Mansplaining is the act of explaining something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic. Even if she is an expert in it. And, as the name of the phenomena suggests, men are really good at it.
A few weeks ago, TikToker Victoria Gravesande posted a video on the platform, asking the community to share the "stupidest thing a man has ever mansplained to you." Now, Victoria's recording has over 660K views and plenty of answers, illustrating what you get when you mix ignorance with over-confidence.
I was working out at the gym and warming up for squats when a man stepped onto my platform and asked if he could spot me. I politely declined but he did not get the hint, he proceeded to mansplain the mechanics of a squat. He showed me where to put the bar on my back, how my feet should be positioned, and how I should breathe. I finally had to interject and let him know that 1) I was a personal trainer, 2) [I] was a competitive powerlifter and 3) had a national-level powerlifting coach.
Victoria is a recent graduate living in Ontario, Canada, and she started posting TikToks about misogyny and feminism in January, just to share some of her experiences online. They have been well-received by women who can relate to the everyday sexism that we face, so she just keeps going.
"I realize that mansplaining is not peak feminism, but as someone who is intelligent, well-read, and a grown person, I know that when men speak to me condescendingly about things that are so mundane - like pillows! - it is because he assumes - knowingly or not - that women are not as smart as men," Gravesande told Bored Panda.
"Mansplaining is one of those things that women are just expected to tolerate in a patriarchal society, so I knew a lot of women would be able to relate and share their own experiences with it, and it's not a heavy topic ... so I knew women would not hesitate to share their experiences. My goal with my TikTok account is to talk about everyday experiences for women and to think critically about everyday things that we don't realize are rooted in misogyny."
I once had a man break down exactly how much pain women feel during childbirth after I told him I had delivered two nine-pound babies, without an epidural. Like, sir, I did not stress test my taint just to have an illiterate argue with me about it.
I once had a grown man tell me that women don't fart. He genuinely believed this in his soul. I told him that he was wrong and of course women fart and he told me that biologically women cannot fart. I have no words.
The term mansplaining is often credited to Rebecca Solnit for her 2008 essay, which became a book in 2014 called Men Explain Things to Me. While Solnit did not coin the term, the book solidified it and the concept of mansplaining quickly spread across social media and pop culture.
As feminist writer Erynn Brook pointed out in The Guardian, since then, the "-splaining" suffix has been applied to other areas as well. There's whitesplaining, cisplaining, hetsplaining, richsplaining... The list goes on. The important thing to note about these words, Brook said, is how they highlight the power differential. "The word always describes the act of the person with the most power in the conversation, the man, the white person, the cisgendered person, the heterosexual person, the rich person and so. This is why terms such as femsplaining or womansplainingw to describe the act of a woman speaking condescendingly to a man are not generally accepted," Brook explained.
He didn't know what mansplaining was...so I told him. And then he mansplained mansplaining...to ME.
I once had a man mansplain to me my own name. My name is Niamh, it's Irish. So I met this guy, he had only ever interacted with me on WhatsApp, and so he said, 'Oh you must be Ny-am.' And I said, 'Oh no, it's Niamh, it's pronounced like this, it's the Irish language.' And he goes, 'No, it should be 'Ny-am.' And I was like, 'No, it's my name. It's a different language.' And he was like, 'But there's an 'M' in it. It should be Ny-am.' And he just kept going and going as if I needed to get through my tiny woman brain that I was pronouncing my own name wrong for 22 years of my life. He wasn't an Irish speaker or a native English speaker, he was Greek.
Gravesande wants women and girls to engage with her TikTok in a funny and frustrating way where they all can share their experiences and feel less alone, reminding people that women and girls aren't stupid. "It's not fair that we have to 'just accept' that as women, we will not be taken as seriously as men," she said.
"The response to this TikTok has been overwhelming and at first, I tried to watch and comment on every single person who answered my question but there were just so many. I think I lost count after 300 and that was three days after I posted the video. Rebecca Black and Lili Hayes stitched my video and my friends sent it to me so that was really cool!"
One time my boyfriend's dad tried to explain to me how the spacing of studs worked in a wall... I'm a CARPENTER!
