Me? A mansplainer? Let me mansplain.

There is some hilarious shit going down over at Zuska’s. See, she posted a definition of “mansplaining” that included stuff like this:

You May Be A Mansplainer If…

1. You MUST explain why everything I said is beside the point, and wrong, and silly.

2. You MUST explain why you are not a mansplainer, then re-explain things to the wimminz. Also, call them sexist.

4. Ignore everything everyone says, then accuse everyone else of being sexist to you. Follow this with some SERIOUS explaining! Teh wimminz are slow, but they will surely understand someday! Because you are a MAN! And you are SPLAININ’!

And she got comments that included gems like these:

  • If someone is sure they’re right — and you’re sure they’re wrong — there’s no discussion to be had. Either one or both are idiots, right? I guess there’s more male idiots who don’t know it, but I’m not sure if that’s a special problem — I don’t know whether a wishy-washy idiot is any better than a hard-ass idiot.
  • Maybe this thread would have involved less argument if you had a “WOMEN ONLY” label on it. There’s a lot of men on SciBlogs who can’t help but feel perturbed for being singled out, and can’t help but commenting when we are perturbed (because we haven’t been socialized to always stuff our feelings like girls are).
  • Members of every gender, race, height, sexual orientation, and religion on this planet probably “explain” things in a way that is condescending. What’s condescending is trying to make it momentarily exclusive to men just because you’re a woman.
  • As a Feminist XY, I feel like you’re shitting on us for being XY, and not sufficiently Feminist because I feel hurt at being shat on. … Go ahead and condescend and trivialize and rationalize my emotional responses away now.

It’s silly to talk about mansplaining! I’m not doing it, or I’m only doing it because you made me! And you are SEXIST!

Here’s a thing about mansplaining and why I care a lot about it: it is annoying, and frustrating, and insulting, and deeply rooted in institutionalized sexism, and often profoundly harmful to women. We talk about all of that. What we don’t always talk about is how easily it shades into gaslighting: your reality is false, my reality is true. The biggest mansplainer I’ve known made me doubt my sanity for years; I am still recovering. This isn’t just a supremely sexist and problematic internet habit. It can be a psychologically violent act.

That said, it’s more fun if we treat “you might be a mansplainer if…” as a fun meme, right? Over here, we have a tightly controlled commenting policy, a (usually) reliably feminist readership, and less visibility to d00dz than Zuska. So I invite you to continue the game. Feel free to use comments from Zuska’s thread, and the ensuing post “Men Who Cannot Follow Clear Directions from Women,” as jumping-off points for your signs of mansplainerism!

Also, at almost the same time that SM sent me the Zuska link, another friend sent me this:

(click to embiggen)
(I have no idea who to credit for this so please let me know if you know)

This is a great structure — I’m already testing out yelling “CIRCLE 8!” when faced with certain behaviors — but it needs to be tweaked to apply to feminist blogs. Where do you think mansplainers should go? (I think 8th circle.) What other behaviors should go on here? (I think “people who post off-topic links” should be up near the top, “people who announce they haven’t read the comments” should be further down, and “people who complain about echo chambers/their free speech being compromised” further down still.) What should the poetic-justice punishments be?

397 thoughts on “Me? A mansplainer? Let me mansplain.

  1. Hi Fillyjonk!

    I don’t know if you’ve thought of this (and I don’t want the feminazis to make me walk the plank for mansplaining!!), but it doesn’t really look great for feminism when every time one man steps out of line or tries to defend himself and say that, hey, maybe all men aren’t rapists and should be shot on sight, he’s set upon and dogpiled by all these so-called ‘feminists’ who then set up their own blogs specifically to mock him!

    Just a thought! You’d get a lot more male approval if you followed my simple suggestions!

    And, by the way, instead of getting hysterically upset by something someone said on the internet, why don’t you worry about some of the actual serious issues out there! There are lots of girly problems that we men don’t give a shit about that you could work on, like rape (actually, I have some interesting thoughts on how women could stop being raped – let me know and I can email you!) and shit.

  2. It was so brilliant it made me hurt inside.

    Reading some of those comments made me realize how many times I’ve been mansplained to without even realizing it. My family in particular has a problem with “doesn’t hear it until a man says it”, which is a suggested corollary.

  3. I ADORE that diagram.

    I don’t know where mansplainers should go–maybe 6th circle, since the 7th circle is “Permabanned” ?

    Although the problem with mansplaining is that unlike flamers or trolls, they aren’t immediately apparently as mansplainers. It’s a more dangerous/subtle form of douchecanoedom*, so perhaps 8th circle is more correct.

    Here, I’ll chip in two behaviors: You might belong in feminist/FA Internet Hell if:
    1) You repeatedly ask for 101 and/or expect the group trying to discuss their problems to explain themselves to you.
    2) You child people for their ” foul language” as a way to invalidate their point/anger/etc.

    (I’m wondering now about the phallic-ness of “canoe” mixed with “douche.” Is it like a canoe filled with a douche? Or is a canoe not in fact phallic but representative of a vulva? Anyway.)

  4. HEY! I was trying to help. Why are you laughing at me! If you laugh at me, my already tiny penis will shrivel up and die.

    (just to reassure everyone, it is satire. I can do the over-explaining patronising stuff, but I’m not a MAN so no-one is societally bound to listen to me)

  5. Feh, I’m giving up on making that link work. (I do know vaguely why. :)) Will link to the full-size version here on the blog. Sorry, originator!

  6. Why are you laughing at me! If you laugh at me, my already tiny penis will shrivel up and die.

    Laughing at me is EXACTLY like rape!

    (FYI, though… penis-size comments qualify as body snark. Not necessary to go there in order to lampoon these guys — they give us plenty to work with.)

  7. Silly Essen – feminazis don’t sail /pirate ships/. Their delicate lady hands couldn’t handle all that rope. They storm around on baby pink aircraft carriers decorated by Sherwin Williams For Ladies, the better to release the flying monkeys who do their bidding off the coast of Manly Fun Land. Duh. :P

    *ahem*

    Other behaviors for Dante’s internet should include the “Well you’re fat so you wouldn’t understand attractiveness” commenters and “She probably enjoys the attention” responders on harassment threads – both of whom probably belong in the flamer’s circle….

  8. I dunno if anyone else is having this problem, but when I click on the diagram, I get an error message. :( I can’t read the small writing on it but it looks funny …

  9. Fillyjonk, sorry. I should have thought twice before posting. Should I edit?

    (and yes, laughing at someone is EXACTLY like rape. We just need to find a man to explain to us how it is.)

  10. Should I edit?

    If you can, there’s something wrong with the blog. :)

    It’s a useful reminder to have up — don’t worry about it.

  11. People Who Announce They Haven’t Read The Comments should be perpetually forced to read provocative posts that speak against their very beliefs, the “submit comment” buttons of which always crash their browsers.

  12. “Mansplain” has to be one of the best terms I’ve heard in years! My ex mansplained me to the point where I had to leave him or lose my sanity. All I could ever come up with at the time was “if you make someone wrong often enough, they’ll leave”, which I did. I only wish I had known the term mansplain back then!

  13. From the last few posts here, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany. The Penis Status Update, where a guy just busts out what his pants are doing right now, or how he would/n’t hit that (aka: We’re having a topical conversaHAI GUYS LOOKIT MY PENIS IT’S DOIN’ TRICKS), or other similar comments in the middle of regular dialogues, is an epitome of privileged thought. Only certain types of guys are allowed to get away with it (and they do, since there are few “underprivileged” filters in their lives/brains), and it automatically derails any commentary to be all about them and what they want to talk about. I am an advocate for being open about sex and such, but these guys have always grated on me, and they’re always regular posters once they start writing.

    I know this is only tangently related to this post (Internet Hell: srs bsns), so I hope I’m not thread-jacking, but y’all have given me a way to articulate why these kinds of postings have always bothered me by thinking about the other kinds of privilege we live with. Thank you.

  14. I dated a mansplainer. Among many other things, he managed to mansplain how wrong of me it was to be upset that he had another woman sleep over IN MY BED WITH HIM when I was out of town one night.

    *sigh*

    The mansplaining came paired with emotional and mental abuse. As a woman who attained my first degree black belt in Karate at 18 and who taught self defense classes, I was READY if someone ever tried to physically or sexually abuse me. But I was all sorts of unready for what actually occurred.

    Now, this is from years ago. I’m wiser and more prepared, better able to see these things for what they are. I don’t always know the best way to respond to mansplaining, but that’s because I don’t believe that mansplainers will ever change. I do believe that their douchery is so ingrained that I could say “the earth is round” or “you are a man” and they would disagree on principle – after all, THEY didn’t say it.

  15. 1) You repeatedly ask for 101 and/or expect the group trying to discuss their problems to explain themselves to you.
    2) You child people for their ” foul language” as a way to invalidate their point/anger/etc.

    Ha, that sounds like “allies” too. Mansplaining isn’t always the other. it’s often us too.

  16. Also, I need a better link about gaslighting. That one is a little victim-blamey, which is probably why as a survivor I gravitate to it. :)

  17. These are good rules for the internet, but in my experience, they don’t translate well to real life.

    You mean… we can’t really send trolls to hell? Or… which rules are we talking about?

  18. These are good rules for the internet, but in my experience, they don’t translate well to real life.

    Ha. You’d be surprised. I have told many a person to cease with the concern trolling and pointed out their fails and general douchbaggery.

  19. My department at work is FULL of mansplainers. Our dept. meetings go on for hours. My favorite of the group starts every sentence (to me) with “Yeah, but…” and then proceeds to give a very long explanation of why I’m wrong about everything I’ve ever studied, and why his view is the only possible view that a rational person could ever hold. And 75% of the time his view is actually identical to mine (though I was able to state it a lot more succinctly). I don’t think he ever actually hears anything I say (unless I say, “Yes, now that I think about it, you’re right.”)

  20. You mean… we can’t really send trolls to hell?

    Oh, shoot. There go my after-dinner plans.

    On the topic … you might be a mansplainer if you insist on recounting at tedious length just what went down at an historic event/venue/etc. to people who were fucking there. Bonus: correct their accounts; and for extra credit, insist their memories are inherently wrong – not biased, but wrong – because they were ‘too emotionally involved.’

  21. I totally think I might have mansplained to a friend of mine recently in an e-mail. Oops.

    But then, I mean, … she was wrong and seemed to be missing the poing… so… I guess it wasn’t really mansplaining…. or was it?

    I hate that I was raised by a mansplainer and so am afraid that I have picked up his mansplaining tendencies.

  22. You might be a mansplainer if…you saw something on TV that contradicts what a woman is saying, and you must mansplain this. When that woman tells you that you are wrong and that South Park is not an accurate source, you must mansplain that Matt Stone and Trey Parker went to college so it is. Also mansplain how women don’t get South Park’s humor.

  23. Also, FJ thanks for calling out the small penis body bashing thing. I used to say that all the time and then I had a couple of AMAZING lovers with small dicks, and realized that 1. they were amazing lovers and 2. at least one of them had all kinds of issues from the nasty small dick jokes.
    /derail

  24. Mansplaining is so much fun to see torn to shreds on the interwebs, but even as I’ve gotten more familiar with the concept, I find that when I’m actually being mansplained at IRL, I often don’t realize it until after the fact. I get distracted by trying to prove my point, or second-guessing my expertise (because, after all, there are plenty of things I’m no expert on and how do I know whether the guy I’m talking to knows more than I do?). It’s really, really infuriating to realize later that the guy was just being a mansplaining douche and I “let him get away with it” (in quotes b/c that’s how it makes me feel, but I realize that’s not an accurate description of reality). In other words, mansplainin’ makes me stabby.

    @SM: People Who Announce They Haven’t Read The Comments should be perpetually forced to read provocative posts that speak against their very beliefs, the “submit comment” buttons of which always crash their browsers.

    BWAHAHA! Too fucking perfect!!

  25. I think my favourite bit of mansplaining was when my (now ex) boyfriend tried to explain to me All About Period Pain. Women can’t think clearly about teh periods, but it’s not their fault because of all the hormones washing about at period-time (or PMT time or whatever-the-hell-it-is). Poor little us.

    The conversation went something like:
    Ex-b: Hey, are you having ‘stomach cramps’ and curled up in bed missing lectures? My sister says that’s code for period pain. We should be able to talk about it.
    Me: what’s to talk about. Someone is stabbing me repeatedly in the abdomen. It hurts. I can’t stand up.
    Ex-b: Surely it can’t be that bad? Or else all women would be in bed every month!! I’ve heard gentle exercise helps, have you tried that?
    Me: Yes, I have tried that. No, I don’t always have pain and it’s not always this bad. However, UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE I COULD MENTION, I have actually had several periods, so I know a bit about it. this isn’t the sort that gentle exercise helps.
    Ex-b: Have you tried paracetemol?! It’s a bit awful that you’re stuck in bed because of silly girly things.
    Me: Yeah, I have tried paracetemol. It doesn’t work. I know this because I have had 12 periods a year for the last 10 years. How many have YOU had.
    Ex-b: WOW! no need to get cross. I was just being helpful. I used to try to be enlightened and all that shit, but now you’ve just proved PMT does exist!!

  26. You might be a mansplainer if a woman is explicitly asked BY YOU to explain something to a group because she has a lot more knowledge of it than anyone else present, but as soon as she begins you cut in and say, “But ACTUALLY, it’s…”

    This is my dad’s favorite kind of mansplaining.

  27. “1) You repeatedly ask for 101 and/or expect the group trying to discuss their problems to explain themselves to you.
    2) You child people for their ” foul language” as a way to invalidate their point/anger/etc.

    Ha, that sounds like “allies” too. Mansplaining isn’t always the other. it’s often us too.”

    Yeah, it wasn’t supposed to be mansplaining, actually ;-) Just general Internet Sins.

  28. “Men Who Cannot Follow Clear Directions From Women” is a riot.

    Here’s a thought experiment for you. Let’s say that I agree with the premise that there’s a particular kind of male behavior that is condescending to females.

    Ooh, a thought experiment. I’m super pumped for this one, because I have this womanly habit of “stuffing my feelings” (?!) and also of not being very logical, so sometimes I need a around man to do some ‘splaining.

    Except I’m having a hard time picturing what “male behavior that is condescending to females” might look like. Why have you not provided any examples of such so that teh wimminz can fully understand the implications of their own arguments?

  29. Does it count as mansplaining when he turns to his partner and tells her something about herself when he’s actually attempting to address their companions? (eg “you like to watch a DVD while you’re ironing” – without even adding a “don’t you” on the end)

    Whether it counts or not, it’s really weird and sounds patronising to me.

  30. I think my favourite bit of mansplaining was when my (now ex) boyfriend tried to explain to me All About Period Pain. Women can’t think clearly about teh periods, but it’s not their fault because of all the hormones washing about at period-time (or PMT time or whatever-the-hell-it-is). Poor little us.

    Wow. Clueless, clueless boy.

    I recently became involved in a discussion on a message board, the topic of which was whether women should always be the ones to give up their careers to have/raise children, etc. One of the male posters stepped in to remind us women (some of whom had already had children) that pregnancy/childbirth only means losing one, maybe two AT MOST, days of work and isn’t really a big disruption so we shouldn’t be worried about it. Yeah. I think we ended up making even him feel embarrassed by that little bit o’ mansplaining.

  31. Circle of hell behaviors, eh? Oooh, how about the “you’re just jealous” people, when talking about feminism OR fat acceptance. It’s so annoying and such a dismissive tactic.

    Also: “Oh, people don’t keep weight off for 5 years? Well, I must NOT EXIST then, because I’ve kept weight off for ONE year SO THERE.” Is there a more succinct name for that argument?

  32. Oh, I have two mansplain-y principal emails in my inbox right now! Here’s a generic version of the first:

    “Good morning,

    The quip in your email to me was obviously a joke. Since in our ten year friendship I have never known you to be anything but professional, I’m sure it’s not necessary for me to explain this in detail, but since I have always been a vigorous mansplainer, and I have recently become your your indirect supervisor, I will do so at length anyway. Though what you said was funny, it’s important that we follow this Very Important Policy. It was put in place for Very Important Reasons. And it will keep a paper trail documenting that we tried to keep our students safe in case of flood/fire/nuclear/ terrorist attack.

    Again, I know you were playfully engaging in the dynamic we have established over a decade of working together. But please remember to Think of the Children.”

    The other email is in response to a polite request that the principal refrain from starting our faculty meetings by whistling shrilly at us. (I explained that my dad used to do this, too, but, you know, he was herding cattle, and it seems pretty gross to do this to a room of professionals.) He replied that it’s “actually very challenging to get a room full of people to be quiet”, but he would take “it under advisement”, and any help I could give would be welcome.

    Um. . . I’m high school teacher of 13 years. . .think I don’t know that it can be challenging to get a room full of people to shut up? I’ve done it successfully probably 100,000 times. And I’ve never fucking whistled, either. (However, I don’t have the expectation that he does of instant silence the moment I want to speak, and he does.)

    BTW, he still whistles to start meetings. But now, every time he does, he says, “Sorry, ‘Leesh” first. Moooooaaaan.

  33. I had a boss who mansplained once. He and his female-mansplainer second-in-command made things so miserable that they couldn’t keep staff in their department. They’re still around, of course, but I found that sometimes the best thing to do (if you are in a position to do it) when dealing with a mansplainer is to vote with your feet.

    I’m SOOO glad I’m gone from there. I had gotten to the point where I was afraid to do anything — nothing I did was ever right. Just seeing Evil Mansplainer Boss across a large room was enough to make my heart pound and my hands go cold and damp.

  34. Recently over at the Sexist Amanda Hess asked if they should begin to moderate comments since many felt the comments were becoming violent garbage. There were some thoughtful responses (both in the yay or nay at the suggestion) but Whoo-boy, the amount of troll/mansplaining/”echo-chamber”/freedom of speech whining sent up was like the shriek of so many pencil-dicked banshees.

    One thing I learned about a tenet of the “freedom of speech” Mansplainers: no-one should ever, ever have even a tiny space bereft of male-dominated discussion and verbal violence towards whomever they’d like to condescend to/attack/threaten rape towards. Because if there’s ever a email group or space or internet group without those things then THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON!

  35. ZOMG – Gaslighting is TOTALLY what the Bad Boyfriend did! I now have a way to describe it that doesn’t require reliving 18mo of hell!

    You might be a mansplainer if you feel the need to speculate that the woman you are interacting with would not be this pissed off at what you just said/wrote/did if her period wasn’t here/on the way.

  36. You might be a mansplainer if:

    A person has eloquently answered a question and yet you feel compelled to provided “additional” information and in turn your chow chow is often mistaken as the “Real Answer”.

    SEE ALSO: “What I think ____ is saying here…”

  37. “You might be a mansplainer if you feel the need to speculate that the woman you are interacting with would not be this pissed off at what you just said/wrote/did if her period wasn’t here/on the way.”

    Oy. Reading that made my eye twitch. Just had to remind my mansplaining coworker again this morning that a woman’s emotions are just as legitimate as his are and that he needs to knock that shit off.

  38. Here is a quick rant for you. My fiance’s a bit of a mansplainer and it’s my least favorite thing about him. Some of it’s just being talkative by nature — yesterday I found myself thinking, “Everything you’re saying is new to me, but I absolutely cannot imagine a situation in which I would talk about one thing for this long and expect you to remain interested, and you are showing no signs of slowing down.” But almost every time I mention sexism, unrealistic beauty standards, etc., he has to tell me about how it’s just as bad for men (or maybe worse because they’re trained not to show their feelings and have to stuff it all down!!!!).

    The worst was the time he, I, and 3 female friends, all possessors of MFAs in creative writing, were having a discussion. I and two of the friends had sent out a lot of work to journals and been published a little bit. My fiance had sent one piece to one journal, been rejected, and mistook the standard rejection slip for an encouraging note. Guess who dominated the conversation and contradicted everyone else?

    He’s a sweet guy who openly calls himself a feminist, and I adore him, but MAN, sometimes…

  39. My dad, god love him, is an inveterate mansplainer — but my favorite story about it is when he recently realized what he was doing right in the middle of a mansplanation. He, an engineer who by his own admission rarely reads anything but nonfiction prose, was telling me, a PhD candidate in 20th- and 21st-century literature, all about magical realism… when suddenly he just stopped and said “You know a lot more about this than I do, don’t you?” And I said, “Yes.” And then we talked about something else.

    Oddly, FJ has also had magical realism mansplained to her. Coincidence?

  40. Bah, I read the comments and may I just say how grateful I am for the SP moderating?

    Shorter commenters: ‘So if a MAN disagrees with a WOMAN, then he’s sexist. Oh, I get it now.’

    Oy.

  41. People Who Body Snark On A Body Acceptance Blog

    Their ironic punishment is literal manifestations of the colorful metaphors they use to snark other people’s bodies (pencils for dicks, turned into scarecrows or skeletons, chests become boards, etc.).

    I do like the turnaround on “banshee,” though, which is usually a gendered insult and is too good for women to keep to ourselves.

  42. Oddly, FJ has also had magical realism mansplained to her.

    He never backed down on that, though, unlike your dad. But he has not known me as long as your dad has known you. The best one with that guy was when he actually mansplained MY OWN HUSBAND’S DISSERTATION to me. Like I might not understand it better than him due to being scientifically literate and living with the guy. It is scary science and I am a wimmenz! (On that one, thankfully, he was finally willing to say “I hadn’t thought about that” when I corrected him.)

    (This is actually a friend! Not all mansplainers are emotional abusers, it’s important to point out.)

  43. You might be a mansplainer if you immediately jump in and tell the woman how she should fix that little problem she just mentioned in passing at you. Especially if you are a man in her life that is only a casual acquaintance and not someone that she would be asking for advice.

  44. My favorite (least favorite) mansplainer consistently jumps in to correct my statements before I’m finished making them. He also often asks my mother why I don’t talk around him when he’s in town, he is sure that I am intimidated by his brilliance.

  45. FJ and I have come up with more sinners in need of an angry god:

    People Who Sass Moderators
    People Who Only Comment To Link To Their Own Blog
    People Who Tell You Not To Cuss So Much
    People Who Want To Know Your Bona Fides Before They’ll Evaluate Your Arguments (e.g., who did you vote for, are you fat enough)
    People Who Comment On Dead Threads To Say “I’m Sorry But I Disagree”

    Please have at them!

  46. Hmm. Might you be a mansplainer if, when I plead with you to let a particular topic of conversation drop because we’ve been over it a million times and neither of us is going to convince the other of anything and it’s getting annoying, you pout that I “don’t allow (you) to disagree with (me)”? Or might that be something else?

  47. The last time the Office Troll showed up at my desk and started mansplaining at me (about the derivation of the word “ceviche” and then on to sickbags in British humor) I said, “I don’t want want to hear this.” He ignored me and kept talking. I said again, “I don’t want to hear this.” He ignored me and kept talking. I turned my back on him, put on my headphones, and went back to work. It took a minute or two, but he shut up and went away. He hasn’t bothered me since.

    It bothers me that it took until I was past 40 to get up the nerve to unilaterally withdraw my attention from a jackass who felt entitled to waste my time – but I am glad I finally got there.

  48. Count me in as another with an ex who just looooved to mansplain and gaslight. I wonder, is it common for these sorts to be really, really in love with the sound of their own voices? Because this guy was REALLY bad. He talked more than anyone I’ve ever known, and I’m currently married to an extremely chatty extrovert.

    I will never forget when the ex had the brilliant idea of using a voice recorder to record his moments of genius and took it with him when he went to hang with his buddies. He listened to it the next day, and came shambling out of his room with an expression of complete and utter horror. “Do I really talk that much?” he asked me and his currently present friends. We all nodded slowly and smiiiiled. For all the ex didn’t change one iota despite that little revelation, that lmorsel of vindication was sweet.

    Is there a word/term for those who are intentionally and unrelentingly pedantic and will pick, pick, pick at a point of data no matter how much you unfold and relate it to your comment, or would that fall under mansplaining?

  49. I’ve read Zuska’s posts and this one here (plus comments here; sorry, won’t read comments at Zuska’s), and I have a question. Is Zuska talking about mansplainin as something you DO, or as something you ARE (mansplainin)?

  50. @Renata Is there a word/term for those who are intentionally and unrelentingly pedantic and will pick, pick, pick at a point of data no matter how much you unfold and relate it to your comment, or would that fall under mansplaining?

    INTPs? =P

  51. “Is there a word/term for those who are intentionally and unrelentingly pedantic and will pick, pick, pick at a point of data no matter how much you unfold and relate it to your comment, or would that fall under mansplaining?”

    There is. “My older brother.” He doesn’t mansplain (I have never felt like he mansplains me, I guess I should say), but he is the consummate rules lawyer.

    I’d say it’s a general rhetorical tool. Emphasis on “tool.” And mansplainers employ the rhetorical tool to their best advantage.

  52. hsofia: Hey now. I veer between INTP/INTJ and I’ve learned to reign that shit in. *g* Well, mostly! Granted, it took longer than it might have because I’m a very, very literal person and have trouble with social cues. Then again, I have a INTsomething friend that has very nearly become an ex-friend a multitude of times who does that very thing (and was the inspiration for my question, heh).

    AnthroK8: Hahahaha!

  53. Mercifully I know only one habitual mansplainer. He is a gay mansplainer who has never, even in the interest of medical science/curiosity/drunkenness, Done It With A Lady. Yet this did not prevent him from mansplaining to me, (A Lady), that “women don’t actually like sex they just pretend to in order to keep men happy”. He also once assured me that I could not possibly reach my own g-spot on the basis that another Lady told him she couldn’t reach hers. (At which point I may have Lost It and shrieked, “Hel-lo? Who’s got the minge in this room, chummy? Oooh, I rather think it’s me!” (in a decidedly unLadylike fashion, though, to be fair, I was drunk).

