Feminism 101a – The Weary World of Mansplination

The Arb offered to do a guest post for me on feminism. Who am I to refuse? So here it is, on ‘mansplaining’. Unedited. All credit, copyright and my thanks for such a thoughtful post to The Arb.


As this is an educational piece, let us begin with some definitions. What is ‘splaining in general and then let us move to Mansplaining. Definitions can be found at Geek Feminism and the Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia. See below.

Splaining or ’Splaining: is a form of condescension in which a member of a privileged group explains something to a member of a marginalised group — most particularly, explains about their marginalisation — as if the privileged person knows more about it.

Mansplaining: To explain in a patronizing manner, assuming total ignorance on the part of those listening. The mansplainer is often shocked and hurt when their mansplanation is not taken as absolute fact, criticized or even rejected altogether. Named for a behavior commonly exhibited by male newbies on internet forums frequented primarily by women. Often leads to a flounce.


Ah, mansplaining, where do you come from? The answer can be found in the socially constructed gender roles women and men are more or less forced to exist within. From a very early age men are encouraged to engage, be active, and generally be ‘hands-on’ with everything around them. Said another way, “Boys are rewarded from an early age for going out into the world, solving problems, achieving, and competing.” The hated saying, ‘oh boys will be boys’, is a good example of the socialization and reinforcement of typically shitty male behaviour.

Contrary to male patterned socialization, female socialization is much more about being proper, quiet, not taking up space and not offending people. A small disquieting peek into what female patterned socialization is as described by Simone de Beauvoir:

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. No biological, psychological, or economic fate determines the figure that the human female presents in society; it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine.”

This makes it clear that what de Beauvoir is concerned with is the process by which ‘human females’ are transformed into culturally constructed ‘femininity’ by [patriarchal] ‘civilization.’ What follows in the subsequent chapters is a detailed and quietly gruesome description of the ways in which patriarchal civilization breaks young girls and turns them into appropriately feminine and subservient wives and mothers.”

Traditional Gender Characteristics
feminine characteristics masculine characteristics
submissive dominant
dependent independent
emotional rational
receptive assertive
intuitive analytical
timid brave
passive active
sensitive insensitive

The take away here is that males and females are rewarded in society for behaving in very different ways and thus based on this socialization, grapple with society in very different ways as well, hence gender stereotypes.

The sociology 101 is necessary in the understanding of mansplaining because mansplination happens almost at the unconscious level. When a man is speaking people tend to listen because, obviously, he has important things to say. Women, on the other hand, are expected to be the listeners, not the ones laying words of wisdom on the masses. It isn’t their role to make conversational waves like men and the normative values of our society reinforce that notion, repeatedly.

Thus, the verbal playing field at its most basic is not level. This intrinsic inequality is the everyday, it is the expected, it is the norm. It is the reason why women often find it so difficult to participate in conversations and often find themselves socially sanctioned for having the audacity to participate, as a man would, in expressing themselves verbally (the assertive/bossy trope).

This unequal situation persists in almost every social venue, and almost certainly every day, of women’s lives. The social reality of this situation is stressful, annoying, and generally a drain on a woman’s cognitive resources. It is like wearing a weight belt while swimming at the pool, extra attention and energy is required just to keep afloat, thus it is harder to achieve what the other unencumbered people are doing. Now imagine that the weighted belt is invisible and represents women’s social position in the hierarchy of society and what is required on her part just to keep up with those who don’t get the weighted belt as part of their gendered expectations package. Many inferences about Feminism begin with this image, but we should stick to the topic at hand, as this is a brief introduction, and not an essay. 🙂

So, if you’re a dude and thinking to yourself, “Gosh, that sucks. I’ve never even thought about stuff like this, what can I do?”. The answer is surprisingly easy.

  1. Be quiet and listen to what a woman has to say.
  2. But but but… I know the solution to her problem/I have the right answer I need to tell her. See point #1.

This is not to say that males shouldn’t speak at all, but rather, provide the base courtesy and respect that is automatically given to other males when speaking. Make the space you give automatically to other dudes to the woman who is currently trying to express herself. You would be surprised how appreciative people are when you respect them as human beings.



About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
This entry was posted in feminism, gender-specific language, Sexism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

100 Responses to Feminism 101a – The Weary World of Mansplination

  1. Rather than interfere with Arb’s post, I thought I’d add a few comments.
    1) little girls are seen and not heard.
    2) men are assertive, the same behaviour in women is aggressive – how many times have I heard that one?!
    3) men splain every day. Every. Day. It is unbelievable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ruth says:

      #1) I spent a great deal of my adult life being treated this way. I had to approach most subjects with a meekness. It was, as Arb pointed out, exhausting to have to so carefully choose my words rather than just say what was on my mind as my male counterpart did.

