Monday, November 19, 2012

Mandi Mansplains It All


Mansplaining:  The tendency of some men to mistakenly believe that they automatically know more about any given topic than does a woman and who, consequently, proceed to explain to her- correctly or not- things that she already knows.
Woman A: When he started mansplaining to me what it really meant to be a woman in the 21st century, I got up and left.

Woman B: Really, what else could you do?
                -Urban Dictionary

What woman hasn't had something carefully mansplained to her at some time or other?  Whether it's being told about how cramps aren't real, or a neurologist that has a man with no medical background explain what a neurotransmitter is to her, or being the author of a book, while having a man lecture you about the contents of the book...that you wrote.  Mansplaining is a subset of that patronizing butthead that we all know and love so well, distinguishable only in that the mansplainer feels that he knows more on the subject, is the natural authority, or is more "neutral" on the subject because he is a man, or because the subject is women's issues.  Extra points if the mansplainer wants to instruct women on how to feel about subject matter he himself will never have to directly deal with. 

This was the year that mansplaining failed, in a big, public, messy way for the Republican Party.  First there was Todd Akin, who helpfully mansplained that women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape."  The furor was instant, and the Republican Party was forced to abandon helping Akin acquire a Senate seat seat they desperately need if they wanted to gain control of the Senate.  Akin went from leading his opponent Claire Mccaskill, to losing by over 15 points.

Not yet having learned from the example of Akin, another Senate hopeful, Richard Mourdock thoughtfully told women during a debate this: 
"I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Mourdock's "God intends rape" remarks cost the GOP a Senate seat they had held since 1976.  While once again, Republicans tried to run away from such remarks, it was tied like an albatross around their necks.

Which is hardly surprising, since Mitt Romney and the man he picked to be his vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, have had quite a history of mansplaining themselves.  Whether it was calling women's issues and equal pay concerns "small issues that the voters aren't concerned about", or trying to restrict the definition of rape (with Todd Akin no less) as only "forcible rape", while refusing to define exactly what that would entail, the Republican party has become inextricably linked to being the party of the mansplainer.

After the election, the mansplaining still doesn't stop.  Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson helpfully states that he will help Senator-Elect Tammy Duckworth understand the federal budget, despite the fact that she double majored in math and political science, and served on the budget committe in the House for six years before being elected senator.

Yet the Republican Party seriously wonders why there was an 18 point gender gap in the 2012 election, much bigger than the 12 point gender gap from 2008.  I'm sure someone from the party will mansplain it to me, sooner or later.


  1. LOL. I love the pic saying "now I know what oppression feels like."


      Not sure if you've seen this but I think it applies...

  2. Ohhh, mansplaining. I've been getting a lot of that lately; really pisses me off (but that's just the hormones talking, I'm sure).

    1. You are so *emotional* beadgirl! ;p

    2. Watch T's link above. And yeah, we're all just a little too emotional, here. ;-)

  3. This will make me lose cool points,* but the skit reminded me of an Everybody Loves Raymond episode about Debra's crazy hormones and Ray's condescension and cluelessness.

    *Who am I kidding? I've never been cool.