Mansplaining Explained by a Woman

Ah, being man-splained. Read this post only if you understand what male privilege is … if not, you’ll have to do your own research or wait until I make a male privilege post. lol

I was asked recently to explain what I think man-splaining is… and here you go.

Mansplaining is something men do to women, sometimes intentionally, sometimes obliviously. To me, it is when a male takes it upon himself to educate me about something … his opinion, and it is usually unsolicited or delivered in a patronizing way. It’s talking condescendingly to a woman such that it looks as though she is too dumb to figure out something for herself and/or doesn’t know the right course of action. I’m not saying women can’t act in a condescending manner. They can. But when men do it, there is more power behind it because they have the privilege. Sort of analogous to if someone calls me a slur for a white person, I don’t care; however, I assume I would care if someone called me the N word if I were black. The power dynamics are essential and no I am not equating man-splaining with racism. I was giving an example about how power dynamics are important to take into account when understanding man-splaining and privilege. It boils down to the undertone in the man’s voice being: you couldn’t possibly understand, Shush, and let me help you.

Man-splaining IS NOT any ol’ time when a man explains something to a woman. I’m not a child, I don’t get offended when someone explains something to me in a “normal” non-disrespectful way. I am humble enough to take directions. That is not what we’re talking about here.

So. Criteria for man-splaining.

  1. Condescending
  2. Discounting the woman’s point of view as uniformed, unimportant, childish, etc
  3. Talking over her
  4. Often entails disrespectful behavior, language or tone.

Again, it is NOT every time a man explains something to a woman. No. It is not playing the victim when a woman feels man-splained. Sometimes men don’t even necessarily recognize that they might speak differently to male versus female colleagues. I can tell you, man splaining seldom happens to me, but I am acutely aware when it does because I feel as though I am being talked down to like a child. It is a subjective experience, yes, but being aware of what man-splaining is can be super helpful because 1. women won’t feel alone when it happens and 2. men can be more aware so they won’t do it!


One thought on “Mansplaining Explained by a Woman

  1. This is not man-splaining, it IS genuine care for your soul, and can be heard or not heard, but it is heart-felt from the source (Dallas) and me.

    A Personal Relationship with God

    If we are going to have a personal relationship with God, we are going to have to come to terms with the concerns expressed by those who have not experienced what we are talking about. And as we approach this matter, we have to recognize that in relationship to those who have not yet come to faith, apologetics must move away from the level of argument toward the realm of real-life experience. So the primary work of a Christian apologetic at this point is to help Christians overcome their confusion or doubt about their daily personal interaction with God.

    This is difficult work, because it puts each of us on the line. I mean, you would feel that I should have something personal to do with God in my role as a minister, wouldn’t you? And the same would be true for any ministers, right? Don’t you feel that we ought to occasionally talk to God? And perhaps, after the discussion above, that he would occasionally talk to us? Clearly, you would expect a minister to have some direct, personal dealings with God. Most Christians would also believe that what is true of the ministry should be true of everyone among the redeemed. Isn’t that right? We are talking about what our religious life really consists of. And I want to simply say that it consists of God’s speaking to us in his word as well as personally, our speaking to God, and then finally our speaking with God. In our conversations of prayerful love with God, we must move beyond giving God a list of wants, needs, and desires and move into deeper conversations with God about what we are doing together in his world.

    From The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus. Copyright © 2015 by Dallas Willard. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.


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