Mansplaining, or I’ll explain the world to you, is counterintuitively often a phenomenon, even if you don’t know that’s the name it bears. Have you ever encountered a situation where a man tried to explain something to you that you knew perfectly well? Were you ostentatiously ignored by the man you spoke to? Such behavior is referred to as “mansplaining” and describes behavior when a man condescendingly explains something to a woman or ignores her. It was first used by Rebecca Solnit in the article “Men Explain Things To Me,” published in the Los Angeles Times in 2008. In his essay, he describes the situation that took place at the party. The older man, in the course of the conversation, began to explain to her the essence of the problem as described in… her own book and pressed her to read it. When a friend tried to point out the mistake, the man did not interrupt the absurd discussion.
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Where does “mansplaining” come from?
The term proposed by Rebecca has been added to the prestigious Oxford Dictionary Online, but one will encounter “mansplaining” not only in theory. Where can you meet him ? At the university, at work, at the gym, on the street, on TV, and even at home. Sometimes it is easy to identify this phenomenon, and sometimes it is not so obvious. Researchers suggest that men don’t do it deliberately, and that “mansplaining” lies in the subconscious – it’s a habit picked up in movies and TV shows. Solnit’s essay shows that there is a larger cultural problem and a series of situations in which women are not respected.
Every woman who has ever experienced this phenomenon describes it as condescending treatment by a louder, bigger opponent – the man in question. A good example of this phenomenon is the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The incumbent US president interrupted Clinton 51 times (25 times were recorded in the 26th minute). How many times has Hillary interrupted? Zero. Most controversial was the fact that each entry into the rival’s word did not carry a substantive rationale. Demonstration of strength, show of temperament or “mansplaining”? Foreign media, including The Washington Post, pointed to the latter.
Fight against ignorance
Is the art of talking to a man so difficult and half the planet is “mansplaining”? Of course not! In a sense, women do it to women, and men do it to men. It is said that “mansplaining” is a tool in the power struggle in the war between men and women, but it also functions regardless of gender. Any conversation in which someone assumes the position of a socially dominant person and explains “life” to an interlocutor with a lower position is an example of this. For how else to describe a situation in which scholars explain to natives how their religion should be understood? It’s possible that the recipe for “mansplaining” is very simple – it’s respect and empathy for the interlocutor and the words of Socrates, who used to say, “Speak only when you know what’s going on.”