      #2) I was watching an interview with Frank Fiorina(Rep. Presidential Candidate, Carly Fiorina’s husband) where he stated very plainly that he had seen how differently Carly had been treated the entire time he’d known her. He said he knew that she would surpass him and took no issue with it, of which I have no doubt. But he said that she’d been called a bitch and when she was introduced to a managerial position(perhaps as an executive officer at AT&T), she was introduced by her superior TO THE TEAM she was in charge of as the Token Bimbo. Had she been a man that would never have happened.

      #3) Every.Single.Damned.Day.


      • 1) I was totally brought up to be meek and mild. Very, very, sexist. I couldn’t even say anything!
        2) I worked in an office where all my peers were men. My ‘superior’ officer for grading purposes regarded me as aggressive. How many men, ever, but ever get called aggressive? And did anyone call him out on it? Oh. Fucking. No.
        3) oh? You don’t say?


  2. Would it be mansplaining if a man researches feminism, learns about gender stereotypes, and then discusses what he learns with a woman who is bragging online about how her daughters are going to be kept away from public education so they can be better childbearers for their future husbands?

    What if the man is the daughters’ father, and he’s trying to show their mother that raising them to just be wives and mothers is doing them a disservice?


    • @SB

      “Would it be mansplaining if […]”

      Easy Test – See bulleted point #1 and #2 in the OP.


      • Arb, need to be a bit clearer. 🙂


      • It’s a legitimate question, Arb. What I’m trying to understand is whether there’s any additional items included in those definitions that weren’t fully explored. According to Roughseas, there’s at least this idea that it isn’t up to men to educate women. How does one reconcile that with your statement about how men aren’t being told to shut up?


    • Sirius, the short answer is yes. It’s a neat trick question, but it isn’t up to men to educate women.


      • It’s a legitimate question.

        If the writer of this post is a man, then according to the definitions set in the post, it would make the post itself mansplaining, correct?


        • No. Mansplaining is about men talking over women, talking down to women, patronising women. Yes?

          This is a guest blog post. Setting out parameters and definitions for … mansplaining.

          The two are different.


          • Could you just delete my comments here? I apologize for wasting y’all’s time.


          • No need to apologise 🙂 They’re all valid questions, and it’s good to have the discussion. One of the ways to look at sexism, is often to turn it into a black and white scenario. Literally. If white person told black person they were oppressed and discriminated against would that be regarded as white person being patronising and condescending?
            (Race and feminism are a whole nother issue but not for this post)


          • There are two main reasons why I’m asking about this.

            First, I actually am behind the curve. What is obvious to a lot of people about this is not very obvious to me.

            Second, and this kind of explains the first part, is that I’ve been around too many conversations where women will brag about how their daughters are going to grow up and get married to rich men. Or I’ll have to listen to grown men call their wives and interrupt whatever they’re doing so they can make lunch. Or I’ll have to listen about how God requires women to be seen and not heard. Or I’ll have to listen to women bitch about glass ceilings right after giggling that they’d cry to get out of a speeding ticket.

            I’ve always kept my mouth shut about that stuff. But it still gets under my skin, especially when it involves young girls who are learning from all of this.

            It’s frustrating that if it was involving race, I’d know what to do and say, or if it was involving anything else.


          • There are two main reasons why I’m asking about this. …

            It’s frustrating that if it was involving race, I’d know what to do and say, or if it was involving anything else.

            I don’t think you are behind anything. It’s not obvious to most people. I accept you have no intention of being sexist. At all.
            2) And, you sum it up well. That’s life. Where women have to work out how to live in a patriarchal society. 99% of women are not feminist. Nor are men. So, we have the dichotomy where we all struggle to work out how to approach what. No easy answers.

            But, maybe, reading and learning and then at some point, supporting women would be great. You would be an excellent advocate for women Sirius.

            And, have you stopped blogging?!


          • I’m going to stop blogging publicly for the short term. It’s easier for me to take AN private and begin fresh with a site devoted to my writing rather than my blogging.

            Liked by 1 person

        • @SB

          “It’s a legitimate question.”

          Absolutely SB, a legitimate question. Now I see it is easy to confuse the what is being said here with absolute strict rules about how and when to engage in conversation with women and content of said conversations.

          Did I speak over any women by writing this post, or attempt to rationalize their experiences vis-a-vis my experiences in society as being male-socialized?

          Did I claim that this was the definitive objective experience of all women and thus dismiss other points of view because obviously this was the “only” solution?

          Let me know if this is helpful, SB, and if further clarification is required. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • The condescension is not helping at all. I asked my questions because I thought the answer might be yes, I wasn’t entirely sure, and that a discussion of the finer points of why the answer would be “yes” or “no” is something I could have learned from.

            Now, from your response here, it seems that more emphasis is being placed on the “condescension” part of your earlier definition, i.e., that there must be a person from the non-privileged group present and being talked over.

