” –- places a premium on demonstrating proficiency, in talk if not in action…When you’re talking to prove expertise rather than to connect with another person, the chances are high you’re mansplaining.

Gentlemen, debates can be fun, but not every conversation has to be about how right you are about everything. Conversations during which thoughts are exchanged, in which ideas are grown and adapted – these are the conversations that move us forward as a collective culture. Mansplaining shuts the conversation down. Also, it’s super obnoxious.

So go read Hugo’s essay, and pass it along to your man friends. Mansplainers need to hear it from a man.

3 thoughts on “Man Explains to Women How to Stop Mansplaining

  1. Guys don’t always realize how easy a trap that is to fall into…yes, sometimes it’s easy to get simply carried away while expressing the “typical male opinion” on something, but another to simply “explain” as a way of telling someone it’d be “too hard” or “pointless” to accept that another might be one’s equal…in this article it happens to be “mansplaining,” but just a few generations ago the same attitudes defended “White Man’s Burden,” and great strides have been made to put that behind us. What’s next, telling someone they’re “inferior” because they wear red shirts? (don’t see that becoming a problem for another 200 years though)

  2. I’m not sure about men being “the most egregious privsplainers.” It’s probably the ‘splaining that you (and I) pick up on most easily because it’s one of the few areas where we are actually the underprivileged party in a conversation. But I’ve definitely seen the word “whitesplaining” used around the internet (“No, no, POC. It’s not racist that a white woman plays Katniss because they were just casting for talent!” “No, you don’t understand–when I dress up as a Native American for Halloween it’s in APPRECIATION of your culture!”) and I’m pretty sure that’s a ridiculously common type of ‘splaining.

    (and also I realize that your most recent “Hey, white feminists!” post pretty much directly addresses some whitesplaining, so obviously you’ve already got an eye/ear out for all kinds of different privilege. But still. Thoughts.)

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