Feminist concept: a man explaining something to a woman unasked and in a condescending manner

Mansplaining is a pejorative term meaning "(of a man) to comment on or explain something to a woman in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner".

Quotes edit

  • One evening over dinner in March 2008, I began to joke, as I often had before, about writing an essay called "Men Explain Things to Me." … I wrote it in one sitting early the next morning. … It's circulated like nothing else I've done. … A website named "Academic Men Explain Things to Me" arose, and hundreds of university women shared their stories of being patronized, belittled, talked over, and more. The term "mansplaining" was coined soon after the piece appeared, and I was sometimes credited with it. In fact, I had nothing to do with its actual creation, though my essay, along with all the men who embodied the idea, apparently inspired it. … By 2012, the term "mansplained"—one of the New York Times's words of the year for 2010—was being used in mainstream political journalism.
  • Slick: There's nothing wrong with admiring the female form …
    Xanthe: No mansplaining.
    Slick: "Mansplaining"?
    Xanthe: You are awash in male privilege and heteronormative assumptions about gender performativity.
    Slick: Hetero what?
    Xanthe: Heteronormative assumptions about gender performativity.
    Slick: In English, please?
  • The commonly cited birthday of the idea is 2008. That year, a portion of an essay by Rebecca Solnit, called "Men Explain Things To Me", appeared in the Los Angeles Times. Solnit didn't use the word "mansplain"; she merely, well, explained it, describing the time a man explained a book to her without acknowledging that she herself wrote it. (This August, she wrote that the men-explaining-things essay has been one of the most reposted pieces she's ever done.) According to Know Your Meme, the word first showed up online about a month after the LA Times piece, in the comments section on a LiveJournal community.
"[Classmates] was two students visiting, talking … implying nothing beyond that." (Paul Tadlock, Women in the World interview)
  • Katy Gallagher: I love the mansplaining. I am enjoying it.
    Mitch Fifield: You are loving what?
    Katy Gallagher: The mansplaining that is going on. …
    Mitch Fifield: What is "mansplaining", Senator?
    Katy Gallagher: Well, it is the slightly patronizing and condescending way that you are responding to my questions.
    Mitch Fifield: Well, I would suggest, Senator, that if you are putting the word "man" in front of some description of what I am doing, you are doing that which I am sure you are very much against, which is making a sexist implication about how I am conducting my role as a man. … Imagine the reactions, Senator, if I said you were "womansplaining". … I mean, I just find it extraordinary, Senator—I just find it extraordinary—that you or any Senator at this table would seek to invoke gender in impugning how a Senator is responding.
  • Russell: The Chinese have had a bug up their ass about the Dalai Lama since the 1950s, when they first drove him from his spiritual seat in Tibet. To them, he's a font of separatist rhetoric, hell-bent on breaking away from China, so it is indeed delicate.
    Elizabeth: [laughing incredulously] Are you really mansplaining Tibetan history to me?
  • It isn't that mansplaining doesn't still occur, rampantly. It's that the term has been thinned and flattened into political doublespeak, with alarming repercussions.
    • Bridget Read[2]
  • Society doesn't have a general widespread assumption that men are not experts in their field (though it does happen in some specific areas such as childcare), and so women by definition cannot engage in mansplaining. It's a bit like picking on someone smaller than you: if you're smaller than the other person, you cannot be described as picking on someone smaller than you.
  • Mansplaining is an everyday reality ... Celebrities do it. Friends and family do it. Even world leaders like Jeremy Corbyn and Tayyip Erdogan do it.
    • Natasha Uderani[3]
  • Men have been doing this for so long and so frequently that we even had to create a word for it—Mansplaining. It's when a man thinks that the sheer force of being a man trumps the expertise that the other gender might hold.
    • Natasha Uderani[4]
  • Granted that we live in a world where societal and cultural discrimination make a man's voice powerful than a woman's but isn't it time that men stop mansplaining women empowerment? Isn't it time that men stop mansplaining altogether?
    • Natasha Uderani[5]
  • Mansplaining is a condescending, arrogant, and entitled expression of privilege. I’ve also seen white people acting out the same behaviors you describe to people of color, ... 'Splaining of all sorts is often done by people who expect to be recognized for sharing their opinions. People who have historically not been heard bear the brunt of being 'splained to by people who are used to holding privilege and doing all of the 'splaining. Workspaces that allow people to 'splain to other people—mansplaining or otherwise—prioritize some people's experience over others' and allow for people to systematically go unheard.
    • Jennifer Mizgata[6]
  • Mansplaining encapsulates the sexist, condescending tendency men can exhibit in classrooms, at work, and in casual conversation to assume that they know more about a topic than a woman, no matter what it is or what her credentials are.
    • Bridget Read[7]
  • As there are more women joining us at the table, people have reactions. When mansplaining happens, women bristle, and men notice that.
  • While mansplaining can be frustrating to witness, it's not always helpful to call people out. ... Focus on how you're feeling about his behavior, don't attack him. ... Personally, you can draw a line about what's okay and not okay when you talk with him ... some men who mansplain are likely to think women are "ganging up on them" for anything, and they may see women as confrontational or in conflict just for asserting their right to be heard ... any man with that response is not going to be one of your allies as you work to build a better environment.
    • Jennifer Mizgata[9]
  • ... In case you needed it mansplained ... I should've stuck to ballet ...
  • Across social media, women have been encouraged to ask the men in their life how often they think about the Roman empire and to record the answer. To their surprise (recounted in videos posted all over TikTok, Instagram, and more), many men purport to think about the Roman empire quite a bit. … Presumably some of this is performative, an attempt to project oneself as the sort of history bro who can mansplain Catullus.

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