Dudes, Stop Mansplaining So We Don't Have To Make Up Words Like 'Mansplaining'

by Joelle Wisler
Yuri_Arcurs / Getty Images

If you’re a woman, you’ve been mansplained to — possibly while picking out tampons or trying to buy a new bra. Some guys love to explain how things work to poor, helpless females because I guess we need protection from our own thoughts and opinions.

You’d think, living in 2017, we would have grown and matured as a species. But maybe not, because you only have to live one day as a modern woman to find that you either have to make fun of the same old shit going down with made-up words or start ripping your bra off and lighting it on fire in pure female frustration.

But then a man would probably say he’d suggested that idea to us.

For those of you who might not know, the definition of mansplaining is when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending way when he either 1) doesn’t know anything about it, or 2) knows far less than the woman he is talking to.

Mansplaining happened to me often as a physical therapist working in a hospital with male doctors. They loved to tell me about how important it was to get our patients up and walking when that was literally my entire job. I have a master’s degree in getting people up and walking.

Mansplaining has also happened to me while getting meat from a butcher, picking out snow tires, and I swear to god, a guy told me about the benefits of breastfeeding as I was actually breastfeeding. Thank you, oh wise one without the mammaries. Please, oh please, tell me everything you know about this intriguing process.

There has been a new focus on using gendered language to describe these annoying parts of being a woman in our society. I have heard that using these types of words can be harmful and a way of increasing the divide between the sexes. Words like hepeat (when a woman suggests an idea and it’s ignored, but then a guy says same thing and everyone loves it), or bropriate (a man stealing an idea from a woman and putting it out into the world as their own). The thing is, these words exist because these things happen.

Dammit, guys, stop doing these things and then we won’t have to name them.

We are getting tired of being told to smile, of our male colleagues not treating us the same, of being constantly catcalled just trying to make our way through the world. This isn’t feminist ranting — it’s just us saying knock that shit off.

Stop treating us like we somehow belong to you because we do not. Stop treating us like our brains don’t work as well as yours because they do. Stop making it so damn easy for us to make up stupid words that perfectly describe the reality of being a woman. I don’t see “womansplained” or “shepeat” in the Urban Dictionary.

There is a reason that these words exist, and it’s called the male ego. The male ego thinks that it needs to assert itself by saying the exact same thing that a woman said but with a man’s voice, and therefore it is recognized. I mean, the word manterrupting exists, people, and it’s defined as when a man interrupts a woman, especially excessively — over and over.

Freaking stop it.

And it’s not just the things dudes say that are the problem. There are sometimes actual body movements that are frustratingly worthy of a new name. Like, there’s manspreading: when men take up excess space by sitting with their legs far apart because the male ego is so tiny that a man has to literally make himself look bigger and take up more space than is needed. Not because he deserves that extra space more than someone else, just because he wants it and therefore takes it.

I’m obviously not saying that all men are like this, so just stop with the “not all men” response. The men that I choose to spend my time around are not the ones who would ever try to mansplain anything to me. Or bropriate, or hepeat, or manterrupt. They understand that women are equal members of this world, and I can’t believe I still have to say that shit out loud.

Hopefully the tides will turn in my daughter’s lifetime. She is surrounded by a father, brother, and grandfathers who treat her as if her thoughts are valid, and her dreams are truly possible. The world is changing, and I hope that she will grow up experiencing less mansplaining in her lifetime. After all, it’s time for our societal attitudes about women to finally crawl out of the dark ages.