justsayjolie

The Problem with Mansplaining

justsayjolie:

There’s a thing I’ve been thinking a lot about, and what better way to start a Monday than with a good dose of righteous feminism? So! Might I submit that we, as women, boycott the use of the term ‘mansplaining’? (It would be nice if the menfolk would get behind it too, but we’ll not hold out hope.) Here’s why: it’s a cutesyism. And cutesyisms are often employed to excuse otherwise inappropriate or offensive behavior.  

Instead, let’s go back to calling it by its Christian name, ’condescension’.

I’d rather we didn’t. Because “condescension” is not a gendered term that refers to a particular behaviour enabled by gender role power imbalances, and “mansplaining” is. That is the point of the term.

The frequently observable behaviour is not called “mansplaining” because it’s a cute word, but because the term describes condescending and frequently inaccurate explanation by men to women that is supposed to be welcomed or tolerated by women because of male privilege. Hence, man-splaining.

So.

I get where this objection is coming from, and lord knows I hate cute nicknames to excuse terrible shit. I don’t think of mansplaining as a cute term, but obviously the OP does, and that’s cool. But I don’t think that “condescension” is an accurate replacement. Any substitute term for this behaviour should mark the societal imbalances that allow it.