Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let me tell you about Mansplaining. I'll lay it all out for you in simple terms.

Before we get into the REAL topic... some word play.
The two longest one-syllable words:
screeched - screeched is one I found when I searched.
strengths - I came up with this one on my own in University.

Next: these words are fun to say, but their meanings are kind of gross. I just don't know what to do.

1. syphilis
2. gonorrhea
3. mansplaining

I'd never heard of mansplaining (more here) until I started reading some of the articles linked by various blog friends on various feminist topics... but I think it's an awesome word for the not-awesome practice of a man condescendingly explaining gender relations with the kind of attitude that screams, "Because I am male, and therefore logical, unlike you emotional females, I understand everything about your situation, and I'd like to set you straight on a few things while revealing my prejudices and ignorance of the topics you're trying to discuss."
(privilege-denying dude)

Is there an equivalent for when the privileged one begins explaining, condescendingly, the details of the not-privileged one's life to him/her? (WASPsplaining? oppressorsplaining?)

Or the neocolonial one explaining people's cultures to them? (Colonialisplaining?) My first three years of conversations with Koreans in Korea were mostly the story of me explaining the easy ways Korea could fix itself, if people would ONLY listen to me.

Of course... the WAY one discusses one's ideas is as important as the content...

I think I actually said this, or something close to it, to someone at one point:

You can make your own "Privilege denying dude" at - one of the greatest websites ever.


CeilingofStars said...

The best thing about any blog post on mansplaining is playing spot-the-mansplainer in the comments section. The best part is when they're mansplaining to you that YOU'RE actually the sexist one for singling men out.

Thanks for posting. :)

JIW said...

Head explosion = completed.

This Is Me Posting said...

Meh. Mansplaining is just another intolerance, this time from the point of view of women. I'm not saying that it doesn't exist, I'm just saying that since there's a term coined for an action with subjective boundaries, it's just another form of intolerance.

That being said, if an argument is logically sound, it matters not who the source is; whether it comes from a woman, man, local or foreigner. The problem in any argument lays with the humans themselves and whether they're capable of admitting they're fallible (that goes for both the debater and the debated). Unfortunately, no one likes to be told they're wrong.

This Is Me Posting said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roboseyo said...


As I understand it, the point where mansplaining comes into play is when the mansplainer clearly hasn't done his background reading, and his comments are drenched in the kinds of assumptions that demonstrate his lack of background... yet in his maleness he feels entitled to hold for as an expert, in the same way that when a foreign Korea scholar criticizes Korea it should be received differently than if a foreign noob does.

Did you see this, from Dokdo Is Ours/

Gomushin Girl said...

@ CeilingofStars! Third response ~ that was fast! Mansplaining is intolerance and used by women to attack men . .. sure it may happen sometimes that somebody really *is* mansplaining, but it's subjective and therefore doesn't really occur.

Where is my feminist bingo card? I think I may have won something . . .^^

@ Rob, it's not really required that the mansplainer NOT know anything about something. You can mansplain even if you're an expert in something. The mansplaining comes through privledging one's own (male) understanding over all others.

Roboseyo said...

Not to say I've never been guilty of any or all of these things, but To me the point where mansplaining, oppressorsplaining and neocolonialisplaining get out of hand is when somebody tells somebody else what they REALLY think, who they REALLY are, or what they REALLY said, as if they'd know.

Which might just be rephrasing what gomushin girl said, as it pertains to those other two contexts.

Nobody likes having assumptions made about them.

...this one time I tried to compile a list of female k-bloggers and one blogger called it male intervention and implied I was being paternalistic. Was I?

Anonymous said...

If women could just manage to keep their uteri from causing them to act hysterically there would be no problem.

I'm joking of course. But the word "hysteria" used to literally mean that women were crazy because their sex organs couldn't be kept under control. That's how backwards western medicine, psychology, and general social attitudes used to be. And still are, to some extent.

Gomushin Girl said...

Listing female bloggers isn't inherently paternalistic, I don't think, and the more important thing is how you respond to criticism, particularly coming from the group in question.

For example, if someone wrote on the column that they thought the list was paternalistic and treating women as some kind of seperate, different (and implied inferior) kind of blogging that treated women as if they need to be noticed by male bloggers to be important, you could say

"What are you talking about? It just so happens that the K-blogs are mostly dominated by men right now, and there's nothing sexist about it. It's just a fact. Besides, I'm trying to help you by pointing out who you are so we can notice you and then you can bring your feminine point of view to the table. Really, you should be thanking me for taking the time to do this for you."

or you could say,

"Thanks, I can kind of see where you're coming from. I don't mean to be patronizing or pretend like these voices haven't existed until I noticed them . . . how can I address this so I can still highlight blogs written by women that I think are really fabulous in a better way and make sure that I and other bloggers can engage with these writers more fully?"

The first is mansplaining and patronizing and wrong. The second is interacting, listening, and caring about the subject.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has recently jumped into the subjects of debate, rhetoric, and logic, this is a very interesting topic. I just spent the whole morning reading comments over on the blogs you linked.

Of course, some were naive and unhelpful, but I was impressed by a number of commenters and the ideas they expressed. And it was fascinating to see how the conversation evolved and people questioned their own outlooks and refined their opinions.

I believe what they say about the internet not being the great democratiser. If we don't listen to views other than our own, we're doomed to hear only what we want to hear. And in the online world, it's all too easy to do just that.

Thanks for exposing me to voices I wouldn't normally hear.

Mr. Spock said...

"The first is mansplaining and patronizing and wrong. The second is interacting, listening, and caring about the subject."

I am going to retire in the dark with a bottle of aspirin. Trying to collect a bunch of women-authored blogs suddenly turned into a medium-sized deal? I confess, I am college-educated and I fully don't get it.

Roboseyo said...

I think the writer didn't see why I would be bothered to do so, when woman bloggers were doing fine finding each other without me, thanks. We came to an understanding in the comments beneath that post. It has since vanished.

I'm intrigued by the way the "well-known" (whatever that means) K-blogs are pretty's been pretty overwhelmingly that way, and for a long enough time that even if it used to be a coincidence, it's probably systemic by now. Because it deals with feet-on-the-ground experiences rather than theoretical constructions, though, I'm more interested in what the female bloggers themselves have to say on the topic, than in making my own assertions.

I do know that I've seen a few of the very well-known K-blog and Korea Online comment sections/forums come across in a way be gentle... would make women feel like their contribution was either unwelcome, or not worth the grief.

In the meantime, Tumblr seems to be the place to find female voices talking about Korea, and that's one of the main reasons I signed up for roboseyo.tumblr

Roboseyo said...

@Rob-o-SE-yo I don't think that was paternalistic, but I don't know how you phrased your intentions, so it could have been misunderstood. If your intentions were good, then they must have been lost in the reception, as happens often on the internet. 

Roboseyo said...

Thank you for providing a living example of mansplaining for everyone here.

"Meh. Mansplaining is just another intolerance, this time from the point of view of women. I'm not saying that it doesn't exist, I'm just saying that since there's a term coined for an action with subjective boundaries, it's just another form of intolerance."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what mansplaining looks like :)