  54. hsofia, it’s really something one does, IMHO, but it tends to be a pattern; i.e., if you privilege your own damn voice over one woman’s expertise/experience, chances are you’re in the habit of it.

  55. @fillyjonk

    People Who Body Snark On A Body Acceptance Blog
    Their ironic punishment is literal manifestations of the colorful metaphors they use to snark other people’s bodies (pencils for dicks, turned into scarecrows or skeletons, chests become boards, etc.).

    d’oh! My bad. I should not body-snark. I apologize. It was wrong of me. I appreciate it being pointed out.

    I do like the turnaround on “banshee,” though, which is usually a gendered insult and is too good for women to keep to ourselves.

    You’re welcome!

  56. My favourite mansplaining tactic involves explaining that my take on an issue is inherently wrong with the direct retort “you only think that because you’re a woman.” This is the retort frequently used to dismiss a calling-out of sexist behaviours/phenomenon within the “You’re too sensitive” phylum of mansplain-ology.

    This one is particularly enjoyable because they don’t even try to fall back on the usual bread and butter of the mansplainer: a) just a fingers-in-ears “Nuh uh!”, b) explain why X,Y, and Z don’t exist, or c) aren’t at play in this example – no, the point is that X,Y, and Z do exist, but that it’s not a problem, because only women are negatively affected; let me know when the things you just pointed out affect real people, ie. men.

    My favourite example was trying to explain that a certain rape-focused movie was completely unacceptable (for all the many reasons you all know and love). Mansplainer claimed that that sort of imagery was just fine, because sure, women might find it upsetting, but that’s because they get raped sometimes: I mean, it’s not *objectively* problematic to glorify rape in film (in fact, it’s a time-honoured tradition, and that’s another reason why it’s okay, too!), it’s just that women’s experiences make them more likely to be upset by a stock image of human experience that men use as metaphor for things. If women didn’t get raped so much, they could learn to see that it’s a great metaphor, and should really stop interpreting things based on their limited female-centric experiences.

  57. @Renatus – I had to laugh when I read your response. I think that can be a characteristic of mansplainers, but I don’t think it’s mansplaining in and of itself. Some people’s minds just work that way (they hone in on details and need to make those “right” before they can even get close to the big picture).

  58. @fillyjonk
    Not all mansplainers are emotional abusers, it’s important to point out.

    Yeah. I was recently mansplained calorie math=fatness by my (obese) friend who seems to judge himself for being big but judge/malign even fatter people even more. Like he used cups of water and napkins and stuff to illustrate his point because apparently I just wasn’t getting it. I did call him out on this and he apologized.

    What to do with friends, family who are awesome people except for the mansplainin’? Love to hear how others have handled this.

  59. @Sara Duncan – Wow. Just wow. Your post has provided me with sufficient reason to finally indulge in the net honored tradition of *headdesk*.

  60. @Kelly – would like to hear what others say, but my first thought is to interrupt the mansplainer and ask, “Why are you telling me this?” I’ve had to do this a few times. It makes me feel like a “bitch” (something I’m not accustomed to), but it does catch the mansplainer off guard and throw him off his game.

    p.s. I’ve also used a variation of that “Why are you talking to me?” with men who continue to market themselves to me after I’ve told them I’m not interested.

  61. Ah, buffpuff, your story reminded me of a time when a het friend tried to mansplain blowjobs (from a giving perspective – which he, ah, best of my knowledge didn’t have).

    I said, well, I won’t say what I said, but I did point out that I might have a touch more experience than he in that department, and he blushed.

    So, all that to say, I loved your story. :D

  62. I just realized that my Sister’s boyfriend does this too. (In addition to the INTP thing, which he does in the most mansplainy way possible where he nitpicks your point implying that he doesn’t understand while simultaneously treating you like you are stupid. It is epic to behold.)

    He does it universally to everyone, so It is really not gendered at all. He pretty much treats every other person in exsistence the way misogynists treat women. So of course everyone universally hates him. (He’s totally that guy in class who monopolizes the professor’s time and pisses everyone off including the prof.) Hilariously, though he never bothers to actually be nice to my sister’s friends he has now started trying to do work projects with them. And he gets really upset when they behave “unproffessionaly” towards him.

    I also wonder if he might be doing some gaslighting stuff. Only because he told my sister he would quit smoking. Started again, Lied to her about it, and when she confronted him he was all “Well I DID quit smoking, I don’t know why you’re so upset.”

  63. To my mind, mansplainers are concern trolls. Therefore they go in Circle 8 under “trolls”.

    Also, the Firefly reference gladdens my geeky little heart.

  64. Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God:

    (Internet sins IRL division. I think these transgressions warrent Limbo, the grey space between Hell and the Real World.)

    People Who Update Their Facebook Status During Small-Class Discussions. Bonus if the discussion topic that day is genocide.

    People Who Try and Use Their iPhones to Cheat on Tests.

    People Who use Wikipedia as a Peer-reviewed Source in a Paper. Bonus if they do this AFTER you show the Stephen Colbert Elephants clip.

  65. Dear and loved male relative after several minutes of speculation on the census and social science statistics: “Wait, you actually have a degree in this, don’t you?”

    It’s awesome when people come to these realizations on their own.

    My favorite mansplainer ever was a young gentleman in a Women’s Studies 101 class for which I was a TA, who attempted, very seriously, to tell us all about our own behaviors and why we did the things we did. It was like a personal customized consultation from someone who read half an article on evo psych, a few Nietzsche quotes, and the bits of The Man Who Was Thursday in Deus Ex, and come full circle to realize that his unique philosophy really just supported the status quo.

    hsofia: Oi! I resemble that remark. Sort of. I am going to resist the urge to explain very carefully how INTP’s are not completely like that. (The hole is deepening, isn’t it? Hey, at least we get the urge to explain stuff to *everyone*. Yay?)

  66. My experience with gaslighters that mansplainin is a necessary tool, but is not sufficient. Gaslighters have the distinct objective of controlling the gaslightee in a long-term (power) relationship. Gaslighters are looking to make sure that you are subservient to them individually.

    To me, it seems like mansplainin describes the communication style a person is allowed on the basis of hir superior privilege status in comparison to the (perceived) privilege status of the other participant(s) in the interaction. The rules of the patriarchy/kyriarchy immediately let the mansplainer know that they are allowed to validate/value or invalidate/dismiss communications from the other players based on each persons privilege status in comparison with hir own.

  67. I was looking at the diagram just now, thinking “what does that look like when I don’t read the text? Is it a funnel? No. Is it a to-go mug? No. What? WHAT? Oh… it looks like my moon/diva cup.”

    Which, considering the mansplaining focus of this blog, seems all too appropriate an association to make.

  68. …aaaand I just realised that the reply form autofilled my full name in my last comment – yay for anonymity on the internetz! Everyone pretend it didn’t happen!

    @AnthroK8: “People Who use Wikipedia as a Peer-reviewed Source in a Paper. Bonus if they do this AFTER you show the Stephen Colbert Elephants clip.”

    Do I get a bonus if they use the Stephen Colbert clip as proof of subjectivity of science? My friend also had a classmate that claimed – in a masters level course, no less – that Wikipedia was the only reputable source she’d cite, since it was the most peer-reviewed publication of all.

  69. One of my besties (yes, SM and Kate-if-you’re-reading, THAT bestie ;)) is the same kind of mansplainer as buffpuff described. “Lots of women” have told him that they can only orgasm through penetration, so therefore that is how most women achieve organism, and his ex-bf who used to be married to a woman said that some women’s vaginas get so stretched out that their male partners can barely feel penetrative sex, and no matter how many statistics I site to refute the former or how many times I tell him that the latter is just so much misogynistic bullshit based on my actual personal experience with vaginas, he just will not back down. I love him dearly, but want to throttle him when he starts mansplaining vaginas to me.

    Also almost certainly going to yell, “Hel-lo? Who’s got the minge in this room, chummy?” at some point this weekend, regardless of context.

  70. To me, it seems like mansplainin describes the communication style a person is allowed on the basis of hir superior privilege status in comparison to the (perceived) privilege status of the other participant(s) in the interaction. The rules of the patriarchy/kyriarchy immediately let the mansplainer know that they are allowed to validate/value or invalidate/dismiss communications from the other players based on each persons privilege status in comparison with hir own.

    hot!

  71. since it was the most peer-reviewed publication of all.

    I think I hear my research librarian weeping in the stacks.

    People who come to lecture to sit behind me and bitch will be allowed to have the experience of watching their favorite movie for the first time over and over and over again, only it will be interrupted constantly by people crunching popcorn, climbing over them to get to their seats, and intermittently kicking the back of their seats. Thus, the whole film will be ruined. (Not that I’m comparing o-chem lecture to my favorite film, but it seems like a just punishment. No one deserves to sit through an eternity of electron pushing.) When it’s over, Satan will wipe their memories, and the whole thing will start over.

    People who cannot stop texting while I’m talking to them will have to endure the afterlife with a dozen people standing around them, fingers within millimeters of their arm, sing-songing “I’m not touching you!”

    There’s a special circle of hell for those damn ads that cover up text and then follow you as you scroll down. I don’t care if ads don’t have souls – someone has got to suffer for that. I’d place it below the sockpuppets, honestly. And I’d move the sockpuppets up, as they tend to be more entertaining than harmful, with some key exceptions. Also, there are often good reasons to craft an online persona for yourself that may not be quite like your real one. I wonder if “Hell’s Architect” is a job title that one could hold?

  72. Reading Zuska’s post made me realize that I had a mansplaining past. In particular, I used to feel the need to explain to my partner when we had a fight what the fight was really about and what each of us had been feeling that made us say what we said, etc.

    I’ve gotten a lot better now, so mansplainers out there, don’t lose hope! You can learn to interact with people in a way that respects them! (Don’t be surprised if people lose hope for you if you don’t, though.)

    The post also prompted the following conversation with my (amazing) partner:
    Me: I think I should identify myself as a “recovering mansplainer.”
    Her: You should form a support group! “My name is Zeh, and I’m a mansplainer.” The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
    Me: Yeah, in view of that, I think I’ll be the only one there.

  73. People who think they’re beyond “101”, yet ask 101 type questions
    People who say “what about me?” even when a post states up front that it is not “Every Post”
    People who OVER explain where they’re coming from or restate something they said 16 times in the same post

    ……..of which I am guilty of at least once.

  74. Shit, I’m a mansplainer, at least sometimes. Any of you who feel like doing me a favour, call me on it when you see it, please… Yuck.

    Like using “idiot” as an insult and “small penis” as a stereotype to attach to certain male behaviours, it’s really unpleasant to find this stuff in one’s own brain and I wouldn’t have realised it if it weren’t for SP. Thanks, people.

    (I have also been painfully mansplained to, which I recognised at the time, but it took reading this thread to realise I’ve done it myself, more than once.)

  75. he told my sister he would quit smoking. Started again, Lied to her about it, and when she confronted him he was all “Well I DID quit smoking, I don’t know why you’re so upset.”

    This is me pretending to be your sister: “Nooooo, you paused smoking. It’s not the same thing.”

  76. Oh shit, I didn’t know it was bad to say you haven’t read the comments!! I have done that!! Sorry!!

    As for “mansplaining” I find this term HILARIOUS though I’m pretty sure if there were something similar said about
    women, a lot of us would be pissed…

    Btw I also appreciate the thing about shaming men for having small penises – I used to do that defensively, jokingly, whatever, then felt terrible about it because it’s an awful thing to say really.

    Also, IrishUp’s response which snarky quoted is one of those super smart sounding things that I didnt entirely understand when i read it, nor do I get how in day to day life one differentiates between “mansplaining” as defined here and just something disagreeable bein said by someone more privileged… Like, by saying a person is “mansplaining” to me am I just invalidating THEM ? I suppose it’s a judgement call, depending on the situation…

  77. Oh shit, I didn’t know it was bad to say you haven’t read the comments!! I have done that!! Sorry!!

    It’s more that you shouldn’t jump in an ongoing conversation if you *haven’t* read the comments — announcing it is like saying “I’m here! The party can get started!”

  78. You might be mansplainin’ if you accuse people of using logical fallacies when they weren’t making logical arguments to begin with.
    Extra points are awarded if you use the fallacy incorrectly, make one up, or mention that you are/were on the debate team.

    And speaking of fallacies, you might be mansplaining if you mention your professional credentials to bolster the strength of your argument, especially if you aren’t an expert at the topic at hand.

    I’ve been worried that I mansplain, without being a man. Maybe it’s just the INTP thing. I’ve been trying to figure out how normal explaining is different from mansplaining, because I really think it is. I think I see 3 different kind of explaining:
    1. Mansplaining, or other privileged explaining, where a person assumes they know more when they’re just more privileged. The speaker uses existing power differentials to seem smart.
    2. Neutrally explaining things or ideas, where a person may be so excited or involved with something that they can’t stop talking about it, regardless of their conversation partner’s level of interest, or explaining things to a receptive audience, like a classroom.
    3. Power’splaining, where a person explains things as a power play to establish intellectual superiority. The speaker uses smartness to establish or change a power differential.

    Do these sound like distinct things? Would explaining things to establish superiority still be mansplaining? Would explaining things regardless of the listener’s relative privilege be mansplaining?

  79. If you have ever told a colleague whose basic philosophy, theology, worldview, and outlook differ from yours that it isn’t her fault that she was taught that way, you might be a mansplainer.

    Because obviously, she is an empty vessel waiting for her mind to be penetrated and filled with pearls of wisdom and knowledge from Men Who Know Things. It’s sad, really, that some other Man Who Knows Things got to her first and filled her up with such nonsense.

  80. @ puffalo
    For me, it’s a bit like when a prejudice turns into full blooded *-ism , which is a combination of attitude + power + privilege.

    So it’s not so much (or not just) the explaining that makes it mansplaining, or that it’s men doing the ‘splaining’. It’s those sort of explanations given by people in a position of privelege of power, and especially when their explanations play into privilege/oppressive paradigms (eg. I know more about maths than this girl and will explain it to her, because girls suck at maths. Even know she has a maths degree and I don’t).

    So a woman boring on about how a guy could improve his computer functionality by just doing this one thing is not necessarily mansplaining, because it’s very unlikely that a) she’s explaining to a man where she assumes he knows less about geek stuff because he because a man and b) ‘society’ both expects him to listen to her and agrees with her assumption that he will know nothing about this subject already.

  81. Yeah Sweet Machine ur right. tho sometimes I am just so excited about or grateful for a post and I wanna jump in and say so but don’t have the time to read the many many responses you get on a popular blog like this one… Oh well… :)

  82. You May Be a Mansplainer If…

    …you’ve ever started a sentence with the words “What you need to understand is” while in the middle of a discussion. I understand, really I do. I just don’t *agree.*

    Bonus points if you do this in a discussion about how your daughter gets upset when you do that patronizingly-explaining-thing!

    Actually, my father and father-in-law are both inveterate mansplainers. We always know it’s time to end a family get-together when they start ‘splaining OVER TOP OF ONE ANOTHER.

  83. “ENFP FTW.”
    High five!

    I ain’t a man, but may have been guilty of the smart-kid-thinks-she-knows-better equivalent of mansplaining in the past. (It’s the same impulse that occasionally leads me to stupidly interrupt someone because ‘I totally know exactly what they’re trying to say, so I’m finishing their thought for them – it’s not rude, it’s a “high involvement” rather than “high considerateness” conversation style!’ *facepalm*) I’m working on it.
    A support group would be amazing – but imagine the poor person who has to orchestrate it, forcing all the recovering ‘splainers to sit down, shut up and let someone else speak without contradiction or ‘clarification’.
    Deborah Tannen’s done some interesting work on women’s voices not being heard in the workplace in the same way as men’s – she describes how often in meetings a woman will raise a point, and then a man will elaborate on it for much longer than the original point-raiser, to the extent that most people remember it as $man’s idea, with the credit going to him, apart from $man himself, who thinks he was just being helpful.
    …but there are probably linguists in this thread who know more about this than me anyway, all I did was read a few intro articles in a first year linguistics course, so, er, yeah :p

  84. I love this blog.

    @essen: Don’t ya think that any man who tries to mansplain period pain, wouldn’t that count as a situation where a lawful use of force would be justified? Just sayin’.

    @snarkysmachine:

    A person has eloquently answered a question and yet you feel compelled to provided “additional” information and in turn your chow chow is often mistaken as the “Real Answer”.

    SEE ALSO: “What I think ____ is saying here…”

    I work in IT as a PM and you would not believe how. many. times. a day I get mansplained to. No, wait, I am sure you do.

    I’ve called out a few on it in a nice way, but they continue to do it. And it makes me crazy b/c like gaslighters, you then start to second guess yourself and double checking and start the crazy-making spiral.

    I work with one guy who will use the “as she was saying….” then say exactly what I said and b/c he’s the mansplainer, he gets the kudos and agreements in meetings. I’ve started to follow his up with my own “I’m pleased that you agree with me” and done reverse mansplaining techniques….would that be shesplaining?

    What’s even WORSE is when you have to explain 1983980347 times to your client’s PM just why X works this way and he’ll keep coming back and asking the same fucking question, but once it’s mansplained to him – in the same meeting you are in – he finally “gets it”.

    God forbid you should mention that you think someone is treating you a certain way b/c you a woman and they might be contributing to it, b/c of their mansplaining. And you ask nicely stop the mansplaining because it’s undermining your authority and cred’s as a PM. And then they are shocked! astounded! even that you even think it could be b/c you are a woman and they are mansplaining.

    Or when you ask a complex technical question and they take you to 101.

    I live it. Just like every other woman. I’m totally adding “mansplaining” to my feminist & meeting bingo cards.

  85. Slythwolf,
    Do you think you could pretend follow that up with “AND WE ARE SO OVER YOU DICKHEAD” because that would really make my day. (This would be as opposed to what she followed it up with when telling the story “But He’s just so CUTE.” ::vomits on own shoes:: I really try to be objective and not let the fact that I completely hate this guy color every conversation we have about him. But damn, it is hard.)

    Graphite,
    I could totally be the mansplainer support group moderator. Because not only can I mansplain to mansplainers, I can mansplain LOUDER than any mansplainer ever! (Thanks Dad! I once literally covered his hand with my mouth so I could try to make a point, he did not stop talking. Oh and also, that conversation definitely about how I was an obese fat fat obese fatty who was gonna DIE. )

  86. I am a (wo)mansplainer.

    Darn this blog… First I have to think differently about fat. Then about race. Then about privilege. And now about my own very bad habits.

    I need a support group.

    Oh and… you might be a mansplainer if you start a sentence with “Well I’m no (doctor, scientist, writer) but…” when addressing someone who is one of those things.

  87. Sara Duncan: My favourite example was trying to explain that a certain rape-focused movie was completely unacceptable (for all the many reasons you all know and love). Mansplainer claimed that that sort of imagery was just fine, because sure, women might find it upsetting, but that’s because they get raped sometimes: I mean, it’s not *objectively* problematic to glorify rape in film (in fact, it’s a time-honoured tradition, and that’s another reason why it’s okay, too!), it’s just that women’s experiences make them more likely to be upset by a stock image of human experience that men use as metaphor for things. If women didn’t get raped so much, they could learn to see that it’s a great metaphor, and should really stop interpreting things based on their limited female-centric experiences.

    SWEET HOLY HELL.

  88. I had my own sexual orientation/identity mansplained to me. By someone who knew I was queer for about 43 seconds.

  89. Shinobi – I think one reason I’m so very in the habit of it is that both my parents are ‘splainers.
    Mum does it because she’s so busy that she forgets things, her students (she’s an academic) often don’t listen the first time and forget things, her parents in their ageing tend/ed to forget things, so… everyone must forget things all the time, and need constant reminders. This is irritating, but forgivable.
    Dad, on the other hand, does it due to a spectacular level of what I’m assuming is largely unexamined privilege – he’s a wealthy white ablebodied cis male lawyer. Once, he carefully explained that “What you need to understand is that women have all the power really, because they have the men wrapped around their little fingers, leading them around by the dick.”
    “But what about power that isn’t based on using our sexual selves as bargaining chips? And what about women who don’t have an SO or aren’t considered conventionally attractive, don’t they deserve power and a say in society too?”
    “Oh come on. Beisdes, most women can find someone who’ll fuck them.”
    Good work, Dad. I have NO IDEA why Mum wanted a divorce, none at all -_-
    Trying to explain to him that being fat is not uniformly a result of eating vast quantities of surplus food was so much fun. His favourite retort when he’s presented with an argument he disagrees with and has never encountered before is a grinning, disdainful, “Don’t be ridiculous. I guarantee you, ask anyone in the field and they’ll agree…” or even just, “Oh, come on.”

  90. Shinobi: I think your comment has just pointed out to me the partner who started me on mansplaining. Please moderate my support group… except when I have something really important to say.

    (I am finding thinking about mansplaining all-at-once really quite painful; I knew it was irritating and belittling but I hadn’t really seen it articulated how very extremely horribly damaging it is before. I wonder whether like gaslighting it has a recognised set of symptoms written up somewhere? I assume it will have some less self-explanatory name, if it does…)

  91. @JM: your post raised a red flag for me. You should think reeeeeeeaaally long and hard about whether you want to spend the rest of your life listening to that guy mansplain and dominate conversations. Conversations in which he is the *least* knowledgeable person. Plus, just because he “openly calls himself a feminist” doesn’t mean he’s all that good at it.

    I don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but I have lived with mansplainers, and it is DEADLY, I tell you.

  92. INTJ ftw (yes, I am THAT mouthy academic.)

    I’ve had my field mansplained to me by my male in laws lo, so many times. My favorite is when a certain mansplainer who shall remain unnamed pretends he speaks more Arabic than I do–because he knows *one word* I didn’t immediately recognize. He usually follows that up by lecturing me about Just How Evil All Arabs Are and my favorite stabby meme, How They Will Outbreed us (Jews) If We Let Them.

    Sweet Machine, isn’t it great how everyone thinks they are entitled to talk to you about literature as if there were squat to study and it isn’t a real, you know, field? My fave is the “Oh! Literature! So, what *are* you going to doooo with that??” Followed by “Oh! I like to read books too, but some of us have to, you know, work!”

  93. “My friend also had a classmate that claimed – in a masters level course, no less – that Wikipedia was the only reputable source she’d cite, since it was the most peer-reviewed publication of all.”

    Oh please God no. I recently reviewed a book (a serious Academic Feministy Book, no less) where the author used about.com as a ref. Her response to my calling her out on it? Apparently I belied a certain “political conservatism” and “dusty academe.” Sigh.

  94. Inferno, Canto X (The Prideful) by 4lorentineExile

    Now my moderator takes a hidden path
    between the internet’s ramparts and the spam,
    and I come close behind him.

    “O lofty virtue,” I began, “who lead me
    as you will around these impious circles,
    speak to me and link to interesting things I wouldn’t read otherwise.”

    And he to me: “Soon your need to have an answer
    will be satisfied right here,
    as will your longing for funny pictures of cats.”

    And I: “Good leader, from you I do not keep my heart concealed except to speak few words and read all the comments before I say something –
    as you’ve from time to time advised.”

    “O commenter, passing through the city of fire,
    alive, and with such courtesy of speech,
    if it would please you, stay your steps awhile.

    Your way of speaking makes it clear
    that you are well acquainted with the practices
    of this place to which I have obviously never been before.”

    This voice came suddenly
    from a hidden place, so that, startled,
    I drew closer to my leader.

    And he to me: “Turn back! What are you doing?
    Look, there Mansplainer stands erect –
    You can see all of him from the waist up.”

    Already I had fixed my gaze on his.
    And he was rising, lifting chest and brow
    as though he held all women in utter scorn.

    To which my leader: “Choose your words with care,”
    and his hands, ready, encouraging,
    deleted several inappropriate advertisements for home mortgages.

    When I stood facing the Mansplainer
    he looked at me for a moment. Then he said,
    in disdain: “Let me tell you what you are really trying to say.”

  95. Jezebella, no worries — the habit drives me nuts, but it’s far outweighed by his good points, and he’s a lot better at reading a room than he used to be. We’ve been together long enough that I know what I’m signing up for and that I can handle it.

  96. I go to education conferences fairly often. Most of the participants, organizers, and presenters are women, overwhelmingly so, in fact. Despite this, every single time I attend a seminar or discussion, there is That Dude who dominates Q and A session by essentially summarizing the presenter’s points. I have yet to hear a women say anything like, “Yes, that’s what I just spent 40 minutes talking about.”

    I live in hope.

  97. I read this, then almost immediately read Kate’s latest on Broadsheet (about bra shopping http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/feature/2010/01/27/bra_fitting/index.html) , where the very first commenter mansplained at her. Classic mansplaining!

    Omg amazing.

    Kate: Some bra fitters don’t know what they’re doing! Make sure you try everything on!

    Mansplainer: You shouldn’t knock bra fitters! My wife went to one who didn’t know what she was doing, and then another one who did!

    ETA: Sanity Watchers, as always, on all Salon comments.

  98. Ok, I *so* wish I could send a link to this post and the Jezebel post to some guys I used to chat with on an online music forum. Mansplainers all. After a crazy 3 years of deep involvement with that forum (regular posting on a daily basis; chatroom drama, etc, etc), I finally left nearly 3 years ago, tired of all the bullshit on the site, never intending to return. I’m one of those folks who, when I go, I’m GONE and you’ll never see me again. Too bad, because I’d give almost anything to feel like logging back in to the site and posting this little gem. *Almost* anything. One too many mansplainers calling me sexist and a practitioner of misandry doesn’t really leave me with any good feeling for the folks on that site.

  99. There’s a mansplainer in my book group. Last week he “explained” Haitian history to us (using information culled from the same news coverage everyone there had been reading), then he started a ten minute spiel with “As a former antitrust lawyer . . .” You know nothing good is coming after that.

