Dear Internet: Do we have a feminist version of “mansplaining”?

Like many other Canadian feminists and news junkies, I have spent the past week or so reading approximately six lengthy articles per day about Jian Ghomeshi.

If you’re unfamiliar with this topic, Ghomeshi is a very popular radio host here in Canada. News recently broke that he hurts women. Here are links to three pieces that really stuck with me:

This story is developing so quickly, those stories will probably be irrelevant by the time I post this. Sorry, I tried my best! Google it or something!

I’ve spent so much of my time recently reading about this story, discussing this story, arguing about this story and explaining this story. I’ve been trying to answer questions like these:

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Jian could be innocent, we don’t know all the facts.

We’ll never “know” all the “facts”. Assuming Jian’s innocence is assuming the guilt of his accusers. It was saying that eight (or nine or ten or fifty…) women are liars.

Why didn’t the women tell anyone? Why didn’t they go to the police?

“Why didn’t they go to the police” is a question only white men have the privilege – the luxury – of asking. They did not go because they knew it would likely go nowhere. They wouldn’t be believed, or they’d be believed but there’d be no evidence. They did not go because of a staggering power imbalance.

Why didn’t they tell this guy to scram when he seemed weird? Why did she go to his house/get in his car/spend any time alone with him/etc.?

The only question we should be asking is “Why does this man hurt women?” End of story.

These are just a few examples. I am happy to be surrounded by people who are open to having intelligent conversations about this, who are happy to learn. Men who understand that a woman’s perspective on being a woman is more relevant than his own.

The Internet has coined the term “mansplain”, which Urban Dictionary defines as “to delight in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation.”

I’d like to suggest we have a term for feminist explanations, defined as “to patiently and repeatedly deliver thoughtful explanations regarding sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, feminism and one’s own world view as a woman, delivered with rock solid confidence and certainty that she is worth listening to because she is the woman in this conversation.”

What should we call it, friends? “Femsplaining”? “Fem-ducation”? “Feminterpret”? I do not like any of these.

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About Jill

Pop culture junkie. Food lover. Feminist. Content marketer. I'm here to win and I'm also here to make friends.
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2 Responses to Dear Internet: Do we have a feminist version of “mansplaining”?

  1. Stephen Mader says:

    Well, I have not weighed in on this topic due to travel and getting a full picture. At first, looking at his face book response I said ” good for him, he should fight back against the CBC. Your private life is just that private. I am not into, the kinky stuff that he was into to, and thus felt it was his private life.
    My parents taught me at a very young age, never to hit a girl or a women and that has always stuck with me, and I have taught that to my children. So the rough sex thing, while not for me I understand some people are into that.
    Now here is the point. People don’t lie to your crisis management team or your PR team, as eventually they are going to find out the truth. This is what has happened in this case, thus they dropped him for what he is, a piece of s**t.
    On your point why didn’t women come forward, that’s easy : one they are always treated as it somehow was their fault, yet 99 % of the time it was the man’s fault. Two, this “was” a powerful person. Well he has gotten what he deserves, he can go crawl under some rock, till the legal system catches up with him.

  2. I don’t like making a term like femsplaining because of the negative connotations that come with mansplaining. Mansplaining is done out of ignorance. Femsplaining isn’t.

    Making up new words is full and all but I like simply being a feminist who takes a no bullshit approach.

    I don’t want a new word since i don’t think it adds much to the conversation. we should just name the problem: male violence against women without abandon.

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