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"Mansplaining" Explained

"Mansplaining" isn't sexist.


I'm painfully tired of this lie.


This week, I was collecting some information on a story about how Amy Klobuchar had gotten a "civics lesson" from Ben Sasse as he followed up her opening comments to the Amy Coney Barrett hearings, and I realized with a laugh a little way into the Twitter outrage that I hadn't even thought of the fact that Klobuchar was a woman and Sasse was a man when I first came across this story.


I mean, I don't know, here I am, a modern, millennial woman, reading an article about a politician's response to another politician's rhetoric.


Why would I think about their respective genders?


You can either have it one of two way—either it’s condescending for a man to explain something to a woman because he’s intellectually superior to her, or men and women are equal and when someone condescendingly explains something it's simply because they're, well, being condescending.


Men and women are both perfectly capable of lecturing or talking down to one another and in 2020 in America, it happens all the time. What woman in leadership needs to be treated like a wilting violent because a man explained something to her? As if she were another man?


Isn’t that what she wanted?


"Mansplaining" isn't any more a thing than the way some men talk sometimes, which they do to each other, as a matter of fact.


The book You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men In Conversation by Deborah Tannen (affiliate link, it helps out the site if you’re thinking of getting it) gives a fascinating look into the way men and women dialogue. She details how men tend to speak to each other in an "asymmetrical" fashion, meaning at least one of them is always vying for the dominant position in a conversation. Meanwhile, women tend to dialogue in a more "symmetrical" fashion, seeking common ground and feeling connected rather than one dominating the other.


So, if men "mansplain" to men, how can it possibly be sexist when they do the same thing to a woman? Isn't an indication that they view the woman—this case, Amy Klobuchar—as their equal?


Sasse could have easily made the exact same comments to a male colleague and no one would have batted an eye.


It's almost as if...it's sexist to call it mansplaining!


Imagine that.





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