    That said, I have at points had to check my tendency to ‘splain myself. (And I’m also an INTJ, for what it’s worth). I like to think I shut up when talking to people who are actually experts and/or experienced, but I’m sure I’ve fucked up on that before.

  100. I just realized that my boss has been mansplaining my job to me! I mean, I have been really annoyed lately when he says “Seems like Laura is really catching on…” I have had this job for *two years*. If I am only just catching on now, someone should have fired me a year ago!

    BTW, I think the internet hell should have an area for people who misspell obscenities.

  101. Oooh, mentioning “logical fallacies” to “win” a discussion… I don’t know if it’s precisely mansplaining, but there needs to be seating reserved in one of the circles for people who do take a class on logic or rhetoric and learn precisely the wrong lesson from it.

    For instance:

    “How can you understand a complex topic like feminism if you haven’t studied formal logic? I can’t believe I’m carrying on a discussion with somebody who doesn’t even know what an ad hominem attack is.”

  102. Sniper you just reminded me of a grad course I took on Victorian literature—the prof was a middle-aged male, and there were 7 women in the class. He sat behind a giant desk at the front for his weekly 3 hour lecture, and the 7 women in the class sat sprinkled through the rows in the room. Week two, a couple of us who are teachers suggested that we sit in a circle or something, but he acted as if our request was frivolous and silly, and continued to mansplain from behind his weird, hulking barrier of a desk.

    Yeah, so you might be a mansplainer if you lecture from behind a desk that might as well have a moat around it.

  103. You might, by which I mean pretty much definitely are, a mansplainer if you use the phrase “let’s try a thought experiment” without irony. Also, using the word “female” when you mean “woman”.

    Having got that off my chest, may I favour you all with my multi-paragraphed thoughts about why, exactly, mansplaining exists? Sure, most of you may have experienced it or thought you did, but I’m fairly convinced that my insight into the phenomenon will change your outlook from hereonin. Let me know if you need me to use shorter words.

  104. I cope with a lot of the INTJ stuff by tacking “I feel as if X is true” onto all the statements where I would otherwise just say “X is true.” I of course found it disgustingly touchy feel-y at first, but it seems to help with relating to people.

    It’s a tough balance though, as both men and often other women seem to want women to be less assertive, period. There’s that perfect line of “assertive but not too assertive” we’re supposed to adhere to.

    Fun mainsplaining/Scientology moment from my (adorable, really) brother:

    Brother: Stop making me wrong! You’re invalidating my reality and making me feel wrong!

    Me: You can’t say that shit about lesbians around me, ok? It’s factually incorrect and bigoted and NOT OK and yes, wrong.

    Brother: Stop making me wrong! It’s an ARC break!

    Me: I’m not “making” you wrong! Sometimes, people are just WRONG!!!!!

    Brother: *blink*

  105. iiii:
    The last time the Office Troll showed up at my desk and started mansplaining at me (about the derivation of the word “ceviche” and then on to sickbags in British humor)

    *awkward shuffle*

    Someone needs to splain sickbags in British humour to me… even though I’m British… because, eh?

  106. @shinobi – “He does it universally to everyone, so It is really not gendered at all. He pretty much treats every other person in exsistence the way misogynists treat women. ”

    Is your sister dating my ex? He does this to everyone. He’s fully aware that it pisses people off, and is the main reason why he has trouble keeping friends, and why my father hates him, and why I frequently refuse to engage with him at all. And yet he won’t stop. Claims that he can’t. He once attempted to mansplain the extraction of oil from Canadian coal sands to my father, a long-time oil company executive with a background in engineering who ran the big extraction project in Fort McMurray. It was an epic thing to behold. He also regularly attempts to mansplain music to me, a music journalist who plays multiple instruments and is trained in theory and composition. His background and training in music? Zero. He owns an acoustic guitar, which he has never learned to play and doesn’t know how to tune. But he also owns a penis, which gives him special knowledge of everything.

    The most irritating recent case of mansplaining, though, is his mansplaining that since he’s not white he doesn’t have male privilege (…), and therefore if he says something sexist it’s OK. Also how since he’s short it’s OK for him to be ageist (I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one, actually – apparently being short disempowers him so much that he should be cut slack for being bitchy to women, because he can’t help being short but they should be able to prevent themselves from visibly ageing?). In the last 6 months he’s attempted to mansplain how it’s actually OK to call women cougars because they dress like sluts, see, so they’re inviting that kind of language. He also attempted to mansplain how Match.com’s matching algorithm is clearly broken because it keeps presenting him with women who’re “too old” and “not hot enough”. He’s 40. He responded to my pointing out that it’s matching him with women over 30 because he’s, you know, 40, with the assertion that it should know not to match him with women who LOOK over 30 because he, himself, looks young for his age. Therefore the system is broken.

    You know a guy’s got the mansplaining thing bad when your 62 year old father regularly points out how sexist and condescending he is.

  107. #

    Also almost certainly going to yell, “Hel-lo? Who’s got the minge in this room, chummy?” at some point this weekend, regardless of context.

    Heh, me too. What a great line :)

  108. You know you’re a mansplainer if you’re a man and are trying to mansplain mansplaining to a feminist blog.

    owait.

  109. Zenoodle – I don’t know where he was going with that; he had barely started when I tuned him out. He is, in fact, from England. Other than that, I dunno.

  110. iiii — maybe he’d misunderstood the fact that the very act of him opening his mouth to mansplain so often led people to reach for a sickbag? Tis the only thing I could come up with…

  111. Ugghh. My father in law is a terrible, terrible mansplainer. Most recent example: he’s (for some reason) decided he wants to buy a vintage “industrial strength” sewing machine. Conversation went something like this (thank gods it wasn’t in person, I think I may have lost it), through Matt on the phone:

    Matt: Michelle, have you heard of a Singer 201-2?
    Michelle: Umm, I’ve heard of it, but I’m not bringing a visual to mind right away.
    (Matt proceeds to mention to his father that I have several older sewing machines and know a lot about them)
    Matt: How many layers of denim can your’s sew through?
    Michelle: I have no idea, why?
    Matt: Well, he says THIS one can sew through ten layers of denim and then turn around and sew silk.
    (phone call ends after a few more roundabouts like this, including his father implying my sewing machines were inferior bc of the bobbin placing? wtf?)
    Me: Where did he get all his information from?
    Matt: eBay. *sees look on my face* Yeah. I know.
    Me: Has he ever sewn before?
    Matt: Nooo, I don’t think so.

    I’ve been sewing for…damn near ten years now, the oldest of my sewing machines is from 1977 (the other two are 1953 & late ’50s) and I’ve fixed them all myself.

    (this is probably of no interest to anyone else, but REALLY annoyed me…)

  112. @CassandraSays – re your ex – woooooow!

    I feel kind of bad … I know I’ve been mansplained to before MANY times but I can’t remember particular instances. Oh wait, there was the guy who told me that I DID in fact want to marry him, I just didn’t know it yet. And over the next week I got congratulations from people who had heard from him that we were ENGAGED. And then when my dad called him to tell him, NO, my daughter doesn’t want to have DINNER with you, he called me to tell me what an ugly, useless, and evil person I was, and that I’d just lost my last chance for marriage. Maybe that’s not mansplaining, though.

    My spouse is a to-the-letter INTP so he gets that pit bullish grip on singular points that I, (an INFP), feel has been chewed to death. But in general, my “problem” is the reverse. He’ll ask me, out of the blue, “What are your thoughts on …?” and “What do you think about …?” and it’s like random shit and I’m like, Why the hell do you think I would know anything about German politics or french cooking techniques? And he’s like, “Oh, I heard something about it recently, and thought you could tell me more.” He seems to think I might know a lot of things that I don’t know. Then again, once I mused aloud, “I wonder what it would be like inside of a black hole?” and he spent the next 45 minutes telling me all about it. Maybe I ask him off-the-wall stuff, too, and just don’t realize it.

  113. The biggest mansplainer I’ve known made me doubt my sanity for years; I am still recovering. This isn’t just a supremely sexist and problematic internet habit. It can be a psychologically violent act.

    Dude. Yes. Me too, x1000000000.

  114. Ha ha Michelle, you HAD me at Singer 201-2. I own three sewing machines and am an avid seamstress – and one of my machines is the same Singer your FIL speaks of (mine was made in 1950).

    P.S. they are a home machine, not industrial. They’re strong, sure, but ten layers of denim (if it can even do that) does not an industrial machine make.

    By the way: I have been so MANSPLAINED to, so often, on my vintage sewing machine groups (interestingly, online sewing groups are usually mostly women, yet sewing machine groups I’ve been part of are about 60& male) that I’m considering having my husband handle the next question I plan to put to the group.

  115. *headsmack* Oh what was I thinking? I’ve dated a few mansplainers. Like the guy, who, when he revealed to me that the reason he couldn’t drive was because his license had been suspended due to unpaid child support – and I got upset that he wasn’t supporting his child – told me I was the problem. Why? Because he’d “definitely” told me about this before (lie), and that “once again” I wasn’t LISTENING, because I am a know-it-all (he once called me Hermione Granger when I used a word he didn’t understand), and oh, by the way, he’s the only one being honest with me. All my friends? They won’t tell me the truth, but HE will. Because he really cares (but I wasn’t allowed to call him my boyfriend because that implied a level of commitment that he cared too much about me to make.)

  116. Love this thread :)

    There was a mansplainer in one of my classes last semester and he was unbearable. My program is made up of mostly women, so in this class of about 22 people, he was one of two men, but yet he managed to do the majority of the talking. He frequently cut off women or subtly belittled their opinions. He asked a friend and I for our thoughts about one of the papers, and when we gave him a brief synopsis of our analysis, he told us that we should focus on Insert Really Broad Topic that is the Basis of Everything here, because that was what he was going to do. He didn’t seem to hear that our analysis went a lot deeper than his, but yet he felt the need to tell us how to write the paper. One week when discussing race, he told another classmate that she needed to ignore the racism her and her partner face (she is white and her partner is black), and that by ignoring it they would find they didn’t experience that much of it. His reasoning for this? He and his wife had done that (he is Latino and his wife is black) and it had worked for him!

    In another instance, a black woman was ignored (in a leadership type position) in favor of a white woman. Though several black women spoke of their concerns*, he chose to ignore what they said and call this moment a victory for interracial leadership. When I spoke up to say, basically, that it couldn’t really be a victory if people were being left out, he changed the subject to how threatened he felt by people’s concerns. Later on, he said that he was happy over the unity surrounding his analysis (WTF?!) and that he felt that “black women’s issues” are what kept them from seeing the truth of his point. Those who were not black and challenged him (like myself) were disappeared by his comment, and even worse, he infantilized the black women in the room by saying that they are basically incapable of trust and understanding (you know, that old chestnut).

    Oh, and also when he would lead a discussion, he would ask for the opinions of the other people in the class, by asking the other man in the room what he thought.

    Every week I felt myself angered by this mansplainer, and even more angered by the fact that there seemed to be no way to stop him or get the hell away from him.

    So my contribution to the meme…you may be a mansplainer if: when you can’t talk down people who don’t agree with you, you pretend they don’t exist.

    *This was a group psychology class, so a lot of the work of the class involved examining our own behavior.

  117. My FIL is an inveterate mansplainer/bully. Every time I visit, he tries to tell me about the awful, socialist hell that is my Canadian homeland. He’s never been to Canada, never read anything about it, doesn’t care to learn, and yet…

  118. Also, I am an INFJ, which apparently is the rarest of all personality types (or so the interwebz have said). Any others out there?

  119. @hsofia – Well, the telling you that you did in fact want to marry him part sounds like mansplaining, but the rest of it goes way beyond mansplaining into hey there crazy delusional asshole. Did you actually say “no I do not want to marry you” or was he just taking baffled silence and a WTF look as agreement?

    My ex (INTP, I’m ENTP) somehow managed to combine mansplaining on subjects I know lots about with the “give me information about random subject I’m interested in” behavior you’re describing. It was really wierd – he’d refuse to accept anything I said about things where I have all kinds of expertise, but then turn arouns and insist that I ought to,say, know everything about the history of some random town in England and it’s role in the industrial revolution just because I’m British. Um, what? And then he’d get irritated when I didn’t know the answer to his question and didn’t feel like researching it for him.

  120. Like, by saying a person is “mansplaining” to me am I just invalidating THEM ?

    NO. Pointing out sexism is not being a sexist.

  121. @Jae – I wish you could print that out and send that to him. WOW!
    “… my contribution to the meme…you may be a mansplainer if: when you can’t talk down people who don’t agree with you, you pretend they don’t exist.”

    YES.

  122. I remember my first self-aware encounter with mansplaining! I was no more than 14, and at summer camp, where another 14-or-so-year-old boy explained that The Cause of queefing was sex, because it traps air in the vagina, and he knew because he’d had sex before. I was the only girl in the room, and I may have made some rather unkind snorting sounds. And possibly had a less than rapt expression on my face. The boysplainer get annoyed and asked if I didn’t believe he’d had sex.

    I don’t think I said anything, but I’m pretty sure my eyebrows were eloquently expressing “I’m the only one with a vagina, but you’re the expert on queefing, and you think I care whether or not you’re lying about having sex?”

    I mean, obviously I didn’t know to call it “mansplaining” at the time, but I remember distinctly the hilarity of having my body explained to me by an annoying boy.

    If only it stayed so amusing as they grow up.

  123. Also: mansplainin’ in the form of Devil’s Advocacy. It’s been discussed here before why that’s so ever-lovin’ irritating. Of course, the consequence of Devil’s Advocacy should be… having to be Beelzebub’s on-call counsel for all eternity.

    KC, applause and confetti!

  124. Also, I am an INFJ, which apparently is the rarest of all personality types (or so the interwebz have said). Any others out there?

    I am on the cusp of E/I. But E says I can be a writer so I picked that one.

    maybe I should make clear that this boy was convinced vaginal intercourse was the *only* thing that causes queefing.

    A good pizza does it too. Front farts FTW.

  125. @CassandraSays – He came into the office I was working in one day, and took a liking to me, so asked around. Got my parents’ number and called them. My parents asked me how I felt about him, and I said NO, not interested. My dad told him via phone (I was sitting right there) “She’s not interested in getting married right now. She’s focusing on her studies and work. I’m sure you’re a good man, but she’s not interested.” He told my dad, “oh, okay, I understand. No problem. Thank you for talking to me.” The next day he was telling people we were engaged. When I found out and told my dad, he called him and told him to cease and desist! Then dude called me at the office to plead his case. I said, Nope. Not interested. Sorry. Call ended. Five minutes later he called me to tell me what a lousy, ugly (he emphasized this a lot) bitch I was.

  126. Devil’s Advocacy should be… having to be Beelzebub’s on-call counsel for all eternity.

    Ha. Only if the devil shouts as much as Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate. That would rule.

  127. ““As a former antitrust lawyer . . .” You know nothing good is coming after that.”

    Lol!

    “Also almost certainly going to yell, “Hel-lo? Who’s got the minge in this room, chummy?” at some point this weekend, regardless of context.”

    LOLOLOLOL!

    I too, am going to steal this at the first opportunity. Though I may use “knish” instead of “minge”.

  128. @hsofia – Wow. I’m going to stick with my “delusional asshole” interpretation and add a layer of interesting that he was so polite to your Dad before completely disregarding what Dad told him. Like, did he assume you and he could get married and your Dad wouldn’t notice?

  129. @Kelly Yesss! My three machines are a Viking 6440, a Singer 503-A, & a gorgeous 1953 Mercury (that I believe is actually a Japanese 201-2 clone, and I never use it, but it’s so pretty I can’t get rid of it. it is currently in our planned-to-be-steampunk living room.). I fully get that vintage machines are way more badass than most anything made nowadays, but are definitely not industrial (which in my experience has more to do with the speed rather than strength anyways?). I didn’t think it was worth attempting to explain to FIL, though. I distinctly remember one incident where I asked him a question while standing between him and Matt & he literally turned and spoke to Matt over my head instead of answering *me*. D’OH. I continually wonder how Matt ended up so awesome.

    Matt also got to listen to me going on about how there are so many different weights of denim that “ten layers of denim” doesn’t tell much, and seeing as how it’s on an eBay auction page, it’s not like they have, y’know, an ulterior motive or to make it appear that way or anything…

    Oh and since everyone else is throwing it out there, I’m an ENFP.

  130. Cassandrasays,
    Maybe his son? I actually had a long talk with my sister about it recently where she was all “He doesn’t feel like he should have to change who he is to make people like him, because they aren’t going to like him anyway.” (It was very circular.) And I tried to point out that choosing not to be an asshole all the time wouldn’t be changing who he is, it would be changing his behavior.

    I think the other favorite excuse is “He’s just opinionated” to which I point out that the things he argues about aren’t opinions, they are him disputing basic facts with people who actually know things. (One epic argument with MY boyfriend’s mother involved the exsistence of the word Caddywompus and his belief that it was not in fact a word, even though 4 people were telling him they had heard it before.)

    It’s one thing about mansplainers, they do give you a lot to vent about. I can’t believe that he thinks he is just privelege exempt. Ridiculous.

    I have to say that in some ways “Mistakes were made but not by me” gives me some insight into how to deal with mansplainers. (but only some)

  131. @hsofia: Oh, I wish I could send it to him…unfortunately he would probably just mansplain to me about how wrong I am. When he was confronted about some of these behaviors, like only asking the other dude in the room for his opinion, he told us that it had nothing to do with gender; it was just that this guy was quiet, and so he wanted to make sure he had a chance to speak. Because there weren’t any women in that room who didn’t get chance to speak.

    @snarkysmachine: Hm, I may need to consider switching myself to an “E” too. I am working on a short story that I just can’t seem to actually work on for more than a second at a time.

  132. You know the worst thing about mansplaining though? How often I totally, totally fall for it.

    And then later realize that some dipshit actually managed to make me feel stupid about something I actually understood better than he did. Like, I’ll get in some big argument with some dude who ‘splains and ‘splains till I just give up, assuming I must be wrong, only to later run across some random fact that actually proves that I was right all along.

    I have a hard time sticking up for myself, or sticking to my guns, when I’m up against someone with that Dr. Phil demeanor of Ultimate Authority. It just crumbles me.

  133. @Shinobi – Particularly funny in light of the fact that thinking you should never have to change just because something you’re doing pisses other people off? Privilege in action.

    The ex also tried to mansplain how he is privilege exempt because he’s short and not wealthy, but another guy who I work with occasionally who’s of the same ethnicity does have privilege because he’s tall and famous. I did try to point out that that’s not how privilege works and that privileged does not mean “everything in my life is awesome and I get to do whatever I want!”, but that just led to more mansplaining.

  134. “I have a hard time sticking up for myself, or sticking to my guns, when I’m up against someone with that Dr. Phil demeanor of Ultimate Authority. It just crumbles me.”

    Me too.

    I’m a little bolder when it comes to sticking up for myself than I used to be but I am often defeated by my own lack of being able to find the words I need in the situation. I have never been good at verbal communication and have a hard time thinking on my feet. I need time and space to write out my thoughts (hello, classic INFJ) so when I am in that confrontation I cannot find the words that I need which makes me fumble and ultimately resign to his “superior” knowledge. So damn frustrating.

  135. OMG totally forgot my favourite most recent mansplanation — some random dude comes up to me while I’m trying to study in Tim Hortons, asks what my major is (“nutrition”), and then he goes on for about an hour explaining to me about food combining.

    When I’d finally had enough, and started saying stuff like, “I don’t think our bodies work that way,” he just kept talking about the same stuff BUT IN A LOUDER TONE OF VOICE as though he could just drown me out. And kept cutting me off.

    Eventually I had to leave because I couldn’t get any actual work done. On, you know, my nutrition degree.

  136. @Shinobi – I’m so baffled by your sister & her fiance. It seems like everyone who has come into contact with this guy thinks he’s a complete tool with the exception of your sister. I would consider that a huge warning sign if I was dating/engaged to someone.

    Since we are doing the Myers-Briggs thang, I’m ISFJ

  137. INFP ftw.

    One of my close guy friends is a world-class mansplainer, and I’m fairly sure that, as annoying as it is, that’s not going to change. But I’ve discovered that asking him to explain something is a great way to distract him from other things! Anyway, from him I get: You might be a mansplainer if you don’t notice that the person on the other side of the phone has made a snack and a turned on a tv show whilst saying ‘yeah’ at appropriate intervals and waiting for the mansplaining to subside.

  138. This discussion reminds me of my favorite anti mansplaining line (via an angry Angela Bassett to an effed up Ralph Fiennes in the movie, “Strange Days”): I’m doing this from memory, so it might not be exact: “Don’t you use the time I’m talking to you to think about what you’re going to say next!”

  139. Late to the discussion as usual, but I read this and went OH GOD YES I know these people. My father is one. When I was little it was actually kind of cool because it seemed like he knew everything. And then I got older and not so cute and biddable and he used it as a club. And now I have a dear friend whose husband is EXACTLY LIKE THAT and sometimes it’s all I can do not to walk off when he’s talking.

    My first job out of college was in an incredibly dysfunctional office that featured a mansplainer. He latched on to me and at first I thought it was a good thing (yeah, I see the pattern, too) because no one else would tell me what was going on. And then he started standing in my cube and talking at me for literally hours at a time. If I got up and walked to the bathroom, he’d follow me, talk the whole time, and wait for me outside so he could continue. He didn’t want my participation in the conversation, since he was perfectly capable of carrying it on himself. He didn’t take nonverbal hints of any sort, including staring straight at my monitor and ignoring him for an hour.

    I’m very nonconfrontational, so after several talks with our boss (who wouldn’t do anything directly), I got permission to move to another cubicle across the department. Didn’t deter him much. His most memorable mansplanation was to tell me (in 2005 or so) that he would never vote for a woman, specifically Hillary Clinton, for president because she’d be totally incapacitated for several days a month due to her period. He also used to tell me repeatedly that I reminded him of his (teenage) daughter.

    And now I’m inspired to go figure out my personality type, since I can’t remember my Myers-Briggs results from forever ago. I’m sure “doormat” figures prominently in the description.

  140. A good pizza does it too. Front farts FTW.

    Nice! My ladyparts get real talkative during my period, but of course I was not ready to announce that to the room at the age of 14. Looking back, I kind of wish I had.
    I make up for it these days by drawing vulvas on my male classmates’ iphones.

    As an INTJ/P/sometimes something else I can’t remember right now (The Fat Nutritionist, I have a whole rant about Myers-Briggs and personality psychology, I’ll just say for now that nearly everyone is somewhere in the middle on most of their M-B traits, which makes the whole “discrete typology” thing…less than entirely helpful), I have know-it-all tendencies myself, counterbalanced I hope by self-awareness and like Chava, a lot of expressing myself in terms of “I feel…” and “my understanding is…”
    Also, thanks to years of trying to be as invisible as impossible to my peers, I hardly ever speak up about my opinions unless they’re relevant to specific work. I figure it’s probably for the best, the world has more than enough providers of unsolicited opinion.

    It does serve as a bit of a buffer between me and mansplainers, because when I’m confident in my knowledge about something, being dismissed just makes me angry and less likely to listen. Though I wouldn’t say I stick up for myself, I just tune out until they go away.

  141. I’m an INFJ too!

    I remember once when I was getting my hair done I was sitting across from this mother and son. The mother was getting foil done, and her very effeminate adult son was mansplaining to the colorist exactly what to do. Like the entire time, as the colorist was already doing it. And not only was he mansplaining to the colorist, he was mansplaining to his mother (who appeared to not even speak a word of English and was just smiling and nodding, mind you) all the things that were completely offensive about how she looked, from the outfit she was wearing down to her toenails. (Literally her toenails. He was all, “Do y’all do pedicures here? She NEEDS IT.”) I’m not even going to get into what this man actually looked like.

  142. INTJ. Himself is an INTP. The best comparison I’ve heard is that the INTP will have the perfect Plan For Ruling The World, carefully polished, tweaked and obsessed over, altered to suit every little detail. Meanwhile, the world is actually being run by INTJs. Or rather, by their staff.

    My number one trick for dealing with mansplainers: “yes, dear”.

    Mansplainers aren’t talking to you, they’re talking at you[1]. Take away the oxygen of attention and say “yes, dear” in an appropriately distracted/disinterested tone at the right intervals, and they tend to curl up and die[2]. For extra points, be obviously rude about withdrawing your attention – open a book, turn up the iPod, start a conversation with someone else, look away from them, etc. Just keep up the “yes, dear” or “mm-hmm” as needed whenever they pause to draw breath. Eventually they get the hint, or they go off to find themselves a more appreciative audience, or they just shut the heck up. All of which I’m willing to count as a win.

    [1] It shouldn’t need to be said, but this is impolite behaviour.
    [2] Yes, this is impolite too – but sometimes things need to be served with their own sauce.

  143. I HAVE NOT READ ALL THE COMMENTS (oh shit)

    but I wanted to say that I just got back from having to cut my beloved dance class in half because my dysfunctional body crapped out on me again, and I had to lie down and I was cranky and upset, and here is a great thread with like a bizillion comments for me to read of you all bringing the feminist snark so delightfully and it is AWESOME. I love Shapelings!

  144. Does it count as mansplaining when he turns to his partner and tells her something about herself

    Oh my God, my dad does this. But he actually contradicts me. Like:
    Me: “I don’t like x”
    Dad: “Yes you do [long mansplaination on how I actually do like x and my reasons for claiming not to]”
    Me: [in my head b/c I suck at standing up to my dad]: “Fucking EXCUSE ME? I think I know my own preferences!”

    As for how to deal with otherwise great men who have a problem with mansplaining… my husband reads feminist blogs, so when he tries to mansplain to me (which he has only a slight tendency toward, thank God) I just yell: “I already know that! Stop mansplaining!” It usually works.

  145. Jae! April! Lucy!

    Yeah, I’m an INFJ too (and despite the norms, pretty much nowhere near the middle on any of these traits except the T/F).