            Moreover, if I’m understanding what you’re trying to say correctly, it also means that it really doesn’t even matter whether a man is correct or misguided in what he’s trying to say. It’s simply the act of talking over a woman as if she has no say in the matter. Would this be an accurate characterization of what you’re talking about?


          • @SB


            Q: #1. “Would it be mansplaining if a man researches feminism, […]”

            A: Yes.

            Q #2: “What if the man is the daughters’ father, and he’s trying to show […]”


            “I wasn’t entirely sure, and that a discussion of the finer points of why the answer would be “yes” or “no” is something I could have learned from.”

            Okay, answers provided.


            ” It’s simply the act of talking over a woman as if she has no say in the matter.”

            From the OP:

            Mansplaining: To explain in a patronizing manner, assuming total ignorance on the part of those listening. The mansplainer is often shocked and hurt when their mansplanation is not taken as absolute fact, criticized or even rejected altogether.

            “Would this be an accurate characterization of what you’re talking about?”

            I think we’re on the same page.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry but Mansplaining is just an extended ad hominem/response to tone. Two fallacies don’t make for logic.

    A claim should stand on its own and shouldn’t rely on where it came from. If a person talks crap, you can prove it. Also, I question this odd desire to be heard. Why do you want to be heard? How narcisstic are you? Wouldn’t you rather be challenged and learn from different points of view?

    This should apply to all of us. We’re not an authority on our lives. We view it from such a close angle that we will miss the big picture. That’s why we should listen to what others say about us. We should question them just like we question ourselves.

    I agree women are socialized differently, but aggro-style “Hear me roar!” is a call for war. We need discourse.


    • @Brain in the Jar


      You did read the post right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, although it is possible I missed something. If I did, please show me what.

        I understand the frustration at patronizing tone and such things, but that’s a response to tone. Pointing out that a man said is ad hominem ‘he’s a man, therefore his argument is less valid’. We don’t disagree that women are socialized differently, so what did I miss?


        • @BitJ

          “I understand the frustration at patronizing tone and such things, but that’s a response to tone.”


          It is a response to men talking over women and explaining it in an “objective” way that obviously the lady-brained among us couldn’t possibly understand.

          “Pointing out that a man said is ad hominem ‘he’s a man, therefore his argument is less valid’.”

          Please quote from the article where I made *any* point about validity, otherwise it would seem that you are arguing with yourself, and not the point of the post.


          • “It is a response to men talking over women and explaining it in an “objective” way that obviously the lady-brained among us couldn’t possibly understand. ” – Okay. How common is that phenomenon? How documented is it?


          • @BitJ

            How common is that phenomenon? How documented is it?

            Have you ever listened to women talk about their social experiences? Have you read the comments of RoughSeas and Ruth earlier in the thread?

            Accessible research available here.

            More here.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, I did it a lot. I was often told I’m a good listener.

            As for the PDF:
            “On the Issue of Male Privilege” – Ancedotal

            “Contrasting Views Between Men and Women” – Bandwagon fallacy. What men and women think doesn’t prove that what they think it’s true.

            “The Effects of Pay Inequity Reach Far” – While I’d prefer a more recent research, this is valid. Same with the thing after it.

            I’m not disputing that men are still dominating society (Most entertainment is definitely from the perspective of men). I just want to see evidence of the ‘men talk over women’ phenomenon.


      • That one is yours. Totally. I can’t get my head round it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure what your point is.
      This is a fairly simple post about men talking over women. Did you miss that?

      Liked by 1 person

      • People talk over people all the time. I’m not sure how pointing out that men do it too women is going to help anything.

        Is there any evidence that this exceptionally common? (Men talking over women). I’m not talking about just anecdotes but some research. Anecdotal isn’t aren’t enough – that’s why the RedPillers’ conspiracy about women marrying men just to steal their money is ridiculous.


        • @BitJ

          “People talk over people all the time. I’m not sure how pointing out that men do it too women is going to help anything.”

          This thing women experience, talk about, and have to deal with every day of their lives doesn’t happen to me thus hyper-skepticism can be the only answer.

          “Anecdotal isn’t aren’t enough –”

          The science is strong with you…

          Google scholar what is it? (here, here,here)

          Fill your boots.


          • “This thing women experience, talk about, and have to deal with every day of their lives doesn’t happen to me thus hyper-skepticism can be the only answer. ”

            This isn’t what I said. I said I was not presented with direct evidence that this is a serious problem that occurs everywhere – I wasn’t shown some kind of research or experiment.

            I don’t say it doesn’t exist, I say that no one has present some scientific proof or research or experiment.

            I also don’t think I should wade through GoogleDocs to prove a claim I didn’t make. I don’t have the burden of proof here.


          • From under which bridge did you creep out?


          • I don’t think an ad hominem attack helps anyone.


          • Stop resorting to the classic get-out.


