A look behind the phrase:
You must have heard of the word by now – even if my spellchecker hasn’t…
During a lecture at Moe’s Books in Berkeley, California, Rebecca Solnit, author of an essay called “Men explain things to me”, said, “I’m falsely credited with coining the term ‘mansplaining’. It was a 2010 New York Times word of the year. I did not actually coin it. I was a bit ambivalent about the word because it seems a little bit more condemnatory of the male of the species than I ever wanted it to be.” – her ambivalence is generally not matched by Twitter users…
I too, have sometimes smiled at the rather patronising attempts of men to explain some woman’s joke back to them on Twitter.
And sometimes even giggled at some poor geeky guy who decided to explain away an argument with parsing and pedantry when the original was perhaps a lighthearted comment, and certainly not a request for semantic help.
On the other hand, well meaning attempts to help are a key part of what we do as humans, even if, in the written format, the ease with which these become clunky and misinterpretations of what is going on can make them seem overbearing…
Boys, much more than girls, are taught that they should display their knowledge, be leaders! – jump up in class to tell teacher – “yes, I know the answer”.
It goes hand in hand with jumping up from the trenches and charging towards the enemy machine guns. To be assertive, confident, and put yourself in the firing line. That is to say, it is not rebellion, but role compliance. It is what boys/men are expected to be, and taught, as much by women as other men.
For a long time now I have heard how the different treatment of girls from infancy to adulthood is an aggravation to the rights and needs of women. But whatever the pluses and minuses of varying treatments of the gender roles in the past 40 years – it is well established that males fare much worse at school and getting to university now, than women do…
But back to the phrase in the title – Mansplaining.
It is clear, even to the first time observer, that this is a gender dividing term – something men do to, or at, women…The definition is that it is a cultural norm, one that all women come up against and that it is, basically annoying.
And yet the underlying male urge to explain or parse the meanings in topics discussed is not generally aimed at women at all – it’s aimed at everyone.
I guess many women never get to overhear men having lively discussions with just other men – and how they spend time arguing, explaining, being patronising, yes, but occasionally listening and changing long held beliefs ever so slightly…
So when women tell men that they are “mansplaining” and proceed to mock, – men will probably see that as a lazy feminist trope based on ignorance of the non gender based nature of what it is they do…that women only have to be assertive and say “No thanks”, and often do, leaving all types of explanation unspoken.
Men “explain” to other men just as much as they ever do to women, ergo what they do might be more accurately called ‘splaining – that simple. The need to invest this gender divisiveness is an aspect of modern feminism that is deeply unattractive and ultimately harmful all round and is based on the legacy of a patriarchy that is nothing like as unbalanced as it was as recently as the 1980s. Power as seen to be in the hands of either gender has changed a great deal, and abusing aspects of it in order to achieve an outcome that does innocent people down is not an acceptable way to behave in our world.
Being assertive is not something that men are born being better at, far from it, they are taught to be aggressive, and by this we mean much more than assertive, being assertive only seems to arrive with some development of intelligence and education.
A good example of assertiveness over aggression might be when good thinking men, during the Great War, became conscientious objectors and refused to go and be cannon fodder on the western front. They asserted their right not to kill or be killed for no good reason.
When this happened, the majority of mockers and distributors of white feathers were women… The female desire to shame working men into going and fighting and killing other working men appears to have been very strong,
do we call that Femdeathpushing?
…and this was just at the time that Women’s suffrage received its biggest boost and ultimate voting power reward – because so many men were off abroad dying, while women manned (sic) the factories and farms.
It was the war, more than chaining oneself to a railing, that won it for the suffragettes.
But while things often seem to progress faster in war time – wars themselves take a terrible toll on the male population – and are not a good thing. (Just in case someone saw that progress as unquestioningly desirable).
I used to be part of a Men’s group, actually 3 different ones, and as well as exploring what it meant to be a man, we supported feminist principles; those of equal opportunity and a challenging of gender stereotypes. I’m proud to have raised 3 daughters who know and understand equality issues and the history of fights for LGBT rights, Gender equality employment rights, Rock against racism, anti-Apartheid, and black history awareness.
But in 2018 I can no longer use the term “feminist” to mean what I thought it meant back then in the 1980s…
I see and hear others (male and female) say it as if they know what it means but are really using it to belong to a gang whose battles have moved beyond a fight for justice and equal opportunity and into a manoeuvre for supremacy.
The way that identity politics has become a dominant trend is being challenged mainly by conservatives in the west, and thus I find myself agreeing with people I used to see as “the enemy”, and this has actually shocked me in many ways. The witnessing of the “liberal left”, as in the Guardian newspaper, deciding that accused men should be thrown to the wolves for the sake of supporting embedded feminist ideas of male worthlessness.
Whilst I retain my deep pocket Utopian idealism as an Anarchist and my public position of democratic socialism within, what I accept as an inevitable, capitalist system…
I cannot abide this apparent desire to enjoy raised status as a victim alongside a mob that seeks to police language without understanding it, and evades personal responsibility whilst creating divisions based on group identities.
The idea of patriarchy is so embedded in our millennial culture that people forget the areas in which it has become closed history, whilst the unequal treatment of men to their great disadvantage (e.g. suicide and wrongful imprisonment) has been seen as somehow justifiable based on that history.
