The Insufferablegettes

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The Insufferablegettes



I mostly dearly appreciate reader feedback, as about seven out of 10 times it seems to indicate “reader,” and some were very genial about their criticism. But the number of people willing to die on this Dickensian Goose Hill – and the bodies really did pile up – was striking.....

As late as this week, the goose-truthers, all with distinctly masculine names, were still e-mailing. And it struck me that what I was witnessing was something that has recently come to be known as “mansplaining,” a word coined to describe the habit some men have of patronizingly “explaining” things to women that the women already know.




I’ve always thought we didn’t need this (ugly) word, “mansplaining,” when we already had the all-purpose, non-gendered, “Yes, I know that.” I’ve contended that any woman who thinks men have a monopoly on dispensing condescending, unsolicited, poor advice should take a baby to the park for an afternoon – meet “momsplaining.”

My main argument has been that “mansplaining” is speaking with authority, something boys are conditioned to do, and men are commended for doing, and that girls and women are mostly not. Mansplaining is essentially the opposite of “upspeak” – the habit, largely attributed to women, of ending sentences on a rising note, often interpreted as questioning.

Mansplaining is far better emulated than mocked, I’ve insisted.

Sure, but mansplaining is not just splainin' things that women already know, but sometimes also:

  • things that women don't need to know (because they're irrelevant to the topic at hand)
  • things that the 'splainer thinks women should know
  • things that serve to reinsert men, or a consideration of men, into the equation or discussion