"Mansplaining"

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"Mansplaining"

Postby SubMor » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:59 pm

Several people have mentioned that the word mansplain is seen by some as offensive. I don't get it; to me, this is a perfect representation of the absurdity inherent in a privileged person (the man) falsely regarding an underprivileged person (the woman) as if their situations were equivalent. I like this word a lot, and I don't want to give it up. Is it bad in general? Is it bad only for women to use? Is it still bad for me to use, but less bad because I'm a man? Convince me.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:01 pm

Mansplaining is a very real phenomenon, and to my eyes, efforts to get it called something different are bullshit attempts to deny the gendered, patriarchy-linked nature of that phenomenon.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby marinerachel » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:18 pm

It is a real social phenomenon that requires tackling. The word implicates all men and suggests the behaviour is inherent to men in general though which is of course a bigoted position to hold. In my experience, people use the word very selectively and respectfully, within the boundaries of men patronising women from a position of ignorance out of an unwarranted sense of superiority, not towards any guy who has an opinion with which they disagree. I'd argue people who use the word are overwhelmingly careful in who they slap it on. The word still lacks any differentiation between men who are guilty of promoting the phenomenon and men who aren't though.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Jadehawk » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:20 pm

mansplaining used to (and in my opinion should still) have a very specific meaning: explaining from a position of superiority that is being assumed for no other reason than that you're male while the person you're explaining to is female. In SJ situations, this is usually about privilege and dudes ignoring it and assuming their experience to be universal. But that's not the only context. Women who are experts on something constantly deal with dudes "explaining" their own field to them (especially bad among engineers, physicists, etc.), because they assume that they know better.

Men who mansplain get upset because they don't understand that their opinion on something might actually be worthless or at least worth less than someone else's; or that explaining to an expert really only deserves ridicule, not careful "refutation", unless the expert actually is feeling generous and in an educational mood.

The word implicates all men and suggests the behaviour is inherent to men in general though which is of course a bigoted position to hold.
the word describes a phenomenon rooted in male privilege; only in that sense does it implicate all men, and since accepting the existence privilege isn't a bigoted position, neither is accepting the phenomenon of mansplaining.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Rum » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:20 pm

Its use is as much a stereotyping exercise as any other, irrespective of the power relationships involved. I don't do it and I would be offended, as a male, if I was lumped in with those who do.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Jadehawk » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:23 pm

Rum wrote:Quite so. Its use is as much a stereotyping exercise as any other, irrespective of the power relationships involved.
a phenomenon related to a specific privilege is not a stereotype, and by definition cannot be discussed without keeping the power relationships in perspective.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby piegasm » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:30 pm

Rum wrote:Its use is as much a stereotyping exercise as any other, irrespective of the power relationships involved. I don't do it and I would be offended, as a male, if I was lumped in with those who do.


Are men a monolith such that any use of the words "male", "man", "men", etc. must necessarily be in reference to all men? This kind of reasoning crops up all over the place and I really don't get it.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Jadehawk » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:35 pm

piegasm wrote:
Rum wrote:Its use is as much a stereotyping exercise as any other, irrespective of the power relationships involved. I don't do it and I would be offended, as a male, if I was lumped in with those who do.


Are men a monolith such that any use of the words "male", "man", "men", etc. must necessarily be in reference to all men? This kind of reasoning crops up all over the place and I really don't get it.

hmm... there does indeed seem to be a lack of understanding that something can be a male/masculine attribute because it's exclusively or predominantly found in men, not because it's found in all men. in that sense, even though many men never do it, mansplaining is predominantly associated with those who also have male privilege. those who don't have male privilege virtually never mansplain; they do plenty of cissplaining, whitesplaining, straightsplaining, but not mansplaining
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby ischemgeek » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:42 pm

Jadehawk wrote:
piegasm wrote:
Rum wrote:Its use is as much a stereotyping exercise as any other, irrespective of the power relationships involved. I don't do it and I would be offended, as a male, if I was lumped in with those who do.


Are men a monolith such that any use of the words "male", "man", "men", etc. must necessarily be in reference to all men? This kind of reasoning crops up all over the place and I really don't get it.

hmm... there does indeed seem to be a lack of understanding that something can be a male/masculine attribute because it's exclusively or predominantly found in men, not because it's found in all men. in that sense, even though many men never do it, mansplaining is predominantly associated with those who also have male privilege. those who don't have male privilege virtually never mansplain; they do plenty of cissplaining, whitesplaining, straightsplaining, but not mansplaining


I like to shorten it to 'splain at times for that reason. That said, I don't think it lumps all men. It refers to a phenomenon were some men will condescendingly explain things to women. Whitesplain refers to white people who engage in analogous behaviors, straightplain refers to straight people who engage in that behavior, etc.

