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to be irritated with brother constantly mansplaining/minimising?

(62 Posts)
RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 09:50:08

My brother is very big on liberal principles and likes to see himself as very tolerant. I am really fond of him, but he always raises the topic of how our parents are, and then insists on telling me I'm getting it all wrong. So I'd like to know what you think.

For example, I left my ex-H in what most people would see as a very amicable split a couple of years ago (no children). My dad was devastated and developed a set of frankly bonkers theories. We ended up not speaking for months as he and my mum simply couldn't accept I wasn't mentally ill or on the verge of breakdown, and refused to stop telling me how to get back together with ex.

At that time, my brother repeatedly insisted that my dad should be humoured, and explained away the more sexist bits of what he was saying (dad had got the idea my DP must be unhappy with me having a career, which absolutely wasn't the case, but which dad thought was an obvious reason for divorce).

Since then, I met my DP. We are very happy, TTC, planning to get married. DP is a woman. I would say my parents coped unexpectedly well with this. They are quite socially sheltered and have very little experience of either divorce or same sex relationships, and they certainly weren't happy when I was in my teens and came out - though obviously that's a long time ago and I'm quite impressed how much they've changed. But, they do obviously still find aspects of it a bit difficult.

DP and I were chatting about this, and my brother insisted that we were overreacting, saying he was sure our parents didn't think being a same-sex relationship was a big deal. He told me that in 2016 there's no prejudice any more, and I ended up feeling as if I'd just accused my parents of flagrant homophobia. Which I hadn't.

I feel he goes through the world as a straight white man, believing that if he says prejudice doesn't exist, he must be right. It's beginning to strain our relationship, because he won't simply avoid the subject of how dad is, or sit out of an argument.

IamtheDevilsAvocado Tue 21-Jun-16 10:06:39

It does sound bloody irritating...nothing worse than white men deciding that their outlook is 'right', and there is no argument....especially on your life!!

What about somedthing like ..

I love you brother, I know you see yourself as liberal and tolerant...you do see it through a white male lens..you are also putting words in my mouth!!
I don't want to be drawn into an argument but our perspectives and opinions on this are very different...for example, Dad has bonkers and very conservative, views on the reasons for my r/s ending...by humouring him, as you suggest, it stops me having an honest, engaged relationship with him which I want... I don't agree with your assessment...and as it solely affects me and my DP, it hurts me that you behave like this..

and see what he says..

ElspethFlashman Tue 21-Jun-16 10:10:55

Just say "thanks for mansplaining!" Complete with tinkly laugh and patronising tone.

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 10:12:25

grin Whew!

I was thinking people might very well agree with my brother, so I'm glad at least some people don't.

He does mean well. It's just because he has this image of himself as so tolerant, it is hard to get him to realise it.

RiverTam Tue 21-Jun-16 10:16:57

Nothing like a 'liberal' man showing how very unliberal he is by telling women how they should think confused.

EatShitDerek Tue 21-Jun-16 10:18:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kitsa Tue 21-Jun-16 10:21:18

This is what keeps racism and homophobia alive and well. Far from being as enlightened as he probably thinks he is, he is a huge part of the problem.

This must be so infuriating for you OP.

RiverTam Tue 21-Jun-16 10:24:02

Oh, and he's talking through his arsehole if he thinks there's no prejudice any more (he does know about Orlando, doesn't he?), in fact I think it's a very scary time to be a lesbian. But of course it doesn't affect him and he doesn't think he's party of the problem so of course it doesn't exist and it's all in your head.

PolaroidsFromTheBeyond Tue 21-Jun-16 10:27:30

It's infuriating OP.

I get similar from my white, midde class, well off and straight brother. His refusal to acknowledge that homophobia, sexism, racism etc still exist because it's not something he personally has any experience of pisses me right off. He won't be told though. Ah for that kind of male privilege!

It might not be the right strategy but I restrict conversation to neutral topics now. Much less stressful!

WorraLiberty Tue 21-Jun-16 10:29:59

I read it exactly the same way as Derek did.

