Are you the one to mansplain?

Want to know what ‘mansplain’ means and how you can avoid it? Read on...

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Leisure - Ab­hi­nav Verma ab­hi­nav.verma@hin­dus­tan­times.com

While go­ing through your Face­book news feed, have you ever stum­bled on the word ‘Mansplain’, which seems to be trend­ing a lot th­ese days. Well, we ex­plain the mean­ing of the term and why one should re­frain from mansplain­ing.

Mansplain­ing is a spe­cific kind of a so­cial be­hav­iour where a guy pa­tro­n­is­ingly ex­plains some­thing sim­ple to a woman, un­der the as­sump­tion that she would not know what it is be­cause “she is a woman”. Let’s take an ex­am­ple to be more elab­o­rate: A guy ex­plain­ing to a girl the rules of a sup­pos­edly male sport. Un­less she ex­presses an in­ter­est in learn­ing more about a par­tic­u­lar sport, one can’t as­sume that she doesn’t al­ready know about it. But we of­ten end up as­sum­ing. And why do we do that? “Mansplain­ing is of­ten char­ac­terised by men ig­nor­ing and in­val­i­dat­ing women’s lived ex­pe­ri­ences with sit­u­a­tions that men just don’t have”, says Priya War­rick, eti­quette ex­pert. So dear men, here are five ways you can check if you’re the one to mansplain or not.

1 Game of as­sump­tions: The prob­lem starts when we di­vide knowl­edge into cat­e­gories like ‘guy stuff ’, which in­cludes video games, sports and cars. “Mansplain­ing starts when one tends to as­sume that girls have no idea about men stuff or are just not in­ter­ested in it,” says Dr Go­rav Gupta, psy­chi­a­trist.

2 Prove your ex­per­tise: Ca­sual con­ver­sa­tions are a great way for guys to break the ice and show off their

cre­den­tials. And most guys do this by show­ing off their ex­per­tise of a par­tic­u­lar trait. But, if your pur­pose is to do this to get an ego boost and just prove that you’re the ex­pert, then you’re surely quite the mansplainer. “Use your knowl­edge to con­nect rather blow­ing your own trum­pet,” says War­rick .

3 Lis­ten, ar­gues less: The hall­mark of a mansplainer is that they hardly lis­ten what the girl has to say in the con­ver­sa­tion. Rather, they are busy fo­cus­ing on how to re­spond in a par­tic­u­lar way to prove their point. A mansplainer uses a woman’s turn to talk, so that he can think about how he can bet­ter mar­shal his ar­gu­ments. “It’s more of a de­bate than a con­ver­sa­tion for a mansplainer,” ac­cord­ing to Dr Gupta.

4 Im­press much: While im­press­ing the lady, you prob­a­bly want to

be seen as dif­fer­ent from the other guys. How­ever, if your way of do­ing this in­volves you as­sum­ing that you know her bet­ter than she her­self knows, then you are on the path of mansplain­ing. “While your in­ten­tion might be no­bel, but then you comes across as some­one who is uni­ver­sal­iz­ing his ex­pe­ri­ences on ev­ery­one,” says War­rick.

5 Know thy self: It’s one thing to be an in­suf­fer­able know-it-all when you ac­tu­ally know stuff. “How­ever, it’s an­other thing if you don’t know some­thing and you as­sume that in an ar­gu­ment, the ac­tual truth mat­ters less than the con­fi­dence or the flour­ish in which one ex­plains his version of the facts,” says Dr Gupta. A will­ing­ness to ad­mit what one doesn’t know, ac­com­pa­nied by a gen­uine ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est in learn­ing some­thing new, is a great vac­cine against mansplain­ing. In­puts by Priya War­rick,

eti­quette ex­pert and Dr Go­rav Gupta, psy­chi­a­trist

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