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.
- Discounting the woman’s point of view as uniformed, unimportant, childish, etc
- Talking over her
- 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!