Examples of mansplaining

This is sort of an interesting example to me. Above mansplaining is defined as a situation where the man 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.”

With the OB-GYN examples, you have a man who is a “specialist of some kind in this particular subject” in conflict with a woman who is aware of both the “general female experience” and her own female experience.

I suppose if the genders were different, it would be an interesting anecdote about physicians.

As a Man, I normally wouldn’t ever experience this except I live in Asia. I’m very good in Japanese but people often wouldn’t speak to me and would speak to the Asian looking person with me, even if that person didn’t happen to speak Japanese!

Cue “Galaxy Quest” reference, where the ship’s computer would only respond to Sigourney Weaver.

Reminds me of this one - in which the reverse occurs (boyfriend with a little Japanese education, corrects native speakers on their errors)

After reading a lot of the thread, the thought just came to me that mansplaining is a new form of a very, very old fashion idiom:

In other threads in the English Exchange site, there were others that had a similar epiphany:

IMHO explaining kitchen chores was specially annoying to old housewives. One notices here that the idiom was usually made in reference to grandmothers, not grandfathers, originally it was supposed to shame kids or beginners who tried to explain things to an old housewife who had decades of doing those things. (Really guys from the past, what you should be ashamed for was that being a housewife was just about what most women were allowed to do in the past).

The idiom came to be applied more generally to neophytes that insist on telling experts or people with more experience what to do.

(Speaking as a straight white man here) I find it telling that a lot of the responses to this thread have been along the lines of “but, wait a minute, it’s possible that sometimes men are accused of Mansplaining in situations where it’s possible they were not really Mansplaining”. As if there’s a very important burden of proof issue, because of how horribly wrecked a man’s life would be if he were accused of mansplaining. As if an accusation of mansplaining is just as damning as an accusation of rape or child molestation or something.

Has it ever happened in the history of the world that a woman used the word “mansplaining” to describe the actions of a man, and if a fair and accurate judge analyzed the situation with all information about all parties, that judge would conclude that in fact “mansplaining” was not an accurate word to describe what happened? I’m sure it’s happened. Has something even slightly worse happened where a woman consciously or semi-consciously used the word “mansplaining” as a cudgel to win an argument or effectively bully a man into silence? Sure, probably. Some women are assholes, just like some of every group of people are assholes. (And worth noting that a fair amount of the time, the defense is “I’m not a mainsplainer, I’m a cocky overbearing asshole to EVERYONE”.)

But any man who hears Mansplaining described, and hears it discussed by women, and instead of saying “huh, yeah, that’s probably a dynamic that women do face from time to time, let me reflect on that and appreciate the experience that they are describing” and instead says “but, but, but, that definition is sufficiently imprecise that the woman making the ACCUSATION (and it is an ACCUSATION) can’t be SURE BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT that her ACCUSATION is ACCURATE!!! Better not let these horrific slanders fly around without EXTENSIVE ANALYSIS!!!”… well, I have to say I question that person’s motivations.

It was good to have that explained to us. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure if you would count this, but I have seen the term used on message boards where the accused didn’t know that the accuser was a woman. The woman said he was mansplaining to her and the man said he didn’t know she was a woman. I don’t think he was lying, as I also didn’t know that she was a woman. It wasn’t obvious from her name or her posts. He just seemed like he was doing normal explaining and she took offense to it.

I think it would be helpful to have a different term for “the method of explaining that men typically do” versus “mansplaining”. Many of the examples here just seem like normal ways that men explain things, regardless of whether it’s to a man or a woman. I certainly acknowledge there is something unique about mansplaining, but not every example of a man explaining something to a woman seems like mansplaining.


I don’t know as this was strictly mansplaining, but it sure was irritating (at first)and then supremely satisfying:

We had rented a UHaul trailer for something and I was returning it without my husband along. There were 2 guys at the counter and I was told that it was going to go “over there, between that flatbed and the little box truck.” I said ok, started to walk out, and was told that Dude (not his real name, but it should have been) would be over in a minute to park it for me. I said, “oh don’t worry, I can manage” or something similar.

Drove over to get lined up, and I saw there was a strap from the flatbed lying on the ground, and I didn’t want to park my trailer on top of it. I got out to move the strap, and Dude decided that was the time to hop in my truck and helpfully park it.

