Mansplaining demonstrated

Hey, I’m an Academic Man, and I greatly appreciate the examples in Academic Men Explain Things To Me. I’m beginning to catch on to what not to do.


  1. Pteryxx says


    During the discussion, the role of implicit bias and sexism in the discipline of philosophy was raised by an audience member. The speaker integrated this notion into her approach, showing how it explained the pretty dire numbers of women making it to full Professor within philosophy. The phenomenon of “mansplaining” was raised as just one of many illustrations of hostile academic culture, along with widespread reports of sexual harassment at conferences. […]

    A male member of the audience raised his hand and proceeded to explain to the speaker and the other audience members that the definition of “mansplaining” was offensive to all men, including feminist men such as himself […]

  2. F [nucular nyandrothol] says

    Damn. That’s a wonderful blog about dealing with privileged idiots. Which is kind of a magical thing.

  3. =8)-DX says

    It’s why I love going out with my girlfriend or trying out any new ideas I have on her first – she often stops me mansplaining, corrects my vocabulary use and explains which things I am totally ignorant of. Thnx

  4. says

    Everyone is an expert. When I worked in an optometrist’s lab, it was amazing how many people I met at parties and social situations that really knew about optics, and we were all just hacks. Everyone that knew about light being refracted by a prism seemed to have an opinion.
    Basically conspiracy theorists, these types. Always worried that someone is pulling the wool over their eyes. The Christian authorities are like that around here. If they think you are up to something, they will listen to nothing in your defense, because that’s what guilty people do – proclaim their innocence!

  5. ismenia says

    I’ve not actually had a problem with this in an academic setting. The one exception I can think of was a guy who was actually a PhD student who also used to teach. Once in a seminar on female gender stereotypes we were reviewing images students had brought in. One was a lesbian-chic type image. He asked if lesbians really looked like that and then said that if you go into a lesbian bar they all look like truckers. I said that I frequented such establishments and that this was not true (shocked intake of breath from class). He would not concede the point. After the class he came up to me and apologised saying his comments were inappropriate (NB not simply wrong, just inappropriate). I accepted his apology which meant I couldn’t really complain the the (gay) module leader.

  6. csrster says

    F*** U PZ! I went to that site and read about the first five examples and now my skin is crawling and I feel like I need a bath.

  7. poxyhowzes says

    Having read back to mid-April, I’d have to say that a lot of these situations involve mild-to-severe Dunning-Kruger syndrome, not that D-K and mansplainin’ are by any means mutually exclusive…

    It’s appalling how many medical doctors are involved first in not listening, and then in mansplaining.


  8. says

    I couldn’t make it through more than about a page and a half. It just made me feel angry and embarrassed and kind of sick.

    [Possible trigger warning] Oddly, I didn’t have the same reaction to the Don’t Get Raped blog when I read it. Maybe it’s because I can’t imagine telling a rape victim it was their fault but I can easily imagine being a pompous jerk (and not just to a woman). (And I suggest that a lot of the villains in the “mansplaining” blog probably are just as arrogant to other men who they feel are their intellectual inferiors. I had to cope with a just-qualified doctor for a while a year back, and, oh, the things he thought I couldn’t possibly understand!)

  9. crocodoc says

    Yes, it happens that men explain things and women who don’t get it make up funny stories. And the reason is, of course, the fundamental difference in the brain:

    Superior grey matter dominates the male brain, and we have 6.5 times more of this genius jelly. Grey matter is responsible for processing stuff, so we come up with splendid ideas all the time and of course we have to explain them to those who are less gifted. A woman’s brain, on the other side, is dominated by white matter, which does not do anything useful, but connects different parts of the brain, causing a lot of confusion. It’s all explained by evolution.
    For example, I recently explained to a woman what I had figured out about red-green color blindness and why it’s so much more common in men. I believe that it’s evidence for male supremacy in dangerous traffic situations. Men are more self-controlled and keep their nerves even after jumping the lights, so natural selection affects women with red-green color blindness more than men. While I kept talking her brain made some weird connections obviously, probably because I mentioned colors – I don’t know really, anyway, she just kept looking at her fingernails. I’m sure she was thinking what nail enamel fit her dress best. Women…

  10. aspidoscelis says

    After reading a few pages, I get the impression that this is mostly run-of-the-mill dumbassery. In most of the anecdotes, it’s hard to tell what exactly gender has to do with it.

