A New Mansplaining
We all know what it is, that smirk, that condescending tone, the explanation of something so simple our little female minds just can't seem to grasp? Unfortunately it's making a comeback, not like it went away or anything, and it's forged a new dark alliance with 'convince me' culture. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg explains it best with the following tweet;
'Oh, good. A man on the internet demanding that I explain the thing I already said but in different words because he disagrees. This seems like a totally worthwhile use of my time and energy.'
I recently encountered the same thing online when someone decided that I needed to explain my experience with phone service and poverty. Here's some snippets:
' so you are saying there are no other options? because... there are'
'Are you saying a contract that prevent you from using another sim card is a responsible financial decision?'
'hang on, so we are back to "There is no other option?'
What we can see here is not a failure to communicate, but someone who has taken mansplaining to a new level. It says, convince me and when I don't understand you (because that's the point), you will feel frustration, waste your time, expend your energy, and hopefully feel insecure about your own lived experiences. The goal being that if you believe it, without them 'explaining it' your more likely to fall for their bullshit.
So, let's break down the tactic even further. It uses questions and the assumption that they just need clarification to drag out a conversation in a variation of ways with no conclusion for either party. It uses such structures as:
' Are you saying that...'
' Wait a minute...'
' Hang on...'
' Did you mean...'
'Are we back to...'
It also uses hints that you are wrong without giving any evidence to the contrary and loves to talk you into circles while blaming you for it. This is also nefarious because it makes it where genuine conversations with others will be second guessed. There's no way to tell until you are at least several minutes in, if they are genuinely interested in the topic or not.
What To Do
At the first sign of feeling like you need to re-clarify your stance or point... Stop and ask yourself the following:
Have they stated what they don't understand about what I said? Does it need clarification?
Am I being pulled into a circular conversation that isn't going anywhere?
Do I feel the need to reword my original comments even though it is clear?
At this point, if it isn't a genuine conversation but mansplaining in disguise, call out the behavior. If they try to continue the conversation anyways, you have a few options.
Use them as an example of mansplaining / convince me culture. State that you have no obligation to teach them anything.
You are never obligated to teach, convince, or prove that your lived experience is valid to anyone. Your time is also valuable and so is your mental health. Take time for self-care and build up the best version of yourself. We don't have to give bigots a platform. Social media is a tool and when people use it to spread toxic ideas, we don't have to let that affect us or our followers. Smash that block button and use it liberally. Create a space that works for you not against you.