Mansplaining – a uniquely postmodernist concept
Quillette writer Michael Aaron discusses the importance of understanding that the left/right political dichotomy no longer applies, and that there are now three distinct political viewpoints: postmodern, modern, and traditional.
His explanation of the postmodernist term ‘mansplaining’ might offer some clues as to why our efforts to communicate the issues men face have largely been unsuccessful.
Such contemporary terminology as ‘mansplaining’, for example, which refers to when a man overly assertively explains something to a woman, is a uniquely postmodernist concept. In this dynamic, seen through a postmodernist lens, the interaction between the man and woman represents a power struggle between historically empowered and disempowered groups, divided by gender. The man displays his privilege through his verbal assertions. The validity or usefulness of his content is irrelevant; this interaction calls for real-time equity that can only be established by calling attention to the man’s utilization of unearned privilege manifested through his forceful, perhaps even “violent” rhetoric. A woman could not possibly be guilty of something similar since she does not possess historical power. A modernist, on the other hand, would likely see this interaction on a case-by-case basis, preferring to see both individuals as possessing self-agency rather than guided by unseen power dynamics, like puppets pulled on invisible strings. If the man was indeed overly dominant in his delivery, he would receive appropriate feedback and both people would move on with their lives, rather than seeing this interaction as a revolutionary feminist moment.
Full article: Evergreen State and the Battle for Modernity
God forbid the road to hell is pathed with a single adjective and the mansplainial stupidity of the doffing fool.
Thanks for the post John. I suggest that the linked Quillette article should be required reading for anyone who wishes to resist or overturn the harms being caused to men by contemporary feminism. The feminist academy have taken to postmodernism like a duck to water and postmodernist related approaches pervade 3rd wave feminism.
Postmodernism essentially holds that the narrative of a powerful or influential group is not necessarily correct and conversely that the narrative of a weak or marginalised group is not necessarily wrong. This (in my opinion reasonable) position has then been twisted to state (in my opinion completely unreasonably) that no narrative is any better or worse than any other narrative. Grievance academics (such as feminists) have twisted this further to posit that that narrative of those deemed to be from an oppressor class is to be disregarded and the narrative of those deemed to be oppressed is to be revered.
To try to relate then with someone steeped in these perversions of postmodernism is like trying to relate with an alien being. You and them are speaking completely foreign languages. As a modernist you will (hopefully) be seeking “the” truth. They will (at best) smile benevolently and acknowledge you having “your” truth. They will of course have “their” truth that owing to their oppressed status as women will inherently have more credence than “your” truth as a man.
It is important therefore not to be dragged into an argument that is impossible to win.
~ Never admit to having “your” truth.
~ In lieu you can admit to having your experiences or perceptions.
~ Don’t accept that there is any such thing as “their” truth.
~ Do accept that they have experiences or perceptions.
~ Never claim to know “the” truth – you can’t.
~ But always try to seek “the” truth as best you can.
I would further suggest that (as with most things) there is good and bad in traditional, modern and postmodern modes of thinking.
Traditional has good things like values of integrity and compassion and bad things like blind obedience to authority.
Modern has good things like keeping an open mind and bad things like a clinical belief in anything supported by “empirical data” without necessarily questioning the provenance of that data.
Postmodern has good things like not accepting beliefs foisted upon us by a powerful elite and bad things like denying any reality.
If you have an idle few hours you should read Law Commission Report 139. It’s about what the courts should do with people who murder their abusive partners. Throughout the report victims are referred to with female pronouns and perpetrators with male pronouns. The report states that men use violence to exercise power and control whereas women use violence to resist power and control. That assertion was referenced to an academic article.
I used postmodern techniques to deconstruct that report. I did not accept that a report that was published by such an esteemed organisation such as the Law Commission was necessarily correct.