          • It’s not a get-out. “Where did you creep from?” proves nothing. I don’t see how such a question moves the discussion further.


          • Accusations of ad hominem is a really boring get out. Your argument is wrong because … ad hominem.

            Now, if you could address the topic raised by The Arb, that would be great 🙂 You do understand the concept of mansplaining? Yes?


          • I do think I understand the concept of mansplaining. I just haven’t been convinced it’s so widespread.
            I’m not really arguing for anything, but rather asking for more evidence. It’s one big [citation needed].

            Whether an argument is boring has no effect on how true it is.


          • Oh! My phd thesis. Thanks for the suggestion. No one has yet realised that men talk over women. Must. Start. That. Now.

            When it’s an excuse it’s not ‘true’. Don’t get involved with feminist debates if you don’t know your subject.

            Liked by 1 person

          • @BitJ

            ” I said I was not presented with direct evidence that this is a serious problem that occurs everywhere “

            This is 101 level post. Now if your interest is beyond that level then it behooves you to find out a little more about the topic so you could stop asking 101 level questions and then demanding fully researched answers.

            Because, if you’re curious I’m sure you could wade through all that nasty google and find one study that would prove illuminating.

            Or, you can continue to Vulcan on, keep your world-view intact. 🙂


            Liked by 1 person

          • It’s not so much that I’m defending a worldview. I’m just not going to believe something when I’m not presented with enough evidence.

            It’s not as if we’re talking about core ideas (I don’t dispute that the male viewpoint is the dominating one). I have been wrong before, such as on catcalling. That’s because people kept presenting me arguments and evidence that proved me wrong.


          • @BitJ

            ” I’m just not going to believe something when I’m not presented with enough evidence.”


            When the Fem 400 level post comes out on Male Socialization and Male Patterned Dominance in Society, I’ll send you an email.


  4. violetwisp says:

    I think you’re missing on testosterone here – there seems to be a suggestion that the problem lies in pure construct. The construct is based on generalisations that come from obvious biological differences. Most women have less testosterone than most men, and are therefore less confident. Most men have the higher levels of confidence/arrogance that comes with their chemicals and are therefore more likely to talk over both women and men. Generalisations obviously, before anyone suggests I’m saying these are rules.

    And I’m not suggesting that because it is generally biologically natural that we should accept it. I agree that women and men should be made aware of tendencies, and that these tendencies are harmfully reinforced by the naturally resulting social constructs.

    But for a post on ‘mansplaining’, which can be done to both women and men, by both women and man (I’m a mansplainer quite frequently for example), I thought the responses to both SB and The Brain in the Jar were very mansplainy. And oddly completely woolly. If you can’t back what you say up with simple clarification or links to research, and without resorting to cheeky or patronising comments, you’ve lost several points in credibility.


    • See there’s this thing called biology should be your new tag. What part of patriarchal indoctrination do you not get? You strike me as a strange feminist. Ah yes, a sex-pos, non SWERF, non TERF, sort of huggy feminist?

      No. Mansplaining does not get done by women to men. Fin.

      Cheeky patronising comments? And you’ve never made those Violet?

      Liked by 2 people

    • @VW

      Hello VW.

      “If you can’t back what you say up with simple clarification or links to research,”

      The scope of topics like mansplaining cut across several specializations and sub topics of social science. Group dynamics, social interaction, socialization, learning styles etc. It seems that, as with most contentious topics in feminism, they are sorta like icebergs and what we see is only a small slice of what is actually involved in the topic.

      I should have more explicitly stated in my post that this was that above the water-level introduction to the topic at hand, it may have saved people some consternation in the long run.

      As for specific references, of course they exist and here would be but small sample of the evidence that support the hypothesis:

      A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication: Essential Readings.

      “It is by examining these differences in the social organization of play and the accompanying differences in the patterns of social interaction they entail, we argue, that we can learn about the sources of male-female differences in patterns of language use, And it is these same patterns, learned in childhood and carried over into adulthood as bases for patters of single-sex friendship relations, we contend, that are potential sources of miscommunication in cross-sex interaction.” – Goodman, Monagham, Robinson. 2012 – A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication. p.175

      “What girls learn to do with speech is cope with the contradiction created by an ideology of equality and cooperation and social reality that includes differences and conflict. As they grow up they learn increasing subtle ways of balancing the conflicting pressures created by a female social world and female friendship ideology.

      Basically girls learn to do three things with words: (1) to create and maintain relationships of closeness and equality, (2) to criticize others in acceptable ways, and (3) to interpret accurately the speech of other girls.”

      -ibid. p.176.

