Leave it to a man to mansplain the term “mansplaining.”
Syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson provided the world with a perfect example of mansplaining, all while putting an actual mansplainer in his place.
On Thursday, Nerdette podcast host Greta Johnsen tweeted a screenshot of an exchange between Dickinson and someone who signed their name “Mark R. Bates, National Coalition For Men”:
Dear Amy: You used the word “mansplaining” in your reply to “Perplexed.” I don’t think it means what you think it means.
Mansplaining is a sexist word used by feminists to shut down any debate with a man if they think they can’t win with their argument.
Your use of it in your column is offensive to anyone who is capable of a logical discussion.
— Mark R. Bates, National Coalition For Men
Dear Mark: Others complained that I had misused the word “mansplaining,” but you are the only person to mansplain while doing it.
“Mansplaining” is a slang term used for when men co-opt ideas, thoughts or concepts generated by a woman and then re-explain these concepts back to her in a highly patronizing and “expert” way. (See above.)
In her earlier response to “Perplexed” — a woman worried that her husband was cheating — Dickinson had used the term to simply refer to a man having to explain something. (She wrote, “he’s got some mansplaining to do.”) However, her newer column makes it pretty clear she’s up to date on the more current meaning of the word.
Mansplaining, a concept that evolved out of the discussion surrounding writer Rebecca Solnit’s 2008 essay “Men Explain Things To Me,” has helped women put a name to a frustrating pattern of male behavior that previously felt hard to pinpoint. Recently it’s been used to call out moments such as executive Jamie Dimon “mansplaining” banking to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, or a dude on Twitter “mansplaining” the way outer space works to a female astronaut.
The National Coalition For Men is a men’s rights group, and someone named Mark Bates does sit on their board of directors. The NCFM didn’t immediately respond to a Huffington Post query on whether Bates was actually the mansplainer who mansplained “mansplaining.”