On the topic of mansplaining: I have a BSc in and am close to finishing my MSc in chemistry. I've had first-year university students (all men) mansplain to me about how to prepare a standard solution for a titration (for you non-chem types, it's the equivalent to a plumber having someone explain how to shut off the water before starting a job). And thing is, they usually mansplain it wrong. This is the sort of behavior we're talking about.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Catherine » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:50 pm

Ditto and also I've noticed the difference in transitioning, before never used to happen, I was assumed to know what I am doing. Now a lot less so. Doesn't happen so much at college as people who know what I am researching know I know my stuff. Happens a lot in my voluntary work for CAMRA though, most people dismiss me as a cellarman (the term for someone who looks after beer) and will frequently mansplain something to me until I point out I am a deputy bar manager at the biggest beer festival in the country...
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Rum » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:52 pm

Jadehawk wrote:
Rum wrote:Quite so. Its use is as much a stereotyping exercise as any other, irrespective of the power relationships involved.
a phenomenon related to a specific privilege is not a stereotype, and by definition cannot be discussed without keeping the power relationships in perspective.


What nonsense. You are countering direct logic and my personal experience. If someone insists that all men are guilty of' mansplaining' when some (including myself) are not then you are ascribing behaviour in a stereotypical fashion. That is no different from me saying that women are happier in the kitchen than doing as they desire.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:01 pm

You are countering direct logic and my personal experience.

What specifically, that Jadehawk said, do you think "counters direct logic"? (Also, please specify what direct logic.)
If someone insists that all men are guilty of' mansplaining' when some (including myself) are not then you are ascribing behaviour in a stereotypical fashion.

Who said that?
Really.
Who in this conversation said that "all men are guilty of mansplaining"?
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby ischemgeek » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:05 pm

Rum wrote:
Jadehawk wrote:
Rum wrote:Quite so. Its use is as much a stereotyping exercise as any other, irrespective of the power relationships involved.
a phenomenon related to a specific privilege is not a stereotype, and by definition cannot be discussed without keeping the power relationships in perspective.


What nonsense. You are countering direct logic and my personal experience. If someone insists that all men are guilty of' mansplaining' when some (including myself) are not then you are ascribing behaviour in a stereotypical fashion. That is no different from me saying that women are happier in the kitchen than doing as they desire.


Rum, I think you're making the mistake of equating "Those who do X belong to group Y," and "Those in group Y do X." These statements are not equivalent. One refers to people who engage in behavior X. The other generalizes group Y. Nobody would disagree that the second statement is wrong in that it's a hasty generalization.

I did say that people who condesplain to me are men. I did not say that all men are mansplainers.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby piegasm » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:10 pm

Rum wrote:
Jadehawk wrote:
Rum wrote:Quite so. Its use is as much a stereotyping exercise as any other, irrespective of the power relationships involved.
a phenomenon related to a specific privilege is not a stereotype, and by definition cannot be discussed without keeping the power relationships in perspective.


What nonsense. You are countering direct logic and my personal experience. If someone insists that all men are guilty of' mansplaining' when some (including myself) are not then you are ascribing behaviour in a stereotypical fashion. That is no different from me saying that women are happier in the kitchen than doing as they desire.


Ok, so who is insisting that all men are guilty of mansplaining? I don't see anyone in this thread doing it; indeed several people have explicitly said that not all men do. If someone does say that to you, you'd be perfectly justified in objecting to it because that person would be incorrect. That doesn't change the meaning of the word, though.

Leaving aside the fact that the phrase "women are happier in the kitchen than doing as they desire" contradicts itself, plurals only indicate "more than one", not "all". However wrong you might be about where women are happier, there's nothing in that sentence that necessarily means "all women".
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby piegasm » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:14 pm

ischemgeek wrote:
Rum, I think you're making the mistake of equating "Those who do X belong to group Y," and "Those in group Y do X." These statements are not equivalent. One refers to people who engage in behavior X. The other generalizes group Y. Nobody would disagree that the second statement is wrong in that it's a hasty generalization.

I did say that people who condesplain to me are men. I did not say that all men are mansplainers.


As an aside, for anyone who might be interested in such things, what you described is a logical fallacy called affirming the consequent.

Thanks for phrasing it that way because this reasoning has been really getting under my skin but I didn't associate it with that particular fallacy til just now. :)
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby marinerachel » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:24 pm

ischemgeek wrote:I did say that people who condesplain to me are men. I did not say that all men are mansplainers.


I like that a LOT.

As much as "mansplain" isn't sexist within the confines of patriarchal thinking that places men above women, the word doesn't provide that context. Without that context, it IS a smear.

As I've said, I think most people who use the word DO wish to protect men who aren't guilty of such behaviour from being associated with it and reserve it for distinct examples of 'splaining that fall within the boundaries of patriarchal thinking and ideas. The word it's self still doesn't specify which men are being targeted by it.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Cipher » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:27 pm

As much as "mansplain" isn't sexist within the confines of patriarchal thinking that places men above women, the word doesn't provide that context. Without that context, it IS a smear.

