Mansplaining is a portmanteau1 that’s meaning is credited to Rebecca Solnit.2 The term refers to a situation in which a man, presuming that his listener (especially a woman) has inferior knowledge, explains something in a condescending way.
In case you’re not hip on your Solnit, they3 coined the term around 2008 in a blog piece called “Men Explain Things to Me; Facts Didn’t Get in Their Way.” They tell of how a man whom4 they met at a party instructed them to read a book he himself had not read, which turned out to be the very same book that Solnit had written. Obviously, this man is the butt of the joke. This scenario sounds like it’s from a sitcom. But let me break it down for you: X-splaining is way too easily appropriated5 by third-wave feminists6 in the post-modern age.
That’s why I think Mansplaining should be called by its actual name, which is didacticism.7 And news flash, wimmin:8 a supposedly inclusive feminist often times becomes the didact in her conversations with the plebeian9 masses when she straightsplains to her gay friends about lesbian rights, cisplains to her trans friends about the stigma associated with transgendered identification, when she whitesplains to her black friends about the oppressive administration, skinnysplains to her fat friends about healthy eating, omnivoresplains to her vegan friends about the evils of the factory farm industry, blogsplains to her print journalist friends about the merits of indie-electro writing, or humansplains to her cat that sometimes sex can be both pleasurable and painful.10
Now that you are properly equipped with this information, you have all the intellectual tools to go out there and “smash the patriarchy” and start X-splaining. Good luck.
1 A blend of two words.
2 The second most important contemporary feminist, just behind Emma Watson.
3 Some feminists prefer gender neutral pronouns.
4 “Whom” is used when who is in the accusative case (i.e. it is a direct object).
5 A frequent word in feminist and crit-theory discourse, meaning to use something inappropriately. Macklemore and Iggy Azalea, for instance, appropriate the culture of people of color in order to sell songs to Caucasian children.
6 Third wave feminists prioritize inclusion and are often sex-positive.
7 For a lesson in didacticism, see the writings of any major male writer.
8 A feminist variant spelling of “women” which seeks to free a womyn (singular) from the tyranny of hegemonic nomenclature.
9 As opposed to the elite patricians, plebeian refers to the ordinary Roman citizen.
10 Male cats have barbed penises. The barbs are designed to scrape out rival cats’ semen, making sex excruciating for the female cat. An aspect of third-wave sex-positivity is justifying sado-masochist sex practices as healthy.