Mansplaining: Something Every Woman Knows

Dr. Adam Tabriz

A Workplace Enigma, Bigoted Behavior, New Age Political Weapon and Absolutist agent of Tomorrow
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

From the time of human evolution till today, there has been a constant display of efforts to equalize the gender role. Today, the conflict between male and female gender roles is even more riddled with the horde of stigma. Battle of the genders embraces a range of behaviors and attitudes that are commonly painstaking proper, acceptable or desirable for a person based on that person’s biological or perceived self. Generally speaking, gender roles usually focus on conceptualizing masculinity and femininity, with some exceptions and variations.

Every individual cultural and hereditary background influences that person’s attitude towards the opposite gender. That does not necessarily pertain to particular human rights issues such as the right to seek education or vote. Instead pertains to the cultural and social norms. It is the verbal or body language that is perceived as appropriate by the member of the opposite sex within the given culture.

The mannerism towards the opposite gender is vast, and all depend on the individual perception at a specific circumstance. One of the most recently encountered of such manners is the issue of “Mansplaining.”

Mansplaining is new and, on the accession

According to Wikipedia, the term mansplaining is based on the inspirational essay written by Rebecca Solnit and published on on 13 April 2008. The essay’s title was “Men Explain Things to Me: Facts Didn’t Get in Their Way.”

In the essay, Solnit told an incident about a man at a party who told her he was aware that she had written a book. However, once Solint opens up to talk about her recent publication on Eadweard Muybridge, the man cut her off and asked if she was aware of a critical Muybridge book that came out that year. Ironically, the man did not consider that it might be Solnit who may have written that book.

Although reportedly, Solnit did not refer to the man’s action with the term “mansplaining” in her essay, she described the phenomenon as “something every woman knows.”

Mansplaining is a new term used to describe the derogatory nature of explaining something to a woman. Mansplaining is usually perceived as impudent, patronizing, and frequently inaccurate or simplistic demeanor.

Today, more and more people in the workplace throughout the United States are affected by mansplaining. Although there are undoubted, many cases that men do, indeed, communicate in a derogatory manner with their coworkers. Still, we cannot exclude the fact that the people can also be the subject of misperception, simply because they may be from diverse cultural backgrounds. For instance, a recent writeup in the KevinMd author describes how one of his colleagues reached out to him with the concern that a gender war may have been unraveling in his work environment. And that the cultural tensions about gender equity are polluting the previously harmonious social environment, particularly among male and female pros on his team. The author pointed out that many female physicians use the term “mansplaining” in a manner that he described as untrue.

The standard Solution to a controversial Problem

Mansplaining is a complex issue because not many people are aware of its source and even existence. According to Janice Gassam Asare in forces magazine, men are often completely oblivious that they may be engaging in what is perceived as mansplaining. She points out that one way to overcome the issue and prevent misunderstanding is by reducing mansplaining behavior by listening more and speaking less. A good practice to engage in is not offering advice, opinions, and commentary about a subject unless specifically asked. But yet still, where is the line to draw not to be perceived as ignorant or passive?

Mansplaining accusations are on the rise!

According to the New York Times, the average woman gets mansplained six times a week at work, And three out of five women think men don’t even comprehend they’re explaining information women already knew.

Two in five women have experienced that their male colleagues “came on too strong” at some point in their career.

Some people advocate for introducing new vocabularies such as mansplaining for referring to previously unnamed sexist conduct. They would doubtless permit individuals to start complicating sexism, thus empowering women to speak against male chauvinism.

How about Womansplaining?

In the 21st century, amidst the battle of the genders in sundry cultures, some men are familiar with a few women’s inclinations to mistakenly accept as accurate that they automatically know more about any given topic than a man. And that they consequently proceed to explain to them (correctly or not) things that the man already knows.

The man:

“when she started “womansplaining” to me, I realized what it meant to be a man in the 21st century,”
Sound familiar?

Of course, this Womansplaining is just like its opposite rival; the mansplaining does not happen in all cultures and communities. But it is a phenomenon that did not exist in the past vocabularies.

The patronization of sexes goes both ways; at least, the author in Hoff post describes. Many men take over tons of tasks from the wife. In some cultures, on domestic matters, women assume men are helpless and must be told what to do, and they are always wrong even if they are right.

The possible root of Gender Consciousness

A survey performed in the 1970s and published by Patricia Gurin Oxford University Press in 1985 suggested that women’s gender consciousness did not become prevalent until 1972. After that, the surge of gender consciousness became particularly pronounced concerning the women’s perception of discontent about the comparable political power of men and women and their views about the legitimacy of gender incongruities. The study also suggested that the women’s gender consciousness then was comparatively weak across the board.

One more study proposed that well-educated people tend to be less favorable toward reducing gender inequality than less well-educated people. That was mainly spotted in countries Germany, Britain, and Austria. So, Women with employed husbands are less supportive of efforts to reduce gender inequality than women without a male wage earner. It was also found that U.S. women are unique in diverse regards, including a constructive impact of staff contribution on reducing gender discrimination.

