It’s only clever when we do it

Suzanne Franks has another post about ‘mansplaining‘.

Over at the mansplaining thread, you can read literally hundreds of hilarious, annoying, frustrating, heartbreaking stories of how women are constantly subjected to intrusive, incessant, insensitive, inane mansplaining. Interspersed you will also find comments from d00dly d00ds whinging away about how awful it is that women are talking so MEAN about men, and their mansplanations about how mansplaining doesn’t exist. Then some douche tried to coin the phrase femsplaining.

Well, if she’s going to phonetically spell things and replace numbers with letters, I just don’t know how I’m going to compete.

I’m not about to defend the use of the word “femsplaining”. If it means to reference a particular ideological group that addresses dissent with condescension and disdain, then it may be accurate, but it isn’t useful. These are caricature feminists. They represent a minority which has developed a sort of in-group mentality, not some mainstream way of thought that is going to change much of anything.

The reason, though, that I don’t want to defend “femsplaining” is that it’s as dumb as “mansplaining”. Each loose (and always piss-poor) definition allows an extension that goes beyond sex and gender. In fact, at least one user picked up on this fact. Even the tried and true caricatures have pointed out in several places that ‘mansplaining’ is not specific to men. One is only left to wonder why they would bother even using it at all. (I think I just mansplained?)

Oh, and this isn’t a post for mocking ‘mansplainers’. While Franks and friends are interested in furthering their fuzzy community feeling by screeching “You don’t geeeeeeeeeeettttttt iiiiiiitttt!!!”, I am not. The caricature Gish Gallop is getting tiresome. “You don’t get it, you don’t get it, you don’t get it! This is mansplaining, this is sexist, these pictures are ALL misogynistic. Your perspective is bunk! Bunk, bunk, bunk! Almost all people think like you do! (Because I know how you think, you straight, white male – and I know your sexual orientation, didn’t you know.)” …well, let me just respond to your first point by saying…”MANSPLAINING!”

Finally, dissent over language does not equal some big, sexist conspiracy. Sometimes terms just suck. Get over it.

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