Mansplaining – a term we’ve been hearing quite a bit these days. For those not in the know, mansplaining is when a man ‘explains’ something to a woman in a patronising way. It basically stems from the misconception that men are smarter than women.
Women around the world have been subject to such condescending behaviour way too often, yet it has not received as much attention as it should – until recently. A Tweet from writer Nicole Froio quickly changed this:
Quote this tweet with the most obvious thing a man has ever mansplained to you.
— Marielle Franco, presente! (@NicoleFroio) May 16, 2017
Soon, she was flooded with Tweets from other women sharing their experiences – some obvious, others shocking. And that got me thinking: mansplaining is a global problem, and thanks to our deep-rooted patriarchy, it only gets bigger in India.
But don’t take my word for it. Here are some instances of mansplaining shared by Indian women on Twitter.
Men – if you’re reading this, here’s what you should never say to a woman:
1. “That’s how you pronounce your name!”
How to pronounce my name. :/
— Anindita Debnath Nair (@PartTimeCook) May 17, 2017
This one’s happened to me a couple of times, and I promise you this: it doesn’t suck any less each time. And yes, guys have generally been the culprit.
2. “Nobody knows women’s safety better than men”
I am not one to overuse the word "mansplaining". But please, Indian men, don't explain safety to an Indian woman. You have no idea. None.
— kavitharao/The Librarian (@kavitharao) August 6, 2017
Which Indian female hasn’t heard this in some form? One particularly irksome incident was when a male friend told me that catcalling was just harmless fun, and that I must deal with it by ignoring it. No matter how bad it got.
3. “Let me explain feminism to you”
When women says anything that hits at roots of patriarchy, men jump in to explain what's right & wrong kind of feminism = mansplaining https://t.co/V5fdFK40OE
— Sanjukta Basu (@sanjukta) July 31, 2017
Le sigh. The old sexism parade in the name of culture and tradition. Little wonder then that Indian men don’t get the true meaning of feminism: gender equality (even if it means finally losing their male privilege.)
4. “Period pain is all in your head!”
How would men even know, unless they grew a uterus that goes through a painful drill each month?
5. “Childbirth is a man’s area of expertise”
Even if a guy happens to be a gynaecologist, he cannot actually experience giving birth or the intense pain associated with it. Maybe we should put them on one of these simulators!
Are you guilty of mansplaining?
Not every man thinks of women as lesser beings, but sometimes, even the most woke guy can (knowingly or unknowingly) patronise women.
For those of you who don’t want to make such a gaffe, Erica Friedman shares an excellent tip (via Quora):
“When a woman says something to you, ask yourself: did she ask for my advice – or was that a declarative sentence? Was she looking for an opinion or was she just stating her opinion?
Is the problem something I am actually qualified to fix? And here’s the biggie: am I telling her what she (or women at large) should think, feel or do? If the answer is yes, you are mansplaining.”
Here’s hoping for less mansplaining and more respect, which certainly works both ways.
Do you have a mansplaining or womansplaining story to share? Tell us in the comments below.
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