Examples of mansplaining

That’s a very… “creative” interpretation of what had happened in that thread. The poster you are referring to WAS, IN FACT, WRONG despite their claims to be a Title IX lawyer. And nobody “mansplained” to them, they were asked for a cite (which they failed to produce).

If the astronaut lady upthread claimed that the earth was flat, astronaut credentials and gender notwithstanding, it would have been appropriate to challenge her claims.

I’ll probably never learn.

What do you call mothers who explain to Doctors what is really wrong with their children?


Thanks FP, for providing the clearest example of mansplaining I think I’ve ever come across. Well done!

Why are they obviously mansplaining?

So far what I’ve learned is “there are no statistics but it exists” (ie it may not), and “a man should be assumed to be a mansplainer even if there is no evidence of that” (ie bigotry) and substantive arguments to the contrary are “semantics”.

You and a lot of other people should look up what “semantics” means Ulfrieda. I’ll give you a clue - it doesn’t mean “pointing out facts and logic that are inconvenient to you” much as you and an unfortunately large number of people seem to think.

Because they were descriptions where a man told a woman how women work, or lectured female experts about their fields of expertise.

Do you disagree with the definition, or were there examples that you feel don’t meet it?

I’m not going to bother going through them all because even the first few are so unconvincing as to not be worth my time.

Of those that I read, many that are just people saying dumb things to a person and there is no reason to assume they are gendered at all.

For example, one is a covidiot saying dumb things to a medically qualified person - how is this gendered? There are, sadly, hordes of Covid/Anti-vax people around at the moment spouting off complete nonsense without regard to medical qualifications (their own or their listener’s).

In other examples we are told nothing about the expertise of the persons involved– e.g. “a man once explained my own biology to me”. For all we know, the man might be some sort of medical expert and the woman might be someone who believes she can cure her infertility by waving magic crystals over herself. You just don’t know. All of us have met people who are into woo who think they know more about themselves than doctors.

In other examples we are not told whether the explainer knew the qualifications of the person to whom they were speaking. Anyone who has any form of significant specialist experience in anything has experience of this. I’m a lawyer with a particular specialty. People embarrass themselves by “bush lawyering” at me all the time.

Generally I suspect that there are areas where men and women over explain that roughly coincide with “traditional” areas of gender biased activities (males probably over explain technical things to women, women probably over explain child rearing to men).

Whether there is a bias in one direction or the other one I’m not certain but it’s possible.

The examples given are junk anecdotes of exactly the type that come up amongst bigots discussing how stupid or crass (or whatever) is the target of their bigotry.

Pity you feel this way, as you might just be the kind of person who would benefit from experiencing how the other half lives.

Yeah like how the lived experience of white racists is that colored people are the problem.

Look I understand it’s a man’s world and there is much sexism. But junk sexism is still junk.

It’s all in who is deciding that that sexism is junk.

Kinda like a man declaring he’ll be the arbiter of ‘mansplaining.

My wife is an over-explainer, and my kids came up with “Momsplaining” to describe the way she chimes in.

So what, precisely, is it that makes a particular instance of splaining “mansplaining”? Is it just that the splainer is a man, that the person he’s splaining to is a woman, or the combination of both? If an individual splains equally to people of all genders, is he a mansplainer, or just a splainer? And if a woman is splained to by a man, can she immediately assume mansplaining, or does she have to see how he interacts with other men first?

I mean, yeah, there are some obvious cases, like if the splainer prefaces every splanation with “now, honey”, or ends with “but don’t trouble your pretty little head with it”. But it seems to me that there would still be a lot of ambiguous cases.

Oh, and after typing all of that, “splaining” doesn’t even look like a real word any more.

How about my example? Will you just say oh well, every historian gets argued with?

I know you say that mansplaining exists, but it really doesn’t look like you think that at all.

I use “womansplain” with Mrs. Cad when she tries to explain why I’m wrong and she’s right in fields that

  1. I have training and/or degrees in or natural talents she acknowledges and
  2. She agrees she’s horrible at.

The big one is math followed by hard sciences. Also in there are directions when she’ll tell me something is that direction and point in the opposite way - often 180 degrees the wrong direction although yesterday it was almost a perfect 90 degrees off.

Also had this with a female co-worker who kept telling me I was wrong using a term in an obscure field she has no knowledge of … until I reached behind my desk, grabbed an academic journal and opened it up to a comprehensive article I wrote on that very topic.

