Oh boy, getting political on the second blog post? This should go well.
I wanted to make a quick post about this while it's fresh on my mind. A few days ago I heard the term "Mansplaining" for the first time, and in true Baader-Meinhof fashion I've heard it more and more often every day it seems. And I'm just going to say this right off the bat, so if you're the type of person who would get unbearably offended by this sort of things, I think it's a ridiculous term. Actually, this is a rant, let's not be politically correct. I think it's complete fucking bullshit.
The idea for this post kicked off when I saw some tweets from Notch, the creator of MineCraft. He seemed to be defending himself from an onslaught of hate coming at him because of some earlier tweets he made. 5 minutes of light research and I had a pretty good picture of what had unfolded in the previous 24 hours. For the uninitiated, the TL;DR is that Jennifer Scheurle made a tweet about mansplaining and how it's a huge problem, and Notch responded by saying that mansplaining is a sexist term. And oh lord, the shit storm that followed was fantastic.
First of all, I completely agree with Notch. Mansplaining is a sexist term and completely unnecessary. Don't get me wrong, I totally agree that there are a lot of condescending, patronizing jerks out there that talk down to women like they are idiots. But what's wrong with the words I just used? Condescending is instantly recognizable and completely conveys what you are trying to say. If a woman explains something to a man or another woman in a condescending manner, is it still mansplaining? Is it womansplaining at that point? Or is a woman incapable of committing an act of "mansplaining" because she is a woman?
Personally, I don't even like the term feminist, but that's a story for another time. I call myself a feminist simply because equalist sounds ludicrous and there is no other word that aptly describes what I'm trying to say. I think assigning genders to these terms though is exactly the type of thing feminism should be fighting against. Separating these things into black and white gender assigned terms isn't solving any of the problems.
I know that feminism has a long way to go before anyone could say that their goals have been fulfilled. Women still earn less than men, hold less positions of power, and are just generally discriminated against more often in both intentional and unintentional ways. Hopefully one day we will live in a world where someone's gender or race isn't even a subconscious thought when you're forming an opinion about them, but until that day comes we are going to have these issues.
The topic I was trying to talk about got away from me a little bit. Mansplaining as a term annoys me, and I would indeed argue that it is sexist and discriminatory. As much as many people will argue with me on this, it is possible for straight, rich, white men to be discriminated against. If I google "define discriminate", I find the following:
To me, that seems to leave little room for interpretation. Any time you make a decision about someone's character, or their ability to perform a task, or their intelligence, or anything else about them based on an unchangeable, public characteristic such as the colour of their skin or their gender (yes I know both of these things are technically changeable now but let's not get into that) you are being discriminatory.
So mansplaining is sexist because it's taking an already existing term (condescending) and adding a gender to it so that it can be used to invalidate someone's opinion based on gender. It just bugs me that people use these terms to try and shift the discussion in a way that favours them. It's a cheap, shallow tactic.
Sorry for the rant. If you didn't really enjoy this one, you won't enjoy any of my future ones, but don't worry because I will be tagging all of my rants so that you can see it right at the top and avoid it if you wish. If you did enjoy, I'm sure I'll be doing more in the future. Regardless of how you found this post, thanks so much for reading.