Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, June 28th, 2013.


Mansplaining Explained

Obama Administration

I’m glad to see I’m not the only one wondering where Jonathan Chait left his brain yesterday. Kathy Kattenburg writes,

Plainly, being a male liberal (or kinda sorta liberal-libertarian) on abortion rights does not, sad to say, mean that the pro-choice part overpowers the testosterone-induced need to mansplain women’s lives to them.

This is what Chait said, regarding Rick Perry’s comments about Wendy Davis, that pissed me (and Kathy) off:

The immediate liberal reaction is that Perry was “attack[ing] her motives and her experiences,” or “dismissing her as an unwed, teen mother.” But Perry is not attacking Davis here. Perry is pointing to her life as a success. His comments are tantamount to a liberal arguing that Ted Cruz’s family history shows why we need more immigration.

Chait goes on to lecture us pro-reproductive rights folks about how anti-rights people have a right to their opinion too, which I suppose makes it perfectly acceptable for them to force their views on the rest of us by closing abortion clinics.

But it stuns me that Chait and some other generally leftie males are oblivious to the belittling, condescending, patronizing, insult to Davis at the heart of Perry’s remarks. One more time — where does any man get off dictating to any woman what she should have learned from her experiences as a woman and mother? Whether the woman was married or single? Whether she chose an abortion or not? Exactly how does white skin and a penis signify all-pervading wisdom?

In case any of you still don’t see it, here are some resources on “mansplaining.”

A Cultural History of Mansplaining

Mansplaining 101: How to Discuss Politics and Feminism Without Acting Like a Jackass

Mansplaining on Tumblr

Men Explain Things to Me: Facts Didn’t Get in Their Way

This is such a common experience for a woman — dealing with men who assume they know better than you do about everything, including your own area of expertise, because. And then if you come out and tell them, y’know, I actually know quite a lot about this, and I would prefer you not instruct me unless I ask you a question — you get this oh, isn’t she cute smirk, and then they go on explaining things you already know as if you were six years old. Or — my personal favorite — we are told that maybe people would listen to us more if we were nicer. It’s maddening. And allegedly liberal men do it too sometimes.

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