      “Boys play in larger, more hierarchically organized groups that do girls. Relative status in this ever-fluctuating hierarchy is the main thing boys learn to manipulate in their interactions with their peers. Nondominant boys are rarely excluded from play but are made to feel the inferiority of their status positions in no uncertain terms. And since hierarchies fluctuate over time and over situation, every boy gets his chance to be victimized and must learn to take it. The social world of boys is one of posturing and counterposturing. In this world, speech is used in three major ways: (1) to assert one’s position and dominance, (2) to attract and maintain an audience, and (3) to assert oneself when other speakers have the floor.”

      -ibid, p 177.

      I must apologize as I deviate significantly from accepted APA citation format, I hope that the formate context of our discussion will allow for this oversight on my behalf, to be acceptable.

      Now this is only the textbook, so there is a focus on summation rather than base research. If you would like we can touch on the base research in the field, specifically Robin Lakoff (1975), Andrea Meditch (1975) and Adelaide Haas (1979). These references are from page 174 of the linked text.

      This information was the number one hit in the first link to my reply to Brain in A Jar. This isn’t cloistered radical information, it is 101 level Sociology.

      Liked by 3 people

    • @VW

      ” I thought the responses to both SB and The Brain in the Jar were very mansplainy.”

      Given part of the definition of Mansplaining, (‘is a form of condescension in which a member of a privileged group explains something to a member of a marginalised group’) I’m not sure how your statement would fit that into the definition?


      • violetwisp says:

        As the author and/or host on a blog, you are in a position of hierarchical privilege, especially in terms of expertise on this, your chosen subject. Someone asking questions from a outsider’s perspective, especially asking honest questions seeking clarification or evidence, is marginalised in the sense they are ridiculed by the superior host/author when their questions are brushed off or mocked.

        I agree with Roughseas that women can’t specifically ‘mansplain’ but we can certainly achieve the same level of dismissive condescension, even if it’s not as common an occurrence.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Years ago, well before I joined WP and was on blogger, I did have a post saying I wouldn’t explain feminism. It’s all out there if people are interested. And yet, I get that people prefer to receive and interact via blog posts rather than just look things up braindeadly. Yet, there’s only so much one can explain without linking. And, let’s be honest, we move in small circles and everyone is intelligent and we broadly think on similar lines. Should intelligent people really be asking basic questions? I mean, when there are links to follow?


  5. Ruth says:

    Is it even possible for men and women to have this conversation? Are we saying here that men can’t ask questions. Some men seem genuinely interested in what it is they might be getting wrong and why. It seems like when we run over them with our own condescension rather than creating an ally we’re reinforcing an angry, bitter, woman stereotype.

    Liked by 2 people

    • @Ruth

      Being on the other side of the fence on the issue I can only speak for how this appeared to me for the first time.

      It was weird, these women going on about things that never happened (and still don’t) to me. It was very hard for me understand that the lived reality I experience every is not the same one my partner in crime The Intransigent One (TIO) experiences every day.

      It took a long time for that realization to sink in and not much of what feminists were saying made sense until this very basic level of raised consciousness was achieved.

      “It seems like when we run over them with our own condescension rather than creating an ally we’re reinforcing an angry, bitter, woman stereotype.”

      I’m not sure there is another way to rouse people from their perceptions and the wisdom they understand from their experiences based on their experience in society. These sorts of things are rooted deep and are clutched tightly as they make up the the fabric of our lives; to realize that your societal existence and position is predicated on the oppression of others, isn’t exactly a happy sugarplum and candied apple revelation to have. (Especially when society is telling you that things are great and equality has been achieved etc. etc.)

      Embracing the notions of feminism for dudes doesn’t seem to be switch throwing process, but perhaps a drip of consciousness raising that happens over time until one realizes their own piece in the puzzle and has the fortitude to face the consequences of what living in a patriarchy really means.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ruth says:

        I see what you’re saying. It just doesn’t look like there’s a really good solution. “In your face” doesn’t seem to be a good approach with some men who would embrace the precepts of feminism but are turned off by what might come across as man-hating(misandry). And I think it’s unlikely that harsh tones will accomplish that. What you’re describing here to me as your turning point isn’t exactly that, but rather, a realization over time and opening your eyes and mind to reality – actually seeing the disparity and understanding why it is so. Not necessarily The Intransigent One(or anyone else) snapping you off at the knees?

        Maybe all men should be required to wear a dress, heels, make-up, and a wig and live life as a woman for a week(or month), kind of like those people who dress in fat suits to see what kind of discrimination overweight people experience?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Ruth. Do you not see the patriarchal indoctrination in your comments? Don’t upset the men?

          Don’t be aggressive (nasty women). Harsh tones.

          Asserting women’s rights becomes manhating and misogyny. Really?


          • Ruth says:

            That’s not exactly what I meant. I don’t think that men should be allowed to just say whatever and women should just take it. Nowhere in there was that even implied. If having respect for another human being and treating them with dignity is patriarchal indoctrination then I guess I’m guilty as charged. But I don’t think that’s what I said at all. At. All. Since when is chopping people off at the knees who genuinely lack an understanding asserting women’s rights? Off with their heads, the lot of them?

