The word "mansplain" is one of those English-language fads that I hoped would quickly go away. It's hasn't, and there seem to be some people fueling it. So, I will "lesbi-splain" why this is something that is wrong, and should be opposed.
It recently came up in a Facebook dustup. Someone posted a comment about the debate between Vice-Presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris and current VP Mike Pence. It ended with saying that Sen. Harris is "an amazing role-model for all the women who are tired of being talked over, or 'man-splained'."
There's a lot wrong with this. It starts with, I am a big fan of Sen. Harris, and am even a member of the @TheKHive on Twitter. Even if this were not the case, as a male human being, I object to being put in the same category as Mike Pence, for any reason.
When Pence was a university student, he ratted out the fraternity he belonged to for (shudder) having a keg party. Had he done this at a fraternity at most institutions of higher learning, he would have gotten a serious ass-kicking, followed by an expulsion. It suffices to say that I would never drink beer with Pence. Nor would I go fishing with him, go to a football game with him, play tennis with him, go on a road trip with him, or anything else. Hope you've gotten the message by now. I don't have much use for mama's boys, either. And not only that, pretty much all men I know feel the same way.
Now, if the Facebook had described Pence's boorish behaviour as "Dominionist-splaining", "prick-splaining", "asswipe-splaining", or any of several hundred negative verbs that could be applied to Pence, I would certainly have no problem with it. But I hope I've made it clear that anything that associates me with Pence is offensive.
Are you in the habit of referring to Cuban-Americans as "gusanos"? Probably not, but some people are. Not only is it a very offensive term; it implies that all Cuban-Americans were supporters of Batista. Same with referring to Germans as "krauts"; it implies that all Germans are Nazis or former Stasi agents.
Is "mansplain" a hate word like "gusano" or "kraut"? You tell me. It definitely serves to reinforce a stereotype. It's definitely an effective way to end a conversation. In this day and age, that is a Bad Thing. Don't say to me, "we need to have a conversation" if only one of the people in that conversation is allowed to talk. ("Having a conversation" could well be a topic for a future essay.)
Follow me on Twitter: @GuanajuatoBob