    My family is rife with mansplainers. The most fun I’ve ever had with it was having my Dad and my uncle both mansplaining fiber optics to my aunt, disagreeing with each other all the way, both of them getting nearly all of it wrong. My aunt is a controls engineer of nearly 40 years experience and top notch in her field. Even my husband, who’s a pretty darned hotshot controls/chemical engineer himself shuts up if she has an engineering opinion. But not her husband (MBA) or her brother-in-law (MD).

  146. Kristine, for when you do finish reading the comments:

    Mansplanation response: Have you tried Insert One of a Million “Remedies” here? My friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s hairdresser’s banana salesperson did it, and she never experienced any kind of physical issue of any kind again. If it doesn’t work, you will be happy to know that whatever is troubling you, I have read several articles on the subject and I am positive that it is a psychosomatic condition that you have because you are a hysterical lady-brain.

    Real response: Hope things improve ASAP and that until they do you are blessed with many comfy places to rest. Also, your little picture (my internet lingo for what this is called has gone right out the window) is awesome :)

  147. My favourite ‘splaining tactic I’ve encountered? Using dictionary-type language in a discussion about words (arse vs. ass, and British and American English). Nope, you’re still wrong!
    I recently encountered an anti-feminist who, despite having never read anything on the subject, tried to mansplain What Feminism Means, and How [I] Must Hate Men, Even If [I] Don’t Know It Yet. With a bonus lecture on How Your Concern For Non-Female Humans Is Laughable (hint: it’s all in the roots of words!). It wasn’t just your standard Feminism Sux ranting, he genuinely tried to mansplain me into not calling myself a feminist anymore.

  148. OK. Probably my favorite Mansplaining Moment was when I was pregnant with kid #2, planning my homebirth, and my FIL mansplained to me that giving birth would be painful. He knew, see, because he once had a bladder stone! And it hurt!

    Have you tried Insert One of a Million “Remedies” here? My friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s hairdresser’s banana salesperson did it, and she never experienced any kind of physical issue of any kind again.

    Oh, man. I have not had that mansplained to me yet and I’m just *waiting* for it. I’ve witnessed a lot of ‘splaining about health remedies, though, because I used to run with a hippiedippie crowd (before the ‘splaining put me off it).

    Also, your little picture (my internet lingo for what this is called has gone right out the window) is awesome :)

    Oh, thank you :) I was inspired to gradually get rid of my hair by the guest post right here at SP on short haircuts for fat women. /offtopic

  149. Another mansplaining I remember now – I have a friend who mansplains all the time. One night he mansplained to me and two other female friends that most American men can only maintain an erection for 90 seconds. And this is why women get to be so bitter and unhappy – because they are sexually dissatisfied with the 1.5 minute intercourse.

  150. Oh god, speaking of Mansplanations About Childbirth, there was this dude who spent half an hour mansplaining to me that he could too refer to giving birth as “taking a really big dump”, and that it couldn’t possibly be harder or more painful than that, because it was basically the same thing, just coming out a different hole.

    I told him if he regularly takes craps that take 12+ hours and require hospitalization, he’s probably got some really serious digestive problems that should be looked into.

    I don’t think that sunk in.

  151. @hsofia: I wonder where the hell he got that from. I remember reading somewhere (unless it was on Sue Johansen’s show) that the average sexual intercourse lasts 2 minutes, perceived as 5 minutes by the participants.

    I mean, most women aren’t sexually satisfied by that, if you define sexual satisfaction as orgasm, because most women don’t orgasm from penetration. Whether that’s because we just don’t or because straight dudes can’t stinking get the angle right is a matter that will be debated for all the ages. XD

  152. Me: “I don’t like x”
    Dad: “Yes you do [long mansplaination on how I actually do like x and my reasons for claiming not to]”

    Fucking…that reminds me of this actual conversation between my parents, which illustrates why they got divorced:

    My mom: [reading one of those real estate listing magazines, looking at a particular house] I like this one.
    My dad: [across the room, not looking up from his newspaper, completely serious and with a touch of vague irritation] Oh, you do not.

  153. Oh hey, I’m an INTP too. I think it’s incredibly conducive to general douchbaggery and mansplaining because we tend to think that it’s okay to be obnoxious as long as we’re objectively right (and, really, when are we not? when?).

    But like interfacings said, being an INTP is a total buffer between most INTPs and mansplainers. Ya know, when we’re not the ones doing the ‘splaining. Like when we have laryngitis, for example.

    But for serious, that’s why I use qualifiers like “I feel like…” or “I think that…” Because I really like being a congenial person with actual friends to discuss things with.

  154. Adding: I thought it was a hilarious deadpan remark until I realized he…wasn’t joking. He was really telling her (from across the room! without even looking!) that he knew better than she did what house listings she did or did not like.

  155. Wow, just spent two days in technical meetings with a mansplainer. He reached his peak at the end of day two. I was discussing a point with two other attendees and, after probably more discussion than necessary, we realized we didn’t have enough information for a conclusion.

    I said, “we won’t be able to decide without more information.”

    He then announced, “well, [boss] sent me here to make decisions, and I think we can make a decision.”

    I said, “No, you can’t, we don’t have the information to make the decision at this point. We’ll have to work this out later.”

    He crows, “yes, I do. My decision is…we don’t have enough information to make a decision! You guys will have to work this out offline.”

    Me: [looks at him in disbelief]
    Me: [turns away from him towards other involved attendees]

    Me: Okay, we’ll revisit this then.
    Other involved attendees: Great.
    Vendor project manager: Next topic.

    He, oblivious to us, laughing, pleased with himself, announcing to others around him, “I’ve had training in this! I’m a LEADER!”

    This was following a repeating loop of him explaining databases to me when I’m the one in the room with actual database knowledge, me explaining where he’s wrong, him re-explaining it to me, me re-explaining his misconception, him then turning to another woman in the room and mansplaining it incorrectly to her, because she’s studying databases and “will need to know this.”

    obMBTI: INTJ, confirmed by multiple professionals in the discipline. The difference between situational (“this usually works in my life”), aspirational (“a perfect person would be”) and actual (“what I’d do if I didn’t have to care what other people wanted from me”) preferences can sometimes be very hard to tease out and is apparently a major source of mistyping.

    The typical MBTI quiz tries to hide what each question means and as a result question interpretation can be rather opaque. The four-question MBTI (http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html) is an interesting tool because it is instead quite transparent.

    That said, not everyone can be “typed” and it’s pointless to force us all into one of 16 boxes.

  156. I hardly know what examples to pick!

    You know you’re mansplaining when you disagree with the woman, but then agree with the man (or person sharing your privilege) who is repeating the woman’s (unprivileged person’s) argument verbatim. One sentence at a time. And then you repeat the argument to the woman, to make sure she gets it.

    This happened all the time in my undergrad homework group. I’m an engineer, so it was my female self with 5-7 guys, and one of the always always always refused to admit I had solved the problem, until one of the other guys explained it to him. Then he would “graciously” explain the solution to me, because you know, it was great that I was trying so hard to be successful in engineering as a woman, and he wanted to help me out. It got particularly frustrating because I tended to get through the homework faster than the guys. Probably because I’m brilliant* but also because I habitually used my good handwriting for homework, so I could read what I was doing as I went along.

    Also, using hormonal contraception and talking to a hardcore anti-choicer. I have had the horrors and terrible side effects of BCP mansplained to me so many times, always by male virgins. Because they’ve totally had a ton of experience with any form of contraception, especially the kinds only women can use. Apparently it never occurred to me, or my doctor, to look into the Pill before taking/prescribing it, and obviously I just don’t realize how it’s ruining my life. Did you know that the Pill is why I’m nearsighted? I found that fascinating, since I started wearing glasses about 6 years before I went on birth control. It also causes my migraines (I know it can in some people, but it mitigates them for me) AND causes me to gain weight (I have PCOS, I gain more weight OFF the pill than on it.)
    I’m not shy about my period, or my sex life, and the best way to head this off is to dish up more detail than they want to hear. Good times.

    *This was tongue-in-cheek, just to clarify

  157. This is such a beautiful thread…

    My story isn’t exactly mansplaining, but it’s close enough and I had to get it off my chest…. during a critique (I’m a grad student in art) my advisor twice responded to my comments/statements by dismissively chuckling and saying something like “Oh, I don’t think that’s true.” Not, y’know, actually providing any rebuttal, just dismissing me out of hand, in front of the entire class. I could have killed him. If I’d had any doubts about his latent miscogyny(sic?) that pretty much put them to rest.

    Of course, I once had my boyfriend’s uncle mansplain to us all over Thanksgiving dinner that Thomas Jefferson’s “relationship” with Sally Hemmings wasn’t coercive because “it’s different when love is involved.” I don’t even know where to start with that one…

  158. You know you’re mansplaining when you disagree with the woman, but then agree with the man (or person sharing your privilege) who is repeating the woman’s (unprivileged person’s) argument verbatim. One sentence at a time. And then you repeat the argument to the woman, to make sure she gets it.

    God, this is like my life. So I just let my white boyfriend say everything. He’s going to be writing my blog posts and doing all my twitter/facebooking. Saves me a shit ton of trouble and of course leaves me with time for more important things. I mean if I’m gonna have to deal with white translating anyway, it’s better if the translator is someone I like kissing.

  159. @slythwolf – I think that is probably the study he was referring to (he brought it up several times over a period of weeks). I don’t know what was more offensive … the idea that women “get” bitter and angry – or that their “problem” is that they’re not getting enough penis.

    @Nora – are you my husband? =D Long before I met him he worked on how he phrased things so that he could actually have conversations with people and they would listen to him.

  160. Grafton…this may well make you a Mansplainer. “Logical Fallacies”, is a phrase that reeks of mansplaining confusion fog.

    I’m of the firm belief that mansplainers come with a bag of confusion fog built in to their “undergarments”, and they release small pockets of the gas (sometimes large) that fart-like, fill the air with a mansplain noxious fume that makes it harder to know your own mind. If you sit in this mansplain fog long enough you will actaully forget all normal thought and be overwhelmed by bewildered confusion. I have found that the only way to combat it is to throw yourself to the floor with your arm over your nose shouting “MANSPLAIN FART FOG! I’VE BEEN HIT!” every single time a man begins to explain something too thoroughly.

    Try it…if nothing else it will cause a distraction long enough for you to flee.

  161. This thread is too funny – I keep cracking up and waking up my own most-beloved mansplainer who has to wake up early for work tomorrow.

    @KC – You win an internet. I shall sent it posthaste.

    @TheFatNutritionist – I don’t know if it’s because I’ve never taken a proper Myers-Briggs test, or because I teach test-taking for a living, but I never come up with a consistent type, either, or have lots of 50/50 splits. Maybe we are just awesome because we cannot be reduced to four letters!

    My Father-in-Law loves to mansplain. He is an old dude, granted, so I usually let it slide, but oh, when he starts to explain to me about the sexual harassment that women experience in the workplace, FIVE MINUTES after describing the “very visually appealing” modes of dress of all his female college-age interns, I am forced to tut. Is there any way to effectively curtail mainsplaining in a way that won’t make your in-laws hate you?

  162. Off topic, but now I’m wildly curious: in what sort of sewing project does one sew ten layers of denim together? I’m imagining wild ruffles . . .

  163. @paintmonkey — well, usually the logical fallacy in question is the Naturalistic Fallacy. This is the one where gay people are bad ’cause they are unnatural and eating nothing but bean sprouts and grubs is good ’cause it’s natural.

    I don’t go about lecturing people about things I don’t know anything about, and especially not so to the absurd point of telling women about the pain of childbirth or the humiliation/entertainment of queefs.

    But I am no doubt pedantic. It’s an Asperger’s trait. I’m still trying to figure out how to tell people things I know without giving them the impression that I think they are stupid. It’s hard.

    @Starling — having a penis is silly. I believe Leonard Cohen wrote a poem about this.

  164. God, working in an IT area, I get mainsplained up the wall sometimes. But because of my butch dyke privilege (I’m not kidding, in this area), I’m less subjected to it than other women are – we had a PM the other day carefully ‘splain to one of the (female, feminine) DBAs what “relational” means in terms of databases. She was much too polite to say anything, but I nabbed her because we needed to “discuss something at her desk” and we made our escape.

    But unfortunately (occupational hazard for sys admins?), I sometimes have a tendency to mansplain, myself. However, because I know how infuriating it is, I shut myself up once I become aware of what I’m doing. Not quite the classic ‘splain level of obliviousness, but god it’s embarrassing when I wake myself the fuck up.

    I tend to waver between an ISTP or an ISFP, depending whether or not I’m at work or am in nurturing mode.

  165. Is there a circle of internet Hell for the “What About Teh Menz!?” crowd?

    Because it gets pretty old seeing the same old shit about how men have it just as bad or worse in every. single. possible. situation. ever. I particularly love the ones who state with complete seriousness that white, straight, cis men are the most oppressed people in the whole wide world. I could do serious damage to my forehead banging it on the desk this much.

  166. @Grafton – I was just kidding anyway . The fact that you are even aware of being pedantic means that you arent a real mansplainer. Let’s face it, we are all pedantic at times….You should hear me on the history of Lemurs. I don’t even know anything about Lemurs either, I just make it up on the spot and give it a Latin name.

    I also play the Linoleum and lecture freely on that, with elaborate diagrams.

  167. My favorite is when my so-called “feminist” (self-labeled of course) male acquaintances mansplain to me. Most recently the guy who persisted in body-shaming Cameron Diaz (The words “should be” left his mouth about someone else’s body)… despite a room full of women telling him that he was dead wrong and to shut his mouth*.

    *But hey it’s okay because she said one thing and then didn’t spend the rest of her life living up exactly to HIS perception of that statement!

  168. Argh! My ex used to mansplain to me like crazy, but about the most amazingly simple obvious things – in mind boggling detail.

    When I broke up with him he told me utterly seriously that I was being stupid to lose someone who cared for me, and also that other men do not wash their genitals, and that is why I should stay with him.

    My dad is a champion mansplainer of the obvious. He likes to start his statements with ‘Sometimes in this world…’ and then say something like ‘people like different foods.’ And then elaborate. ‘I like sausages. You don’t like sausages. Someone else may be ambivalent about sausages.People like different foods.’

  169. Coming back into this late, but

    You might, by which I mean pretty much definitely are, a mansplainer if you use the phrase “let’s try a thought experiment” without irony. Also, using the word “female” when you mean “woman

    Also, using the word ‘woman’ when you mean ‘female’ (“women doctors/lawyers”)

  170. Hey, I’ve just realised that my boss is a mansplainer! We spend endless meetings with other people where I say my piece and he mansplains what I just said, just more loudly and less concisely. And takes the credit for my ideas, as noone remembers my contribution.

    One of the reasons I’m leaving in March. Oh, yeah.

    Love this thread.

  171. @Curvygirl, Gads, can’t blame you for leaving that.

    I work in the oil industry, so i get mansplained offshore until I’m able to give them better specs on shit that they’re supposed to be the experts on.

    *shakes heads.

    Penis =/= brains. Brain = Brain.

    I’m apparently INFJ, as well. Reading the descriptions definitely fit.

  172. My art tutors were guilty of this constantly. Granted, it’s part of their job to explain things, but not when there is clear evidence that I already understand that which they are trying to teach me. It’s no coincidence that only my male tutors ever tried to do this. My female ones were far more observant about seeing where I needed help and where I was doing just fine by myself.

    Most annoying was my assumed ignorance of art materials, especially when I was already using the thing they were so kindly explaining to me that I should use, right in front of their faces. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to say “what, you mean this thing I have in my hand right now?” at the time. So many times did my painting tutor come to my studio and tell me to use a material I WAS using at that very moment, that I initially thought it was some strange joke.

    For example, I was in my studio working on a large watercolour piece when he came by to check on my work, watched me for a while, then told me I should get myself some watercolour paper and not use “that 10p cartridge paper crap”, when it should have been obvious to him I was working on watercolour paper, and there were two large rolls of the stuff next to me as well.

    But then, I am an INFP, maybe I’m just too sensitive…

  173. Also, I am an INFJ, which apparently is the rarest of all personality types (or so the interwebz have said). Any others out there?

    I’m actually an INTJ by about 1% point of T over F. The I, N, and J are all upwards of 80% (the I was 97%, I think). *shrugs*

    Topic: this thread is awesome, although it’s making my head hurt from headdesking. And it’s giving me some new tactics to use when we spend time with the husband’s best friend. He’s a nice guy, means well, would give the shirt off his back to help someone without question, but he is definitely a mansplainer.

  174. Hi fellow INFJs!

    After reading all these comments, I’m realizing just how much mansplaining I do on a daily basis. Ugh. I’m not a man, but my tendency to explain is definitely based on privilege – being a professor, passing as white, etc. I’ve been this way since I was a little kid — all my friends and even my own parents used to complain about my being a know-it-all.

    I’m also realizing that my choice of field – philosophy – has vastly contributed to this. The spot-the-fallacy game, the endless thought experiments, and the glorification of “reason”. (My department actually has a big poster they used to use at recruiting events: “Philosophy – where thinkers learn to think!” Yeah, we’ve cornered the market on THINKING itself).

    Now I know why I’m surrounded by mansplainers as well, and why we’re constantly trying to one-up each other. I think the joke’s on me. I’m pretty sure I was so drawn to philosophy because I was desperate to gain some conversational power. My father was always using logic against me as a kid, and always telling me how I felt and what I thought. I so wanted to have the power to win debates and defend my own feelings and ideas, and I was almost high on philosophy when I first started taking classes in it. But all I ended up doing was putting myself in a community of hyper-mansplainers, where I constantly have to fight to be taken seriously.

  175. OMG, I just remembered the time a Champion Mansplainer mansplained to me how to use a debit card in a restaurant. “They’ll bring you it back with a little bit of paper to sign,” he reassured me, in case I were confused or apprehesive about this bewilderingprocess, or nurtured the erroneous notion that one simply had to hand over the mysterious shiny plastic oblongs in direct exchange for goods or services.

    I once overheard the same guy mansplaining how to colour in to a masters student in her early thirties.
    I think he’s a management consultant these days.

  176. I love that I now have a word for this. Luckily I haven’t encountered a lot of mansplaining in quite a while (despite working with mostly men), but I have noticed that that behaviour seems quite common in men over a certain age. I thought it was limited to men that were middle-aged-or-older, but apparently not. Glad I’m not making it up, though – I’ve mentioned the mansplainy behaviour to people a couple of times, but they didn’t really get it/see it.

    Oh, and you might be a mansplainer if you’re with a group of people at a pub and, upon hearing a song on the radio, feel compelled to educate the woman next to you about the history of rock’n’roll. (Yes, I do know who Bill Haley was, and um, I’m pretty sure you left a big chunk out of that history)

    I’m INTJ, by the way. Might explain why I like reading the comments here so much :-) (This is my first comment, but I’ve read for a while and love the posts and comment threads)

  177. Yeah, I’m guilty of that sometimes. As is my boyfriend. I’m at least generally pretty well aware of whether or not I know anything about the topic; I just tend to be oblivious to whether or not the listener wants to know quite that much about it at the moment. Working as a librarian puts me in this inconvenient mindset of “There is a piece of information that I possess that you do not, and you seem at least vaguely interested in it. I must correct this imbalance immediately!”

    My boyfriend tends to do more of the classic thinking out loud at people and educating them about subjects in which they are the expert. When I call him on it, he will usually stop, and will now even sometimes ask if he can explain something at me. He’s planning to be a teacher, so he has a vested interest in learning to explain things sensibly (and he’s actually very good at it if he is explaining something to someone becuase they want to know, rather than because he wants to explain).

  178. I haven’t encountered much mansplaining in real life Either I’m oblivious to it, or just really lucky. However, every time there’s a post on a feminist blog about society’s double standards for men and women regarding sex, some troll feels the need to mansplain why evolution makes all women monogamous whores, and makes all men promiscuous and possible rape-y. It’s always in some condescending way, like they’re explaining it to a child, with the assumption that nobody on the blog could actually know something about biology, because it’s mostly women. Now, I’m certainly not an expert on evolution, but I studied it in college enough to know that this mansplaition is a complete oversimplification. It seems as though these mansplainers never learned about evolution past elementary school, and they clearly don’t understand what they’re talking about. But my education in biology means nothing when they need to mansplain why double standards are unavoidable.

    There was one incident in real life where a woman mansplained something to me. She’s divorced and has several children, and a new boyfriend. One day she gushed about how nice it was that her new boyfriend asked her sons for permission before proposing to her, and how it was so romantic. I jokingly said, “Oh, so your daughter’s opinion doesn’t count?” (I knew that he hadn’t asked the daughter because she’s too young to understand what’s going on.) Then she mansplained to me about this concept of “tradition”, as though I had never the term before. She completely missed the point that the tradition itself is problematic.

    Then there was one boy in my college classes who mansplained during a class debate (to be fair, it was an ethics class). He had some opinion, and rather than explain his argument, he insisted that he read a 1,400-page book about it, so he’s right, but that it would take too long to summarize. I was very tempted to say that I read a 1,401-page book that disagreed with his view, but I actually felt sorry for the boy and didn’t want to embarrass him further.

  179. Great Thread! My husband and I have a mutual friend who is a huge mansplainer. We are both working on getting him to realize he does this and why it is beyond annoying. We’ve made a little bit of progress and yes, it burns knowing that he listens more when my husband points it out.

    Also, if no one has mentioned it yet, I believe the graphic is from the Ctrl Alt Del comic.

  180. (And every time I take that damn Meyers-Briggs, I come up with like a near-perfect 50/50 split between all the factors. Except I am like 54% Introverted. So I’m like an I***.)

    Ooooh! *raises hand* I’m always 50% on everything, too. I was afraid I was the only one. :)

  181. rainneAlso, using the word “female” when you mean “woman”.

    Oh gods, that’s one of my absolute bugbears. Mind you, it can be quite handy for immediately identifying someone as the sort of person who believes that women are a different species and will treat them accordingly.

    Most of the mansplainin’ I receive tends to be in a professional context. Plus it’s always struck me that spouting on confidently about things you aren’t totally sure of is part of male privilege -partly because of that “you don’t have to represent your entire less privileged class” thing that XKCD summed up so well with the “you suck at math”/”girls suck at math” cartoon. Lately I have also enjoyed being mansplained to by an otherwise lovely colleague why we should develop some software in a certain way. He is an editor. I run the digital publishing department.

  182. Ugh, that gaslighting article makes me a bit depressed. I’m glad to be able to articulate what is wrong with my relationship; but, what next? The worst part is that I think I make myself susceptible to this effect in every relationship I enter into — not just the romantic.

  183. Huh. *I* use “female” instead of “woman”, especially in conversations involving teenagers, since I perceive “woman” as loaded with age assumptions. Is that inappropriate or offensive? If so, I need to stop.

  184. I’m thinking about the difference between mansplainin and just run-in-the-mill jackassery. Just because you are pontificating to people who either already know or don’t really care – as I’ve found myself doing, I hope I’m getting better at stopping myself early rather than late – doesn’t mean you are mansplainin.

    If I walk into a graduate class on Asian art, and start holding forth on the basis of my sophomore art history classes, I’m just being a jackass.

    If I’m feeling no embarrassment about holding forth b/c most of the other students are women and I’m a guy, or POC and I’m white, then I’ve crossed into mansplanin.

    And if I start holding forth on feminine themes in Asian art based on my infinite knowledge gleaned from my sophomore art history classes PLUS having read everything ever by Pearl S. Buck and Amy Tan, then I am a Mansplainin Jackass.

  185. Also, using the word ‘woman’ when you mean ‘female’ (“women doctors/lawyers”)

    Or, even more scary, when you’re talking about animals. One of the most frightening things I ever witnessed at my old job was a man who already was an outspoken sexist describing his pets, which were these Komodo dragon-looking lizard things we’d never seen or heard of. The reason he had them, the sole reason, was because when they mate, the female is somehow unprepared for it and the male sneaks up on her- essentially, to anthropomorphize, the male rapes the female. Or rather, as this man Freudian-slipped it, “the male basically attacks the woman and she has no idea what’s coming. It’s pretty fascinating.” Yeah, it could be, except when I tell people about it, I’m more scared than turned on.

  186. @Lucy….Imagine if this man were to find himself trapped with a Komodo dragon . “It bit my leg off and it’s saliva poisioned my entire body! I literally had no idea what was coming because I’m a mansplaining HeeHaw.” Asshole.

  187. @Grafton–“I’m still trying to figure out how to tell people things I know without giving them the impression that I think they are stupid. It’s hard.”

    Yep. I relate to the teachers,philosophers, professionals, and other walking encyclopedias when we bite our tongues or repeatedly ask our listener, “Are you sure you want to hear about this?” Sigh.

    I’ve never mastered small talk. Job interviews are a nightmare for me because I don’t understand the distinction between lying and “shaping the truth in a way they want to hear” (business lying).

    Other than those two things, I usually have okay boundaries re: public self and private self. Oh, but I have an unconsious tendency to change the subject in a conversation like this. I’m working on it.

    Back to topic: The mansplaining concept has saved one of my friendships.

    For example:

    For the last 4 mornings, before sunrise, while walking near my home I’ve encountered a barn own (perched on a broken branch of a tree next to the mostly-deserted road). Barn Owls like this one are sometimes called ghost owls, so they are very distinctive even in dim light. (I named her Sista Owl after she winked, possibly at me.)

    So, anyway, I’m describing my incredible encounters with Sista Owl to a boyfriend:

    Me: “She’s at least 18 inches tall, maybe 20!”

    Him: “Naw, probably more like 14 inches.”

    Me: “Oh, you saw her?”

    Him: “Naw, but most owls around here are…”

    Me: Stone silent. I stare at him with my WTF? face…

    Tick tock tick tock..

    Him: “Mansplainin”?