Report 139 cites Quick and Wells in saying “Male killing is about power and control. Women killing abusers is about avoiding power and control…” Quick and Wells (two law professors from Bristol University) didn’t actually research that topic but made an introductory comment sort of to that effect citing Mathew Huss (A Forensic Psychologist from Creighton University) et al. Huss et al. didn’t do any such research but were citing Anne Brown. Anne Browne wrote a book about women who kill their partners but didn’t do any research into differences between men and women. Anne Brown was citing Zonkin and Durphy who in 1985 wrote a self-help book for violent men. Zonkin and Durphy didn’t research this subject either but merely stated, as a matter of personal opinion in their introductory chapter, that women use violence in self-defence.
Postmodernism challenges the narratives of the powerful. I suggest that feminists hold the power in New Zealand today and the good parts of postmodernism can be used to profoundly challenge the dominant feminist discourse.
Just one more okay?
A (in my humble opinion) fantastic quote from the Quillette Article:
“Holding on to madness is a way of forestalling dealing with the grief that comes with the realization that one’s higher purpose has been a fraud.”
Applies to us (you and me) as well eh?
“I can’t believe you kiss your car goodnight” is a line from a 1990s Shania Twain song misheard by many people outside the US as “I can’t believe you kiss your cock at night.”
The song is her version of mansplaining.
I recall musing at a much earlier conversation between a man and a woman that came to an abrupt halt when she said, “I don’t need this explained to me, I am a doctor.”
The idea that this a uniquely post-modern concept is a load of rubbish written by a dipstick falling over himself to join the Feminist conversation. Like Feminism the condition existed long before it acquired a name, and it’s not hard to understand how that came about.
So let’s start with a false belief and just keep adding to it and see where we end up.
Most people have better things to do.
There is no logical link between the words of Shania Twain’s song and the conclusion that it was a version of mansplaining as commonly understood.
The anecdote cited does not appear to have a reasoned relationship with postmodernism.
It was never suggested that that the issues cited at 5 above are postmodern, let along uniquely postmodern and thus the conclusion that this is a load of rubbish cannot follow.
Calling the author a “dipstick” does nothing to advance the conversation but rather suggests a deficit of reasoned argument compensated for by name-calling.
It seems fairly self-evident that the author is robustly challenging feminist postmodernism rather than “falling over himself” to join any conversation.
Individuals no doubt make their own assessments on the value of the things they do. If men on this site wish to save other men from harms caused by the excesses of feminism, then making some attempt at understanding the philosophical weaponry used in this war on men, will equip them well in fighting back. Each to their own – but for me gaining a rudimentary understanding of postmodernism is a valuable use of my time to the end of saving men from harm.
I am quite sure it would be a little beneath Zeus and Mnemosyne to roll on the floor laughing but they are no doubt looking at each other and raising their eyebrows.
Shania Twain correctly understands the issue as one of communication and not power.
That communication is inherent in all history and its form both evolves and takes different forms.
The post-modern issue is that mansplaining is a Feminist Political assault on communication through the creation of a word that can be conceptualized and personified and used as a weaponsied attack on male communication and the male voice.
This has many effects not the least of which is disabling the interaction between grandparents and grandchildren or in the broader sense of community the wisdom of the older generation.
I can not see any good part here though from post modernism…
quote; Postmodern has good things like not accepting beliefs foisted upon us by a powerful elite and bad things like denying any reality.;quote.
@7 Hi Evan. I looked up the mythical Greek god’s that you referenced, but I still don’t understand your posting. Could you please explain it to me?
@9 Hi Mama. I’m suggesting that the good part of postmodernism is a refusal to accept what we are told simply of the basis of the power or influence of the speaker or the group that the speaker belongs to. For example UN Women make many claims about the plight of women, but a postmodern approach refuses to say “Well the UN said that, so that must be right!”
In literature particularly in the transition to written works they are the parents of Mousai the source of inspiration and the guardians of knowledge.
@12. Yes I get that. But why in your opinion would they be “raising their eyebrows”?
