i’ve been thoroughly enjoying the recent upswell of new words. mansplaining is one of the wonderful ones, an evocative package for a behaviour that has been allowed precisely because we didn’t have such a nice, concise, powerful word to call it out with.
it’s a valuable addition to the feminist arsenal, without the essentialism which makes so much of feminism difficult. it defines a behaviour attached to a performance of masculinity as a cultural category, rather than defining the actor themself.
however the first time i heard it, what i thought i heard was manspleening. and maybe i should’ve. for i’m much less likely to be subjected to a man telling me why i’m wrong about feminism than i am to hear one going on and on about how they have body image problems too and women rape too and why should unis have women’s officers and women’s rooms and affirmative action in general.
these rants bear no resemblance to explanations at all, and are a concrete step up from mansplaining in terms of aggression, selfish incoherent venting and, frankly, bullying.
and with all the usefulness of a spleen.