            That having been said, there are some men who do deserve that treatment. It’s easy to see that they take their male privilege very seriously and ain’t about to give it up. The women folk should just be quiet and speak when spoken to. Those aren’t the ones I’m talking about.

            Perhaps it’s just a difference in personalities and not patriarchal indoctrination. I’m like that with women, too. Just because a person might be ignorant as a bag of nails about an issue doesn’t mean they’re not willing to learn.

            Liked by 1 person

        • @Ruth

          ” It just doesn’t look like there’s a really good solution.”

          When addressing a facet of society that is so ingrained and that so highly benefits one class of society, I don’t think amiable is on table.

          “but are turned off by what might come across as man-hating(misandry).”

          Some radical feminists would argue that misandry isn’t a thing because systematic oppression only works in one direction. Similarly, black people cannot oppress white people since they are in the dominant class.

          “The Intransigent One(or anyone else) snapping you off at the knees?”

          It was a combination of both really. The one piece of wisdom that keeps foregrounding itself to me is the ability to keep quiet and let women speak/talk and discuss the issues at hand, and not interject my ‘important’ insights into the matter, because often since how I was socialized, my PoV would be irrelevant, extant, or unhelpful to the matter at hand.

          It gets weird when expressing feminist viewpoints as an ally though because of the above reasons. :/

          “Maybe all men should be required to wear a dress, heels, make-up, and a wig and live life as a woman for a week(or month)”

          It might be a start of sorts. The soul crushing socialization from birth, on the other hand, is sorta hard to replicate. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

      • Ruth says:

        Btw, the OP is an excellent piece!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Ruth I think there’s a big difference between men asking questions and talking over women. Two very different issues.

      But are you saying women have to suck up to create allies? Please Mr Man, be my friend.

      Not. Going. To. Happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ruth says:

        No, no, no…

        I just mean that when we don’t understand something(i.e. I’m a white woman and can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be a black woman) we might kind of bumble our way into it. Because I don’t understand even my questions can be perceived as fucked up, cumbersome, and most likely privileged. I’d like to think I’d be given benefit of the doubt for seeking out a better understanding even if I don’t use the right words. If I immediately got called out and shamed for it, instead of explained to why what I’ve said is wrong, I’d likely go away from the encounter upset and feeling denigrated rather than enlightened.

        I do try to see other people’s point of view, even if they are men.

        Liked by 1 person

        • But that is one of the issues. Bumbling in imbued with privilege isn’t clever. I agree with you on the black women thing. No idea what that feels like. I can’t. Ever.
          However, if we want to learn, best to read and learn first. IMO. Before we say something.


          • Ruth says:

            Well, I guess I’ll just go back to reading and learning. I usually walk away from reading and learning with questions, though. I’ll keep those to myself. Perhaps they’ll be answered in future posts and I won’t even need to ask.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Seriously, do you honestly wade into something when you have no knowledge of the topic? Regardless of what it is?


          • @RSitM

            Sounding a little strident and shrill today?

            *innocent look*

            Liked by 1 person

          • Go way. Your fault. Your post!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Ruth says:

            I think you’ve read enough and seen enough commentary from me to know that I don’t. My point is, though, there are areas where privilege does exist and when those who are privileged are seeking to understand by asking questions, their questions are most likely still going to betray their privilege. I try my very best to ask informed, intelligent questions, but the fact that I am who I am would betray my white privilege, for instance, would it not? Or my heterosexual privilege? Or any number of other privileges that I enjoy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think other people should enjoy those same privileges, but I will have a hard time understanding in what ways they don’t. Like Arb said, a slow realization, not a light-bulb moment. So in asking some questions my privilege is bound to be revealed. That doesn’t mean I don’t think that someone who doesn’t have that same privilege shouldn’t.


          • Of course. I know you are Tiribulous slayer if nothing else! But, why are you putting white cis privilege over and above sexism? Surely being an oppressed woman means something? Or don’t you agree with that?


          • Ruth says:

            I don’t see myself as putting white cis privilege over and above sexism. I was simply using it as an example. Anytime a person is a novice in any arena they ask seeming stupid questions of the experts. Once they learn more, and I have on more than one occasion, they realize what was wrong and/or how stupid their questions were. But it took those stupid/wrong headed questions to get there.

            Yes, being an oppressed woman means something. Of course I agree with that. But that is not all I am.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sometimes, though, people don’t think they should have to explain the discrimination?.


          • Ruth says:

            I’m sorry for the way this will sound, but why even bother posting about it if you don’t want to explain it? Of course those discriminated against don’t think they should have to explain the discrimination. But if you are privileged you might not even realize you are being discriminatory. It’s the ones that do realize it and think themselves deserving of it at the expense and oppression of others that piss me right the way off.