Well, my truck is an F-250 longbed diesel work truck, and manual shift. The shifter knob had come off recently so there was just the shaft there, and no gear guide. I had a balled up rag handy if I had to do a lot of shifting, but I didn’t really need the knob so it was one of those RoundToIt situations.

Dude sat there a bit flummoxed. Put his foot on the clutch, played with the gears a bit, pulled forward some, couldn’t find reverse. It’s really easy to mix up reverse and bottom gear, and reverse is way, way over. He finally said “maybe you’d better drive and I’ll guide you in. Go slowly now!”

I hopped in, corrected the lineup that he’d messed up, and backed the trailer in on a gentle curve, first shot, no corrections, with about 8 inches of space between the other rigs. I generously let him to the “heavy” work of unhitching. :stuck_out_tongue:

At the time I used my truck at least twice a week to pull a 34 ft gooseneck horse trailer, and I had been doing so for years. Where other people take their dogs for a walk and then go run errands, I’d take my horse for a trail ride or a lesson and then go run errands, trailer and all. I drive better in reverse, some days :laughing:

One of my Dad’s happy memories was taking the fire engine out for the first time. They thought they were doing the kid a favor letting him drive. And actually, they were, and yes, he did accidentally hit the siren peddle, and that was actually an accident, and no, he didn’t have any prior experience driving big trucks on the road.

But it hadn’t occurred to him that it was relevant that his summer job had been backing trucks into the loading dock…

On two days a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, everybody who knocks on your door will knock exactly the same number of times. Those days are called Equal Knocks. I don’t know why. It has to do with orbits and a bent axle.

How is the normal way men explain things different to how women explain them?

That’s a “starving children in Africa” argument. That analogy would also invalidate Black Lives Matter because several orders of magnitude more people die from inadequate health care each year, so they shouldn’t protest unless they can prove that they protest even more for UHC.

Ummm … were you trying to hit the “Jokes” thread?

Men and women generally have different conversational styles and the way they explain things can also have a different style. For example, if someone posts on a message board, “My belly fat just won’t go away. What can I do to get rid of it?”, these might be a couple of the responses:

Pat: Give up carbs and alcohol!
Sam: You need to go paleo keto and stick to only 2.5 grams of carbs per day. Get your protein from plant based sources but stay away from soy. You also need to ramp up your core workouts. It won’t spot reduce, but it will firm up your abs and make your belly look toner. Do a core set where you do 50 situps, 30 10-second planks, etc. etc. etc.

From these, I would guess that Pat is a woman and Sam is a man. Men generally give overly detailed explanations and explain things assuming the other person doesn’t know anything. They will not only explain what should be done, but the reasons why those things should be done that way.

I personally like the overly-detailed explanations. I don’t feel offended when someone speaks to me that way even when it’s an area I know a lot about. I like getting the end-to-end details and the background of why they think those steps are the right steps. Having all the info allows me to feel comfortable in deciding whether to believe the explanation or try to find a different explanation. I’m more of a full-explainer, and when speaking with women, I try to scale it back so that they don’t feel I’m lecturing/mansplaining to them. But when speaking with men, I don’t have that concern. I’m explaining fully to them and they’re explaining fully to me and it’s no big deal.

Ugh, I’ve had to work with some over-explainers. And it’s not polite to say “yes, thank you, that was very helpful - but please will you shut up and go away now?”


Bloody hell, Sam doesn’t want to make it easy, does he?

I don’t think I was very far off the mark. I posted my silly example on a whim, without reading any of the topic. Today, I went back and read all of it, and it seemed that 3/4th of the thread were not Examples of Mansplaining at all. My post, on the other hand, was (a) written by a male human, (b) explaining something, and (c) devoid of any facts. I did okay.

Reminds me of a guy I used to work with. We worked in a small group, but our work was done individually. We were good about helping each other and sharing tips and tricks. Whenever I asked this one guy about an issue I was having, he’d go into a long detailed explanation about things I already knew and partially described to him to begin with. Then, he’d give up before giving me any help with my actual problem itself. It started to become rage-inducing. I’d end up just figuring it out for myself. That taught me to never ask him for help. I’m a woman, btw.

I’m… not sure what you’re saying. Can you clarify?