This is getting ridiculous

Suzanne Franks has a couple of posts where she tries to explain what a “mansplainer” is. Delightfully, she uses me as her prime example.

First, some clarification. Just what is mansplaining? I like this definition.

Mansplaining isn’t just the act of explaining while male, of course; many men manage to explain things every day without in the least insulting their listeners.

Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate “facts” about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.

Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!

My favorite part is that it starts out with the faux attempt at equality by saying “mansplaining” isn’t just the act of explaining while male, but then quickly goes on to say “Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman…you are wrong about something you are actually right about…” That precisely is what this ‘definition’ just purported to not be. The claim is that if a man dares hold a position and explain it – and to a woman! the audacity! – then he is being condescending. How is this not sexist? A man can obviously be right while a woman is wrong and he can explain why. Furthermore, he can be wrong while she is right and not be condescending based upon sex. That should be obvious to anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge off the crazy bridge. But I’m disagreeing and giving my reasons why, so I guess I must be mansplaining. What a convenient term, huh?

Oh, and men can have no positions on sexism, what constitutes sexism, why something is good or bad in regards to sexism, or how sexism can be a two-way street. If they do, they’re being sexist.

Franks then goes on to list three things that make me a mansplainer.

1. You MUST explain why everything I said is beside the point, and wrong, and silly.

2. You MUST explain why you are not a mansplainer, then re-explain things to the wimminz. Also, call them sexist.

3. You MUST explain that you mansplain because you assume that blogs are written by men, then re-explain things to the wimminz AGAIN.

All those come with links to comments I left on her blog. Go to her post to get to them.

In number one, she was wrong. I explained why, even as audacious as it is to explain things while being guilty of having a penis. (I mean, come on. She called a black woman white just for the sake of dragging racism into the whole thing and then she couldn’t admit her mistake; she’s a child – and not because she has a vagina.) Instead of addressing anything, all Franks offers is declarations. She isn’t interested in defending anything she thinks; she’s happy just having a relatively large audience who is receptive to her deep-end philosophy. This contrasts with the quality seen on most of ScienceBlogs.com since most bloggers there will tend to actually argue their points.

Number two is just a re-hash of the ‘definition’ from earlier. If a man explains something to a woman, it’s sexist. It’s a convenient cop-out.

As I (audaciously!) explained in previous posts, I never said my assumption (that the post was by a man) was good or bad. What’s more, I was also going on the fact that Franks looks like a man with long hair in her picture. I didn’t originally raise that point for the sake of not being so crude, but if she’s going to hammer on the point, then that’s what’s going to happen. What I did say, however, was that because I had assumed the post was by a man, I couldn’t possibly be “mansplaining”. That blows this whole dumb claim of condescending explanation based upon sex out of the water. Of course, instead of addressing that, Franks has decided to pretend I made a normative claim about my assumption. She looks like a man, I assumed she was a man, and I thought I was arguing against a man.

But then Franks goes on to make this condescending post about men. Her basis, yet again, is another man who dares disagree with her. This one, though, I think is more entertaining than her post on me because all she did was quote an entire post by the user Jon. The implication is that his post is so absurd that it needs no comment. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Here’s a thought experiment for you. Let’s say that I agree with the premise that there’s a particular kind of male behavior that is condescending to females.

Now, let’s say that while I agree that this behavior exists and has certain identifiable qualities, more conceptual clarity is needed, in that there needs to be some sort of boundary around this behavior.

For the sake of argument, let’s also assume the following:

(1) that not everyone has a clear idea of where this boundary is and some of their examples may not fit the initial definition.

(2) the possibility of error, i.e., that some of you are potentially incorrect in identifying certain behaviors as mansplaining when they’re better described as some other behavior (may or may not be related).

(3) a male is actually able to participate in this discussion and disagree without being a mansplainer and the same goes for a female without being a FemaleMansplainer

Okay, if you agree with that I’ve written, I want to you imagine your perfect interlocutor, presumably someone that’s well-informed about the issues and the arguments. Imagine that this interlocutor nonetheless disagrees with some or all of your arguments. What criticisms would they offer?

What constitutes the best possible argument against this idea of the Mainsplainer? Can you play devil’s advocate and come up with arguments? What would they be?

Whoa, whoa, whoa! This is absurd! Jon is going off on all this fruitful discussion and other mansplaining bullshit! How could he.

I suppose the joke really has been on me. I have a pretty severe case of SIWOTI, so I pretty freely fall into these sort of useless ‘discussions’ on the Internet (and by “discussions”, I mean I was discussing something; Franks’ and co were making declarations, likely out of the emptiness of their deep-end philosophy). It should have been clear with what sort of person I was dealing: Franks and friends aren’t interested in furthering any causes of women. No, these people are more interested in being caricatures of feminists. They are the fodder of bad sitcoms. They are part of the reason people like Sarah Palin is a big deal. They are little more than Poe’s Law applied to deep-end feminists. These people do feminism a disservice when they declare everything to be sexism – especially when they feel it so crucial to employ sexism to make their points.