    Me: “Yeah. Heading there.”

    Tick tock tick tock.

    Him: “Sorry.”

    Tick tock tick tock

    Him: “Are you sure it was a female?”

    Me: Silent with WTF? face again.

    Him: “Oh….yeah…Sounds cool!”

    Moral to the story: a couple of months ago the above conversation would have dragged out until I got the stabbies. (The “stabby” concept has been equally useful…but that’s a different topic!)

  188. @Anita…..erm actually, I don’t even know what Hee-Haw means. If I’m totally honest I only heard it used once and it was actually referring to a braying silly ass donkey sound….so apologies to anyone if it means something in the US I dont know about.

  189. Ok – I have actually just googled Hee-Haw just to make sure I didnt say something horrendous without realising, and I’m still none the wiser. Does it mean something offensive in the US?

  190. I have a very ‘splainy family, but I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re a different breed (“bullshitters” v. ‘splainers) because we know perfectly well we have only glancing knowledge of the topic, and like to argue about it anyway.

    That sounds incredibly obnoxious, but if everyone knows the game, it’s good fun. The trick is not to do it around the general public (pedantry) or fail to acknowledge actual expertise. It takes some practice with the siblings, because we all used to be completely ignorant, and it’s hard to readjust to the idea that some of us now have some professional expertise.

    My brother at Hahvahd is not to mansplain feminism to me, even though he did have a 101 class with Catharine McKinnon, and I am not to 0lder-sister-splain the implied Constitutional right to privacy to him, even if I am always, always correct, by virtue of my older-sister-ness.

    RNigade–
    I love that story.

    MissPrism–
    I think he’s a management consultant these days.
    Yeah, thanks for making me spit Diet Coke on my keyboard!

  191. Oh, I had one really shocking mansplain incident–I was one of three people facilitating a group interview for a professional development opportunity for writing teachers, and facilitators were also the selection committee. One of our gurus is Donald Murray, and as part of the interview process, we read and discussed an article written by him. One of the applicants (the only male applicant)cut off one of the women in the group as she described why she felt inspired by one of Murray’s metaphors for writing. He mansplained that it was illogical and didn’t hold up and would never be effective in “the real world”. He then started to attack Murray in a more personal way, and I knew that in addition to being incredibly rude to the woman he was interrupting, he was digging himself a hole that would be impossible to climb out of, given that the other facilitator was not only a good friend of Murray’s, but had only a few weeks earlier spoken about him at his memorial service. When I tried to interject, though, the interviewee shushed me. . . literally put his hand on my arm and said “Shhhhh,” then continued mansplaining.

    I’m sure you will not be shocked to hear that he was NOT granted the opportunity to participate in that summer’s institute.

  192. @paintmonkey … ‘Hee-Haw’ was a long-running variety show that featured country artists and a lot of ‘hillbilly’ humor.

  193. @Eucritta – thanks for the explanation. Oh, I didnt mean that at all. Sorry if anyone was offended, I’ll go and sit on the naughty step for a little while.

  194. In college I watched a lot of anime in Japanese, and one time had a discussion with a friend from high school about Rurouni Kenshin. He corrected my pronunciation of “shin” (I said it “sheen” and he said it like the part of your leg). When I pointed out that I was saying it just like a character in the show did, he told me, “That character’s a girl so she’s saying it wrong.”

    ARGH!

  195. I don’t think it’s mansplaining just any old time someone explains something pedantically, pompously or otherwise tiresomely. I’m pretty sure the mansplaining concept applies when a man explains to a woman (substitute your privilege here) BECAUSE she’s a woman and therefore MUST not understand without having it ‘splained.

    In fact, personally I’m not sure whether it even matters if the ‘splainer is correct or not. I lean towards the condescension, not necessarily the cluelessness, being the key element to a mansplain. Thoughts?

  196. There was a finely tuned trifecta of mansplaining in my former group. Mansplainer A (the boss) used the standard technique to tell us we were obviously wrong and list the reasons why. Mansplainer B would then repeat things the women had just said, and all the men would nod at his wisdom, and Mansplainer C (the syncophant) would then say “I thought of that”.
    In smaller groups where the boss wasn’t present to tell us we were wrong, mansplainer B didn’t feel the need to mansplain, so he was somewhat less annoying than the other two.

  197. I agree, kristenc. And that’s why the ladys should stop apologizing for being mansplainers. The other key element to mansplainin is being a man talking to a woman.

  198. Sorry! KRISTIN, not kristen. Also, I should add, “in my opinion.” Because I don’t want to seem to be ‘splainin something that’s a matter of opinion. :)

  199. I’m probably an ISFJ, according to all-knowing Wikipedia.

    I was posting on another internet forum about a particular television character and why I, given my personal life experiences, really identify with her. Only to have another poster explain to me why my identification was wrong and that I should totally like some other character on some other show better. Thanks, random internet guy who has never met me and doesn’t even fucking know what goddamn country I live in, for using your superior knowledge of my personal experiences to tell me what tv characters I should like best!

    My thought at the time was *@&#$# troll but now I know he was mansplainin’.

    This blog rocks. As do all of you.

  200. Favorite mansplaining moment was in high school. I took 6 art classes my senior year and no “double-dipping” was allowed, we couldn’t make one piece and make it fit assignments for several other classes. So basically I was producing a shitload of work and stressed and to de-stress I do what I always do, I produce more work, just free of restrictions, and I got really into using printmaking as my go to de-stresser.

    I dated a boy that was in 2 art classes, both of them with me. During one of our classes together, AP Drawing and Painting, I finished the piece I was working on and decided to work on some prints. First I started a carving NOT MY FIRST and he tried to give me advice as he worked on his own FIRST linoleum block carving. I got frustrated and decided to work on a screen print. I switched to another table cleared it off (you need a lot of space to print shirts and such) and he actually dragged all his stuff over to my new table and gave advice about the composition of the piece and the best way to print it when he had never done a screen print.

    When that made me get angry and start slamming bottle of ink around he told me that I didn’t need to get so angry, he was just trying to help. I almost spit in his face and pointed out that in a week I’d finished 3 pieces, he’d barely started one and his portfolio consisted of about 10 pieces overall, whereas mine even then was more than I could fit into 3 actual portfolios.

    The strange thing is (though I did break up with him for shit like that) that he was a really nice boy, likeable in most cases, but he still mansplained to a girl who was better than him in the shit he was mansplaining. I’ve met very few men who don’t mansplain at least some.

  201. “I lean towards the condescension, not necessarily the cluelessness, being the key element to a mansplain”

    Right! That’s what I was trying to get at in my musing above; the difference that makes the difference is that the ‘Mansplainer is operating from specific assumptions regarding the inferiority of the audience being ‘splained to AND their own inherent right to be Teh Splainer.

    OT – is jackass a gendered/classist insult? A thread over at Shakesville by PortlyDyke has me rethinking the etymology of words and phrases used to impart value assessments (an example used, “pardon my French” to excuse one’s swearing is based on American stereotype that the French are libertine). The question is whether a word ever gets so far from it’s origins, that one can use it without resurrecting the original (—)ist slur or stereotype. So jackass comes from being a male mule that’s going to do what it’s going to do regardless of anything from the outside. But mules as beasts of burden also have classist associations. Pondering …..

  202. Kristin, Lu–
    It’s true, mansplaining requires a certain gender construct. But there’s a larger question of privilege-splaining, of which we can all be guilty. I’ve got a definite older-sister-splain going on (I have seven younger siblings), and, while it’s not A Crisis of National Proportions, it’s an obnoxious trait. And awareness of it may prevent me from going into whitesplain or practicing other bad behaviors that leave my privilege waving in the wind.

    On the other hand, I had a female real estate agent who took one look at me and said, in a sweet voice, “Well, let me tell you all about how you are going to need to pay taxes, and you will pay your insurance, too, and all this will be chopped up into twelves and made part of your mortgage payment, so are you sure you can afford looking at this house, honey?” I dumped her–I can’t abide being treated like some Real Grown-up ought to be holding my hand when I make major purchases–but I think the condescending explanation was a gender thing. So it makes me wonder: does the mansplain require an actual gender difference, or simply the assumption that teh wimminz must have all matters mathematical, financial and scientific explained to them?

  203. My boyfriend is a bit condescending, but I’m not sure if it’s really mansplaining because he is usually talking to me about stuff that I am not that informed in.

    He did try to tell me about why US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) should change in a certain area for reason X, and while there is a lot of people who think they should change in that area, reason X has nothing to do with it. But when I explained the logic of my field (accounting) to him, he appropriately took his lumps and let it be.

    So yeah, while he can be a horrible pedant, I don’t think he’s really a mansplainer.

    I did work with a mansplainer who was 22 and fresh out of college, he came into our company in an entry level position and proceeded to tell EVERY WOMAN IN THE OFFICE how to do her job better, despite having no experience in our field. Some of these women had been in the industry for 20 years and were exceptional at their work. Oh sweet Jesus how that kid pissed me off.

    Oh, my boyfriend does kind of mansplain to his sister. Actually his whole family likes to lecture her on job hunting when NONE OF THEM HAVE EVER DONE IT. Seriously, his mom never worked after law school, his dad immediately went into practice for himself, and he leveraged his job in college into permanent work without pounding the pavement and really doing the whole search postings and send out resumes thing. The poor dear gets ganged up on by these insufferable lawyer types telling her all about how to look for a job in marketing and it makes me want to scream.

  204. At Thanksgiving, my brother in law was talking to my awesome, awesome friend M, who is Serbian. He proceeded to tell her what the conditions were in her country that led to the war, how the war was inevitable, what her country’s failings were and blah blah blah. M was gracious – as gracious as one can be when a complete dolt is telling you about your own nation and the war you and your family lived through. We laughed about it later because my stupid BIL does that ALL THE TIME. I just started telling him to shut up. His baby sister is a Captain in the Army and he tries to explain the Army to her despite never having been in the military. Douche.

    Last week, a colleague used the words “soccer mom” to illustrate someone who is on a Village Board but shouldn’t be based on their inexperience. Four women approached him on his use of sexist language – that soccer mom =/= not qualified. That soccer mom may = professional whose kids also happen to play soccer. He proceeded to mansplain sexism and feminism to us and defend his choice of words. Then he issued the nonpolgy – I’m sorry IF you were offended. Dude, not IF. We ARE offended. But I did call him out on it.

    ISFP, btw.

  205. Starling, “I’ve got a definite older-sister-splain going on”… eep. I do that too. Must call sisters and apologize now.

  206. “The question is whether a word ever gets so far from it’s origins, that one can use it without resurrecting the original (—)ist slur or stereotype. So jackass comes from being a male mule that’s going to do what it’s going to do regardless of anything from the outside. But mules as beasts of burden also have classist associations.”

    I feel like if people of the group it originally referenced are hurt by the insult, then it should still be avoided. If not, I can find those threads something of an exercise in Liberal White Guilt.

    Snarky:
    I hate hate HATE mansplaining cloaked as “processing.” It is incredibly toxic. I had a “friend” who at point had me firmly convinced that I had “no empathy,” was a “naturally submissive” personality, and that I was, in fact, mysteriously unhappy since I wouldn’t break up with my boyfriend and become part of his harem. (long, messy story. short version: worst polyamory tactics ever.)

    On “mansplaining”. I too am disturbed by the numbers of women on the thread apologizing and saying that they too mansplain. You can’t mansplain if you aren’t a man, nu? You *can* be obnoxious, but most of the time women aren’t being obnoxious, they’re just being assertive–and others perceive them as obnoxious where they wouldn’t a man. I dunno. I’ve had to train myself out of apologizing for everything and it was a long and surprising road.

  207. I’ve been fortunate in that, when I presented as a woman, I didn’t have much mansplaining directed towards me. I’ve seen lots of it directed towards women, though, and heard of even more from women acquaintences. My SO isn’t a woman but is usually read as one, and as a scientist in a male-dominated field, ze received more than hir share of the mansplaining.

    And there really are equivalents for just about any disprivileged/minority group. The cis-splaining that I see all the time is “No, no, I know why trans people transition!” And no amount of actual explanations from actual trans peole of “Actually, no, that’s not why I transitioned” can disuade such folks.

    Very heartening to hear stories of reformed mansplainers and in-reform mainsplainers, by the way!

    Sweet Machine,

    “People Who Announce They Haven’t Read The Comments should be perpetually forced to read provocative posts that speak against their very beliefs, the ‘submit comment’ buttons of which always crash their browsers.”

    That was a genuine LOL moment for me. It’s just so … perfect. I can’t help imagining myself subjected to that, and it would drive me to utter frustration. I have more than a bit of “someone is WRONG on the internet” in me.

    Lucy,

    “I remember once when I was getting my hair done I was sitting across from this mother and son. The mother was getting foil done, and her very effeminate adult son was mansplaining to the colorist exactly what to do.”

    I can’t tell why the son being “very effeminate” is relevant to his annoying mansplaining and, as a somewhat effeminate queer man, I’m uncomfortable that you chose to describe him as such.

  208. I think any the concept of any specific privilege-based dynamic can be generalized and/or reapplied to a number of other privilege-based dynamics, but I think it’s useful to stick to one at a time rather than jump right into generalizing. And oh-so-satisfying, too! IWO, it’s nice to scratch one itch at a time. I’m not saying I don’t believe in exploring intersectionality, because I do, but not every -‘splainin discussion can be all -‘splainin discussions, if you know what I mean.

  209. Huh. *I* use “female” instead of “woman”, especially in conversations involving teenagers, since I perceive “woman” as loaded with age assumptions. Is that inappropriate or offensive? If so, I need to stop.

    ErinLunar – I don’t think it’s necessarily offensive, but these are the particular circumstances that bother me when it’s used:
    (1) If you say “woman doctor”/”woman lawyer”/”policewoman”, when you would say “doctor”/”lawyer”/”police officer” and mean a man.
    (2) Men who say “She’s a very attractive female” or “I’ve got my eye on this female” or something of the sort. Why not “woman”? I’ve heard this usage from Nice GuysTM and sexists an above-average proportion of the time and it now seems creepy to me.

  210. I don’t think it’s mansplaining just any old time someone explains something pedantically, pompously or otherwise tiresomely. I’m pretty sure the mansplaining concept applies when a man explains to a woman (substitute your privilege here) BECAUSE she’s a woman and therefore MUST not understand without having it ’splained.

    In fact, personally I’m not sure whether it even matters if the ’splainer is correct or not. I lean towards the condescension, not necessarily the cluelessness, being the key element to a mansplain. Thoughts?

    I agree – I think it’s more than just pedantism – which I know I have in spades, myself… though *off-topic* I have difficulty distinguishing the difference between my using my occasionally-superior knowledge of a subject to make a needed point based on actual scientific references or existing theory, and when it’s just pedantic/obnoxious, because frequently people just seem to think if you *actually* have a source or theoretical knowledge they don’t, you’re being an intellectual snob, and their Argument from Personal Ignorance is therefore superior. My BIL uses this one on my all the time. My critique of racial stereotyping and What These People Need is Honky themes in Avatar is completely illegitimate, because I used big words that nobody outside of academia uses, therefore my critique is frivolous and too Ivory Tower (the big words were “egregious” and “meme”). (<- hey English majors, where does that period go, inside or outside the bracket, I can never remember? )

    The mansplaination (or whitesplaination, shall that be a word too?) isn't just about a person showing off actual superior knowledge (even in a way, intentional or not), that insults the intelligence of the other party, it's about assuming that the position they are taking is superior due to their access to The Real World by dint of their membership in The Default Group. It's all about the idea that women's [or insert minority group here] knowledge/experience is a Fringe Experience, not representative or relatable to The Human Experience (experienced solely by white, hetero, cis men, goes-without-saying). And, of course, just the general douchiness of the guy who needs to explain because he doesn't even recognise that you have *any* experience in the matter, let alone the *correct* experience in the matter. But the latter is easier to pick out, it's the former who really make you start to doubt your sanity, and suck you into the endless un-winable arguments.

    I think that's why so many mansplainers who restate a woman's point actually think they're being helpful – they're confirming that you See Reality! Why aren't you grateful and relieved to have a Default Person able to translate your ideas into Default Speak so everyone can bask in your achievement?

    ….and I just pedantically explained my "you only think that because you're a woman" definition of the mansplaination.

  211. And, yeah, I have to confess that I pompously exlain stuff myself, pretty much entirely to my husband. IRONY. I don’t know how he puts up with me. It’s like, because I am such a doormat in most other areas of my life, I go overboard with being an ass to my husband. Most of the time he just laughs at me, though, and is good at diplomatically pointing it out.

  212. This thread is full of win!

    There is hope for some mansplainers, but if they’re like my Dad, it can take years. He is much better now, thanks.

    @Alibelle: Printmakers unite! Particularly since back in the day, I was the only woman in the dept. who had a printmaking concentration.

  213. Like many geeky folks, the Spouse and I are both way to inclined to pontificate. Lately I’ve been catching myself in lecture mode to the Offspring, and have made reference to my pope hat, which gives us a chuckle and permits them to roll their eyes and tell me “enough already”. No one ever told me how hard it would be to recognize my own parental privilege and to let it go.

    You might be a mansplainer if you’re telling the woman that the problem with her car is a part you can’t even seem to locate under the hood. You’re definitely a mansplainer if the problem is actually a flat tire.

    And let me add what an incredible relief reading this thread has been. Because y’all are funny, and because naming a problem and identifying it makes it so much easier to face down. Another one of those “my personal problem is actually a societal one, what a freaking relief” moments.

  214. I’ve got a definite older-sister-splain going on (I have seven younger siblings), and, while it’s not A Crisis of National Proportions, it’s an obnoxious trait.

    (Sorry for the possible derail. Please delete if this is inappropriate.)

    @Starling, April, Kristin, Lu, and all other older-sister splainers, I need to ask: Has anyone successfully conquered this?

    I have definitely been a older-sister splainer (OSS) in the past, and I find myself fighting the urge to do it all the time. In my family, I was often asked to ignore my own feelings at the expense of others (yay family dynamics!); I was told I was the “responsible” one and most times when I expressed a need or a desire (that wasn’t material), I was told, in one way or another, that my needs were wrong or insignificant because they did not fit into the needs of the family. So basically, if I wanted to go out/go on a trip with friends/engage in an activity/have friends over/date someone/any one of the mundane activities of life, I was always told how my choices impacted everyone and it was implied that I best not make any choices that interfered with anyone else. Obviously this left me with very few choices to make for myself.

    So, I find myself frequently evaluating the lives of my family members, especially my siblings, and feeling like they are just doing it wrong. Logically, I know this isn’t true, there is more than one way to skin a potato, but it causes me anxiety. A recent example? Due to a conversational slip-up, it was revealed that my youngest sister did not meet her new boyfriend through a mutual friend, but online and in my head began the usual strain of terrible-things-that-could-happen-because-someone-did-something-I-wouldn’t-want-them-to. Logically, I know that terrible things can happen in any relationship, no matter how they begin. I know that “online” is not the code word for “murderer.” I myself have met many friends online; I have slept in their presence and not been hacked to pieces. I have even briefly dated a guy I met online. But yet the fact that she lied about it (probably because I would have OSSed at her), makes me think that something nefarious must be lurking in the shadows and I find myself fighting the urge to go into OSS mode.

    Obviously not ever OSS out there is coming at it from my background, but does anyone have any thoughts on dealing with the urge and/or the frustration that arises when you don’t give into the urge?

    Again, my apologies if this is derailing! I just don’t want to end up the jerk sister who everyone avoids, but I’d like not to have to bite my tongue off in the process.

  215. You might be a mansplainer if you’re telling the woman that the problem with her car is a part you can’t even seem to locate under the hood. You’re definitely a mansplainer if the problem is actually a flat tire.

    That literally made me LOL. Loudly. My cats think I’m nuts now, and they’re going to avoid me for a couple hours.

  216. I used big words that nobody outside of academia uses, therefore my critique is frivolous and too Ivory Tower (the big words were “egregious” and “meme”). (<- hey English majors, where does that period go, inside or outside the bracket, I can never remember? )

    I can’t tell whether you were serious about wanting an explanation, but in the spirit of the thread, I feel like I should give one ;-) To be completely MLA-kosher, I’m pretty sure that you actually need two periods, since the thing in parentheses is a complete sentence:

    I used big words that nobody outside of academia uses, therefore my critique is frivolous and too Ivory Tower (The big words were “egregious” and “meme”.).

    Though now that I think about it, it might be preferable to end the first sentence with a period first, separating it from the parenthetical comment altogether.

  217. The period goes outside the parenthesis, as far as I know. The double period looks funky to me… But the rules may have changed in the last ten years.

  218. I’m not an older-sister-splainer; dunno how I got lumped in there. I’m not a ‘splainer at all, for the most part! Though I know I’ve recently done some unasked-for opining on this thread, which I readily cop to.

    I definitely think “whitesplainin” is a great concept, though, as a white person, it’s not really for me to say.

  219. Lu, my apologies! I likely misread a comment near an older-sister-splainer comment where someone was talking to you.

  220. @Jae – I’m an older sister, and suffer a bit from OSS. You just have to bite your tongue. If it hurts, that’s okay – you’ll learn that much faster. The other trick I used was that if I had the impulse to criticize, I’d force myself to ask a question that implied support. Example: (Sibling) I’m going to drop out of school and join the circus! (Me) Oh! What got you excited about joining the circus? I started doing that about ten years ago, and now it comes fairly easily.

  221. Oh, I see what I did! Starling directed a comment to you and kristinc, and when I went back to be sure I didn’t leave out anyone who had been in the discussion, I mistook that comment from an OSS one.

    Please accept my apologies for not reading more carefully!

  222. @hsofia: The question-asking is a good idea. If nothing else, it likely helps in preventing one’s mind from coming up with its own explanations by, you know, finding out the actual reason *lol*

    You are right though; there definitely has to be a lot of tongue biting involved here. I don’t OSS my friends, so I shouldn’t do it to my sister either. I feel like, in my case the OSS, comes from a place of concern, I never want her to get hurt in any way, but I am solely admitting to myself that being controlling, won’t stop that. It just makes me look like a jerk and feel terrible.

  223. Oh, no apology necessary! I just wanted to set the record straight. For the National Archives, dontcha know. ;-)

  224. I think any the concept of any specific privilege-based dynamic can be generalized and/or reapplied to a number of other privilege-based dynamics, but I think it’s useful to stick to one at a time rather than jump right into generalizing. And oh-so-satisfying, too! IWO, it’s nice to scratch one itch at a time. I’m not saying I don’t believe in exploring intersectionality, because I do, but not every -’splainin discussion can be all -’splainin discussions, if you know what I mean

    Nice work for those who can get it. Though it’s not that much fun for those, like me, who say, can’t see the different between white translating or mansplaining, nor wish to engage in faux sisterhood about it.

  225. *cry*

    I was just mansplained in an ask.metafilter discussion on bras, where I suggested that perhaps men bow out of the discussion to let the women be heard, GIVEN THAT MEN DON’T HAVE BREASTS AND DON’T WEAR BRAS AND HAVE NEVER BEEN FITTED FOR THEM AND DON’T SHOP FOR THEM, and was told that, given that men have PARTNERS who have breasts and wear bras, that their opinion on the process of bra fitting was therefore valid and should be welcomed and encouraged and was just as important as the data coming from actual owners of breasts.

    I am also a technical PM, and know about mansplaining to clients. I have always had an ally who I have used to make important points that had to be made, literally gone into their office and said, “You need to say this at the meeting today, please,” because I know that if I said it, it would be mansplained to death and not attended to.

    I also had an abusive ex who did this. I am trying to write about it now. This is helpful.

  226. @coyote….mmn, I get it. What men are really saying is they LOOK at breasts and bras more than women do and therefore frankly should be in charge of presentation. OOh, for two pins I’d…

  227. Late to the party, I know, but swamped at the office. Anyway, what do you folks have to say about this sort of ManSplainer: The Guy who Took Womens’ Study Classes in College/Grad School and is Now an Expert on All Things Female?

    Aggravatingly enough, one of my better male friends–who has ALL SORTS of mansplain tendencies when it comes to items like reproductive health and policy–is one such sub-specimen.

    FunnySad: When I had complications from my Essure Fallopian implants, I actually had to draw him a quick pic of the whole uterus/tubes/ovaries setup.

    Me: “Jesus, X, didn’t they teach you any ANATOMY, EVER, in any of your fucking feminist theory classes? In HIGH SCHOOL??”

    Him: “No, not really….how am *I* supposed to know where all your parts are and stuff?

    Me: ‘You seem to know what’s best for them socially and legislatively though.”

    Him: “That has NOTHING to do with my right to have an opinion…”

    Yes, there are times when I had to just stop talking to this individual for a time. Grrr…

  228. @Jenonymous – uggh, lord. I hate the “I’m entitled to my opinion” thing because when guys say that in response to being called on their lack of experience, what they often mean is, “My opinion should be validated, accepted, and codified as LAW.”

    What does IWO mean?

    @Jae – I did the same thing … I would try to control outcomes with my sibs – wouldn’t do that with my friends. I think part of it is just that I felt so invested in my sibs, and honestly – it would hurt me terribly if they suffered. But the other piece of it was that I felt entitled to be listened to as the Big Sis, and surely I knew what was best (or usually, what was wrong) for them. It’s ego tripping. I backed off, focused on my own life, and now I get asked for my opinion quite frequently. (Go figure?)

  229. @Jenonymous – re the guy who took Women’s Studies class and now understands what it is to be a woman …
    I wonder how much of that has to do with how a lot of guys tend to view information – as a tool (or weapon). My perception (after hundreds of conversations with men, lol) is that men look at new information in terms of “how can I use this?” vs “How can I sit with this?” If you take a guy who is always itchin to wield some new tool and throw him a bone of information, he can’t wait to show it off, and will try to find like, 5000 different uses for that bone. If I have to deal with a guy like this often, I literally have to say, “You know, that’s gettin’ kind of stale. You need an upgrade.” You can’t stop them from showing off their toys, but you can send away to go get some new ones.

