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.
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.