For a little balance here is a dialogue copied from the urban dictionary:
Stating accurate, verifiable facts. Especially when these facts are inconvenient to the feminist worldview, or contradict feminist talking points.
It is often used by a feminists who makes an incorrect claim in support of their narrative, and someone responds with something refuting the feminist’s claim, which she (usually it’s a she) cannot counter.
By claiming “mansplaining,” she tries to pretend to have invalidated her opponents claim, even though she has not addressed it at all.
Feminists: Women only make 77% of what men make for exactly the same work! Oh the patriarchy.
Factual Person: No, they don’t. That statistic is just for overall median pay of full time workers, and does not account for overtime hours worked, location, experience, degree earned, or even the field someone is working in. Women make less on average because men and women make different career choices, because believe it or not, men and women are different.
Feminist: Stop mansplaining to me! Facts and logic are just oppressive constructs to keep women down!
Here is the word definition that has been included in a dictionary:
(of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.
Thank god for mansplaining, it has taught me many tips for life, all my how to’s for dyi and my ability to have gained the confidence to do things for my self. it certainly might be the case that men have got more to say, in my experience this is because they actually KNOW MORE, especially when it comes to the specifics that they know mucho of,,,then comes the real mansplaining this can be “lengthy lengthy” as they go off on their tangent, if you had the time, if I did not feel so much anxiety, If I was not so strung out, this is too much for me, I feel trapped now,,a woman might feel this way.
I see guys talkin, really talkin, they get down to the nitty gritty, and us women say “and they say women can talk”….but guys are real good at nutting things out and they see beyond where a women can see when it comes to certain subjects, and these are broad subjects..
It is an interesting thing that TALK and LISTENING are still the major tool for society, when society itself wants to STOP LISTENING and just get on, and off, communicating even more, over communicating more, until a time where they only hear what they want to hear,,,sounds like a facebook quote.
You just reminded me of something a guy said to me when I was a kid.
“People love to talk but you’ve got to listen to what you already know before they’ll tell you what you don’t know.”
I don’t know whether that is an old quote from somewhere or just an observation from a country bumpkin chewing the fat.
Haha…sounds like the man/woman divide in a quote.
mansplaining or emotional abuse
Passive aggression at its best
Man: what is mansplaining?
Woman: It’s the slightly patronizing and condescending way you are responding to my question.
Man: (smart…. right back to the issue) is that not sexism and the same thing (sexism) that which you are fighting?
(he turns it around on her and starts asking questions)
Man: are you using the term mansplaining to infer implications as to how I am conducting my role as a senator?
Woman: no I am saying the way you have been responding to me has been patronizing and condescending…
(offers justification for her sexism and charts a way for the man to apologize for his behaviour even though she is the one making sexist assertions about the man)
Woman: The easiest way to deal with that is not to mainsplain when you are responding to my question (so she is still on the offensive)
Man: The point is that you state I mansplain… Imagine if I said you were womansplaining…imagine…
(he calls out the real issue two issues
1 which is “her comment is inappropriate, unprofessional, callous and niggardly”
2 “you are using sexism to defeat a logical argument”)
Woman: That is a term which is used….
(Notice how vague…feminists hate questions and he ends every statement with a question which puts her on the spot. She cannot address his statement without first addressing the question posed and the question posed draws her in deeper water. He did a Helen Clark on her)
Man: By whom? People wishing to make gender an issue?
(He effectively names what she is doing and shames her)
She is using a gender challenge/bias/accusations to control him and he is simply labeling whatever she does and throws it back at her.
Man: Do you want to reconsider your previous statement? ( another question confronting her.)
(now she is confronted with the shame and he asks her do you not think you should apologize?)
Woman: NO… No… nO (gets entrenched but has lost the battle so she becomes emotive even more)
Man: I am not impressed at how you are creating a gender issue to impune a senator… this is extraordinary…
(he smartly jokes about it and brings in a bit of ridicule to highlight her un professional attitude and uses the audience to sideline her.)
