From dictionary.com, mansplaining is defined as “comment on or explain something to a woman in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner.” Its origins can be traced to feminist and writer Rebecca Solnit, in her comedic and intriguing essay called ‘Men Explain Things to Me.’ In the essay, Solnit often describes her ridiculous and hilarious encounters with men and their urge to ensure that their conversations can be understood by the female population.
Since 2008, the word, and the general experience for women of being stuck in a ‘mansplanation’ situation gained traction and popularity. By 2014, women all over the world know the definition of mansplaining and can probably name at least five positions of being stuck in a condescending and oversimplified conversation with a man. So why is this still a problem? Why have men not caught on to the fact that women have opinions and can usually match them in conversation, without the need for their patronizing tone? They do it because they can. Women rarely will clarify that they are, in fact, just as qualified or educated to have an even conversation with a man. We rarely stand up for ourselves, for fear of being patronized or spoken down to even further than before.
Therein lies the problem itself; no matter the situation, we exclude ourselves. Even in the term ‘mansplain,’ we’ve excluded women from the problem and the solution. We’ve created a word where the onus falls on the man, but the woman doesn’t stop the scenario from happening. If we had stopped the problem before, or when, it began, we wouldn’t need such a word to describe these experiences. Again, here lays the problem of feminism; where do we draw the line between gender equality, and gender inclusivity.
Mansplaining is still a problem because we are allowing it to be. We, as women, need to speak up and stand up when being spoken to in any way that we don’t feel comfortable with. Then and only then can we begin to stop the cycle.