But there I go, mansplaining and all again. How dare I disagree with feminists on the Internet. The only reason can be that I think I’m inherently better.

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13 Responses

  1. D00d, the joke *is* on you!!!! You are the comidy gift that keeps on giving.

  2. they feel it so crucial to employ sexism to make their points

    Oh, and what the fuck does this even mean? Don’t you lose high-school debate-team champeeeeeeship points for this kind of illeteracy?

  3. Where is the issue in that sentence? Was it not sexist enough? Not hypocritical enough? Did I not say “fuck” on the Internet enough, as if that’s an edgy thing to do?

    I call Poe’s Law for feminism on this dolt.

  4. “Franks and friends aren’t interested in furthering any cause of women. They aren’t like the PZ Myers’ and Richard Dawkins’ of the world who will forcefully put forth their positions and arguments.”

    Oh indeed. Because Myers and Dawkins are the paragons of *feminism that actually helps women*. /eyeroll

  5. Really? These caricatures aren’t like Myers and Dawkins because those two will put forth arguments while using strong language. The caricatures aren’t interested in arguing anything, but instead just making declarations.

    The point wasn’t that Myers and Dawkins fight for feminism (hence why I separately made that point in parenthesis), but that their use of strong language is different from Franks and co because they back it up with actual points. Do you think Franks could ever write The Male Delusion and make it sell by filling it up with declarations like she does with her blog?

  6. Sir, you gonna publicly admit that you changed the illeterate “implore” in you’re post and my comment to “employ”;) and you changed “illeterate” in my comment to “illeterate”? Or are you gonna deny it flat out? Or are you gonna pretend it was a “clevar troll” on you’re part?

    Are you just a rediculous douchbag;) or are you also a sleezy liar?

  7. […] now we are learning that not only is he a ridiculous douchebag, but he is also a sleazy liar. In this post, he wrote the following: they feel it so crucial to implore sexism to make their points [emphasis […]

  8. Michael, it’s amazing how few people actually tried to form intelligent responses to you. That seems telling about the validity of their position… But physioprof did call you dood and swear a lot so he’s got you there. I guess I’m mansplaining now so I should just shutup.

  9. How does one go about starting a meme? I want to coin “Hawkins’ Law” as the official title for Poe’s Law for feminism. It’s impossible to tell a deep-end, fundamentalist feminist from a caricature of one.

  10. “My favorite part is that it starts out with the faux attempt at equality by saying “mansplaining” isn’t just the act of explaining while male, but then quickly goes on to say “Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman…you are wrong about something you are actually right about…” That precisely is what this ‘definition’ just purported to not be. The claim is that if a man dares hold a position and explain it – and to a woman! the audacity! – then he is being condescending. ”

    Guess again, you whiny little bitch. Mansplaining isn’t just the act of explaining while male, it’s the act of taking a position which is clearly incorrect, arguing it ad nauseum without any facts to back you up, and insulting the people who disagree with you on the grounds that they are female and can’t possibly be correct. It’s entirely possible – hell, it happens far more often than not – for a man to explain something to a woman without being a condescending douchebag. This is not what you are doing. You are disregarding the evidence presented to you because the people presenting the evidence are female. And then you proceed to moan at length about it and school us all on what sexism really means and how you’re totally a victim of it. That is mansplaining, and you are an asshole.

    Maybe you should make another passive-aggressive blog post about it though. Surely that will change the minds of those uppity feminists! Maybe then they’ll realise you’re actually a really nice guy!

  11. @Comrade:
    >> “Sir, you gonna publicly admit that you changed the illeterate “implore” in you’re post and my comment to “employ”;) and you changed “illeterate” in my comment to “illeterate”? Or are you gonna deny it flat out? Or are you gonna pretend it was a “clevar troll” on you’re part?
    Are you just a rediculous douchbag;) or are you also a sleezy liar?”

    Illiterate*, your*, ridiculous*, douche bag* – And I’ll overlook the childish “gonna” and assume “clevar” was on purpose, even though it didn’t make any sense to spell it wrong as a point.

    At the VERY least learn the difference between “your” and “you’re” if you’re going to be a grammar nazi.

  12. To be fair, I was editing his shit. That’s a policy I instituted because of his massive spamming. The only reason I didn’t outright ban the troll was that I happened to find some actually reasonable posts by him somewhere in the bowels of the Interwebblings. If he actually manages to make some actual points (even if they’re bad), I won’t edit his crap.

  13. Where would we be without PhysioProf to come along and troll?

    Somewhere nicer, probably. Oh, well. I’d call him a tool, but, well, I think tools are actually useful.

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