The Phenomena Of Men Explaining Things
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Politics and Activism

The Phenomena Of Men Explaining Things

Commonly referred to as ‘mansplaining,’ it’s not an oddity or a rarity.

The Phenomena Of Men Explaining Things
Kaye Blegvad

Have you ever been sitting at a lunch table with a group of friends or been in a class where there’s a male counterpart talking incessantly? Maybe you have a thought, try to jump in, but you are overshadowed and unsuccessful?

Or maybe you are trying to have a discussion, yet you find a man talking over you, telling you you're wrong, or beginning to explain something to you that you already knew?

This isn’t a rarity, it is referred to as “mansplaining,” and can be applied to various situations.

Rebecca Solnit in Men Explain Things to Me treats this issue lightly, but quickly diverges into its significance. Men explaining things evolves into an institutional practice where women’s voices aren’t heard. The mansplaining not only ceases at overshadowing, but can become patronizing and condescending. Some mansplainers will actually begin to explain something about yourself that you, clearly, already know, or will explain to you why your opinion is wrong.

Some men seem to think they’re able to use their privilege to overpower and dominate certain aspects of their life, including conversation. To add to this, women are often raised to be submissive and passive to male arrogance and dominance in our society.

Solnit, in her book, recalls a humorous incident where a man asked her about her work as an author "in the way you encourage your friend’s seven-year-old to describe flute practice.” She briefly mentioned her latest book, and he immediately rambled about the topic, telling her all about what he knew about this very important book that came out that she should know about. Her friend interjected multiple times to remind him that Solnit wrote the book — but he kept talking, still not listening. Once it had finally registered with him that Solnit wrote the book, it turned out he didn’t even read it. He just had seen an article about it online.

Maybe some of you are thinking, “But this is bogus! Women can dominate conversation too!” Maybe, but it’s not the same. Men are more privileged in our society, hold more power, and tend to dominate through some ‘given’ right to authority (in which most men do hold authoritative and power driven occupations). By making a woman feel small in an aspect of life as little as conversation, who is to say this patronizing behavior ceases there? I would argue that it escalates to not believing women who claim abuse or sexual assault, where patriarchal courts tell a woman if their case has legitimacy, and whether or not what they claim actually happened to them.

It is important to be conscious about men explaining things, as it arises out of a privileged, indoctrinated arrogance which leads to violence against women and systems that decide whether or not a violation of a woman’s human rights was in fact true.

For a humorous sketch: Party Over Here's Sketch Tells Men Exactly What to Do With Their Mansplaining

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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