Attention men! Are you the one to mansplain? Avoid it

  • Abhinav Verma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 23, 2015 10:37 IST
Want to know what ‘mansplain’ means and how you can avoid it? Read on.. (Shutterstock)

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 life 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, argue 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

(GIF: Tumblr)

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 things 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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