Mansplaining is probably one of the most annoying male behaviors towards women. Even if you are not familiar with the term, most likely, you have experienced it.
The irritation spark sets off gradually. First, you are in a casual discussion about common everyday concerns around you.
Then it starts. The male pulls himself back and starts to blurb out a lecture. You get instructions on exactly how you should proceed with what you have been doing perfectly well for ages with a set of implicit ‘terms and conditions’!
Having researched facts and figures, you have a decent grasp of your subject and suddenly, the male element of the interaction begins with a monolog to lay out the basic terms without even assessing your level of knowledge.
Now a male probably thinks females need instruction. Women are known not to have a grasp on numbers and policies right. Males tend to believe they have unique insight. An article in Cosmopolitan, seventeen examples of these kinds of ‘women need to be educated’ are reflected upon.
One example is that a man kept on insisting a woman pronounced her own name incorrectly! Another respondent, an employee at a racetrack for about fourteen years, noted that male customers often start to explain to her how gambling functions when she takes their bets.
The term of this behavior is ‘Mansplaining.” It is defined by the Urban Dictionary as the patronizing behavior of males towards females. It is when a man speaks condescendingly to a woman, believing that she is ignorant when in fact, his personal knowledge on the topic is incomplete. He just cannot fathom that she just may have more insight into the topic than he does!
Psychology and communication research papers need to catch up with mansplaining cultures.
In a recent publication by Northeastern University, Joseph Reagle examines the alienation of women in the online communities and refers to ‘geek feminism.’ When women enforce their obligation to research well, they are “accused of PMS”.
The investigation of ‘geek culture is identified by Reagle as a Unicorn Law concern. Unicorns like ‘technical women’ are rare or invisible unless they reveal themselves. Male geeks brag about technical abilities, but women do not take note of their accomplishments. This is when mansplaining becomes seeded and roots out. Men become over confident of the abilities they possess and assume women need instructions and education. If women do rise and challenge, they are accused of PMS.
Recourse If a ‘Mansplainer’ Is Within Your Life System
Mansplaining is rooted from the general assumption that men are superior to women, and the best way to deal with it is becoming conscious of the situation. Mansplaining is about assuming you do not know what you are saying when you know that you did. It makes you feel deficient; Refrain from questioning yourself and what you are capable of. Realize that the problem standing in line is not yours. Do not reinforce the insinuation that you need the ‘education.’
The condition of mansplaining is easy to remedy. Be aware of its existence, whether you may be the victim or the perpetrator of it. Show respect for beliefs and attitudes in interactions, as well as, most importantly, the knowledge possessed by individuals you interact with.
By Nena T.
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