Author Topic: Mansplaining: Why?  (Read 8015 times)

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 687093
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Mansplaining: Why?
« on: December 31, 2015, 08:23:24 pm »
I am eyeballing a refurbished Macbook Pro, and mentioned it casually in a chat I'm in with a bunch of my friends. One friend, who is a delightful and lovely human being, is also terrible about mansplaining allll the time, and immediately after I posted the link to the computer in the chat, he started mansplaining to me about Macbooks, (incorrectly) answering questions I never asked. I know he is a well-meaning, warm, considerate person, but he does this, seemingly compulsively, even with subjects he knows I know far more about than he does.

He's not at all an exception; in my experience, the majority of men do this, and it seems almost reflexive. Not too long ago, I was on the phone with a guy who, when I mentioned that my car is on the fritz again, started mansplaining through a troubleshooting process despite the fact that I had already said that it was an old familiar problem on an old familiar car - one which I have dealt with before.

What I am wondering is what drives this? Is it driven by a deep-seated desire to help? Is it an ego thing? An authority issue? Women occasionally do it too, usually older women, but it's definitely far far more of a man thing.

If anyone here has ever caught themselves mansplaining or is aware that they do it, how would you describe the motivation for explaining something to someone who hasn't asked or otherwise indicated in any way  that they need an explanation?
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 687093
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 08:25:16 pm »
Also, a related question: should I tell my friend that he does this? Should I just be "you're mansplaining, friend, FYI"?
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Sung Low

  • Inexplicable Bedsore of Last Night's Drunken Fling.
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 2688
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2015, 09:48:19 pm »
I catch myself doing this sometimes, but it seems to be irregardless of the gender of the person I'm talking to. More that if a topic comes up that I believe I have some knowledge about I get this urge to proudly display it in front people, regardless of whether they've asked or not.

This usually leads to me self reflecting minutes or hours later and realising I was talking out of my arse.

Is it maybe an ingrained dominance thing? Physicality isn't enough now in this enlightened age? The intellectual equivalent of pushing it too hard at the gym to impress people, only to throw your back out in the process.
The d key has chosen to absent itself

LMNO

  • Lubricated and Rabid Lungfish of Impending Sexdoom
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 87071
  • Internet Fuckweasel of Haunted Pork Dimensions.
    • View Profile
    • Earfatigue Productions: When it has to sound like you give a shit.
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2015, 09:54:29 pm »
I'm TERRIBLE with this. It's a constant struggle. I'd like to say it's because my dad was a physics professor who enjoyed lecturing, but it's a weak excuse (because he mostly lectured about things he actually knew, and other people really didn't know).

The urge, for me, is to share information, and try to help. At least, that's the "reasoning". There's a lot of bullshit in that. I'm thinking there's a lot of SGitR going on, and the "impress people" dominance position.

My main problem these days is my delivery. I've worked on making sure I don't talk shit about things of which I know nothing, but when I'm talking from a place of knowledge, I can sound WAY condescending. I'm not sure how I do it yet, or how to stop it, but I've found that e-prime seems to help. Really. When I make something about a personal experience rather than a generalized Truthiness, it goes over better.

I'd like to keep talking about this.

Bless my wife, who has not only put up with it, but who has also helped me realize when I'm doing it, with a minimum of violence towards me.

Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2015, 10:25:30 pm »
I do this, so does my sister she's the only woman I know who does.  It feels like it comes from two places for me, one is the urge to be helpful, the other is the urge to have people pay attention to me.  I tend to do it more to women because they tend to be more polite about listening to me.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 687093
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2016, 12:52:54 am »
Thanks for your candor with this, guys... my first impulse was to be irritated and blame The Patriarchy, but then I realized that it's one of those things that everyone experiences but nobody seems to ask questions about.

Those of you who do find yourselves doing it, how do you feel about it when others mansplain to you? Does it bother you? Do you even notice it, or does it just seem like normal communication?
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Pergamos

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 16026
  • Did it for the cookies.
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2016, 12:59:39 am »
When it's someone talking about something I know better than they do it tends to amuse me.  Sometimes I can manage to laugh at myself in the same sort of situation and realize I am being a know it all.  The only time someone pretending to know more than they actually do bothers me is if I act on their advice and it turns out it was wrong.

Zenpatista

  • Known
  • *
  • Posts: 539
  • SPAG
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2016, 01:08:00 am »
I'm also guilty of this. Also reading the SGitR posts has been useful & eye opening. I've been trying to control it. If it wasn't for my wife & daughter I'd probably be much worse. I am glad they told me although it stung. "Sometimes, it's OK to be sympathetic", was what the daughter said. I was probably telling her how to run her life at the time.

I think it started with parents & teaching. I am old enough that I had the "lecture at" sort of teachers and my dad is definitely of that sort. However, I know plenty of people my age who don't 'splain like me so something else is involved in my case. In academia, I find a few of the grad students hang on my words (as if I know what I'm talking about). I try to be careful about when I'm brainstorming or BS-ing scientifically or at least provide a pointer to a reference for my source of info. I also agree that there's some sort of dominance thing going on. Lastly, I find myself doing this when I am unable to make regular conversation - especially with students or when we're waiting for some equipment to warm up or equilibrate. I'll just natter on an on in a lecturing sort of way. I'm trying to ask more questions and/or be comfortable with the silence but it's a tricky habit for me.

I usually find it amusing when I get the mansplaining. It's taught me to file such explanations under "maybe / to be reviewed later". However, if it's something I disagree with, and I can't get a word in edgewise, or I think they're working with faulty starting principles, I can get angry and impatient. I usually just change the subject or move on to some other task then. Again - that's what I do - probably not what I should do.