  230. Can a woman mansplain? Heck yeah, or at least how I see it. The first example that leaps to mind: I’ve seen (and shamefully, participated in) white (self-labeled) feminists mansplain to women of color.

    Seen it a lot.

    @Jae

    I’ve got a definite older-sister-splain going on (I have seven younger siblings), and, while it’s not A Crisis of National Proportions, it’s an obnoxious trait.

    (Sorry for the possible derail. Please delete if this is inappropriate.)

    @Starling, April, Kristin, and all other older-sister splainers, I need to ask: Has anyone successfully conquered this?

    My advice? Acknowledge it and apologize for it. And don’t over-explain or rationalize while you apologize. Save that for the couch or a friend or spouse or partner or whatever. But tell your siblings – or whomever – “I feel like in the past I’ve taken the role of lecturing to you. It’s condescending and wrong. I’m sorry. I’m trying to change.” Something like that. Keep it simple. And then yeah, bite your tongue, and often.

    You might find your sibling open up like a blossom and your relationship change! I have made this apology to my younger brother and it has really reaped rewards in our relationship.

    Sometimes it can take a while to change a bad habit.

  231. @RNigade — re: small_talk_fail etc. Uh-oh. Your autism phenotype may be showing. It’ll make my lizard brain think you’re my cousin.

    Somebody recently told me that the trick to interviews is to nod gently but repeatedly as you tell your interviewer anything that you particularly want him/her to agree with. I have made a note of this and intend to try it first chance I get.

    re: barn owls — I probably would have told you that it’s nigh impossible to see a 20″ barn owl, because they don’t get that big, and then tried to distract you from the correction that I’d just offered by launching into some enthusiastic spiel about how raptors have such presence that they always appear to be much bigger than they really are, and the strange beauty of them appearing to somehow sit on a line between nature and imagination.

    If anyone in future should ask you ‘are you sure it’s really female?’ when you choose to gender a hawk or owl female, you can ‘splain right back at them that in western falconry tradition, femaleness in raptors is superior and default — Unless you are quite sure it is male you must gender it female, because she-ing a male hawk or owl is both ‘correct’ and complimentary, but he-ing a female one is an insult to her. It may not be really female, but it’s really a she, like a ship or the moon.

    I wonder if the above is ‘splainin’.

  232. Nice work for those who can get it. Though it’s not that much fun for those, like me, who say, can’t see the different between white translating or mansplaining, nor wish to engage in faux sisterhood about it.

    What the heck? I thought the thread was about mansplaining and examples of it, as a follow-on from Zuska’s. And I quote from the post, That said, it’s more fun if we treat “you might be a mansplainer if…” as a fun meme, right? Over here, we have a tightly controlled commenting policy, a (usually) reliably feminist readership, and less visibility to d00dz than Zuska. So I invite you to continue the game.

  233. My (least) favourite mansplaining moment (which I might have mentioned on here before):

    I was in a sound booth with the lighting guy and the sound guy for a show I was stage managing in camp. One of them started mocking a fat kid (!!!) who was on stage below us and saying how he should cut down on the crisps, get some exercise, etc etc. I was like a) dude, are you seriously mocking a child? and b) actually, weight is about as heritable as height, it’s unlikely what’s he eating has any significant impact on his body size, and his body’s going to change as he grows anyway — like an FA elevator pitch, in the hopes it would stop the mocking.

    What I then got was both of them turning on me about how that “genetics” nonsense was bollocks and a ridiculous excuse for laziness and calories in calories out “it’s not rocket science” etc etc. I pointed out that I was going into the fourth year of A BSC IN GENETICS, with a heavy interest in complex human genetics, and knew what I was talking about. Did this make any difference? Nope. They continued to tell me how wrong I was about a field I WENT ON TO GET A FIRST IN, about which they knew nothing, and for the rest of the time we worked together they would bring it up any time a fat kid came on stage and laugh at me some more.

    Just thinking about it makes me angry. Grrrrr.

  234. Y’know, after about the four hundredth time my eyes passed over the words “Let me mansplain”, my mind finished it with “No, there is too much. Let me man up.” and I verily lolled.

  235. …and now I’m thinking “manning up” could be a good description for the “allow me to repeat what you just said so that it will be audible in a way that is comprehensible to human beings”/”let me say what I think you’re saying, by which I mean let me ignore what you actually said to say what I think you should have said” forms of mansplanation.

    “Great presentation, Carol, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to man it up for you.”

  236. With apologies to Snarkey’s Machine if I’m overstepping…

    @Lu: I think the part you’re overlooking is that for many here non-intersectionality is not an option. Being able to be non-intersectional is indeed a privilege.

  237. I’m lucky enough that I don’t remember too many instances of more than your run-of-the-mill mansplaining in my life, but there was a recent time when my boyfriend, who I love dearly and is usually a great guy, tried to mansplain to me during my student teaching. I was complaining to him about dealing with homework (it was the end of the quarter and my policy of ‘sure, I’ll take it and give you credit no matter how late it is because I don’t want you to fail!’ was grinding on my ass – I wish I would’ve gone with my colleague’s ‘you turn it in the next day for half credit, after that you get a 0′ policy) and how I was thinking about having a much harsher policy like my colleague’s when I got my own classroom. We got into an argument because he tried to mansplain to me about motivation and encouraging learning and so on and so forth. I pretty much ended up wanting to hit him over the head with my educational psychology book (the course was called Learning and Motivation!!) and had to say, ‘Look, honey. I know your mom was a teacher, and I’m a teacher. But you didn’t just spend the last 5 years of your life getting a degree in education. You did not take the classes. You do not work in a school. You graduated high school in 1993. Please don’t tell me how teaching in a high school works.’ It was just so freaking condescending. But thankfully that’s an isolated incident.

    @Jenonymous: I have a co-worker who drives me up the fucking wall for various reasons, but he is probably the chief mansplainer in my life. Apparently he’s taking a class on women in pop culture, so that makes him kind of like a feminist, right? That was his defense when I heard him say ‘women wouldn’t get raped if they didn’t dress so slutty’ and I… ahem, rose my voice at him. I just couldn’t believe he tried to back up victim blaming (which I think falls easily into feminism 101 territory) by saying it’s okay because he took one class!

  238. Oh my goodness. I was mansplained something last week, and it forced me to reflect on a particular court show I watched back in the day. Remember when dudes would try to mansplain something to Judge Judy and she’d say, “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining?” Oh, that Judge Judy. Way ahead of her time.

  239. What the heck? I thought the thread was about mansplaining and examples of it, as a follow-on from Zuska’s. And I quote from the post, That said, it’s more fun if we treat “you might be a mansplainer if…” as a fun meme, right? Over here, we have a tightly controlled commenting policy, a (usually) reliably feminist readership, and less visibility to d00dz than Zuska. So I invite you to continue the game.

    My bad. Carry on! Thanks for explaining it for me.

  240. Kristinc, that was my impression as well.

    There is a guy in my painting class who is both a mansplainer and a Nice Guy. He once felt the need to explain to me (a lesbian) how women are gay because “most men” are assholes and don’t know how to treat a woman, and how he was raised to be better than that. I just sat there and raised my eyebrows at him until he shut up, then discreetly moved my easel to another part of the room.

    It’s even worse this semester, because we are two of four people in the advanced class, which meets at the same time as the beginning class. Part of our job as advanced students is helping the newer students out when the professor is busy. The beginning students are mostly women, and he has a tendancy of hovering over them as they gesso, telling them how to do it. He’s often one or two steps behind what they’re actually doing.

  241. This is OT, & I apologize in advance, but I can’t seem to find an email on the site or anything. If I had a question or something I’d like to see your thoughts on/maybe do a post on, who should I email?

    Thank you!

  242. @Grafton: re: “…launching into some enthusiastic spiel about how raptors have such presence that they always appear to be much bigger than they really are, and the strange beauty of them appearing to somehow sit on a line between nature and imagination…”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! That sounds like something I might say. AND did you know that the poignant call of an *eagle* that you hear in a movie whenever an eagle is portrayed (soaring high over desert or mountain terrain) IS NOT ACTUALLY an eagle’s call at all? ACTUALLY…

    See, sometimes I can make it stop. Briefly.

    Funny you should mention autism. Some years ago, I read a couple of books by writers who identified with autism (not sure if diagnosed) and I felt such a strong kinship, I wondered…

    But “lizard brain”? Be reassured, I don’t find the expression offensive (you did use it to describe some characteristic of YOUR thought process), yet there is some pretty intense & provocative stuff about *lizard brain people* in internetopia, so I’m not sure of your context. I’m still waiting for my people (wink) to come back for me and take me home, away from this planet, (any day now?), so I often miss the subtleties of human communication. At least that’s what I often tell myself, to make it all seem comprehensible and endurable (and to reassure myself: I’m not in hell.)

    ;-)

  243. @Grafton:

    And yes, that was ‘splainin.

    Talk about a sense of entitlement (privilege)??–>That is a big problem for me when I forget which planet this is.

  244. As a librarian (and occupier of a brain filled with random-ass, borderline useless trivia), I have to suppress a certain tendency toward know-it-all-ness. I do generally have the good grace to shut up when called on it, though. I wonder if that isn’t a big part of why mansplaining is so offensive — that calling mansplainers on their behavior just seems to make things worse (if it has any effect at all).

  245. This is a great thread. I was reading through a lot of the comments yesterday thinking how grateful I was not to have experienced much mansplaining lately when-OMFG-it just happened to me.

    My super decided to mansplain to me about how our roof door was indeed not broken when the super next door just informed me that someone entered their building from our building. He asked me to pass on the information to my super, which I stupidly did and proceeded to get a very long rant about how roof doors work in NYC. He then began to YELL at me…

    Then I got upset and now I’m upset at myself for being upset until I was reminded of your article, so thank you. I’m mostly blowing off steam right now because I find it infuriating that this guy was so rude and mansplain-y.

  246. Another ENFP representing! I remember an egregious bout of mansplaining that took place at a convention. The panel discussion was supposed to be about future reproductive strategies, but were there any women on the panel? Everybody chime in with me, “Nooooooo!”

  247. @Heather: “I wonder if that isn’t a big part of why mansplaining is so offensive — that calling mansplainers on their behavior just seems to make things worse (if it has any effect at all).”

    DING DING DING DING DING DING

    I nominate your observation for most right-on of the afternoon, and believe a dozen doughnuts should be posted forthwith.

  248. @Sweet Machine – Oh damn. I thought I clicked on all the tabs and apparently didn’t click on that one. Sorry! Is there someone in particular I should email, or just draw names out of a hat…?

    Thanks again.

  249. Whenever my sister visits from college, my dad goes on multiple mansplainin’ rants to her. My sister and I usually find them hilarious, and start snickering throughout them, which offends him. Its generally goofy stuff, like insisting that my sister would be unable/not know how to open a container with food in it or something, or trying to explain some social/cultural thing despite my sister being an anthropology major. For some reason he fixates on ranting about Israel and ‘tribalism,’ and weird, vaugely anti-semitic things that I don’t quite understand.

  250. Jae-Your family dynamic seems to be quite similar to mine. All of the responsibility fell to me as a child. I find that quite interesting as we are both admitted older-sister-splainers. I’d say there’s definitely a psychological thing that happens when you grow up caring for your younger siblings in that it’s really hard to stop doing that when they are adults. Couple that with my overly sensitive personality and we have a perfect recipe for advice-vomit which younger sister did not request and I know better. I would never do that to a friend.

    On mainsplaining: It happened to me today and for the first time ever I recognized what was going on as it was happening and nearly snorted with laughter right on the phone while this guy was mansplaining at me. I work in construction and am the one taking the calls from people needing a price for their work, to pass on to the estimators and I really had never realized just how much these people mansplain at me until it happened today. I’ve felt the negative implication but never had a word for it. This man just kept repeating the same information over and over at me like it’s not possible that I understood the first time he said that the dimensions of the area in question were x by x. And he repeated at me several times just how important it was to get this price to him by Friday and so on and so on. In this case it was humorous, fairly harmless mansplaining but I’ve sadly been on the receiving end of the emotionally brutal kind at this job too.

  251. You might be mansplaining if:

    – You’re a doctor who is having a consultation with a woman who tells you she is having a miscarriage. And instead of asking her pertinent questions about her last period, the pain and how much she is bleeding, you lecture her on ‘how these things take time’ and ‘women’s bodies are designed to have babies, you know’ and ‘you and your husband should be enjoying each other’. Ack.

    – One of your team asks you a question about the department’s strategy, and you smile sweetly at her and say ‘You don’t need to worry about that, that’s my job’.

  252. It’s great to have a word for this concept. My top mansplaining moment is very relevant here because it happened when I first told my husband about how weight is strongly influenced by genetics, diets don’t work, etc. I have a Ph.D. in a biological field and work as a science writer, and I’d opened the conversation by noting that I’d been obsessively reading papers in medical journals on this topic for a week.

    He immediately started telling me why I was wrong, based on stuff he’d read in the newspaper and how he’s been out to dinner repeatedly with a fat friend, who really does just eat too much. The funniest part was that it hadn’t occurred to my husband until I pointed it out to him that he himself eats anything he wants, rarely exercises, and never varies more than three pounds from his fairly thin setpoint.

    I tried several times over the next few days to get him to see why that style of discourse was so annoying to me. The closest I came to expressing it clearly was along the lines of “Why is it that I had to show you the data figures to get you to believe anything I said, while you got to just pull things out of your ass and expect me to respond as if they were serious arguments?” That’s pretty much my definition of mansplaining.

  253. Sweet Machine said: “It’s more that you shouldn’t jump in an ongoing conversation if you *haven’t* read the comments — announcing it is like saying ‘I’m here! The party can get started!’.”

    I like this explanation but I’m not sure if I *always* agree. Sometimes I think it’s fine to respond to something in the main post without reference to the other comments. To me that is the difference between comments on a blog and a discussion board. Maybe you don’t need to make a big announcement.

  254. @ The Other Caitlin, I think though you do need to read the comments because it’s very possible, even likely that someone else has already said what you’re saying. When comments get really long here I always giggle when I read one along the lines of, “That’s interesting but have you considered x? It’s an important thing to take into account.” When right before I read that one, there was a 10 comment long discussion of whatever they brought up.

    Re: Whitesplaining, for a moment I was thinking that it was totally different from mansplaining in that it’s much more rare. It seemed ridiculous that anyone would do it, at least one that wasn’t a complete douchewaffle. Then I had a really vivid flashback to me whitesplaining something to another student in one of my classes who was AA. I now have some sympathy for mansplainers because until it’s explained it’s hard to realize you’re doing it. Once you’ve been confronted with it though, it’s time to admit you’ve fucked up and try to do better next time, not argue it doesn’t exist like most mansplainers seem to do.

  255. I agree with The Other Caitlin that there are comments than can be left without reading the other comments, but they’re limited to things like brief positive feedback for the author. This could be something like “Hey OP, this post really resonated with me! Thanks for writing it!” I think any response that is is critical or is asking for feedback should only be made after reading through the other comments. As Alibelle says, it’s very irritating to see the same question asked after it’s already been answered several times over.

    And I don’t have a particular mansplaining story to add, but I’ve really been enjoying reading everyone else’s!

  256. Real live example of Mansplain in the corporate world:

    Faced with a call for a boycott of a discussion at its annual meeting next week, the New York State Bar Association has revised plans to have a panel of “distinguished gentlemen” expound on the “strengths and weaknesses” of women in the legal profession. Carey R. Dunne of Davis, Polk & Wardwell said he had no idea the panel would be all-male or how it would be described by the sponsoring committee when he agreed months ago to join the panel. All three original panelists have now decided not to participate.

    Courtesy of the New York Law Journal.

  257. Hmmm, I just realized that the last part of my comment sounded a little mean. I’m not enjoying that Shapelings have been through such frustrating experiences, but I am enjoying what hilarious anecdotes they have been turned into.

  258. As for the “I haven’t read the comments but. . .”, yeah, there is that possibility that you might repeat what someone else said, but to me it can come off *way worse* than that. It can smack of complete disregard for all the thoughtful conversation that had been happening before you arrived on the scene. If people at work (or even a party) were having an intense discussion that had been going on for a long time before I showed up, and rather than getting up to speed on what they talked about, I just said, “I have no idea what you’ve been saying, and I’m not interested in being filled in on it, but I have this thing to say that you should all listen to” it would be pretty f’in obnoxious, and I don’t really see how it’s different in comments, *especially* here, where there’s close moderation and thoughtful commenting. I don’t think people INTEND it to be, but to me it’s very abrasive.

    (I know Kate has addressed this before, too, but I wasn’t able to find it. .. anyone know where that was?)

  259. Re: OSS–
    I try to repeat to myself, “You are not hir mommy. [S]he is a grownup, and makes hir own choices.” (Sorry about the gender thing, but I OSS both my brothers and my sisters.) That does the trick, usually, except in the case of my 15 year old brother, and occasionally my 19 year old brother. I still OSS both all the time.

    When it comes right down to it, ‘splaining is nothing more nor less than a basic disrespect for the judgment, education, autonomy and dignity of the other party. Remembering that, much as it sucks, really cuts down my tendency to do it. (Except, again, in the cases of the aforementioned brothers. But I swear, I’m right to question their judgment!)

    My siblings still, miraculously, like me. And I can get away with a certain amount of pontificating by prefacing with, “Since I am single and childless, I naturally have childrearing theories. Wanna hear one?”, to which my sister at least usually responds with laughter and tolerance.

  260. Re: haven’t read the comments, but . . .

    No one who wants to disagree with the OP should do this. If you’re going to argue an opposing viewpoint, you really have got to make sure that the matter hasn’t been argued, opposed, clarified or otherwise resolved already.

    Although I think “Let me tell a funny and relevant story” or “Rock on, this post made my day” are both cool, even if you haven’t read the comments.

  261. I think commenting with a unique personal anecdote without reading comments can be appropriate, like “I’m busy and haven’t read the comments, but here’s a funny story relevant to the original post.”

    It’s not mansplaining, but comments telling bloggers what to blog about, or how to manage their blogs, are seriously annoying. Not “I would love to see a post about jeggings, because I’m sure you’d have something new and interesting to say about them,” but “This blog sucks! You should be writing about jeggings, instead of FA and this boring feminism stuff.”

  262. Re: Whitesplaining, for a moment I was thinking that it was totally different from mansplaining in that it’s much more rare.

    Right, this is the kind of thing that, as you seem to have realized right after having this thought, you cannot possibly make any kind of factual statement about. It is “much more rare” for you because you are a white person. That impulse to explain it away — it doesn’t really happen! it doesn’t happen as often as you say! only a real jerk would do that! — is the knee-jerk defense mechanism of privilege. When someone in an oppressed group to which you do not belong says “This thing happens to me,” LISTEN TO THEM. The idea that you know more about their own experiences of the world than they do is the exact impulse behind mansplaining. (Alibelle, this is not really directed at you, just bouncing off the thought process you described.)

  263. Just Some Trans Guy, I apologize for making you uncomfortable. My intent wasn’t to draw attention to the guy being effeminate in a pejorative sense. I mentioned it because it’s another intersectionality misnomer. Upthread CassandraSays talked about her ex thinking he doesn’t have male privilege because he’s not white, and on Zuska’s post there were a few comments about gay men mansplaining women’s bodies or sexuality- that’s more why I said it. There already is a cultural expectation that effeminate men are gay, and that gay men somehow know more about women’s fashion and grooming than even women do, so I’m sure other patrons in the salon might have seen the same thing I did but not necessarily seen anything “wrong” with it. My thought was that even if this guy fits some kind of cultural model of what kind of man is “allowed” to judge and critique a woman’s appearance, it’s still not okay. It’s still mansplaining. That’s what I was thinking. But looking back on it I do see what the phrasing looked like, and I’m sorry for that.

    On another note, I am extremely guilty of older-sister-splaining. (I also noticed that all the INFJs have come forward about this- coincidence?) I try not to do it sosososoSO much anymore, because at times I stop myself and I’m like, “Shit, I AM really annoying.” But once we were talking about something that ended with my giving a history of the Bronx, and my little sister cut in and admiringly said to her boyfriend, “Lucy knows EVERYTHING!” and that made me feel really good.

    I actually older-sister-splained something to a friend of my sister’s online the other day, and she called me out on it, and I felt like an ass. We were basically saying exactly the same thing, except I was writing like this “n she wuz writin like ths, ur -splaining @ me, if u actually read what i wrote ull see im actually smart”. (Except she didn’t use the term “-splain.”) God, I felt like a jerk. I’m so glad she called me out, though.

  264. Starling and Puffalo, I agree there’s times it matters a lot less that one hasn’t read the comments…but then in those cases maybe it’s also not strictly necessary to make that announcement anyway? Then again, maybe it’s just a matter of personal style. . .like, how do you want to join the party? I would be the one to sneak in and be quite for ages until I gained my footing, but that doesn’t make it wrong for someone else to come late and say “Just got here!”

  265. KristinC said: “I don’t think it’s mansplaining just any old time someone explains something pedantically, pompously or otherwise tiresomely. I’m pretty sure the mansplaining concept applies when a man explains to a woman (substitute your privilege here) BECAUSE she’s a woman and therefore MUST not understand without having it ’splained.”

    I was having the same thoughts. I was enjoying the thread (and yes, SM I have read *all* the comments) and chortling to myself at all the wonderful humour and boggling at some of the supreme examples of mansplaining. But I was also thinking to myself, “Wait a minute, this is just being a know-it-all. I know women know-it-alls. I know men who are know-it-alls to other men. I am guilty of being a know-it-all sometimes but I’m not sure that’s the same thing as being a mansplainer.”

    Being a know-it-all is annoying but it’s not always gendered. I agree with Kristin that it’s only mansplaining when it’s gender privileged know-it-allism.

    Then I saw Starling’s comment: “It’s true, mansplaining requires a certain gender construct. But there’s a larger question of privilege-splaining, of which we can all be guilty.”

    And it clicked into place for me. Yes, exactly. The older sister privilege is a brilliant example. Parent privilege is probably very similar, which is why so many people here are complaining about their parents or in-laws mansplaining.

    I think being a know-it-all is when someone has little or no knowledge of a topic but will still argue about it and claim expertise they don’t have. I don’t think arguing about a topic that you actually know a lot about is being a know-it-all but it can still be annoying to people. It depends if you’d rather be liked or right.

    I think privilege splaining involves the unexamined assumption that they must know more than the other person because of their own privilege. It can coincide with being a know-it-all who is actually expounding on a topic they don’t know much about. Or it can involve explaining things that are painfully obvious because of course the other person doesn’t know as much as you do.

    (On that note, it’s amazing to me what is obvious or not to some people and therein lies the tricky part. A year or so ago, I had a puzzling conversation with a smart, educated 25-year-old about Ireland that ended with me saying “I’m not talking about Northern Ireland. I’m talking about the Republic of Ireland. It’s a separate country to the UK.” And the response was “Really? I didn’t actually know that!” *headdesk* It’s been a separate country since 1925).

    Still I know I do have tendencies to know-it-allism, mainly because I know a little about a lot of things (an occupational hazard when you’re a journalist) and I have to resist blowing my knowledge of proportion. I also need to make sure I’m not privilege splaining.

  266. “Alibelle, this is not really directed at you, just bouncing off the thought process you described.”

    Yeah, that was basically my entire thought process, so I agree with it, directed at me or not. I was totally doing the mansplain (newest dance craze? maybe?) and trying to ignore something that once I gave it some thought I realized does happen, tons. The fact that I did it myself made me want to explain it away even more, but engaging in discussions on this blog has actually made me more thoughtful about these issues. In the past I would have just been incredibly defensive.

  267. Still thinking about all this and whether my know-it-allism is privilege splaining. Often I would say a definitive no because usually I am not privileged compared to the person I’m talking to. (I’m talking about relative privilege here). Unless being academically smart is a form of privilege that could lead me to discount other perspectives. Food for thought.

    On the comments thing, I definitely know what you guys are saying and I agree to an extent. I don’t think it’s something that I’m guilty of. But I would note that often when someone says that they haven’t read the comments, it’s because they’re acknowledging that the point may have been made. I would rather read a comment that said “I haven’t had time to read the ginormous thread so apologies if anyone has made the same point but have you considered X?” rather than just “have you considered X?” after a long conversation about X. Neither is ideal but I don’t think it’s the statement “I haven’t read the comments” that is the problem.

  268. Y’know, after about the four hundredth time my eyes passed over the words “Let me mansplain”, my mind finished it with “No, there is too much. Let me man up.”

    So. Much. LOL.

  269. I just went and redid the Myers-Brigg test. I can’t remember for sure but I think last time I tested as a ENTJ. This time I’m an ENFP.

    It makes sense that the EN is consistent and because the results of this particular test show that the fact that I am an extravert (E) and intuitive personality (N) is distinctively expressed. However, the feeling personality (F) is moderately expressed and the perceiving personality (P) is only slightly expressed, so it makes sense that this is the part where I got variation.

    I don’t know how much I believe in these things anyway.

    I definitely agree that I’m an extravert. I think this is what makes me talkative and possibly therefore prone to know-it-allism.

  270. I think privilege splaining involves the unexamined assumption that they must know more than the other person because of their own privilege. It can coincide with being a know-it-all who is actually expounding on a topic they don’t know much about. Or it can involve explaining things that are painfully obvious because of course the other person doesn’t know as much as you do.

    we’re through the looking glass, alice!

    I definitely agree that I’m an extravert. I think this is what makes me talkative and possibly therefore prone to know-it-allism.

