Sunday, July 26, 2015


I rather like the word "mansplaining" because it successfully captures one of the ways that men are socialized in our culture.

As I've said before, most characterizations of "toxic masculinity" feel alien to me.  But I think a few people might have misunderstood what I meant.  There are certain male gender roles, such as using violence to solve problems and being a horndog.  I am not saying that I am unable to fulfill these roles, I am saying, I don't think I've ever been expected to fulfill them.

I know, in the abstract, that men are expected to be violent horndogs, and this clearly pervades in certain forms of media.  But in the specific case of myself I find it hard to relate.  These supposed male stereotypes are a smokescreen for the real male stereotypes that have affected me.

But mansplaining, I can totally relate to that.  Men are socialized to try to explain things.  I was socialized to explain things.

And it isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I explain things all the time on my blog.  I enjoy blogging, and if you don't enjoy reading it you don't have to read it.

For that reason I find it a bit of a shame that "mansplaining" is derogatory.  It's not that I feel insulted by the word, and it's not that the word isn't useful.  I just wish there were also a word to refer to the general desire to explain things, whether good or bad.  We could talk about how some people have "explainy" personalities, and how men are encouraged to show their "explainy" sides regardless of whether it's appropriate to the situation.