MAn: What a fucking joke. (TAKING THE AUDIENCE AS WITNESS) She thinks it’s perfectly ok to call me mainsplaining but was I TO SAY WOMANSPLAINING THERE WOULD BE AN UPROAR.
(AUdi, I hope you are taking notes 🙂 )you can achieve miracles with jokes…
Woman: I am so sorry you are offended by the use of the word…
(she says I am sorry but then she accuses him with the same breath of being offended.
She is still trying to turn him around using the motherly attitude
“should you not say I am sorry? You have hurt my feelings by getting offended…”
A side attempt to get him now to apologize or deny that he is offended.)
(She also uses this fake apology to completely minimizes her own input and instead highlights his obvious disapproval of her and her attitude as if it was disproportionate with her input. I think half of feminism is a fear of rejection. No one wants to feel inadequate. ).
Woman: I am so surprised you are shocked by the use of the word
(notice she does not say mansplaining anymore. Now it is just a “word” commonly used with the inference that his reaction is exagerated and utterly unreasonable for such a common word).
(I guess her real message is
“if you did not live under a rock, you would know what I mean and you would have no issue with it or have no reason to get offended by it.”)
Man: I find it hypocritical…
(great!!! no justification from his end. this is where most men loose.
But he instead just keeps naming it as it is)
Maybe MoMa should take notes too about conversations between men and women.
He thought he was being fair, professional. logical and human.
She felt abused, distressed, undermined, disrespected and worse made to feel like a fool.
And yet, she was the one making accusations!!!!! maybe someone can womansplain that to me one day?
you could tell though how aroused she was by this exchange
Finally met a man able to sit on his own two butt cheeks and make her twist and turn like a leaf in the wind.
Maybe that is why parliament is such a bordello? All this argumentation augments their libido?
If he wins on the floor, she has to seduce him in private and win her credibility back on the next round of #Me2
Home today with a Bee under my proverbial bonnet over anything with “-splaining or spreading” as a suffix. I spent 2 and a half hours on a crowded train yesterday. No males spreading or splaining, but there was a flock of cackling hens in the centre of the carriage – loudly yelling and shreaking above the rattle of the bogies. They audibly dominated the whole carriage from end to end. And as the train commuters got off along its journey and seats elsewhere became available people started moving to other carriages. Of course if a male put a view, its “mansplaining” and if he spreads his knees, its “man spreading” So what is it when a group of harpies dominate the whole carriage? – that is rhetorical of course because we all know what it is.
#22,,,, you have to turn it around in your head and find some way to laugh about it, at the moment it is every where you turn, this eutopia on earth fashioned by the fairer sex, is only a space in time, fingers crossed.
Thanks for adding to the thread Keith.
That’s what the net is for. Unity, cooperation, collective development, and then suddenly we have a totally different picture.
Downunder, do take the tablets…..
Gosh, Mr Bacon!
Now, what inspired that little bit of unnecessary hostility?
I take mine and I don’t see why you should be any different.
# 27,, hi Murray, that has gotta be my line of the day… the , I don’t see why you should be any different bit.
To think that we used to, not so long ago , be one as a race…and now it is the big divide.
Downunder is dead right.
The thread might be coming back to life again in a contemporary fashion.
From the Urban Dictionary;
The religion which follows lead singer of The Foo Fighters and former drummer of Nirvana “Dave Grohl”
Pat: “Do you follow Christianity?”
Chris: “No, I follow Grohlism”
by foo fan December 17, 2011
November 3rd — who is at the meet?
Interesting video – It’ s ok for a female host to mansplain (interrupt, interject, put words in someone’s mouth…)
Another one, just could not help…
By the way, I am sure most people know this but for those who don’t…
great idea to download and install an add-on called adblock plus.
It is available for most major browsers and gets rid of ads in your youtube videos.
Choose your browser and it will link you to your drug
And should the term
Fall from her lips, she’s not your woman, she thinks you’re trying to organize her life.