    I thought the E/I describes where you drawn your energy from (alone time/people time) and not necessarily how much you talk. I am barely an E, and probably more of an I (if I cared) and while not being shy or lack for chattiness, I tend to prefer my own company and find people rather draining. Whereas a friend who pretty much only talks to me (people seem stunned that we’re friends) gets her energy from being around others and feeling invigorated by these experiences.

    Of course, this was how the E/I was explained to me. It could be totally off base.

  271. IMO, there’s definitely academic-splain, although it usually comes under the larger category of class-splain, in which the PhD cannot resist telling the plumber how to fix the plumbing. I’m sure anyone who has worked in retail can sympathize–there’s always a customer or two who feels it necessary to explain how to work the store’s inventory or register or something, because white-collar customer is obvs So Much Smarter than the person at the register.

    My personal favorite was the guy who started yelling at me about not being able to process a return (hint: if it has never been sold at the store, no, we won’t take it back) and his tirade included, “You uppity clerks with your third-grade education!” Yikes. Way to let it all hang out, dude.

  272. Unless being academically smart is a form of privilege that could lead me to discount other perspectives. Food for thought.

    I actually think this is absolutely the case. And it’s not just academically smart – it’s also privileged to have had access to academia and privileged to have the kind of life experiences that give you the confidence in your own experience that you are willing to ‘splain about them. And there’s power in having been taught the specialized vocabulary for a particular field. All of these can be used to bludgeon people in a discussion (and it’s the know-it-allness plus a power/privilege bludgeon that equals ‘splaining?)

  273. @snarkysmachine:

    I favor your definition of “extrovert/introvert”, but I think “outgoing” and “retiring” are the more common ones and the ones that most people learn first.

    I loved hearing the energy one because it gave me a way to attempt to explain to my friends why I sometimes just didn’t want to be around them. Of course, what I learned next was that some people just won’t understand “I need alone time” as anything other than an insult to them personally for not being the exception. :P

  274. The Other Caitlin, I agree that it’s not the phrase “I haven’t read the comments.” It’s the (sometimes, not always) subtext—“but I’m going to say what I have to say anyway, even if someone else has already carefully and thoughtfully articulated that idea.” It *can* come across as saying, “I can’t be bothered to listen to what you had to say at this point, but listen to me RIGHT NOW.” It’s dismissive of others’ input, yet assuming that one is due a respectful audience.

    I’m sure my strong reaction to it has much to do with my general pet peeve IRL of people saying “I’m sorry to say this rude/insenstive/tone deaf thing, but I’m going to say it anyway.” Well, odds are, then, you’re not really “sorry”, or you just wouldn’t do it. See my anecdote of the whistling principal to see why I have become sensitive to that. . . and it’s really only one example of a workplace ridden with that sort of dialogue.

    I won’t start my next post, “Sorry to beat a dead horse. . . ” and repeat all I’ve said here, I promise. (:

  275. cripes i hate mansplainin’. i used to manage a hardware store and would get mansplained to all the time. i took such joy in letting them do whatever they wanted to do after giving my advice, their way being the failway, and accepting their returns and purchasing what i originally told them to do.

    my current landlord and his maintenance person love to mansplain at me when i tell them about repairs that need to be done.

  276. @RNigade — check out ‘Broader Autism Phenotype.’

    And indeed, they are perpetually putting the cool-sounding scream of a red-tailed hawk in movies, probably because most eagles make a silly chirping noise. What’s great is the mix of North American mostly-diurnal animal sounds used to represent jungles at night. Now, what really drove my wife batty was me pausing the DVDs of Rome to rant about how every fucking parrot of all the dozens upon dozens of parrots in that show is a S. American or Australian species, when it’s not as if the world has a shortage of African and Indian parrots.

    By “lizard brain” I meant some primitive instinct module of mine that jumps to conclusions.

  277. Me: “Jesus, X, didn’t they teach you any ANATOMY, EVER, in any of your fucking feminist theory classes? In HIGH SCHOOL??”

    Him: “No, not really….how am *I* supposed to know where all your parts are and stuff?

    Me: ‘You seem to know what’s best for them socially and legislatively though.”

    Him: “That has NOTHING to do with my right to have an opinion…”

    Yes, there are times when I had to just stop talking to this individual for a time. Grrr…

    *sigh*

    Back in high school, three of my classmates and I (three girls, one boy) somehow got on the topic of periods. (Not on purpose, I’m sure.) The boy made some comment that seemed…odd to us. So we questioned him on it – asked him how long he thought periods lasted. He was under the impression that they lasted a couple of hours. We were just sorta agog at the fact that this otherwise intelligent and knowledgable peer of ours actually thought that periods lasted for hours rather than days.

    And the part that I remember thinking most clearly was: “If he thinks this, what does the average guy believe? And what the fuck do they think they are doing passing laws about my body when they clearly don’t even know the first thing about how it works!?!?! Cuz, yeah, I never asked him, but I’m fairly certain he was anti-choice. And only a year away from voting age.

    *****

    Re: Whitesplaining, for a moment I was thinking that it was totally different from mansplaining in that it’s much more rare.

    Right, this is the kind of thing that, as you seem to have realized right after having this thought, you cannot possibly make any kind of factual statement about. It is “much more rare” for you because you are a white person.”

    Oh, man. That was, like, every conversation/argument between my brother and I during the democratic primaries. He worked on Clinton’s campaign, which was quite the education for him in terms of male privilege. But somehow that experience did not make it any easier for him to come to the obvious logical conclusion that if there was all this stuff that women had to deal with that he hadn’t comprehended that well until he was put in the position of having to help a woman combat it on a daily basis, then maybe there was all this stuff that non-white people had to deal with on a daily basis that he was not comprehending now.

    They were really some of the most frustrating arguments ever. Because on the one hand I was thinking “finally! he gets it!” and then the next second I would thinking “or, you know, NOT. dammit, so close.”

  278. @snarkysmachine You said: “We’re through the looking glass, Alice.”

    I’m not actually sure what you mean. Do you think I’m way off base or were you agreeing with me?! Can you splain please?

    You said: “I thought the E/I describes where you drawn your energy from (alone time/people time) and not necessarily how much you talk.”

    I think you are right. Being an extrovert means I draw energy from social interaction but for me personally it’s associated with talkativeness. For me having energy makes me more stimulated and animated and often results in me talking more. So I associate the two things based on my own experience. I don’t think they are related for everyone.

    @Starling said: IMO, there’s definitely academic-splain, although it usually comes under the larger category of class-splain, in which the PhD cannot resist telling the plumber how to fix the plumbing.

    Absolutely agree, though I was talking more about a certain type of intelligence than actually being an academic. If you assume that you generally know more and understand more about the world than the person you are talking to, even if that is actually true, it will likely still result in splaining the obvious.

    @LilahMorgan You said: I actually think this is absolutely the case. And it’s not just academically smart – it’s also privileged to have had access to academia and privileged to have the kind of life experiences that give you the confidence in your own experience that you are willing to ’splain about them.

    This makes sense. So maybe all know-it-allism is privilege splaining to some extent. If it doesn’t fall into another category of privilege, it probably falls into this category.

    @aliciamaud74 You said: “I agree that it’s not the phrase ‘I haven’t read the comments.’ It’s the (sometimes, not always) subtext.”

    Yes, that makes sense to me.

  279. What the heck? I thought the thread was about mansplaining and examples of it, as a follow-on from Zuska’s. And I quote from the post, That said, it’s more fun if we treat “you might be a mansplainer if…” as a fun meme, right? Over here, we have a tightly controlled commenting policy, a (usually) reliably feminist readership, and less visibility to d00dz than Zuska. So I invite you to continue the game.

    And I invite you to step the fuck off. Dismissing someone questioning your privilege and what you’re doing now is the very definition of “mansplaining”. I’m sorry if that’s harshes your mellow and yes we do have a tightly controlled comment policy.

    Did you seriously type that. Maybe you should read the comment policy before racing to the keyboard to offer your contribution.

  280. Oh!

    So this is one of the BEST instances of mansplaining ever…

    My beloved roommate/best friend was dating a dude she was head over heels for last June. So she was really excited to introduce him to her friends.

    Now, her friends here in our city are all her friends from college. We’re all professional, educated women, well-accomplished in our various fields, but we’re all also possessed of, you know, common sense.

    So the first meeting ended awkwardly after roommate’s boyfriend claimed that “Hitler wasn’t so bad.” After getting an arched eyebrow from one in our group, he processed to mansplain how it was, you know, the people AROUND Hitler that ALLOWED him to be a monster. More arched eyebrows. Then a long, awkward pause while he claimed he wasn’t a neo-Nazi or anything and had a degree in history, so he knew all about these things.

    Later, he claimed that the women’s rights movement “would not have happened” without World War I. When I said that I was pretty informed about women’s history and could he please elaborate, he stammered that he was “just right” and brought up his friggin’ BA in history again.

    Finally, he told us in another conversation that karaoke was illegal (he was a part time karaoke host). Why? Well, because the artist isn’t getting paid. “Um,” I said, “I’m pretty sure they get paid when the karaoke track is made.” “Oh, ” he began in a mansplainy tone, “Well, it’s just that when the karaoke host is getting paid…you…can’t…take money for someone else’s work.”

    “But,” my friend Rosie said “That doesn’t make any sense.”

    “Well, it’s not really a law that’s on the books, PER SE,” he said, emphasizing his manly knowledge of Latin, “It’s just that it’s precedent.”

    “That…isn’t the way the law works,” I pointed out.

    “Well, I AM a karaoke host,” he said. “I would know.”

    Luckily my roommate and that dude broke up.

  281. @snarkysmachine You said: “We’re through the looking glass, Alice.”

    I’m not actually sure what you mean. Do you think I’m way off base or were you agreeing with me?! Can you splain please?

    A lot of people on this thread think they are hashing out the definition of X-splaining, but they are actually ‘splaining themselves. That’s why we’re through the looking glass.

  282. AE, I’m pretty sure the introvert/extrovert definition in terms of where a person draws their energy from is just how the MBTI defines it, but that’s not necessarily the usual conversational meaning. So I think it can be used both ways and you weren’t wrong!

    And on that note, ENFJ/ESFJ reporting for duty! I, too, have been known to be a seriously insufferable know-it-all. But I make no claim that it has anything to do with my personality type.

    Anyway, you know, I kind of want to say that there have been a lot of comments in the past few days where people have talked through their thoughts as they recognized their privilege — and sometimes those comments have been thoughtful, brief and to the point, and helpful contributions. But sometimes it seems to take the form of verbally beating yourself up for a page, or just rambling about how privileged you have suddenly realized you are, and those comments have been making me really uncomfortable. If you realize you are privileged in a conversation, the right thing to do is sit down, shut up, and listen, not make the conversation all about you and your privilege in a different way, you know?

  283. I have a friend who has multiple food allergies. We were all hanging out, like people do, and when the topic of food allergies came up (I have ‘em too, we talk about this stuff) one guy who had never met my friend before launched into a long mansplanation about how if she would only do a regular yoga practice, all her food issues would go away, and all about the wonders of yoga to fix everything ever.

    He did not stop even after being informed that my friend is a yoga teacher. (She also teaches dance, pilates, and is the Queen of Bendy Fitness.) He didn’t even stop when she and I started laughing at him.

    Now whenever either of us have a problem, we can say, “you know what will fix that? yoga!”

  284. SweetMachine: “A lot of people on this thread think they are hashing out the definition of X-splaining, but they are actually ’splaining themselves.

    Ah that makes sense. I was imagining some sort of reality where things are opposite and not what they seem and thought it had something to do with my examples of two seemingly opposite behaviours.

    FWIW I don’t think I was splaining myself in that particular part of my comment. But it’s true this post has prompted a lot of introspection from me and many other commenters.

    @KristinAnne said: “Well, it’s not really a law that’s on the books, PER SE,” he said, emphasizing his manly knowledge of Latin, “It’s just that it’s precedent.”
    “That…isn’t the way the law works,” I pointed out.

    This guy sounds seriously annoying and I’m pretty sure he’s off base about karaoke because the artists (or at least their record companies) do get paid when the back tracks are paid and lyrics displayed. Maybe not the singer but the instrumental performers and the songwriters.

    Of course, in common-law countries (USA and also Commonwealth countries such as UK, Australia etc), precedent is part of the law. Law comes both from the decisions of judges (precedent) and what governments put on the law books (legislation).

    Am I being a know-it-all or privilege splainer?

    @Volcanista, you said: “Anyway, you know, I kind of want to say that there have been a lot of comments in the past few days where people have talked through their thoughts as they recognized their privilege”

    If I’m included in that, then I’m sorry. I told you I was talkative!

  285. I’m not a WOC, so if mansplaining and whitesplaining/translating read as the same thing, I wouldn’t know, having only been on the splain-ee side of one.

    I wonder, though, might we still want to maintain the gender distinction as important, though, for the same reason the “feminist” vs “humanist” distinction is important? Though perhaps this evokes the “false sisterhood” SM mentioned. And I’ll stop there, because I don’t know fuck-all about being whitesplained to, so.

    I’d like to second Volcanista about being vaguely squicked out by the large numbers of self flagellating “zomg my unrealized privilege! it maketh me cry large rivers of tears” comments. It’s a little odd, ya’ll, and centers the conversation on YOUR upset. Although maybe that’s just my stony INTJ thang.

  286. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ I said “though” and “although” too many times in my last post. Oh ye denziens of the Grammar Nazi circle of Internet Hell, please forgive me!

  287. “Why is it that I had to show you the data figures to get you to believe anything I said, while you got to just pull things out of your ass and expect me to respond as if they were serious arguments?”

    Yes. That. Exactly that.

  288. You’re a great mansplainer if you can mansplain for years to your daughter about how really it’s not bad that you’re verbally, emotionally, and physically abusing her, because not only is she complaining about nothing, and not only do her complaints mean she wants to destroy the family (which clearly you, the Man, are solely upholding and protecting ohhhhh your responsibility, ohhhh your unappreciated burden), but even if it were abuse – which it is mainsplainingly clear that it is not, silly girl! – you had it worse from your father and your Man hurt is worse than her silly girl hurt, so really she should just shut up.

    Bonus mansplaining points if you married your wife when she was super, super young and molded her through verbal and emotional abuse into being a mini-you who believes your word is close to Maud’s, so you can get her to mansplain on your behalf that really, the silly girl is silly and doesn’t know what she’s doing / thinking / saying and should let you tell her What is Right.

    Extra bonus points if you can get the silly girl’s brother to believe this. Maybe another mansplainer in the making? (vomits)

    Yeah I don’t have contact with my family (bar my Nana who was once married to a mansplaining alcoholic abusive Man. But mansplaining is just a bit of harmless fun, right? It doesn’t actually hurt people!).

  289. Of course, in common-law countries (USA and also Commonwealth countries such as UK, Australia etc), precedent is part of the law. Law comes both from the decisions of judges (precedent) and what governments put on the law books (legislation).

    Am I being a know-it-all or privilege splainer?

    I don’t know, but I think law school and, possibly, legal knowledge in general kind of ruins people for this kind of thing. I may or may not be able to fake normal human interaction much of the time, but sit me in front of an episode of, like, The Good Wife, and I will be Hermione Grangering out of my seat until whoever I’m watching it lets me explain why the law they are showing is Completely Wrong. It’s kind of a problem (though in that particular case, I’m not sure it is a privilege-related problem as much as it is a driving-my-friends-crazy problem).

  290. Oh, also, I’m wondering if Annoying Karaoke Dude convinced himself karaoke is illegal because he wanted to be the kind of cool frood who stuck it to the man hosting illegal karaoke and couldn’t acknowledge that his hobby was actually kind of legal and square.

  291. @LilahMorgan

    I think you’ve nailed it exactly.

    And it was less the content of what he was saying (which was ridiculous and patently untrue as it was) and more the mansplainy tone. “Oh *I* am clearly the expert here!” Surrounded by 4 smart women who were ALL telling him he was wrong, he then persisted in grasping at straws to attempt to save face because he could not be shown up by the WOMEN.

  292. I’d like to second Volcanista about being vaguely squicked out by the large numbers of self flagellating “zomg my unrealized privilege! it maketh me cry large rivers of tears” comments. It’s a little odd, ya’ll, and centers the conversation on YOUR upset.

    I don’t know–it’s fun to swap stories of mansplainers being pompous, but it seems valuable, as well, for some of us to look at ourselves and say, “Ooops, I too am sometimes a condescending ass because I have bad prejudice shit to unpack.” I like the ‘splain idea because it hits those points (condescension, prejudice) more gently than is usually necessary.

    In a thread about people being noxious, it’s kind of nice to have some comments from people who, having seen noxious behavior in themselves, realize they need to change. Although it is less funny, for the most part.

  293. True Mansplaining Story
    1998
    The Summer I Got Married
    or
    How to Piss Me Off: Lesson # 3,673

    After perusing the advertisements of our local paper looking for a cheap, unpack-it-screw-it-together drawer set to place in the spare bedroom of our new house, I happened upon an ad from our local Home Depot (a.k.a. Mansplainin’ Central-esp. if you’re a woman) that had the requisite piece of crap drawers we were looking for. With new husband and 12 year old daughter in tow, we hopped in the truck and headed to the Carpenter’s Masturbatorium on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

    As we arrived, the usual throngs of do it yourselfers and professional know it alls followed the Orange Glow signs and arrows into the store, looking for something to make them feel more manly and productive. There were power tools, exhaust fans, tile and hardwood flooring, kitchen cabinets and light bulbs galore. The drool was flowing freely and quickly filled up by the ever present Orange Glow catch-all buckets placed at the end of every aisle in the store.

    We made our way through the now hypnotized masses to the back of the store trying to find the section of the store in which they would sell this piece of crap drawer set. After having no luck following the signage on each megasized aisle, a happy customer service agent, seeing the perplexed look on our faces, stopped and asked us if he could help us find something. “Yes”, I replied. “We’re looking for your furniture section”. Short and sweet right? Wrong. The moment the words were out of my mouth, I saw the shit eating grin creep slowly across the young man’s face. The spark in his eyes the same color of orange that slaps at you from his vest-of-authority. Without another word to us, the man’s eyes sweep across the floor of the store and lands on the first co-vest-of-authority wearer he can see. “Hey Henry!” he shouts….SHOUTS to the man 15 feet away from him. “This lady wants to know where we keep the furniture!” (his grin now advanced into a full blown tooth-missing, open mouth, silent laugh). Henry sauters over, bearing the same cocksure, smug grin on his face. He approaches us, points his thumb over his shoulder and says, “Right over there! Next to the GRAND PIAN-IES!”

    My husband and I just looked at each other in utter disbelief (and thoroughly embarrassed-since they were having such a raucous back-slapping laugh at our expense) and walked right up to the customer service desk, grabbed an ad and marched back to the buffoons still whooping it up with laughter. With one fell swoop, I shoved the advertisement in the first guy’s face, pointed to the picture of the drawers on the front page, and said, “THIS FUCKING FURNITURE YOU ASSHOLE!” and tossed the ad on the ground, turned toward the door, and left. NEVER TO RETURN AGAIN.

  294. Jennygadget, when I got together with my husband, who was then 23 and had had about three very brief relationships in his life, he didn’t know much about periods either. The difference, I guess, is that he wasn’t holding forth about them. I can’t remember how I realised, but I asked him what he knew, he said ‘basically nothing, um, they’re monthly and involve bleeding?’ and I gave him a quick rundown. He went to a boy’s school, they didn’t cover ‘periods’ in sex ed, and he’d never dated someone who was frank about theirs. I guess it’s not that rare an area of ignorance.

    “It’s not a law that’s on the books PER SE” is my new favourite line. I plan to use it whenever possible.

  295. @Regina T, for the record, I DESPISE when people put “-ies” on words that actually end with “-os/-oes.” I have no idea why, but something about it literally boils my blood. If my mother says she’s making “potaties,” I boycott. I do not eat the potatoes. That is how staunch I am about it. If a man did that while mansplaining to me, I think I would have to kill him right there.

  296. Megan Meier’s suicide (A gaslight and she had ‘weight issues’*)

    Encyclopedia Dramatica creator Jason Fortuny, the guy who made the Craigslist advertisement for S&M sex and then posted the identities of the interested men on his website who then went on to create a Myspace blog in the name of Lori Drew the woman behind the gaslighting of Megan Meier. You mentioned d00dz in your post, Fillyjonk, as well as the psychological violence of gaslighting. I don’t know that Encyclopedia Dramatica is Mansplaining or even if Manspalining is unique to males, however I think that Encycopledia Dramatica epitomizes the psychological violence gaslighting.

    I think that gaslighting exploits the human tendencies of autosuggestion and apophenia, seeing what you want to and finding connections were there are none. I saw the film Ingrid Bergman Gas Light and depicted there it was essentially a mix of autosuggestion and apophenia. But that is just a film. Society of course influences autosuggestion and apophenia, the constant chatter of norms, politics, entertainment, etc. weight being one of the many topics. This blog I think is a raging against the gaslight of status quo beliefs about weight. Then of course the projects of LGBTQ, feminism, civil rights, the whole human thing…

    *I’m not liking the use of ‘weight issues’ here

    and now some music

  297. @ KristinAnne – Wow, that Hitler mansplaining sounds as if it encorporates elements of Godwin’s Rule. That rebel kareoke host is breaking all kinds of rules.

    @ ccihcdaa – What a perfect song for this thread! Also, your invocation of Encyclopedia Dramatica (which I never frequent, except when there’s no other way to find out who exactly is Mr. Pregnant), and I think I agree with you as to its gaslighting nature.

  298. In high school, I briefly dated a guy who used “per se” as if it meant “let’s just say”. Like he took the “say” pronunciation REALLY seriously. If his mansplainesque refusal to listen to me when I tried to explain its real meaning hadn’t been enough to make me end that relationship, the annoyance factor of hearing him mis-use it constantly would have been.

    My current man has a mild mansplaining habit and I noticed he has fairly reliable little non-verbal tics that signal a mansplain comin’ on. Like if he draws his breath in a certain way, or puts his hands together a certain way, he’s about to launch into a mansplain. I don’t know if I point that out to him if he’ll take it in the helpful spirit it’s intended, or if he’ll feel put on the spot and self-conscious. Do anyone else’s mansplainers have the same kind of behaviors?

  299. Example of mansplaining from popular culture: in one of the first season episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Giles mansplains to Buffy that she can’t use the crossbow until she masters blah blah blah other weapons blah and she will need to put on these pads blah blah before fighting him with the quarterstaff blah, now the important thing is to–

    Buffy picks up her quarterstaff and kicks Giles’s ass in approximately three seconds.

    Giles says, okay, pick up the crossbow.

    Joss Whedon gets a lot of things wrong, but damn, that scene was awesome.

  300. Upon reading the comments, I fear that I have been a mansplainer myself, although I’m female…and yeah it’s coming from a place of privilege even if it’s not (obviously) *male* privilege.

    That said, my God I’m sorta owed the chance to mansplain a little IMO after all the mansplainage I’ve had to suffer. My dad is the original mansplainer. He takes a sprinkle of knowledge about a subject for decades of study of the subject, and it doesn’t matter what the subject is, he will happily ‘splain it as if you are a 2-year-old, but a 2-year-old with the presumed attention span of a serene buddha, ’cause he isn’t going to stop so you can get a word in edgewise until he’s defined all of his terms (wrongly) at least twice, thrown in 4 or 5 self-aggrandizing personal anecdotes, and managed to completely butcher the main idea of whatever he’s ‘splaining.

    When I studied linguistics he let me say about 4 words about the paper I had recently written and then he was launched on a logorrheic rollercoaster about Chomsky and the meanings of words which had nothing to do with anything Chomsky ever wrote about linguistics, to my knowledge. When I traveled abroad he let me say about 4 words about the country I’d just visited for a month when he interrupted and proceeded to tell me all about this country and its culture for 30 minutes, nevermind that he has never been there. His friend’s father is from there and that’s JUST AS GOOD, actually better. Yes, that’s the thing, my dad actually believed his thoughts on this country to be more valid than mine, and his thoughts on Chomsky more valid than mine though he hadn’t read Chomsky and I had, he hadn’t taken linguistics courses and I had. Those are just 2 examples I could pick from eleventy billion. Schooled I am in the Way of the Mansplainer.

    My dad’s mansplaining doesn’t really bother me, though; I’m inured to it. The mansplainin’ that stung the most that I can recall off the top of my head was when this guy I had met 2 hours before (a friend of a friend), walking with me to the subway, started out of the clear blue (we had been talking about nothing, the weather, etc.) to mansplain to me how if I exercised and ate right, I would lose weight, and I would feel so much better, and didn’t I care about my health, and on and on. Not that it would matter if he hadn’t been, but he happened to be quite overweight himself. And I’m sure his ego’d have bruised as easily as an overripe pear if someone had aimed similarly helpful splainin in his direction.

    I gave him a WTF look, then proceeded to speed up my pace and ignore him totally, and he RAN to keep up with me and keep mansplaining. The more studiously I ignored him, the more he had to say about how “it’s important to take care of yourself” and “you really should do this for yourself” etc. It still rouses my ire to think about it. And I had had such a nice night previous to this mansplaining episode. I had been at a bar with a bunch of skinny French friends who nevertheless never did anything to make me feel like an awkward elephant among the gazelles. But they just had to invite their mansplaining friend, this one night, and honestly I felt awkward with them after that, wondering if they were *thinking* what he had voiced.

  301. A conversation that I have had (with slight variations) more than once, yet only ever with men:

    Him: “What do you do?”
    Me: “I work at [University]. I’m a linguist there.”
    Him: “What’s your research area?”
    Me: “My PhD was about language change. I’m now working on an English dialect.”
    Him: “Oh, that’s really interesting. [Goes on to mansplain to me the history of the English language. Usually incorrectly.]

    I’ve started replying to this with a sweet smile and: “Ha ha – sounds like you’ve done Linguistics 101! Of course if you’d taken MY class, you wouldn’t be so confused about [whatever he got wrong].”

