How often have you been in a situation where the person you’re having a conversation with is interrupting you while you’re trying to communicate something to him or her to give you an explanation you didn’t ask for? In how many of these cases was the person who provided the explanation male? If the situation seems familiar to you, then surely you have faced the phenomenon of “mansplaining”.
WHAT IS “MANSPLAINING” AND HOW WE RECOGNIZE IT IN EVERYDAY LIFE.
The term “mansplaining” was first described in one of the writings of author and activist Rebecca Solnit. Her experiences with feminism and sexism have become a major inspiration for women around the world. In the book “Men Explain Things to Me”, published in 2008, the idea of “mansplaining” was first formulated. The book is a manifesto of the difficulties of communication caused by gender inequality and the misperception of women as “less expert” in mastering certain conversational topics. Thus, Rebecca Solnit describes the need of men to express their opinions and ideas, assuming from the beginning that they have more information, and the female person does not know them and needs them.
In Romanian, the word has no exact equivalent, the closest term being “masculine explanation”. However, we find more explanations in English.
Therefore, the term “mansplaining” refers to the act of explaining a subject to a person without taking into account the fact that the person being offered the explanation may know more details about that subject and did not need an explanation. Often, the situation is created by males, hence the term “mansplaining” (“man” – male + “explaining” – explanation). Although the word is relatively new, the idea has been known to us for decades and is encountered by many women in everyday life.
HOW TO IDENTIFY “MANSPLAINING”
Mansplainning-ul poate avea loc oricând și oriunde, cel mai frecveMansplainning can take place anytime, anywhere, most commonly at work. Studies show that in conferences, meetings, or other work-related circumstances / events, men talk more than women.
Mansplaining begins, in most cases, with the interruption of the interlocutor. In an act of mansplaining, a man assumes that he is much more in control of a subject than the person of the opposite sex with whom he converses, intervening in conversation with phrases such as “It’s not really like that”, “Let me tell you I explain how it works… ”,“ You don’t know that… ”etc., followed by an explanatory monologue.
It is important to note that not every situation in which the interlocutor is offered additional explanations is associated with mansplaining. For example, we cannot talk about mansplaining if the explanation is necessary and required.
This phenomenon can be encountered more or less often depending on the culture and education, even income. Some countries often face sexism in very serious ways, while others strive to eradicate gender inequality and educate citizens. In many cases, the interlocutor may even be a better expert in the field or have more experience and also be male; thus we must not consider any interruption of the conversation “mansplaining”, but it can only be the lack of good manners.
WHAT IS BEHIND THIS PHENOMENON
Words such as patriarchy, masculine superiority, underestimation and even arrogance often appear as synonyms for mansplaining. In most cases, mansplaining is closely linked to sexism, promoting the idea of female inferiority. Thus, the phenomenon manifests feelings of self-censorship, lack of value and inferiority in the case of women, contributing to the sharpening of gender inequality.
According to statistics, 80% among women reported experiencing the phenomenon of “mansplaining” and “tenerrupting” (men constantly interrupting women who present a subject to others) at work. In particular, when a female person works in a male-dominated field, the phenomenon intensifies and the woman is generally seen as having less expertise (imagine a woman working in the automotive industry).
HOW WE RESPOND TO THE PHENOMENON OF MANSPLAINING
Although it can often be extremely annoying when a person interrupts us while trying to tell us something or express our personal opinion, it is very important to keep calm and explain to the other person that it is not okay to interrupt us. that he can express his idea after we finish it. We need to maintain our position and demand equality in a conversation for both participants, to draw attention to these facts, to raise awareness and reduce them.
Regardless of gender, we must support our opinions when we have arguments, and respect the expertise and opinion of the person speaking. Communication is the basis of modern society, it helps us to express ourselves, to assert ourselves and to overcome difficulties. Each person has the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of expression.
Article by Dana Rusu