          • Ruth, a few, not necessarily related, points.

            As this a guest post and not mine, I can’t see into The Arb’s thinking, although I’d guess we pretty much agree on this topic. But I’m not answering for him. However, I do think he made a reasonable job of explaining what ‘mansplaining’ is, and provided a lot of links to back up his post. Not only in the post, but also in replies to Violet and BitJ. So, I think he’s made a fair effort, particularly as it’s not even his blog.

            I’ve no idea how many people clicked on any of the links. I did. Apart from anything else, I wanted to make sure they all worked and were relevant so I wanted to check them out pre-publication.

            However, my next point is that, if people are sufficiently interested to want to learn, then clicking on the links is a good start. One can learn a lot more from reading in-depth articles than a few short comment exchanges on a blog. Yet, BitJ didn’t want to be faced with a page (actually three) of relevant results on the topic of male dominance. What more are we supposed to do?

            It feels very much like leading a horse to water. When people say they are interested in something, are they interested enough to read up about it? That’s the issue about not having to explain every damn thing. If they don’t want to read about it, are they truly interested? These are general comments here, I’m not referring to any individuals.

            As for privilege, for me, the difficult area is the one where people (including me) think we recognise an area of discrimination, yet unwittingly continue to act in a discriminatory fashion even though we don’t intend to because basically we aren’t sufficiently aware of all the nuances and problems. Sometimes, it feels to me like people say, women vote, there’s an equal pay act, what’s the problem?

            I was discussing something with my partner today, where he talked right over me, told me I was wrong, continually interrupted me, yak yak yak. Classic example. Look at your intro. How many men start a comment with an apology (unless it’s sarcasm)? One of my first management courses was about how women are crap at saying no and apologise too much.

            Perhaps I’m saying that if people don’t want to take the time to understand the issue, then maybe they don’t care that much? Even though they say they do. I don’t know.


          • Ruth says:

            I went away and thought about this more. A lot more. Arb did an excellent job explaining what mansplaining is and yet there were those here who continued to mansplain. I haven’t had a chance yet to read all the links but I plan to.

            I completely see the difference between asking thoughtful(even if not well worded due to lack of knowledge of nuance) and making statements to explain why either they are entitled to their privilege or why it doesn’t exist or even why it does exist. I totally get the difference and rolled my eyes several times at several comments here because…well, you know.

            This is exactly what I was delineating. For instance, even as arrogant and unaware as The Professor can be, he does take constructive criticism. Being assertive in a positive way (being amiable) works. I’m not sure that you could provide enough evidence for BitJ. Doesn’t.Want.To.Know. So, no, I understand not wanting to explain every little thing. Wouldn’t even make a difference anyway. I didn’t engage either because this is a guest post on another blog. You and Arb seemed to be handling it quite well. 😉

            I just saw the way that SB seemed to be a little put off by the reaction to a sincere question. He didn’t keep arguing why he was right and you and Arb were wrong. He just doesn’t understand. BiTJ is in complete denial.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Thanks Ruth for coming back with extra thoughts.

            After a very brief conversation with Arb, suddenly there was this draft post in my inbox, perfectly formatted, linked, and with permission to edit at will (which I didn’t). That generous act by a member of the ‘dominant privileged’ group, in itself, deserves acknowledgement to me. Plus, continuing to reply to comments.

            I think people mansplain because they see it in others but don’t recognise it in themselves. So easily done. So, it’s easy to read a post like this and say ‘I don’t do that’, when in reality men do.

            I won’t comment on The Prof apart from to say that his behaviour on your blog was impeccable back whenever it was. I also think, though, that generally repetition, and from different sources can give emphasis. It’s not just Ruth, Victoria, roughseas who say this. Others say it too. Some men say it. And Arb’s links provide plenty of evidence for anyone. Can’t remember which one it is, but the one about interaction is a good one. Girls, already trying to gain acceptance by using ‘we’ and ‘us’, asking questions, clarifying, trying to reach understanding. Boys? Telling everyone their point of view and challenging others’ opinions.

            I respect Sirius and enjoy his writing, although not for much longer as he’s hibernating. Maybe, because I read his blogs, I was surprised by his questions. I know he is smart and intelligent and thinking, so, why ask those questions?

            Whatever. I’ll still write some more. Next year 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • Ruth says:

            Sometimes being half-educated about a topic can be worse than knowing nothing at all.


          • Guess I’ve spent too much time swimming in the radfem sphere.


    • Ruth, that is an excellent POV and interpretation of tension between sexes on people who truly want to be part of the progress, part of the solution, silent(?) or otherwise. Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As I do like diversity and many perspectives — even ones I can’t always fully absorb immediately — and POV regarding controversial topics, thank you Arbourist for this concise helpful post. This person, mind and heart, needs this sort of silent reading. I love hearing/reading ALL sides.