    Amazingly, some people continue to mansplain to me about how language works even after this.

    I used to think it was just naivity on their part, that they didn’t realise that someone who had an advanced degree in a subject actually already knows everything about that topic that the average man-off-the-street is likely to have come across. But now I’ve started to think it is more about trying to cover up a feeling of inferiority. They know full well that I know this stuff already, but they are trying to show that THEY know it too and therefore are my equal. And the sad and ironic thing is that I don’t think they are inferior for knowing less than me about my discipline (there’d be something wrong with the PhD process if they didn’t!); I DO think they are inferior for not being willing to admit it; and I would respect them much more if they had used that 20 minutes or so of conversation to tell me something interesting about a subject that I am NOT an expert on.

  302. Here’s a perfect case of mansplaining. A British scientific study has decided that the G-spot is all in the mind.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6925836/G-spot-may-not-exist-say-scientists.html

    Thank you scientists for splaining that I am imagining things in my own body on the basis that you can’t prove it. One day, I’m sure, it will be proven, and then you can splain to me how it works and how I can find it (even though I already have).

    The research team was mixed gender. The woman who led the research said: “It is rather irresponsible to claim the existence of an entity that has never really been proven and pressurise women — and men, too.”

    Thank you scientist for splaining that my insistence that actually I do have a G-spot is irresponsible and harming other women. Otherwise by talking about my obviously imaginary experience, I might have inadvertently encouraged other women that it might be worth their while to keep looking.

    Grrr.

  303. Yeah – upthread? That’s me, posting a story that fits the definition of “mansplain” that I’ve been using in my head (some dude lecturing me like I’m a child and expecting me to put up with it because I’m a woman) but not the definition given as part of the terms of this discussion (some dude lecturing me about something I know better than he does and expecting me to put up with it because I’m a woman). I’m going to go think about that some. In the mean time, I would like to apologize for going off topic above.

  304. @styleygeek, others with similar tales.

    I don’t understand why these people are not embarrassed to do that. Puzzling over this, it occurs to me that maybe they think it’s a test. Maybe you should respond by writing something like “D-” on a slip of paper and handing it to them.

  305. rainne,

    That doesn’t really surprise me…now. And you know, it’s not like I was terribly knowledgable about male anatomy at the time. But I wasn’t going around telling men that they couldn’t choose what happened to their own bodies either. I was pro-choice in name at the time because my mother was, but that “aha!” moment is what got me really believing in it – it got me questioning just how much of human anatomy the other side actually understood.

    And thinking about it now, I do kind of have to wonder how much of guys’ ignorance on the issue is deliberate. Not on a personal level, but a cultural one. I was ignorant of male anatomy at the time mostly because good girls don’t. But boys aren’t ignorant of female anatomy in quite the same way (at least they like to think so).

    Even adult men, however, are often squeamish about periods. And it’s just seems completely illogical to me for them to profess not only ignorance but also a desire for ignorance on such a vital part of human reproduction and then think that they can possibly make informed decisions about issues like abortion.

    And it kinda makes me wonder if that isn’t on purpose That – for many men – reality doesn’t really matter so much when it comes to their opinions about womens bodies and our choices. That, in fact, rejecting reality in favor of their emotions – oh, sorry, opinions – is part of the point.

  306. There have been one or two occasions in the past where he has mainsplained me how to raise funds for charity, which is the job I’ve been doing for the last decade. Our last conversation on the subject ended thus ‘You can tell me how to raise funds for charity when I can start telling you how to write fucking computer code.’

    I was reading this thread and mentioned it to my dear husband, who proceeded to mansplain why mansplainin’ that women can mansplain too.

    *headdesk*

    He did get it eventually. At least I think he did…

  307. That impulse to explain it away — it doesn’t really happen! it doesn’t happen as often as you say! only a real jerk would do that! — is the knee-jerk defense mechanism of privilege.

    Ughhh! The last guy I dated did this! “I don’t see sexism happening” . . . therefore it must not happen.

    Sadly, when I saw the word “mansplainer” I knew he was one, without even having to read one example. When we first started dating, he was mansplaining something basic about our solar system to me and when he said the sun was bigger than the earth, I said, “Really?” And he fell for it. That should have been a red flag right there.

    He would contradict everything that came out of my mouth and when it started to get on my nerves, I was being “emotional”. Any time I would state something as a fact, he would have to look it up on his stupid fucking iphone to confirm it. I understand if something sounds doubtful, but it really didn’t matter what I said. I just simply couldn’t be trusted as a reliable source of information about anything. He always did this, and I doubt he was like this with his friends, being that he actually has friends. I don’t know how I put up with it for so long. I’m hoping that by educating myself on the ways of mansplainin’, I can be on the lookout next time.

    And thank you, mods at SP, for tightly controlling the comments. I would have spontaneously combusted by now, otherwise!

  308. Yep, I’m glad we’ve come back around to the general notion of “mansplain” as perhaps a shorthand for “privilege/entitlement-splain”, because the latter sense was how I was using it when I confessed to being guilty of it. It is different to pedantry, although I appreciate being ‘splained that because I’m a woman, I’m automatically immune to the syndrome. Um no. I think the “man-” prefix is really just in honour of those most visible doing it to most here.

    I have attempted to tell shop assistants 20 years younger than me how to work a till I have never laid eyes on in my life. I have tried to give an economist a potted biography of Adam Smith. I have tried to explain cataloguing to librarians, who are still amazingly good friends with me.

    It’s the position of knowing that you’re relatively ignorant of a subject, but still insisting on the right to tell people what their experience of it should be, due to a huge sense of Entitlement. Now, mine doesn’t come from education – it comes from being better-read than many, and working in a technical field. That doesn’t stop me from being completely ignorant of many topics, yet still willing to opine to someone better informed. I will say, however, being a woman has probably meant that I catch myself before (and while, alas) doing it more than many men might. I also listen when someone pulls me up.

    One thing about getting older is that I’m getting better at turning the tendency into a “I’m really interested in X – how does it work in relation to Y?” and engaging in a dialogue rather than a homily. Still aways to go.

  309. Oh, yeah, and that G-spot malarkey is a classic ‘splain! What got me when it was initially discussed was that they excluded bi and lesbian women from the study, because they were more likely to have found it! Um, HELLO???? Talk about undermining your premises right from the start.

  310. I loved this so much I have now explained the concept of “mansplaining” to two men on my project team, who immediately “got-it” and died laughing. And no, they themselves aren’t mansplainers. And I’m sending them the links. Don’t be surprised if this word is added to the lexicon.

    I love this blog and the discussion. Win!

  311. Lucy,

    Thanks very much for clarifying. I hadn’t understood that that was why you’d included that bit of information, but yes, I’ve known my share of queer men who’ve said or implied, “I cannot be sexist! I’m queer!” (Or “I cannot have male privilege! I’m queer!”) Which, yeah, not how intersectionality works.

    KristinC,

    “I don’t think it’s mansplaining just any old time someone explains something pedantically, pompously or otherwise tiresomely. I’m pretty sure the mansplaining concept applies when a man explains to a woman (substitute your privilege here) BECAUSE she’s a woman and therefore MUST not understand without having it ’splained.”

    I agree with this concept. All know-it-all-ism is annoying, of course, but mansplaining (and other privilege-based ‘splaining) explicitly reinforces kyriarchy. And is backed up by kyriarchy, too, I think. Like … when women talk about sexism, they’re often dismissed because they’re presumed to be biased, but when men talk about sexism, they’re presumed neutral observers. (I’ve also seen this a lot with race–white people are “neutral” and almost presumed to not even have a race.) Therefore, I think men feel entitled to mansplain–and society allows them to get away with mansplaining–partly because men are considered unbiased and, therefore, more reliable commenters.

  312. There’s an interaction I had the other month, and I’m not sure if it was me or the other conversational participant who was the mansplainer. I think we were probably both attempting to throw around our privilege to convince the other.

    The subject was evolution, with me saying that I had a BA in science (yeah, ouch, classism) therefore knowing the scientific method, having taken biology classes, and that intelligent design is fine to choose to believe but not science because it is not disprovable, and her message being that her religious belief and what she’s heard is that there are other definitions of the scientific method enable her to know the truth that ID is science. (I still believe my viewpoint is more valid, but I wince that I actually said “I am the one with the science degree here” to a woman who never had a chance to continue education past high school.)

  313. Leely wrote: You May Be a Mansplainer If…

    …you’ve ever started a sentence with the words “What you need to understand is” while in the middle of a discussion. I understand, really I do. I just don’t *agree.*

    Oh, I nearly forgot that! The conversational participant in my previous comment does that to me all the time. Precisely those words!

  314. Tony Blair was giving evidence today to the Chilcot Inquiry on the legality of the Iraq war, and it seemed like every other sentence that came out of his mouth started with “What it’s really important to understand is…” or “It’s important to understand…”

    The other sentences started with “Look.”

    A true tour-de-force of mansplaining.

  315. @tg I would have had trouble not doing the same thing. I don’t have a science degree though and “I studied high school biology” just doesn’t have the same ring. But I’m with you on the issue.

  316. All know-it-all-ism is annoying, of course, but mansplaining (and other privilege-based ’splaining) explicitly reinforces kyriarchy. And is backed up by kyriarchy, too, I think.

    Yes!

    Witness the tendency for women, especially, in this thread to get apologetic or feel bad about infrequent, isolated, long-ago instances of ‘splaining they have committed. Whereas men are simply encouraged to expect that ‘splaining is their right by birth and argue bitterly and whinily about how if we don’t LIKE being ‘splained to, then we’re sexist, and other such fucking idiocy.

    (I’m not saying women shouldn’t be aware when we ‘splain. Of course we should. Just that once again, the underprivileged are socialized to feel guilty for having human flaws, while the privileged expect the world to revolve around compensating for their flaws so they can pretend said flaws don’t exist. The same goes for other kinds of privilegesplaining too, of course.)

  317. Another frequent mansplaining prefix: “But what’s REALLY interesting is…” – said by the mansplainer after the person who is actually knowledgeable has shared something factual about a topic. B/c of course the mansplainer is always in possession of the *rilly* cool, *rilly* esoteric knowledge on any topic, even if they will admit they are ignorant of the basics.

    It’s kinda like telling a composer of classical art music, who has just premiered a new symphony, that the REALLY interesting music these days is the album some little-known indie band out of Finland just released, that only the Kewlest of the Kewl Kidz know about.

    The point is that the true mansplainer doesn’t listen at all and they don’t respect their interlocutor. They spend any “listening” portion of a “conversation” they are engaged in searching their brain for the kewl anecdote or tidbit that will one-up their interlocutor and reveal how wide-ranging and esoteric their own knowledge base is.

  318. As a Girl Geek (Geekette?) who is attracted to brainy guys, I run up against this sort of thing quite a bit, so I’m really enjoying this whole discussion.

    This quote from Cynthia Heimel makes me laugh and cringe at the same time, and I think it applies here:
    “I am full of a quiet yet all-encompassing knowledge and no matter what you know, I will always know better than you and will chuckle with a quiet condescension whenever you challenge me and I might even smoke a pipe. Plus, I don’t make any money ever, but that is not my fault, it is the fault of the system.”

  319. “the word Caddywompus and his belief that it was not in fact a word, even though 4 people were telling him they had heard it before”
    `
    psssst!
    *dismissive hand flap*
    Next thing you know, he’ll be trying to tell us that “ain’t” ain’t no word.

  320. *sigh* My boss is both an inveterate mansplainer and has some significant gaslighting tendencies (I have in the past had to make any meeting between myself and the dean covert and keep it hidden from my chair or he will explode into a rage, for example). He also does this annoying thing where he’ll praise me for having knowledge of things he doesn’t have, then will proceed to speak and make decisions about related areas without any input from me.

    The dean is no slouch in the mansplaining department either. I encounter this enough at my job that it becomes a calculation, “Is it worth mentioning this time or can I get what I want out of this conversation more easily by working around it?”

    FWIW, I agree the “mansplaining” behavior is too gendered to be done by a woman. It’s about men feeling that they by nature of being male must know more than a woman.

    If we’re talking about “explaining” in terms of privilege, then oh yeah, this kind of pontificating and lecturing people for their own good can be unhooked from a gender privilege and manifest in many ways.

    DRST

  321. “My first job out of college was in an incredibly dysfunctional office that featured a mansplainer. ”
    `
    “The mother was getting foil done, and her very effeminate adult son was mansplaining to the colorist exactly what to do. Like the entire time, as the colorist was already doing it. ”
    `
    OK, this isn’t exactly mansplaining, since the offending individual was a woman, but it’s too bizarre not to share. The office manager at my former workplace was a bossy control freak, to put it very kindly indeed — I mean, she would look over other people’s shoulders as they were doing their work and tell them how *she* thought they ought to be doing their jobs (not her subordinates, either).

    So one day, another co-worker asked me whether we had any more of a certain type of pen.
    Me: I’m not sure, but I’ll check.
    Co-worker and I look in supply cabinet. Bossy office manager materializes behind us.
    Bossy: You know, if you’re not sure whether or not we have something, you should check the supply cabinet.
    `
    *boggle!*

  322. I was mansplained at again last night! I was futzing with my camera getting set up to take pictures at a concert, and random dude chimes in with “you know, some of these new cameras have a thingy you can set so they take better pictures in low light”. Me – “By thingy do you mean ISO, aperture or shutter speed? Because I was trying to set all three when you interrupted me”. He got sulky and started muttering about how awful it is that they’re giving girls photo passes these days.

    Still think the dude who tried to mansplain how women would understand why rape is such a great metaphor if they’d stop getting raped wins the mansplaining asshole prize, though.

  323. INFJ here, too. And it doesn’t surprise me that a bunch of INFJ’s are hanging out around Shapely Prose; we’re known for our tendency to gravitate towards activism/ “standing up for the underdog”. (For people interested: http://typelogic.com/infj.html )

    Also? I wonder if there’s something like a “Virgosplainer”, for the nitpicky but well-meaning Virgos out there. (Like myself).

  324. I forgot about the mansplainer who sat next to me on a 2 hour plane ride earlier this week! He was so glad *I* sat next to him! A captive audience! To witness how smart he was!

    Just for AnthroK8 et al., I have to first state that the FIRST thing he told me was that he was “really, really, smart” because he reads “everything” on Wikipedia. From his iPhone. Yea, but he is a veritable fount of humanity’s accumulated knowledge. Gather ’round children!

    He ‘splained to me that he had a friend who was also an environmental consultant who worked with the mining industry, and that his friend pulled in a sum 4x greater than what I make. Now, this is possible, I suppose… but I find it improbable in the extreme – it’s not that kind of industry, and the wage scale tops out somewhere less than half of what this dude claimed. So I suggested that I was doubtful, and perhaps his friend exaggerated, because he was comparing himself to the tradespeople (like said mansplainer) who *do* make that much working in the oil patch, and didn’t want to look bad. Mansplainer then insisted that I just didn’t know my own industry, and that I really *should* be making that much, clearly I haven’t made the right impression with my employers. (Hear that ladies? Quadruple your income by making a better impression!)

    He then asked me if I planned to have kids, which I normally get quite stabby about, but somehow wasn’t on guard because he was touchingly talking about how much he enjoyed his son, and was happy about a new kid on the way. Of course, when I said something about it being in the five-year plan for me, he wanted me to know that we women don’t have all the time in the world to have babies, and I should get on that before my uterus dried up, if that’s what I wanted. You see, it can be very *hard* for women to have children when they get older. Or don’t they teach that in the Master’s program? har har har. I’m 28, and he was…. 29.

  325. A British scientific study has decided that the G-spot is all in the mind.

    Ooh, I really want to meet these people. I would love for them to mansplain to me how, then, I managed to have a G-spot orgasm before I had ever heard of the thing.

  326. Count me in the mansplaining = privilegesplaining camp. Silencing tactics are silencing tactics. Beyond being a woman, I’ve got plenty of privilege to go around (including strong confidence in my own intellectual capacity) and plenty of evidence that my habitual behavior patterns have the power to hurt and silence people in kyriarchy-approved ways.

    Maybe the other “know-it-all” commenters don’t have as much asshole tendencies to struggle against as I do. But in my experience at least, being a know-it-all also makes it hard for me to feel particularly bad about being a know-it-all even when I’ve hurt somebody, because deep inside all I can think is “dammit I was right” and I refuse to feel bad or apologize for being smart or knowing things. So when I talk about it, it’s not that I am beating myself up about it, it’s that I have to keep reminding myself that it’s easy for me to unfairly dismiss people in order to keep from doing it.

  327. @Renatus As it happens (and it sometimes does on these great wide internets), we do indeed have the same friend.

  328. Also @ Renatus: The more I re-read that argument the more impressed I am with you! You’re awesome.

    Obviously noooot so impressed with him.

  329. @interfacings said: “deep inside all I can think is “dammit I was right” and I refuse to feel bad or apologize for being smart or knowing things”

    Oh yes. Been there. I think I’m a lot better than I was, say, 10 years ago though.

  330. Starlind said:
    “My personal favorite was the guy who started yelling at me about not being able to process a return (hint: if it has never been sold at the store, no, we won’t take it back) and his tirade included, “You uppity clerks with your third-grade education!” Yikes. Way to let it all hang out, dude.”

    OMG! Are you sure that wasn’t my dad??? All my childhood, when I dared to disagree with him, his retort would be “Well, I’m not in Grade [insert number at least two less than my actual grade level at the time], so I must be wrong.”

    In case you can’t tell, he’s an expert mansplainer.

    BTW, INFJ here – partnered with an ISTP. I love him to bits, and he doesn’t generally mansplain but sometimes. . wow. Just wow.

  331. All my childhood, when I dared to disagree with him, his retort would be “Well, I’m not in Grade [insert number at least two less than my actual grade level at the time], so I must be wrong.”

    My dad STILL does that, and I’m 27. “You think that now, but when you’re my age you’ll realise…” Funny how when I was a child it used to be: “When you have a real job and pay taxes you’ll realise…” but now that I HAVE the job and DO pay quite significant taxes and still have my liberal views, the bar has moved.

  332. Oh ho yes, and I especially love that after so many years of “when you have kids, you’ll understand…” – I have now been a parent for over 5 years, and somehow still do not “understand”…my parenting philosophy is pretty much 180 degrees away from my dad’s.

  333. @TB “It’s kinda like telling a composer of classical art music, who has just premiered a new symphony, that the REALLY interesting music these days is the album some little-known indie band out of Finland just released, that only the Kewlest of the Kewl Kidz know about.

    I don’t think this is a good analogy for a number of reasons. Music is something that is very subjective, so even though the composer of ‘classical art music’ might have a better understanding of how the music works, he or she isn’t neccesairily a better judge of music. (knowing that Blitzkrieg Bop has only four chords doesn’t make it any less brilliant) Besides, the whole idea of classical music = High Art always struck me as an elitist attitude (about as pretensious as the indie/pitchfork kids who like to salivate over ridiculously obscure music), and basically denies the fact that, as much as i hate to use this term, ‘the underground’ has produced some very groundbreaking, expirimental, EXCITING music, that could very well be by a little known band from Finland. Contemporary Classical music is by no means the vanguard of what is new and interesting in music, especially since it draws a lot from other forms of music itself.

    Ooffff, sorry for the pedantic, kinda off topic, know-it-all rant. You sorta just hit on a major pet peeve of mine. I also apologized if I some how missed the point of your analogy. x]

  334. Ooh! There is some prime mansplaining on this linguistics blog (specifically in the comments):

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2026#comments

    Here’s my fave part, where someone named “Reinhold”, who first posted a sexist comment/link, replied to what I wrote after his first post:
    “@ Adara: “Yes, sexist jokes are hilarious and completely appropriate on an ostensibly academically-minded blog.”
    I apologize for penetrating your sensitive, sterile, über-p.c. personal sphere and demand that all humorous material and cartoons possibly upsetting the professionally Offended Ones be verboten on this ostensibly academically-minded blog.”

    Yeah! You totally pinned me! Are you a mind-reader?

    And then his response to another commenter:
    “@ Lance: “… (And I agree with Adara: some of those comments above really need to be deleted.)”
    If I had my druthers and advocated LL censorship, I’d recommend that at least 50% of all comments be deleted, beginning with yours.”

    Gosh, Lance! Man up already and laugh at my sexist joke!!

  335. @Miguel
    I don’t think you necessarily missed TB’s point, but um…well, maybe you did kinda miss the point :P
    I think what TB’s trying to say is that obviously, the classical musician is a professional and expert in their field and is so accomplished as to have premiered their own symphony. It would be an asshole move for their interlocutor to essentially say that they know what’s MORE new and exciting in/about the musician’s field, which is pretty rude in the first place, but the interlocutor gets even more mansplain points when they then bring up something barely tangential.
    UGH, everyone, I don’t speak English a lot, so please be nice =( haha

  336. Even though I read all the comments, I’m still not entirely sure why we are all sharing our Myers-Briggs types, but hey, why not? I’m INFJ too. Married to an INTP, which has serious insanity potential, but his previous girlfriends (mostly bi, Pagan women’s studies majors) brought him up well, so he doesn’t ‘splain.

  337. @tg You know I’ve been thinking about your intelligent design conversation and I’m not convinced you were splaining. I thought splaining was meant to be where you used irrelevant privilege to hold forth on topics even where the other person might know better (such as I am a man and you are a woman so you must need this splained). Education might be privilege but it’s not irrelevant – a science degree surely is legitimate qualification to know a bit about evolution and scientific theory.

    It doesn’t mean that making someone feel bad about their lack of education is a nice thing to do, but if the knowledge gap is actual rather than assumed because of gender/race/etc then I don’t know if it counts as splaining. Others may disagree.

  338. My most satisfying mansplain encounter ever: It was my first day in a new apartment and discovered that the door jamb was patched together as if someone had broken it down and it had just been kinda nailed back together. It was so flimsy that the deadbolt was not likely to hold if someone were to shoulder the door. Thinking that the person who had done this damage might try to come back and break in, I called the management company and insisted that they fix it that day.

    About 20 minutes later a guy showed up saying that he had been sent because ‘some lady’ said her lock was broken. I showed him the problem to which he responded by rolling his eyes and ‘splaining, very slowly, how the lock was fine and the door was fine and he couldn’t believe I had gotten him called out in the evening for this.

    So, I explained again, about how yes, the deadbolt was fine, but the doorjamb, upon which the deadbolt depended, was compromised.

    This sent him into extra-special-hyper-mansplain mode: “OK, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go outside. You lock the door up tight and then I’ll try to break it open. You’ll see that it’s fine.” Three minutes later he was through the door, standing inside my apartment with his hand on the doorknob and splintered doorjamb wood all around him.

    To his partial credit, he admitted he had been wrong and that he was just annoyed because he had gotten called out just as he was sitting down to dinner. It was my first experience of just letting a mansplainer live with feeling badly, instead of rushing to assure him that it was all OK, really. Now, some years later I am much more comfortable letting assholes sit with their own discomfort.

  339. Oh God, a lightbulb just went on in my head. The friend I have been teasing for his mansplaining is actually even more chauvenistic than I first realised. Ugh!!!

  340. INFP here.

    I have a LOT of mansplainers in my family. I’m married to one, although he’s not TOO terrible, I still get a lot of, “You’re just like this because you’re on your period” or “not thinking straight because it’s that time of month” as if my hormones have something to do with rationality and reality.

    I LOVE when my former religion is “mansplained” to me, with the idea that I didn’t have it right the first time and I should convert back! If I understood it correctly (never mind I went to college to learn about it) I wouldn’t have left it. No thanks, I like the religion I converted too much better than the one I was raised in.

  341. @Miguel, um, lolol, thanks for the mansplanation, I’ll think about that, K?

    No really, the point has nothing whatsoever to do with styles of music and their relative worth, the point is that you don’t go telling someone who has studied something and made it their career and who has just achieved a big success in it, that they don’t actually know what the REAL vanguard is.

    Yes, I’d say you missed the point. Very nice demonstration of the OP, though…

  342. Oh and Miguel, I just reread your post and it’s actually more headdesk on a 2nd reading. You presume that you are telling me things I don’t know about music…seriously, what do you think mansplaining is? It’s EXACTLY what your post does! Complete with the “apologies for being pedantic, etc…” You weren’t apologizing. You were making sure I knew how deeply you have thought about music and assuming that I haven’t been enlightened to the (irrelevant) ‘points’ in your post. (As if your thoughts on music are somehow fresh and original, nay, SO fresh and original that they just HAD to be shared despite being entirely beside the point of the analogy.) You are also pointlessly dismissive of classical music, which you ignorantly slam as derivative. There wasn’t any reason to do that except…to MANSPLAIN!

    Check yourself, my friend.

  343. TB: i’m really sorry! I felt like your analogy wasn’t entirly a good example of mansplaining because the person who questions the classical composer, while definitely obnoxious, isn’t neccesairly speaking from a point of priviledge. I ended up kind of ranting about something else entirely, which was a mistake, and i’m sorry for that. I took the wrong idea out of your post and thought you were trying to make a statement about the relative worth of two different types of genres, which something that always bothers me when people do. And yeah, I definitely see how that could’ve been mansplaining. Whoops. Although I didn’t ‘dismiss contemporary classical music as derivative! I just said that it has absorbed influences from a lot of diffent musics.

  344. Ooffff, sorry for the pedantic, kinda off topic, know-it-all rant.

    *headdesk*

    Y’all, it might be appropriate to let this thread die a natural death, as it’s approaching 400 comments now.

  345. SM, why doesn’t a mod close the thread when they deem appropriate? This is something I’ve wondered. In my blog at any rate I can close comments any time I want.

  346. Okay, since we’ve finally reduced manplaining to mean “Shit I don’t want to hear from people I don’t like.” Our work is done. Good Job, Shapelings.

    The thread is now closed. I’ll turn off the lights when I leave.

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