Why?
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Catherine » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:32 pm

This reminds me of the arguments of people saying cis is a slur...
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby ischemgeek » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:36 pm

piegasm wrote:
ischemgeek wrote:
Rum, I think you're making the mistake of equating "Those who do X belong to group Y," and "Those in group Y do X." These statements are not equivalent. One refers to people who engage in behavior X. The other generalizes group Y. Nobody would disagree that the second statement is wrong in that it's a hasty generalization.

I did say that people who condesplain to me are men. I did not say that all men are mansplainers.


As an aside, for anyone who might be interested in such things, what you described is a logical fallacy called affirming the consequent.

Thanks for phrasing it that way because this reasoning has been really getting under my skin but I didn't associate it with that particular fallacy til just now. :)


No problem. I knew it was a fallacy, but I couldn't remember the name. I blame it on what skills are good for my work - understanding the concept is more important that remembering the name of the concept in chem, and I hate memorizing stuff so I usually don't bother to think about formal names of things unless I'm writing a formal report (that's what books are for! :P) . :)
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby marinerachel » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:53 pm

Cipher wrote:
As much as "mansplain" isn't sexist within the confines of patriarchal thinking that places men above women, the word doesn't provide that context. Without that context, it IS a smear.

Why?


Because, alone, the word associates men in general with unacceptable behaviour. There's no distinction regarding who it's referencing specifically and shit gets flung in directions it need not. There needs to be distinction. It's a patriarchal attitudes thing, not a man thing. Patriarchisplain?

It sucks that a very real social phenomenon that reinforces patriarchal attitudes gets hand-waved away because the label it's been given implicates men in general. It's not going to be tackled as long as there's collateral damage due to the lack of distinction made with regards to who is guilty.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby marinerachel » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:54 pm

Catherine wrote:This reminds me of the arguments of people saying cis is a slur...


If being cis were considered unacceptable behaviour, I imagine it would be!

I'm waiting for you to release the Kraken on my ass for disagreeing, by the way. That's what I hear the A+ crowd does to dissenters!
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby piegasm » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:02 pm

marinerachel wrote:
Cipher wrote:
As much as "mansplain" isn't sexist within the confines of patriarchal thinking that places men above women, the word doesn't provide that context. Without that context, it IS a smear.

Why?


Because, alone, the word associates men in general with unacceptable behaviour. There's no distinction regarding who it's referencing specifically and shit gets flung in directions it need not. There needs to be distinction.


See the fallacy I linked above. Saying that mansplaining is something done by men is not the same thing as saying all men do it. It's more like saying people who aren't men don't do it.

On one hand, I'm all for not clinging unreasonably to a particular word if it makes a lot of people uncomfortable. On the other hand, I'm definitely not for abandoning a word because some people unreasonably invest a word with meaning it doesn't have.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Catherine » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:10 pm

marinerachel wrote:
Catherine wrote:This reminds me of the arguments of people saying cis is a slur...


If being cis were considered unacceptable behaviour, I imagine it would be!

I'm waiting for you to release the Kraken on my ass for disagreeing, by the way. That's what I hear the A+ crowd does to dissenters!


I have no Kraken on me at the moment I'm afraid ;)
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby marinerachel » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:13 pm

Well, get on it! I've heard terrible things about you people and I expect much, much worse from you!

piegasm wrote:
marinerachel wrote:Because, alone, the word associates men in general with unacceptable behaviour. There's no distinction regarding who it's referencing specifically and shit gets flung in directions it need not. There needs to be distinction.


See the fallacy I linked above. Saying that mansplaining is something done by men is not the same thing as saying all men do it. It's more like saying people who aren't men don't do it.


I don't agree with that at ALL! I know a whole lot of woman 'splainers for the patriarchy! In fact, I think these chills girls are the gatekeepers of the behaviour. They're patting men on the back for exhibiting patriarchal attitudes!

Of course not though and, as I've said, I think people who use the word mansplain tend to be very careful in their use of it. The word it's self is what implicates men in general, not pointing out that within the social phenomenon men are the active participant in the behaviour. Within the context of a dude patronising the fuck out of a woman, assuming complete ignorance, from a position of unwarranted arrogance, it's an observation of a social phenomenon, not bigotry. The word doesn't provide that context though.
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Re: "Mansplaining"

Postby Onamission5 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:15 pm

I have no issues with the word mansplaining for the same reason I have no issue with the terms whitesplaining, rich/class'splaining, agesplaining, and so on. The premise is the same with all of them. The person doing the 'splaining believes they have the only right opinion because [privilege] and the person they are speaking with needs correcting because [lack of same privilege]. The term does not carry the connontation that ALL persons of a particular group do it, only that when it's done by a member of that group, it's quite often done because [privilege] and therefore, members of that group need to be more aware and more careful.

It's accurate. Yes, it bites the recipient. Yes, it's supposed to.

I have major issues with a pattern that seems to be developing on this board that just because [person or people with privilege] dislike a common phrase used by [person or people without that privilege], we have to change it to something less descriptive, applicable, and bristling. I thought that that sort of privileged tone policing was part of the motivation behind creation of A+ in the first place. I am personally frustrated by the threads which appear to be attempting to police the tone and language of marginalised people.
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