I saw this in the Men’s RIghts subreddit the other day and I almost wept with joy. Because here, in the wild, was a man mansplaining mansplaining.to feminists.
Naturally, he gets it wrong.
Feminists did not mean by that men explaining “things” to woman “as if women can’t understand”, but men explaining on behalf of women what it’s like being a woman and specifically what’s good for women. Please advise new recruits of the feminist cult (in response they will tell you, “now you are mansplaning again!” you will answer by explaining again they are using it wrong, “again mansplaining”, “again using it wrong”, and so on – keep at it until she gets tired).
In fact, “men explaining ‘things” to woman ‘as if women can’t understand'” is basically the dictionary definition of “mainsplaining.”
As the dictionary dictionarysplains it:
Now, the Reddit mainsplainer’s example of mansplaining isn’t altogether wrongheaded. “Explaining on behalf of women what it’s like being a woman and specifically what’s good for women” is indeed a form of mansplaining, but it doesn’t encompass the entire meaning of the term.
The concept of “mansplaining” — if I might mansplain for a bit myself — was inspired by an essay by Rebecca Solnit called “Men Explain Things to Me.” Her classic example: a man a party who insisted on explaining a book she had written to her.
He was … telling me about the very important book–with that smug look I know so well in a man holding forth, eyes fixed on the fuzzy far horizon of his own authority. …
Mr. Very Important was going on smugly about this book I should have known when Sallie interrupted him to say, “That’s her book.” Or tried to interrupt him anyway.
But he just continued on his way. She had to say, “That’s her book” three or four times before he finally took it in.
Anyway, that’s kind of the ur case of mansplaining (from an essay you should definitely read if you haven’t already).But the word is so perfect a distillation of how a certain type of man communicates with women that the definition has widened a bit since then. Which is how language works; usage changes, dictionary definitions change.
But that’s a whole other can of worms. Are there any linguists here I could explain linguistics to?
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