Chelagoras The Boulder

  • My own personal cult leader
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 8133
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2016, 02:04:39 am »
I find myself doing this as well, and i think it has to do with the way men socialize as opposed to women. if a women brings up a subject to other women, the social assumption seems to be for the other woman to listen attentively. Whereas when a man brings up a topic to another man, the assumption tends to be that the issue is a "problem" that needs to be "solved". I remember hearing about this in a communications class once, but it has to do with the different genders having different social "languages". The pofessor also said that the kinds of things men and women value in friendships are different too. WOmen tend to value fidelity (hence all the listening and empathy) whereas men tend to value loyalty (the being willing to step in and help out if a problem DOES need solving)

That, or we all have tiny penises and were just not okay with it. who knows?
"It isn't who you know, it's who you know, if you know what I mean.  And I think you do."

Chelagoras The Boulder

  • My own personal cult leader
  • Outlandish
  • ***
  • Posts: 8133
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2016, 02:06:17 am »
"It isn't who you know, it's who you know, if you know what I mean.  And I think you do."

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 687093
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2016, 02:10:14 am »
When it's someone talking about something I know better than they do it tends to amuse me.  Sometimes I can manage to laugh at myself in the same sort of situation and realize I am being a know it all.  The only time someone pretending to know more than they actually do bothers me is if I act on their advice and it turns out it was wrong.

My favorite example of it is probably from today when my friend looked at the computer I bought and told me, "That'll fit the bill", despite not having been asked, nor knowing anything about what I want it for or will be doing with it. I wanted to say "I know, that's why I bought it" but I didn't.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 687093
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2016, 02:13:54 am »
I'm also guilty of this. Also reading the SGitR posts has been useful & eye opening. I've been trying to control it. If it wasn't for my wife & daughter I'd probably be much worse. I am glad they told me although it stung. "Sometimes, it's OK to be sympathetic", was what the daughter said. I was probably telling her how to run her life at the time.

I think it started with parents & teaching. I am old enough that I had the "lecture at" sort of teachers and my dad is definitely of that sort. However, I know plenty of people my age who don't 'splain like me so something else is involved in my case. In academia, I find a few of the grad students hang on my words (as if I know what I'm talking about). I try to be careful about when I'm brainstorming or BS-ing scientifically or at least provide a pointer to a reference for my source of info. I also agree that there's some sort of dominance thing going on. Lastly, I find myself doing this when I am unable to make regular conversation - especially with students or when we're waiting for some equipment to warm up or equilibrate. I'll just natter on an on in a lecturing sort of way. I'm trying to ask more questions and/or be comfortable with the silence but it's a tricky habit for me.

I usually find it amusing when I get the mansplaining. It's taught me to file such explanations under "maybe / to be reviewed later". However, if it's something I disagree with, and I can't get a word in edgewise, or I think they're working with faulty starting principles, I can get angry and impatient. I usually just change the subject or move on to some other task then. Again - that's what I do - probably not what I should do.

It must be a tricky line to walk when you actually are the expert in the room, because you're expected to be the authority on the subject, but still need to maintain awareness of what other people already know.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 687093
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2016, 02:17:39 am »
I find myself doing this as well, and i think it has to do with the way men socialize as opposed to women. if a women brings up a subject to other women, the social assumption seems to be for the other woman to listen attentively. Whereas when a man brings up a topic to another man, the assumption tends to be that the issue is a "problem" that needs to be "solved". I remember hearing about this in a communications class once, but it has to do with the different genders having different social "languages". The pofessor also said that the kinds of things men and women value in friendships are different too. WOmen tend to value fidelity (hence all the listening and empathy) whereas men tend to value loyalty (the being willing to step in and help out if a problem DOES need solving)

That, or we all have tiny penises and were just not okay with it. who knows?

Yes, I think we have all been exposed to the "men and women have different communication styles" trope by this point. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, right? Except that of course outside of pop psychology and self-help books, it's not that simple. Socialization definitely plays a role, and the concept of gender-based communication styles is itself a form of social conditioning. We (should) all know that by now.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

  • v=1/3πr2h
  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 687093
  • The sky tastes like red exuberance.
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2016, 02:18:17 am »
see, also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg

When I first saw it I assumed that video was made by an MRA sympathizer. Maybe some other variety of misogynist.
Im guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk, Charles Wick said. It was very complicated.


Nast

  • Deserved It
  • ****
  • Posts: 24023
  • Impartial Biscuit Game Referee
    • View Profile
Re: Mansplaining: Why?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2016, 02:35:21 am »
I find myself doing this as well, and i think it has to do with the way men socialize as opposed to women. if a women brings up a subject to other women, the social assumption seems to be for the other woman to listen attentively. Whereas when a man brings up a topic to another man, the assumption tends to be that the issue is a "problem" that needs to be "solved". I remember hearing about this in a communications class once, but it has to do with the different genders having different social "languages". The pofessor also said that the kinds of things men and women value in friendships are different too. WOmen tend to value fidelity (hence all the listening and empathy) whereas men tend to value loyalty (the being willing to step in and help out if a problem DOES need solving)

That, or we all have tiny penises and were just not okay with it. who knows?

Yes, I think we have all been exposed to the "men and women have different communication styles" trope by this point. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, right? Except that of course outside of pop psychology and self-help books, it's not that simple. Socialization definitely plays a role, and the concept of gender-based communication styles is itself a form of social conditioning. We (should) all know that by now.

Nigel, I think you're being too quick to dismiss what Chelagoras is saying. Don't you think there's an appreciable difference between how men and women are conditioned to communicate, and also how men are conditioned to communicate with women, that contributes to the phenomenon of mainsplaining?


"If I owned Goodwill, no charity worker would feel safe.  I would sit in my office behind a massive pile of cocaine, racking my pistol's slide every time the cleaning lady came near.  Auditors, I'd just shoot."