Advanced search ask what on earth mansplaining is?

(87 Posts)
UneBelleCerise Mon 26-Aug-13 09:36:08


TallulahBetty Mon 26-Aug-13 09:37:31

No idea. Explaining something to a man? No idea.

PoppyWearer Mon 26-Aug-13 09:38:04

Do you mean "manscaping"?

ImATotJeSuisUneTot Mon 26-Aug-13 09:39:48

Is it dumbing something down/ changing something in order for a man so understand it?

ImATotJeSuisUneTot Mon 26-Aug-13 09:40:06

*man to understand it.

AKissIsNotAContract Mon 26-Aug-13 09:40:29


Numberlock Mon 26-Aug-13 09:41:07

Morloth Mon 26-Aug-13 09:41:37

I thought it was when a man (not a usual poster) wanders into a predominantly female forum and tells us his mind, which we are supposed to pay attention to because you see, he is a man and is explaining it to us in a special way that our silly little minds hadn't thought of before.

StormyBrid Mon 26-Aug-13 09:42:12

It's when a man takes it upon himself to explain, very clearly and simply with small and uncomplicated words, some difficult concept to us poor ignorant women, because we don't have the wit to understand it ourselves. Particularly irritating when the concept being mansplained is something one knows a lot more about than the man in question does.

Seaweedy Mon 26-Aug-13 09:42:14

Usually used for a man who arrives on a mostly female-used Internet forum like this one, and explains something in a massively condescending manner that assumes no woman on the board will have a clue otherwise. Like if a guy showed up on a 'problems with BF' thread and started off 'What none of you girls seem to understand is the importance of The Latch. Let me tell you exactly what that is... '

bootsycollins Mon 26-Aug-13 09:42:17

It's when a man shouts his opinion over yours like his opinion is the only one that matters and is the correct opinion and the only option that will be happening.

LookingThroughTheFog Mon 26-Aug-13 09:42:40

I've seen mansplaining used two different ways. One is when you are discussing an issue that is specific to women, or that has a strongly female slant on it, and a man pops up to tell you how you are totally wrong about what the issue is, and your reaction to is is also erroneous.

So, for example, a group of mothers discussing breastfeeding, and perhaps the feelings they get when feeding in public. And a man popping up pointing out that they're wrong to feel that way, and they know of A Woman who didn't feel that way, ergo your experience is much less valid than his.

I've also seen it go beyond that to where a woman has specific expertise in a certain area, but a man will pop up to explain it all again, completely unnecessarily, and often getting it wrong. In this situation, it is that the man simply believes he knows best on account of possessing some testicles.

So, for example, a woman with an engineering degree working on some code, and a man with no expertise popping up to point out that the problem with the computer is almost certainly a software conflict, because he's had that happen once.

It's particularly annoying when a second man pops up to back up the first, or to hang on the new 'experts' every word.

StUmbrageinSkelt Mon 26-Aug-13 09:43:19

No it's when a man explains the stunningly absolutely fucking obvious to you. On account of how he is a man so he needs to give a longwinded patronising explanation. You as the little woman obvs are too thick/too insensitive/whatever to actually to understand the issue.

meditrina Mon 26-Aug-13 09:43:24

It's a put down, which I see most often in FWR.

It derides, rather than addresses, certain other viewpoints, on the basis that they sound like a man talking down to a woman. Sometimes, mansplaining is done by mischievous posters to rile, but sometimes it is done to make valid points and it is unfortunate when those are belittled. All depends on post and content.

Seaweedy Mon 26-Aug-13 09:44:12

Although the real life example that leaps to mind is a group of women at a student party getting a lecture about how period pain was imaginary from a male first year medical student. Apparently we were all making it up.

WeAreEternal Mon 26-Aug-13 09:44:31

It's when you explain something in a vague not-really-explaining-it-at-all way but sounding like you know exactly what you are talking about.

I don't think it's particularly a 'man' thing, although I do know a few men who do this impeccably.

