Why feminists make up words like “mansplaining” and why I’m co-opting the term

heshould

For my first post, I thought it best to detail the manipulative reasons feminists love creating phrases like “mansplaining” and why I refuse to let accusations of being a mansplainer deter me from joining in on discussions about cultural and social issues. In fact, when a feminist shrieks “mansplaining!” at me, I take it as confirmation that I’ve put them on the defensive; they can’t refute any of the points I’ve made or tough questions I’ve asked. Acting like they’re “above” talking to any man who remains uncowed by feminist nonsense is a handy way for these SJWs to distract from their inability to provide sufficient responses to any arguments that run counter to their own views. Suddenly, the conversation isn’t about what’s being said, it’s about who is saying it. Ideas put forth by women are treated as if they automatically contain more veracity than anything said by a man. Ideas put forth by women of color naturally boast even more veracity than ideas held by white women. If you happen to be a lesbian woman of color, you can basically tell everyone else on the planet they’re not allowed to talk about anything. And so it goes, deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of identity politics that feminism would be absolutely lost without.

Men of every color, sexual orientation and background are getting fed up with being treated as if our only choices are to either agree with women or be cut out of every conversation. Many women who care about real social justice and aren’t willing to let feminism indoctrinate them are right there with us. When a woman says anything in defense of the basic rights of men, feminists show up so quickly to call her a fat, ugly, gender traitor that I’ve sometimes wondered if they teleported in from a spaceship hovering above the earth, scanning the planet for any sign that women might be thinking of men as human beings. But what happens to men who dare to speak up in defense of our own rights and relate our own experiences with feminist oppression is even more absurd: we get accused by feminists of mansplaining about what it’s like to be a man. Feminist women don’t simply tend to think they know more about oppression and sexism than men do, they think they know more about masculinity, manhood and what everyday situations men do or don’t face. Men are not welcome in discussions of our own behavior. Men are called misogynists for correcting women’s misconceptions about men. Any suggestion that women might not be the ultimate authorities on the male human experience is treated as oppression of women. All of which is, of course, one big reason terms like “mansplaining” catch on so quickly with feminists. Though some are doubtlessly ignorant or naive about what they’re doing, most feminists know full well that “mansplaining” is a bigoted word, misandrous to its very core. The word was created and continues to be popularized for the clear and certain purpose of suggesting that men should be ashamed merely for explaining our positions on the issues of the day. Our experiences as men are treated as invalid; something we shouldn’t allow to have any part in forming our beliefs or world view.

An inversion of identity politics comes into play here in which certain types of men are supposed to feel even more guilt than other types merely for elaborating on our views. No man should be correcting a woman under any circumstances, no matter how inaccurate she may be about something, but if you’re a white man, you deserve a double dose of ridicule and punishment. If you’re a heterosexual man, forming your own opinions is part of rape culture. However, even if you’re a gay man, you’re fully expected to sit there silently while predominantly heterosexual feminists tell you that you can’t possibly know a single thing about oppression or feeling unsafe on the street, despite the fact that gay men are far more oppressed than straight women are and face at least as much risk of being attacked when out in public, unless we can successfully do something we shouldn’t have to, and hide our true sexual identity. Furthermore, men in general are victimized by street violence more often than women.

Gay men such as myself pose a unique problem for feminism. Feminists try their damndest to proliferate the notion that women cannot be oppressors of men, yet that thoroughly silly argument falls apart when people consider the large numbers of women who have protested and voted against equal civil rights for homosexuals. Or the large number of mothers who have disowned their gay sons when they came out of the closet. Or the fact that feminism has a history of derailing events aimed at advocacy for gay men, and even putting forth the idea that gay male relationships aren’t actually about any real love between two men, but are in fact a “deeply misogynistic rejection of women.”

You read that correctly. Feminists are prone to thinking that even the dynamics of gay male relationships without any women in them aren’t really about men, but are instead all about women. Gay men are not really turned on by other men, they argue, we’re turned on by the thought that, in some nebulous way, we might be oppressing women. And while this view doesn’t seem to be as prevalent in feminism as it used to be (largely because feminists have realized that bashing gay men makes it harder to exploit us when they need our help in supporting their latest cause de jure) it does still exist. Encountering a feminist who expresses unwavering support for lesbians as well-adjusted human beings of sound mind before unironically mentioning that they suspect gay men just have “issues with women” is one of the most baffling and homophobic experiences a gay man can go through. It may be anecdotal, but the feminists I’ve met who hold such inane views have all been big fans of the term “mansplaining.”