A customer in the store I work at told me that he had been on a round trip of Europe and I asked him where he went, and he said he went to Copenhagen and so I said, 'Oh that's cool, you went to Denmark.' He said, 'No, I said I went to Copenhagen.' I said, 'Yeah, I heard that, but Copenhagen is in Denmark.' And he tried to explain to me that Copenhagen and Denmark are both towns in Sweden.
"As I said earlier, exposing mansplaining is not peak feminism. Women don't die from it, I wouldn't necessarily say that we are traumatized from it, but just because there are no casualties doesn't mean it's harmless or not a real issue," Gravesande added. "My country has been in lockdown for the past year so I haven't been out and about speaking to anyone who might mansplain something to me, but I do realize that I will probably still experience this in the future."
The woman said it feels almost inescapable since "at any position of my adult life, as a partner, an employee, someone with a hobby, and as a student, someone is always willing to mansplain something to me."
Gravesande doesn't think it will go away until men simply accept that women are intelligent and can, in fact, be experts.
He interrupts me while I'm talking about women's issues and goes "I'm gonna stop your right there because I'm a feminist so I should know what I'm talking about" and then proceeded to mansplain womanhood to me. Me a woman. And he thought he knew more about being a woman then me A WOMAN
My ex explained to me what a pillow is used for. He said the pillow is used to support the neck and the head.
All the replies her TikTok has received have reassured Gravesande that mansplaining is a universal experience for women. "I saw videos from women in the UK, Australia, and Brazil stitch my video. Professional women who have PhDs and are doctors have stitched my video. This has opened my eyes to sexism at its core," she said.
"Women around the world from different backgrounds and with different jobs have all experienced this and it's a phenomenon that occurs when men perceive you as a woman. There is also an alarming amount of men who have mansplained periods, PMS, and pregnancy to women and girls and that has been jaw-dropping for me."
Many stories downright shocked Victoria. "Dr. Melissa Mork, an academic expert, stitched my video and shared her experiences losing her parents, her close friends, and her partner, and a man still told her she knows nothing about grief and then explained to her what it was based on losing his dog at the age of 12. Video answers like that struck a nerve because mansplaining experiences boil down to men thinking their feelings are more valid than women's."
My Period. I have a period and every other month it hurts and this dude was "do you even know how periods work?". I had a period for 15 years, I think I have a good idea.
So, a man took me to get tacos. I'm eating the chips before we get our meal and he's like, 'Do you like the salsa?' and I'm like, 'Yeah I do, it's good.' And he's like, 'Do you know that if you like the salsa you can actually also put that on your tacos?' And I was like... 'Yeah, I'm aware how salsa works.'
A man explained to me the title of my poetry collection.
I was playing Mulan at Disney World, and this little girl comes up to me and goes, 'Hiyah! Hiyah! Hiyah!' which is very common for little kids to do. Her dad looks at me and says, 'Oh she's doing that because in the movie Mulan, Mulan fights in the war against the bad guys. And I said, 'You mean me?
I'm currently pregnant and in the 1st trimester non-stop nausea, morning sickness PS it's all day sickness. Went to the pharmacy to see if anything could help medication wise. The pharmacist decided to mansplain to me "you know nausea & morning sickness are a normal symptom of pregnancy." As if i didn't know like literally explained it to me as if it was going to be a lightbulb moment for me.
I just had I a man tell me what teeth are. He told they stay in the mouth and they help crush up food right after he swallowed his filling and/or whole tooth he wasn't completely sure which one was which.
This morning my dad tried to explain to me that it was Thursday he would not listen when I said it was Wednesday. When I pulled out my phone and showed he he got really mad.
Kirby. This little guy hangs on my backpack we go everywhere together. And on time I was at this restaurant, and this guy that works there came up to me and he's like "Aw, I like the little Kirby that's hanging on your backpack!" and I was like "Aw, thanks!." this guy proceeds to go "You know? I bet you only like him cuz he's cute. Have you ever played a Kirby game? They're really fun." I cut him off. I was like "Yes! Actually! I've played almost every Kirby game! He's one of my favorite video game characters!"