A recent exchange on social media has prompted me to take pen to paper. Mostly because the exchange itself resulted in me being blocked for trying to get the other participant to realize that bigoted blanket statements aren't cool and in no way should be used in intellectual discourse on a public forum. During the exchange, I was identified as a privileged white male and inundated with non sequiturs in order to defend a specific word. That word is "mansplaining".
The term was coined when Rebecca Solnit wrote a piece called Men Explain Things to Me. She didn't coin the term herself but merely listed an example where an arrogant man was trying to explain things and talk over her regarding a book she was the author of. As a result, young women on the Internet ran with it and thus the word mansplaining was born. There's a slight problem with it though. It's a gender specific derogatory term that can only be used by women towards men. For that very reason, it's bigoted and unacceptable. It's also completely obtuse to think that talking out of one's ass is inherently a male dominated problem. Everyone does it. E-ve-ry-one. It's called being human. We form opinions on information that has been presented to us and keep those opinions unless otherwise challenged by conflicting evidence and facts. I've had things "mansplained" to me during training sessions by members of the opposite sex. Things I was very much aware of due to the decades of experience I've had in my field, which I had already pointed out. Did I slap that person with the label of "cuntsplaining" things to me? Fuck no! Because before me, she had to deal with various other individuals with different levels of knowledge and comprehension skills. She can't read minds. Simplifying conversation is something every human being does in the hopes to be understood. Some are more patronizing & arrogant than others but by no means is it gender specific. And if you do notice a pattern where a man is blatantly oversimplifying things due to a gender bias, call them a sexist. Confront them on it. Don't use some bigoted blanket statement. It only hurts your cause by making you look like a complete and utter hypocrite. Prominent women's activists have no problem making a point without it, so why can't you? Hell, I've been overly outspoken myself regarding equal rights and how women are being mistreated outside the West only to be slapped with this nonsense with a side of slander mentioning I'm a male who's white and privileged. Like everyone who falls into that category is living such a wonderful life without obstacle or incident. Cut it the fuck out already.
As a feminist myself, I find some people have taken a drastic U-turn in the wrong direction regarding the ultimate goal of equality. I've already listed the example of the hypocritical use of "mansplaining" but it doesn't stop there. Let me present you Christina Hoff Sommers, a woman who's been dedicating a lot of her time recently trying to criticize the bad ideas that have recently surfaced by certain individuals identifying themselves as feminists. As an extremely well spoken and rational human being she's earned the moniker of Factual Feminist. Having been a part of the women's movement herself, she's noticed a rather disturbing trend from when she initially became an activist. That is the distortion of facts and a growing movement towards misandry. Ideas illustrating how there's a wage gap, a rape culture, a western patriarchy have all been addressed, analysed and brought into reality as exaggerated fabrications from third wave feminism. The key here is to realize that men and women are different but should be treated as equals. This is something that I believe has escaped certain so called feminists who use erroneous statistics in order to promote a patriarchal agenda that simply does not exist in the western world. Moreover it's a great disservice to those identifying themselves as feminists who are trying to bring attention on discussing and changing the parts of the world who actually are suffering from a true patriarchy. Because now, not only do we have to criticize bad ideas on one front, we have to dismiss preconceptions that have been established by third wave feminists.
The truth of the matter is thanks to pioneers like Christina H Sommers, equality in the western world is a reality and one we can proudly display as an example to other nations and cultures on what can be achieved when we enable all people. There's still work to be done but the narrative provided by third wave feminists is extremely exaggerated. All it takes for women to succeed now is self-confidence and independence. And if someone challenges your opinions and they happen to have differing genitalia from yours, consider defending your position with an actual argument in stead of reaching for third wave rhetoric. If you're right, your opinion should be able to stand on its own.