  11. says

    Because, aspidoscelis, this is something men do to women. See, according to the Patriarchy, women are largely stupid, slow, emotional, irrational creatures. No woman would be an expert in some field. So men have to gently explain things to women and how those things are done.

    That is mansplaining. The assumption that a woman, even one with a PhD and experience in her field, could never know as much as a man.

    That’s what’s on display at the tumblr.

  12. aspidoscelis says

    Right, got it. Only men ever assume themselves to be more knowledgable than those they are conversing with, and they only ever do it in conversations with women. :-)

    Let me just clear my mind of any examples to the contrary I may have encountered…

  13. ChasCPeterson says

    Because, aspidoscelis, …See, according to the Patriarchy…So…That’s what’s on display at the tumblr.

    And this? Metamansplaining.

  14. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Right, got it. Only men ever assume themselves to be more knowledgable than those they are conversing with, and they only ever do it in conversations with women. :-)

    Let me just clear my mind of any examples to the contrary I may have encountered…

    That actually took almost 2 days longer than expected. I’m impressed.

  15. crocodoc says

    @NateHavens, 12:

    No. That was mansplaining. Don’t dare to debate science.

    @aspidoscelis, 15:

    I agree that female stereotypes are equally funny and also sometimes disturbing. And yes, sometimes women explain stuff to me at length and I just feel bored. But there are two huge differences that bother me:

    – the high percentage of mansplanations that deal with inferiority of women or the irrevelance of feminism. If someone has to ask if my post @11 was sarcasm, something’s just wrong. But it does not surprise me. It’s almost impossible to overdo sarcasm to a point where it is obvious.

    – pointing out female stereotypes is just humor. If you can’t take it, don’t read it. pointing out male stereotypes – like the habit of mansplaining – is a hideous attack on our freedom of speech and a part of the feminazi agenda and it’s every man’s goddamn duty to protest firmly.

  16. carlie says

    aspidoscelis, it’s the overall relative amounts you have to look at. Men do this to women much, much more than women do to men, or that men to do other men. And when women ever do it, they pay a high social price of being a bitchy know it all. When men do it to women, it’s hardly noticed.

  17. aspidoscelis says

    17, Gen, Uppity Ingrate:

    Um. Thanks?

    20, carlie:

    I guess I haven’t been keeping score on relative rates. I’m not really sure, personally, how I’d go about doing so in a meaningful way (e.g., the experiences available to me are of course dependent on my gender and particular social setting). However, I am skeptical about this claim:

    When men do it to women, it’s hardly noticed.

    At least within the local environment (FTB and associated blogs), mansplaining does appear to be noticed (and, so far as I can tell, carries a high social price).

  18. Tapetum, Raddled Harridan says

    aspidoscelis@21 – Local environment is the key part of your comment. FtB is not exactly the world at large, nor even a particularly large part of it.

    In the more religious end of the world, female over-explaining carries a much higher price than the male version, unless the man in question makes the mistake of trying it on someone higher than him in status. Anecdotal version – at the church I go to (Yes, I know, but when you make money singing and/or playing organ at weddings and funerals you do what you gotta.) we do have a woman who tends to over-explain, or try to at least. She is generally cut off mid-comment, even when she’s explaining something the recipient doesn’t know, and generally regarded as pushy, know-it-all, and insufferable. The groom, OTOH, who spent twenty minutes explaining to me before rehearsal what proper behavior at a wedding was? No biggie, even though he was giving me an explanation appropriate to my four year old son (it was my son’s presence coloring quietly in the corner while I practiced that set off the lecture). He’s a perfectly nice guy, not at all like that insufferable woman.

    But I notice he never gave the priest, or the acolytes (all guys) any kind of similar lecture.

  19. aspidoscelis says

    Tapetum – True enough. There’s a reason I specified the local environment.

    There is, however, a certain amount of silliness in bemoaning the fact behavior X is tolerated, while behavior Y is treated harshly (even though the two are equivalently obnoxious) in a forum in which behavior Y is tolerated and behavior X is treated harshly. It is easier and more fun to point out the failings of the outgroup than those of the ingroup, certainly, but it’s also a lot less meaningful. We already know the outgroup sucks. That’s why they’re the outgroup. :-)