Today, with the help of a bunch of stick figures, I am going to talk about mansplaining! I have no doubt that, no matter how carefully I phrase the stuff in here, the comments are going to be a shithole. Be warned.
So! Lo, these many years ago, someone came up with the term “mansplaining.” What does it mean? Well, let’s ask the stick figures!
Specifically, ‘splaining is when one person of a group stereotyped to know more about a particular topic feels the need to explain to a member of a group stereotyped to know less about a particular topic exactly how that topic works, even if the member of the second group happens to know all about it. Computers. Magic: the Gathering. Indie rock. Fantasy novels. It gets old, guys.
Let me be clear: the vast majority of members of groups that are stereotyped to know more about a particular topic are not ‘splainers. You have to be a douchebag to do it to begin with. I’m just saying that you very rarely see female Magic players condescendingly explaining to male Magic players how tapping works.
Does this only happen to women? Of course not.
In fact, I am almost entirely certain that there are a fuckload of stay-at-home dads out there who can report how they’ve been womansplained to about how to change diapers, because of course dudes don’t know how to do that.
Unfortunately, this quite useful term went through some linguistic drift, and came to describe people like this:
But the thing is that that is not just a dudely behavior! There are all kinds of people who want to be Nongendered Ruler of Feminism now, and regard this whole “you have no idea what you’re talking about” thing to be a completely moot point. Katie Roiphe, for instance. Christina Hoff Sommers. Sarah Palin. And I don’t think that we should be letting them off the hook just because they happened to be born cis women.
And, you know, this behavior is also not just limited to people talking about feminism.
So I vote we reserve “mansplain” for the rather useful “people condescendingly assuming someone who actually knows things is fucking stupid, because KYRIARCHY” and come up with another term for the apparent need of people to opine on topics they know nothing about. “Instant Expert Syndrome,” maybe? Or “Mount Stupid“?