Over at the mansplaining thread, you can read literally hundreds of hilarious, annoying, frustrating, heartbreaking stories of how women are constantly subjected to intrusive, incessant, insensitive, inane mansplaining. Interspersed you will also find comments from d00dly d00ds whinging away about how awful it is that women are talking so MEAN about men, and their mansplanations about how mansplaining doesn’t exist. Then some douche tried to coin the phrase femsplaining.
Femsplaining, as best I can tell, is a phenomenon that arises in the following manner:
(1) A woman points out an instance of sexist behavior by some d00d.
(2) D00d becomes angry and hurt because women are not supposed to notice this shit, and/or he is a good guy, and/or he refuses to comprehend the issue.
(3) D00d has heard the phrase “mansplainer” but what it actually means he cannot/will not comprehend.
(4) D00d concludes it is just what women call men when they don’t like what they hear. Perhaps they are trying to silence all men, oh noes!
(5) Furthermore, sometimes women are rude. This totally makes them femsplainers! In fact, isn’t it kind of rude and sexist to call a man a mansplainer?
And that’s a perfect circle, ladeez. You are not supposed to notice sexist behavior, and everything in our society is carefully designed to help you understand and accept it as natural and just the way things are and evolution and the battle of the sexes and God’s will and girls like pink and boys love trucks and men are better at spatial hoo-hah and women are so verbal and boys will be boys and act like a lady and don’t be a slut and men can’t help themselves and blah blah blah. If you should, by some amazing effort of will and education, manage to pull the curtain aside, there will be a great show of smoke and fire and booming voices declaiming from a huge green glaring disembodied head “pay no attention to that patriarchy behind the curtain!” Because, well, you might notice that it’s a humbug.
And the d00ds are frantically jerking the levers and pulling the curtain back around and hoping no one’s noticed anything because they are afraid that what’s been exposed as a sham and a humbug is their personhood, rather than the patriarchy. Well, you as a person are not a humbug. But yes, it is true – d00dly masculinity is a sham and a humbug, so you will have to give that up and find something better to replace it with. There are better sorts of masculinity to build your identity around – for example, the kinds that don’t depend upon a dual core processor of homophobia and misogyny. On your journey to that better version of masculinity, you’ll need to work on your brain, heart, and courage. You could do worse than simply start by listening to these words from Skeptifem:
I wish the dudes would just listen instead of trying to argue away our experiences. As if any of us ever unthinkingly jumped into feminism, because its so easy and popular. Most of us jumped through some pretty silly mental hoops trying to make mansplaining into something else, because it is difficult to conclude that patriarchy is a real problem. Rationalizing some form of oppression is a shared experience, we have all done it at some point. You are signing up to get treated like shit in a whole new way when you become a feminist, and you actually have to try and do something about the situation instead of sitting back and accepting the world as is. Nothing makes me angrier than women being told that they didn’t go through something when they most certainly did. What dudes need to understand is that a non feminist dude perspective is what we are all saturated in, every day. It is pretty fucking impossible to alert us of it when you cannot avoid hearing it every single day. Feminist opinion has to be sought out, examined because of its distance from the mainstream. Just learning to speak up was a huge challenge for me, I would assume by default that I was not worth listening to. There are so many pieces of myself that I had to fight for that men get for free. They should listen when women talk; we had to earn it.
UPDATE: Spelling errors corrected, thanks to SKM for pointing them out. As a little bonus, enjoy this episode of How It Should Have Ended. (Annoying commercial at the start, unfortunately.)