The following list highlights areas that rarely get talked about but which very definitely have swung against men…
I will quickly say that there are many parallel areas where men have more freedom than women, but these do tend to get discussed and argued about a great deal, and coming into those discussions as a man seeking this kind of genuine equality is a formula for getting buried in an avalanche or mockery or a Twitter mob pile on…
1. Abortion (father not having any decision making power regarding their potential child)
2. Foetal alcohol syndrome (similarly, this can be seen as child abuse caused by one partner alone.)
3. Genital mutilation (Circumcision of male babies as heavily practiced in America, Jewish and Muslim cultures is an abomination and one of the worst forms of child abuse)
4. Fatherlessness, (the right of a child to have a father around is greatly inhibited by law after a family breakdown).
5. Education (men failing at the highest rate in history by comparison with women, why?)
6. Employment (any quota system can work against an individual with a greater skill set)
7. Access to children after family breakdowns
8. Domestic violence (research shows that 32% of domestic violence is instigated by men, and 27% instigated by women, the remaining 41% it being impossible to tell)
9. Sexual abuse (woman rapes 13 year old boy – community sentence. Man rapes 13 year old girl – bottom of the prison pile for a decade)
10. Armed Forces veterans’ mental health issues (they are held responsible for their battlefield induced problems, women remain innocent victims)
11. Homelessness (disproportionately male issue)
12. Suicide (the same)
13. Criminal justice system (criminal women are generally still regarded as innocent victims, innocent men = guilty perpetrators – more of this below)
14. Paternity fraud
15. Anonymity for suspected sexual offenders
16. Divorce settlements
17. Healthcare provision – and there are more.
But the key area that concerns me – personally and philosophically, is that of the Criminal Justice system… 30,000 women took up the idea of falsely accusing an innocent man of rape last year – spoiling the waters for genuine victims, sure, but more importantly, wrecking the lives of more than 30,000 innocent people with the career wrecking, child stealing, soul destroying smears that are worse than being publicly named as a murderer.
“Feminists” have long claimed and still do, that these occurrences are incredibly rare.
It must surely be that this myth is now hanging by a thread
thanks to their own approved figures…Last year in the UK there were more false rape reports to the police than genuine ones.
Roughly twice as many,
As the many Twitter preachers and reporters say,
This is not the rare, rogue individual, it is a mass of badly motivated liars, using a police and justice system that has fallen for the Feminist rhetoric that women need better protection, and more men need to be pushed towards the metaphorical machine guns.
This unthinking acceptance of a barefaced lie, by police, media, politicians, and the general public is what has left me with nothing but this avenue in which to conscientiously object…
My life wrecking has not been as bad as it has for many – some innocent men have ended their lives (to a total lack of sympathy from wider society, because, “men, you know – who cares?”) some are fighting their corner from a prison cell, (over 1100 at latest estimate).
I am still here and fighting, e.g. for a right to work, having seen the case presented by the police & CPS dropped 2 weeks before trial, when the CPS realised that they were going to be made to look ridiculous and use prosecution witnesses to commit perjury in the courtroom.
Not happy at their case being dropped and their complainant ridiculed for being a recidivist false accuser that they failed to see through, the police have continued to maintain that they, and she, were correct and are thus attempting to prevent any employer from giving me a job…
This ability to glide right past solid evidence of her lies as recorded by other police forces is akin to Donald Trump insisting that he never plays golf.
So the detectives (dominated by women in the RASSO unit) are not so much full blooded feminists – as sad blinkered idiots who follow the path of least resistance and try to prosecute men for rape because that is what the government has told them to do…
and truth be damned – that is not what they are investigating.
If I explain this reality to a feminist who regularly lectures the public on how too many rapists walk free, am I mansplaining?
So far no one has managed, or dared to try to counter the figures I put forward and declare me an anti-feminist men’s rights activist or whatever…because these are “their” figures…
The figures I quote are from the National Crime Survey that interviews nearly 50,000 people every year. This makes it as accurate as those Election exit polls that then turn out to be correct within 2% error margins.
85,000 women genuinely raped is a terrible thing, my heart goes out to them…(and one in particular),
and I quite understand why only 10 – 15% of them would report this horrific trauma to the police, (both these figures are from that same, Rape Crisis approved, British Crime Survey).
I also understand that the police had a Hell of a time last year, recording and listening to 41,i50 rape reports…
Do they now read the NCS figures for genuine rape reports (at an average rounded out at 11,150) and calculate that they should have said, “We DON’T believe you” to 30,000 liars who made reports?
How do I, who nearly went to prison purely for being a random man chosen to fit into a personality disordered sick woman’s latest of several serial fantasies, explain to modern feminists that this is a deadly serious issue that needs to be understood and acted upon?
Women campaigners against this modern Feminism say, “You can’t”…
as a man you are discounted from being able to do this. And so it has to be the women who recognise and seek to grapple with the reality that push for change.
It is not mansplaining to point out that there are more than 30,000 such perverse liars still out there, ready to abuse the current culture in order to defraud the taxpayer of money (my accuser got £22K) and send thousands of innocent men to ruin, prison or both. It is a life saving proposition.
In the UK, the blind acceptance, by most men and women, of the jokes and pokes, about mansplaining, manspreading, linear thinking, multi-tasking and jokes about men generally falling into a patronisingly approved stereotype… this “going along with it”, actually endangers a fair society where men and women develop a love and tolerance for each other’s foibles and human characteristics.
Ironically the best defenders of the open and tolerant way forward get flack from men and women alike – through gender fixated fears, – and these are the Trans activists whose variations of views and practice on gender fluidity see them harangued and sometimes assaulted and killed by men and women whose identity is challenged by their mere existence…
Which ever way you want your own identity to go, your rights will never trump an innocent person’s right to justice and freedom, and no amount of explanation by a man to a woman, or vice versa, is going to change that.