PETER GLEESON

Sunday Herald Sun - - Opinion -

I’VE be­come a vic­tim of mansplain­ing. Or is it wom­en­splain­ing? Or is it just un­ex­plain­ing?

A woman wrote to me and con­de­scend­ingly told me I had no cred­i­bil­ity, write crap (with a poo emoji!), am a stain on the hu­man race and am an un­e­d­u­cated fool. Those were the nice bits. She was a teacher, of course. The funny thing about this let­ter was that it had to be pointed out to me by a male col­league that I’d ac­tu­ally been mansplained. To me, it was just another an­gry per­son.

What­ever you want to call it, let’s not get into a gen­der war about be­ing called an id­iot.

Pre­dictably, I’d in­curred the wrath of a bunch of teach­ers, and this one in par­tic­u­lar, be­cause I had sug­gested they teach nu­mer­acy and lit­er­acy, rather than brain­wash kids with Left-wing ide­o­log­i­cal fan­tasies.

It seemed a simple enough re­quest. The dic­tio­nary def­i­ni­tion of mansplain­ing is “what oc­curs when a man talks con­de­scend­ingly to some­one (es­pe­cially a woman) about some­thing he has in­com­plete knowl­edge of, with the mis­taken as­sump­tion that he knows more about it than the per­son he’s talking to does’’.

My ar­gu­ment was that most teach­ers were Lefties but they had a moral and eth­i­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity to leave their po­lit­i­cal views at the class­room door. I’m not go­ing to get a Pulitzer Prize for break­ing the news that most teach­ers vote La­bor. But her vit­riol got me think­ing. This whole mansplain­ing thing is a cruel hoax. It’s a myth. Does any­body re­ally think that men have a mort­gage on talking con­de­scend­ingly to women?

Does any­body re­ally think that a man has never con­de­scend­ingly lec­tured another bloke about a sub­ject he has lit­tle idea about?

Among men, when a bloke starts rab­bit­ing on about a topic that he thinks he’s an ex­pert on, but is clearly not, we just dis­miss him as a gib­berer. Men sanc­tion such be­hav­iour by steer­ing clear of the said gib­berer, leav­ing him to bore him­self to death.

Surely, some women will be fa­mil­iar with a fe­male col­league or friend who has been un­fairly crit­i­cal, even con­de­scend­ing. Is that fem­splain­ing? Which brings me to the nub of this gen­der eq­uity rub­bish.

Gen­der quo­tas in pol­i­tics and busi­ness are pa­tro­n­is­ing and de­mean­ing — not to men but women. Af­ter last week’s vic­tory, La­bor’s Daniel An­drews made sure his Cab­i­net was 50 per cent women. The move fol­lowed a sim­i­lar 50 per cent ra­tio of women in La­bor’s Queens­land Cab­i­net.

I re­cently re­ceived a call from a grand­mother, lament­ing the fact that her 28-year old grand­son had been dis­crim­i­nated against by a ma­jor bank. He’d gone for an as­sis­tant man­ager’s job at a re­gional branch and missed out to a woman.

His col­leagues were shocked, she said. His re­sume was much su­pe­rior to the woman who beat him for the role, she said.

He’d worked his butt off to get an eco­nom­ics de­gree, toil­ing as a barista four nights a week to put him­self through uni­ver­sity, his grand­mother said.

A month later, af­ter a few drinks at the pub, one of his su­pe­ri­ors ac­knowl­edged he was the bet­ter can­di­date but “we’ve got to get the (fe­male) quota up’’.

He re­signed a week later and is now run­ning his own cof­fee shop.

Life is tough. Es­pe­cially in busi­ness and pol­i­tics. In to­day’s cut­throat world, em­ploy­ers take no pris­on­ers. The no­tion that a man is be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against for a job be­cause his com­pany — or po­lit­i­cal party — needs to hit a quota is of­fen­sive and un­fair.

When it comes to merit-based as­cen­sion through the busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal ranks, the cream should ul­ti­mately rise to the top, through hard work and a bit of luck, whether you’re a man or a woman.

And that’s just plain speak­ing. PETER GLEESON IS A SUN­DAY HER­ALD SUN COLUM­NIST

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