Feminism’s history of homophobia makes it especially troubling when a heterosexual feminist makes reflexive charges of mansplaining against a homosexual man, which is why I feel like I have every right to take the term away from the feminist movement and advertise it freely as something I am not at all ashamed of doing. Congratulations, feminists, you took the words “man” and “explain” and smushed them together. Even though that’s the kind of game stoners play with their friends when they’re too blazed to move but not quite too blazed to talk, writers on the internet who had already proven they’d support anything you say lauded you for your linguistic brilliance. I honestly find the term spectacularly unclever, but it’s what you squawk at me everytime I open my mouth, even if it’s just to yawn because of how much your hypocrisy bores me, so I guess I’ll work with it.

Every man who wants to speak on any social issue must work with that word now, whether they like it or not. Because feminists will eventually proclaim every social issue exclusively as a “women’s issue” and bring accusations of mansplaining to bear on any man who speaks about it. They’ve already done it with reproductive rights, domestic violence, so-called “cat-calling”, and even, fairly recently, mass killings that claimed the lives of women and men alike. Despite the fake consternation and deflective catchprases feminists employ, there is absolutely nothing misogynistic about a man pointing out to a woman why he thinks she’s wrong about specific claims she has made. Peruse any site on the internet where “mansplaining” is bandied about; any comment section, pretty much any feminist or MRA blog, and it’s hard not to notice that in the vast majority of instances, men aren’t telling women they don’t understand something because they’re women. Nor are they usually saying that they’re not bothered by the same social problems that concern women, or that abuse or oppression of women is A-OK with them.They’re usually either saying that something the woman in question has said is demonstrably false or that the issue she’s speaking about affects men too and that we’d all be better able to solve any problems it presents if we’d acknowledge that. If all of that is far too complex for a movement like feminism, which is constantly on outrage-autopilot and leans heavily on jingoism, we can hardly be surprised. I guess feminists don’t check the likes and upvotes in comment sections, though, cos if the things that get men accused of mansplaining were really as gleefully misogynistic and condescending as they claim, they probably wouldn’t receive so much approval from women.

My advice to all men who contribute to conversations because they care about what’s happening in the world around them, or even just because some people enjoy a rousing debate, is to keep doing so without guilt or shame.You will not always be right about everything you say, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tell someone else you think they’re wrong, even if that person is a woman. As a culture, we celebrate how liberating it is for women to tell their stories and relate their experiences as women; to fight for respectful treatment and to not have their words discounted because of their gender. It’s good for all of society that we do so and anyone out there who actually does hold it against women simply that they dare to talk about whatever the hell they feel like should just go ahead and evolve already. However, there’s also something deeply wrong and harmful to society going on when that same culture tells men “Don’t celebrate the liberation of telling your stories or relate your experiences as men. Don’t fight for respectful treatment or to not have your words discounted because of your gender.”  That’s all that mansplaining really is, in the final analysis, which is why the next time a feminist replies to me with “thanks for the mansplain!” I will simply say “you’re welcome.”

(AFTERWORD: I hope you liked my first post. Either way, comments are enabled. Mansplaining, womansplaining and non-gender-binarysplaining are all perfectly welcome here, but femsplaining will not be greeted kindly.)

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4 thoughts on “Why feminists make up words like “mansplaining” and why I’m co-opting the term”

  1. Bravo.

    And lest we forget-there are STILL those feminists out there who say things like “gay porn is misogyny”-like those of the Sheila Jeffreys’ school of thought. Or the concept of “gay male misogyny” which, in essence, is based on a theory because gay bars-which were-and is many places still ARE-safe spaces for gay MEN-are not “sufficiently welcoming to women”

    And personally I believe instead of mansplaining these things to feminists who think they have a right to speak for me-I shall now try “gaysplaining” it to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great first post! Even in accepting that everything exists on a spectrum, I’ve not had the privilege to encounter the circles of feminism that you have. I’ll be sure to shake them down for you–if I can.

    I hold tightly to the belief that any strongly held convictions that cannot be spoken of in a rational conversation are beliefs best not talked about.

    Good luck on your future posts.

    Like

  3. I loved everything about this post, I just wanted to add that “check your privilege” has the same feel to it. Until recently I identified as straight. I’m white. I’m male. Damn near every time I opened my mouth, or tried to post online, I was told to check my privilege. All it does is shut me down based on characteristics that I can’t change. It tells me that my opinion isn’t valid because of how I was born, like that matters. It’s infuriating, and I’m glad to see other people starting to speak up about how that’s nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

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