I already explained why. It’s in the second post of mine you quoted and chopped off.

All of the examples given are either (1) a man telling a woman how women work or (2) a man lecturing a woman in her field of expertise. Both involve ignoring that the woman knows more about the subject than you do. Those are the very things that the word “mansplaining” was invented to describe.

Your attempted defense was “What if the man does this to everyone?” The answer is that, if he does it to a woman, it is mansplaining. If he does it to anyone else, it may get a different term. But, either way, it’s shitty behavior and he should cut it out.

This guy is not so important that people are going to try and figure out exactly what his intentions were. Heck, the whole issue with “mansplaining” is that men do it without even realizing it—with no bad intentions at all. No one cares why he does it. Women (and many men) just want him to stop.

The term exists because men are more likely to treat women this way. But if a particular man does it to everyone, that man is still mansplaining when he does it to a woman.

My take on it (she 'splained confidently) is that mansplaining per se generally combines the following characteristics:

  1. The 'splainer is a man talking to a woman.
  2. The 'splainer is very confidently asserting his views to a woman who knows significantly more about the subject than he does, either by being a specialist of some kind in this particular subject, or because the subject pertains to general female experience.
  3. The 'splainer is being condescending or patronizing in a way that is very familiar to most women as a frequent occurrence in opposite-gender interactions.

Number 3 is more subtle than the others, and it seems reasonable to me that men are less aware of it than women are and may be confused about how to identify it. But it’s often characterized by intensity of assertion, and absence of disclaimers, qualifying statements, indirect assertions, and so forth.

That is, many men’s conversational style gets more dominant when they’re talking to women than when they’re talking to other men. They take up more of the conversational airspace (illustrated by all those studies finding that although there’s a stereotype about women being more “talky” then men, in actual meetings and panel discussions and so forth, men do significantly more of the talking). They don’t pause for replies as often, they talk over replies more, they ask more rhetorical questions essentially requiring agreement and fewer genuine questions seeking the other person’s views. They use fewer statements disclaiming certainty (along the lines of “well, I’m no expert, but” or “based just on my personal experience, I’d say”). They make more jokes or quips expecting “supportive laughter” responses, and are less likely to provide “supportive laughter” to the other person’s remarks. In short, their conversational attitude is is more likely to convey that they’re speaking from a position of authority when they’re talking to women than when they’re talking to other men.

Most men who shift their conversational style in this gendered way aren’t even aware of it, and many would indignantly deny that they do any such thing. And part of it, I’m sure, is simply that women on average tend to speak less “authoritatively” than men on average (i.e., with more questions, self-deprecation, conciliation, qualifiers, and so on), so there’s a tendency for a man talking to a woman to try to fill the perceived “authority vacuum”, without meaning to make it about gender.

But ISTM that this general conversational style shift is often perceived by women as men “laying down the law” or “giving a lecture” to them specifically because they’re women. And when that is exacerbated by the fact that the men don’t even know as much as they do about the subject in question, well, that’s how we get the concept of “mansplaining” as a specific form of irritating gendered behavior.

(Note: All the usual caveats apply about some men being aggressively authoritative talkers to both men and women, some women being aggressively authoritative talkers, etc. Not trying to “All Men” this argument here (she conciiatorily disclaimed).)

While that’s fine for you and her (or with others who you know are okay with it), I’d caution against using that in the wild, for similar reasons it’s a bad idea to use “all lives matter.” It can come off as retaliatory, even if that’s not your intent.

It’s similar reasoning to my other post. No one knows your intent. They can only see what you do. I don’t know how many times I’ve not intended to be an asshole, but someone misunderstood me. It’s not like doubling down helps.

Thanks for the advice but I’m not an idiot like you apparently think I am. You did notice I said I use it with Mrs Cad? And with my co-worker we give crap to each other all the time.

Just following up on this because I think it’s an excellent illustration of some of the ideas I was trying to get at in my previous post.

ISTM that this response to authoritative talking (“I’d caution against”) would be generally perceived as “huffy” or “touchy” or “overreacting” if it were a woman responding to a man’s advice. Women are expected to accept a more authoritative conversational style from men than other men are.

If BigT wrote/said “I’d caution against …” to a woman would it be mansplaining?