    With gratitude Arby and Clouds. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is somewhat related — as well as fascinatingly ironic — to your last comment reply Clouds about the diversity of locations/cultures and their people.

    As you well know, one particular “flavor/slant” of an Alternative lifestyle of mine sometimes prematurely and unjustifiably puts me at odds in the arena of Feminism…when oddly enough, the core of the matter/debate is actually with the females in my Alt lifestyle and not with me at all. And furthermore with regard to locations/cultures, I have found many European women utterly aroused by our/my lifestyle, sometimes craving it… wanting to know or experience more. It is quite the funny paradox. More ironically, it is the intensily independent European women who come to me for more as much as… umm, the well-mannered “Southern Belles” here. 😈 😉

    My point? Sometimes (often?) the differences over Feminism vs. Alt lifestyles amonst females has nothing at all to do with location/culture, gender, or biological desires. What a perplexing, paradoxical, dynamic world we live in, huh? 🙂


    • While I appreciate and respect your lifestyle, this post is about mansplaining, ie men putting themselves first over women. Which you exemplify beautifully by talking about your lifestyle. BDSM and polyamory are not the topic of discussion … you are the blogger who doesn’t like off-topic discussion, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Off-topic? Hmm, most of the time, unless it is slightly related. But in this case, i.e. women safely, sanely, consensually choosing to be submissive (or bottomed)… whether privately or publicly, is certainly related to this discussion, albeit an indirect social act. 🙂

        And remember, I prefer “Manspleening” — a lot more messy, like this paradoxical world with others we live in. 😀


  8. EllaDee says:

    That the term mansplaining has to be explained… annoys me in the first place as well as the necessity that it exists and is now popular vernacular . http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/pm-accused-of-mansplaining–but-what-does-it-mean-20150916-gjo7sk.html
    It’s not news. When it’s redundant that will be news.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s obviously newsto those who don’t understand the term. OK, so it’s relatively new. Think I heard it before 2008, but maybe not. However. It exists. And it won’t be redundant in the near future. I usually treat it with a lethal dose of acidic sarcasm, but I would rather it not exist.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: The First RPOJ of 2016 – Full Frontal Stupidity | Dead Wild Roses

  10. Pingback: Orchiectomy II | Clare Flourish

  11. Pingback: Feminism 101b – What about the men? | Clouds moving in

  12. Pingback: Troubled | Clouds moving in

  13. “I know he is smart and intelligent and thinking, so, why ask those questions?”

    Sometimes people ask questions to isolate a specific issue. I worded mine exactly the way I did because I wanted to know how important condescension was to the definition. It’s an old habit I picked up from law school; it’s used specifically when discussing potentially controversial topics. They look like deceptively directed questions (sometimes called “JAQing off”), but they can be very useful instruments to make sure that I’m understanding someone’s position.

    If I would have known ahead of time that my questions would have been assumed to be improper or dismissed as they were, I would have kept my mouth shut like I usually do.


    • @Sb

      “but they can be very useful instruments to make sure that I’m understanding someone’s position.”

      So questions answered then? Or is there more detail to tackle?

      “If I would have known ahead of time that my questions would have been assumed to be improper or dismissed as they were,”

      1. Uses tactics that can be easily misconstrued as obfuscatory.
      2. Surprised (?) when reactions are not all peaches and cream.

      C. Profit? – Actually I have no idea at the moment 🙂

      But it’s been a month now, and the energy in the thread is low. Are there any other areas you want to investigate/discuss.


      • Arb, let me clarify what I wrote to help you understand.

        Look, I get why you feel justified in your behavior. I’m not disputing that how I worded things could have gotten misconstrued. There was somebody else in this thread who was intentionally being an ass; it’s not surprising in that regard that some of the angst would get transferred my way. Those two things alone made it to where I was running a risk.

        However, you are ignoring that I was operating on an assumption of mutual respect and earnestness with Roughseas. She and I have traded comments back and forth for a while. Despite this, I don’t frequently ask targeted questions like this with many people online. In that regard, I might have been asking for too much.

        You and I have not interacted outside of these comments, and I’m not terribly surprised at your reaction. Instead of wondering about my point or trying to make sure I wasn’t being a dick, you just assumed I had improper motives. This happens all the time on the Internet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Two months Arb. Just saying 🙂


    • Sirius, I have no idea why you have come back on this again after two months. Arb said a month but clearly maths isn’t his strong subject.

      Your first question/assumption is right, from my perspective. Yes, I think you are all those. So, yes, why ask.

      Ah. Because you think it’s about condescension. That’s rather difficult when we’re discussing feminism as it plays a part in most daily lives of most women.

      I thought Arb explained it pretty clearly. If you wanted to write trick questions, your choice, although not what I have come to expect from you.


I appreciate any comments you leave, so long as they are relatively polite. And thanks for reading.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s