OnIlkelyMoorBahtat Mon 26-Aug-13 09:45:23

YY to all the above. Can also be used to describe the situation when a woman says she thinks X, and then a bloke tells her what she really thinks is Y. Thank god you were here bloke, or I would never have known what it was I was really thinking hmm

geekgal Mon 26-Aug-13 09:46:36

Manspaining is when a man explains something to you that you, whether you know more about it or not, must take as fact because he is the man in the conversation. There is also Whitesplaining, which is similar but usually involves a white person explaining whether something is or is not racist and why to a black person.

LookingThroughTheFog Mon 26-Aug-13 09:51:25

Ahah! Oh yes, Ilkley! I've seen that too.

My favourite example of mansplaining came from husband, who is generally really quite sensible and we've laughed about it since. I was discussing my particular process of writing books - something which I've done annd which he never has.

He gently corrected my method, and pointed out its wrongness by comparing it to knitting a jumper ('It's easier to correct as you go along, than wait until the end and try to correct mistakes then...')

I pointed out that he'd neither written a book, nor knitted a jumper, and his analogy made no sense anyway, as you can't pick up a dropped stitch or retwist a cable once a jumper is finished, whereas you can go back and correct a continuity error in a manuscript. We honestly did laugh, but I liked it.

It isn't a totally male trait; I'm sure women can occasionally wade in with solutions without listening first. But I've certainly seen it most in men.

AnyoneButLulu Mon 26-Aug-13 09:59:34

It's an accusation which needs to be handled with care, because it's easy to throw it around at random men on the internet, but when you see the real thing it's unmistakeable. I remember a vile former boyfriend telling me in hugely patronising terms that "no, you've never been in love" when I'd explained my experience of the sensation (not in relation to him).

Earthworms Mon 26-Aug-13 10:14:56

One I liked, I read on here I think. A female research chemist with phd started a new fairly senior job.

First day, chatting with some of her junior male staff she asked one to clarify a technical point in what he was doing and why.

He managed to condescendingly explain dilution to her.

She did call him on it.

I have had similar in my job. ( not a phd or anywhere near senior though) but I asked someone to run through some calculations for a specific job we were doing, because I was interested in how some theory relates to a particular situation. They began by explaining the very basic principles behind the maths. Despite them knowing i have a degree in the subject. And they do not. And that work had just paid for a course for me with all that stuff in it. He knew I'd spent months on a coursework project doing exactly that maths.


LookingThroughTheFog Mon 26-Aug-13 10:34:11

Elsewhere on the web, a lively discussion among a group who were predominantly women. The discussion turned to sexual assault. Person after person discussed their personal experiences of it, from whistles and jeers up to and including rape. We talked about what had happened, how friends and relatives had responded. How we'd changed on account of what had happened. About 30 women, all of whom had an experience.

Then up popped ManKnowsAll. It doesn't happen. None of the women in his family have ever been assaulted, so it clearly doesn't happen as much as we say, and at least some of us must have been misinterpreting what was going on. Plus, let's talk about malicious accusations against men, which is a Real Problem.

We pointed out that the current discussion was not about that, but about assault. No. We didn't understand his point about malicious accusations, which was a more important discussion, because he wasn't aware of sexual assault happening that much any more.

Personally I think the term 'mansplaining' is over used, and a lot of the examples I see boil down to 'jerky person being a jerk' where their sex is less relevant than their jerkiness. But like it has been said upthread, you know it when you see it.

I'd add a definition too - any situation where a man is making a point, and he does so condescendingly and adds 'dear' or refers to 'the ladies'. Almost always mansplaining; 'my point is more valid because of my testicles, so I have to point out the lack of testicles of my opponent. That way you know I am Right.'

AnyoneButLulu Mon 26-Aug-13 11:52:28

There was an example on here recently - a chap saying that vetting DVDs for suitability for young children was a nightmare for working parents. He was asked repeatedly why this was a problem for working parents only - and explained very carefully to us all (by PMs in some cases) that SAHPs have lots of time free at home to pre-watch videos, so it's not a problem for them. The fact that watching a DVD to check its suitability for a small child is tricky when you are at home looking after that small child was clear to everyone on the thread except for him.

SoupDragon Mon 26-Aug-13 11:58:02

Its when a man says something that would have been perfectly acceptable had he been female. Because he has a penis, he's not allowed to say it though.

LookingThroughTheFog Mon 26-Aug-13 12:24:56

Can you give an example, Soupdragon? That's not a definition I've come across before.

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