VoldysGoneMouldy Tue 21-Jun-16 10:34:45

Nothing quite like a white cis straight man telling us how things are, whilst reminding us how liberal they are. <heavy sigh> My sympathy and empathy. flowers

practy Tue 21-Jun-16 10:35:42

Of course anti gay and lesbian feeling still exists. Tell him attacks on gay and lesbian people in London have actually went up.

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 10:37:39

eat - well, my parents are 'arsed', though? That's the thing.

If they weren't, it would be really kind of him to reassure me, of course.

But I think it is understandable that they are going to find things a little bit strange.

I do think feeling women shouldn't have careers is sexist, too. You really think that's not?

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 10:38:02

practy - didn't know they had, that's sad.

DollyBarton Tue 21-Jun-16 10:41:58

Really? How is that specifically mansplaining rather than just him explaining his own thoughts and opinions?? He does sound annoying but I know plenty of women and men who have opinions on topics and put them across in this way. They aren't doing it because you're a little woman who doesn't 'get' the topic, they're doing it because they think they have the right angle on the situation. Rightly or wrongly.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Tue 21-Jun-16 10:44:01

I don't know how anyone reads that as anything other than him telling your your lived experience is wrong because he knows best. Obviously he's your brother and I don't for a second think he's doing it to deliberately hurt you, but it'd make me want to poke him in the eye!

It's unfortunate but he seems like someone you won't be able to discuss this particular topic with I'm afraid; at least that's the non-confrontational route. Anything else I think will require a dedicated effort on your part to educate him on the many, many groups of society who can personally attest that prejudice is alive and well.

You might be up for that, but I really think you'll just give yourself a headache. So often with family we have cause to bite our tongues and love them despite ourselves; I can't offer any better advice than suggesting this might be another of those times. Hopefully someone can do better than that!

EatShitDerek Tue 21-Jun-16 10:45:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 10:46:55

I dunno, dolly. It just feels mansplainy - as if he thinks he's better at knowing whether my dad means what he says or not. I think he thinks he's translating 'man talk' for me.

eats - yes, the thought of 'educating' him is making me feel tired! He is always up for an argument and it is something I do like about him - we can witter til the cows come home - but I just feel this isn't one that's going to go anywhere very fast, because he jumps immediately from me saying 'I think dad is finding this a bit strange' to 'ooh, you think dad is a massive homophobe! How dare you!' (I paraphrase, obviously, but this is the gist).

practy Tue 21-Jun-16 10:47:09

Except he is wrong. How would he know whether most people accept lesbians these days? I suspect it rarely comes up in conversation, so he will have no idea of people's real views.

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 10:47:45

eat, I see my brother as human too.

I get that you've got an opinion, but I think you're reading into this with stuff I've not said.

LivininaBox Tue 21-Jun-16 10:48:56

I can see why his comments irritate you but the fact you have these conversations at all shows you must have a fairly close relationship. You are lucky to have that. He obviously cares about you and the family and I think gently pointing out to him why his comments bother you is probably the way forward. By labelling him a white, straight, mansplainer aren't you being a teeny bit prejudiced yourself? You don't know what conversations he has with your parents - perhaps they are nagging him to convince you that they are happy with your choice of partner?

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 10:49:05

I don't think it's even about 'accepting' and 'not accepting'.

It just is going to be hard for my dad. He grew up when (male) homosexuality was still illegal. So much has changed in his lifetime. He obviously does worry about it all. I am not suggesting that makes him a bad person, but I think my brother would like to believe no one even thinks about these things any more.

prettywhiteguitar Tue 21-Jun-16 10:50:20

Brothers are meant to be annoying ! Practically every opinion my brother has is annoying wink

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 10:50:44

liv - yes, I do know I'm lucky.

But no, definitely not being prejudiced or 'labelling' him - he really is white and straight. I am absolutely sure about that. And I'm not saying he is a mansplainer - as I say, he's generally very keen to show he's very liberal and tolerant. But in this case, I don't think he realises he is actually mansplaining a bit.

I do suspect my parents are on at him about it, though, you're right!

RobinsAreTerritorialFuckers Tue 21-Jun-16 10:51:05

grin Yes, you're right there pretty.

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