Although the described studies are relatively old and indeed there are significant cultural and social shifts globally, however, one thing is worth noting:

“The influence of cultural norms in the responsiveness of genders towards the opposite counterpart.”

Therefore, it is justified to assume that if the cultural attributes were valid then, so should be accurate to phenomena like Mansplaining and Womansplaining.

Gender awareness raising aims at increasing general sensitivity, understanding, and knowledge about gender inequality

Gender awareness is on the rise. That facilitates the exchange of ideas, improves mutual understanding, and develops competencies and skills necessary for societal change. But on the downside radicalizes gender roles and society in general. Establishing awareness means providing reliable and accessible information to understand better gender equality as a core value of democratic institutions. But the “gender-mainstreaming” by integrating a gender perspective into every bureaucratic measure will have a devastating outcome for society in general.

The Weaponization of Mansplaining

Until recently, mansplaining was nothing short of an issue between a man and a woman within their personal space. But today, mansplaining has turned into a weapon, particularly on the political stage.

As Bridget Read, the author states in “The Cut”:

“As it’s become a household phrase on the internet in the last few years, mansplaining has been used to characterize an ever-growing variety of unpleasant or uncomfortable interactions between a man and a woman, even those that aren’t marked by sexist aggression.”

Today the accusation of mansplaining can be found on numerous occasions and used in a much broader sense than just a feminist goal.

Read mentions Joni Ernst’s (Sexual assault Survivor) fraudulent use of mansplaining to criticize Sen. Chuck Schumer and defend her version of The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). She also points out the upside-down in the world we live on the opposite end of the spectrum, a far-right journalist like the Washington Free Beacon, which gave out the misleading story that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s lie about facing pregnancy discrimination, claimed being mansplained. Or Sen. Cory Booker is accused of mansplaining to former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirsten Nielsen, who notoriously enforced Trump’s disastrous family separation policy at the border, during her congressional hearing.

The Upshot: Gender Mainstreaming and Manterrupting and Womansplaining

Mainstreaming is a pluralistic strategy to “supposedly” respect diversity among people of different genders. The public policy theory calls for continual evaluation of various implications for people of “diverse genders” for any proposed policy action, including legislation and programs, in all areas and levels.

The irony of gender mainstreaming is that it is the byproduct of gender consciousness and probably behaviors like mansplaining. Yet, it is expected to solve the polarity by creating more gender consciousness and polarization by taking the pluralistic approach!

It is the prevailing notion that gender mainstreaming calls for five principles:

  1. Gender-sensitive language
  2. Gender-specific data collection and analysis
  3. Equal access to services utility
  4. Equal women and men participate in the decision-making process
  5. The equal treatment being integrated into all routine processes
Well, don’t these rules apply to every individual irrespective of the profile to which they belong?

The idea that everyone should have the same liberty is across the board, nonetheless clustering such rights specific to the profile will always have a counter-reaction. For instance, as opposed to mansplaining, womansplaining will be prohibited too.

One may argue that it is okay to integrate the womansplaing concern in day-to-day public policies. But then again, where do we draw the line?

Each time we create a group and assign a right to them?

Wouldn’t that excruciate the already unhealthy environment of the “battle of the Genders”?

Indeed, it seems like our policies are uniting the same genders and exaggerating their contrast.

“Manterrupt” and “Bropropriate” are other recently added terms to the phrases. They describe an unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man, often in the workplace. The concluding denotes the thieving of a woman’s ideas and taking credit for them.

Although there are many instances where women are discriminated against at work, some female employees also sensed they were being held back by hostile office policies that made manterrupt compulsory- Based on a report. Female employees argued that it risks trivializing the problem and undermines feminism’s message of equality. Hence, such policies serve to polarize people rather than unite them against gender-based social discrepancies.

Entitlement and Discrimination are still significant problems. But Biased is still Biased irrespective of their Gender Identity

Gender rights are individual right, as everyone irrespective of the title of their body or the profile they fit in within a society deserve the same opportunity. Policies, programs, projects, and services that respond to the distinct collective needs of women or men will only complicate the age-old problem. Because it will invite absolutism like; “Never speak when a woman is speaking because she is a woman.”

It integrates gender essentialism into the work environment by introducing the idea that specific physical, social and cultural characters are inborn to a particular gender. Furthermore, it will introduce a strong sense of stigma to the community of colleagues amongst whom there should be an increased sense of free flow collaboration.

The more we twist words, create fictitious profiles that distinguish between men and women, the more we generate polarity amongst us, thus fighting abreast of our conviction that individuals irrespective of gender are created equal and merit equal reverence.

Comments / 42

Published by

Adam Tabriz is a Physician, Writer, Entrepreneur, and public health policy, expert. He is an advocate for Personal liberty. The combination of his experience and expertise underlines his passion for advocating true “Personalized Healthcare” and “Healthcare without Borders.” His favorite slogan is: “Peace of mind would come to all people through the universal respect for the basic human rights of everyone”

San Francisco, CA

More from Dr. Adam Tabriz

Comments / 0