Mansplaining, and why I’m sick of it
As most girls and women can probably relate too, I am used to seeing, hearing about and experiencing sexism in some form or another almost daily. Whether that’s catcalling comments, inequalities in work, rude tweets, political images full of men with one or two women in the back if you look with a magnifying glass. We don’t accept it, but we are sadly used to it, perhaps not even conscious of all of it, and it would be draining to think hard about on a daily basis as it occurs whilst running our everyday lives, so often we shrug it off with another sigh. But there is one thing that has really been picking at me recently, sparked by a specific image on Twitter, and that is: Mansplaining.
Mansplaining. A word that I am glad has been acknowledged as real and added to the Oxford dictionary, but sick to death of seeing it prominently still exist in society. Mansplaining simply means a man patronisingly ‘explaining’ something to a woman, just because she’s a woman. She may already be an expertise on what he feels the need to mansplain to her, she might even be explaining something to someone else which he feels the need to hop in on and ‘mansplain’ again, as if her explanation wouldn’t be good enough. E.g I recently had a male passenger who didn’t even have a license tell me how to drive…
Here is the image in question, that really made me think about mansplaining after coming across it on Twitter on a Tuesday afternoon coffee break:
There are several things I feel are wrong with this mansplanation of the offside rule in football:
- The title ‘The Offside Rule for Girls’ – why do we need a ‘girl’ version in the first place? Girl football exists you know? Football is not a concept that only men understand. Even for those who might understand the offside rule better by reading this, who says it’s only ‘girls’?
- It’s patronisingly pink, and ‘girly’ – Thank you men, I would never have understood the offside rule without it being on a screaming pink image, thrown into a scenario of shopping, purses and dresses.
- It still doesn’t even make sense – I know nothing about the rules of football and upon reading and trying to understand this, it is still a useless explanation. Your friend passes you her purse so you can go ahead? Is this the ball? Why not just skip the confusion and tell me it’s the ball. Why can’t they go in front of the person in front until they have the purse? Because your offside? Just tell me that, this is complicating this rather than simplifying it, so it’s just unnecessary.
- Love Island 2017 winner Amber Davies shared this (known for recently also patronisingly sharing with girls ‘5 rules for sex’, although she didn’t follow them herself) – it is sad to see someone with this platform of 368k followers share this bordering form of sexism and have it normalise mansplaining to so many people, boys and girls, men and women.
Although I personally viewed this pink ‘for girls’ mansplanation as highly patronising, some people would may call my opinion an exaggeration on something lighthearted, and maybe it is! Amber seemed to find it a good explanation as well as the many who retweet it. As I know there are much more serious forms of mansplaining (I’d highly recommend looking up the hashtag mansplaining for more) this one just started a thought process for me about the topic and questioning it to myself of whether it was harmless or something deeper. Either way it is important to tune into and start recognising these details, being self-aware of them; Can we stop with the mansplaining?