Monday, 29 September 2014

On Mansplaining and Monastic Drains


Have you noticed it, too? The never-ending shit-stream of mansplanatory comments!

Don't know what we're talking about? Believe us, if you have visited a social media site in the last decade or so, you will have seen it. Mansplaining - it's in the media, it's in academia, it's in politics, it's goddamn everywhere.
Where is all this coming from? you might be asking yourself, scratching your hairy belly under your string vest, and belching. This is fucking annoying - when I come home I want my dinner on the table, a beer in my hand and my favourite bog blog to be about toilets, you might continue, turning the TV up louder to hear the sports. We're all equal now anyway, and blogs purporting to discuss toilets shouldn't be bothering me with rampant feminism, you might conclude, affectionately stroking your testosterone-fuelled ear hair.

The point is, it is EXHAUSTING. Mansplaining makes us angry, and being angry takes up useful time, which we would have liked to devote to other useful activities, like teaching, or studying, or writing interesting blog posts about toilets. Instead, we are having to listen to dudes explaining things we already know, because they blithely assume us to be a) ignorant and b) desperate for enlightenment from this particular God's gift to womanhood. (This doesn't happen to just ladies, by the way - we have it on good authority that men get mansplained to, as well. But, in the words of Rebeccca Solnit, "the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered".)

It is EXHAUSTING, trying to decide how to react, when one is being mansplained at. Our favoured response to people who annoy us is to ignore them. Our attention and devotion are liberally bestowed on people we like, but the rude, the boorish and the ignorant do not deserve it. However, while ignoring bad behaviour is a useful strategy when training dogs, it doesn't usually work on mansplainers. The mansplainer dude tends, in our experience, to interpret silence as a sign of his triumph. Unbe-fucking-lievable, right? But that is how the mansplainer psyche works: if you don't respond, he will take it as submission.
The obvious solution is to inform the offending mansplainer of his ignorance. To say, "Dude, we already know. Shut the hell up". But - and here is the crux - that would be rude!
For good or bad, we have been brought up to believe that to expose another person's ignorance is the height of rudeness.
Isn't it bad enough to be ignorant, without having it rubbed in your face by people who know better? Such is the attitude taught us by our kind and ladylike mother. Hence, we expend time and energy protecting the mansplainers from the knowledge of their own ignorance.
Is that ever fucked up? you ask, doing a Google search for a decent feminist blog. Yeah. It totally fucking is.

It is EXHAUSTING, being furious and exasperated. We wish that certain dudes would realise that WE ALREADY KNOW what they are about to say. And that, even if we didn't, it would be courteous of them to not assume that we don't know. And to not ram un-asked-for information down our throat.
Hence, in order to promote non-mansplaining, yet without hurting the feelings of any mansplainers (who may, for all we know, be totally ignorant not only of their ignorance but of their offensive mansplaining habits. In fact, we suspect that some rampant mansplainers believe themselves to be chivalrous in their attitude to the gentler sex. They genuinely have no idea that the reason the womenfolk fall silent when the dudes start explaining things isn't that the dear things are flabbergasted by the dudes' good looks and charm, but that the little ladies are overcome by seething irritation, and are literally biting their tongues in order not to scream with frustration), we created a chart to clarify when mansplaining is socially acceptable, and when it isn't. Enjoy:

Ever wonder when mansplaining is socially acceptable? Find out using this simple infographic!

Having got that off our chest, let us enjoy some soothing toilet photos! These are from our archive, into which we bravely ventured, having listened at the door and determined that the pheasantry had quietened down and most likely retired for the night.
The location is a delightful café in Malmö called Lilla Kafferosteriet. These pictures are probably a couple of years old at least, from when we met up with a very dear friend in Malmö, but actually we went to Kafferosteriet with another dear friend just the other week, and spent a delightful afternoon plotting plans to destroy the patriarchy.

Old-fashioned light switches calm us right the fuck down.

Old-fashioned door-handles, too, are instantly soothing.

If lovely soap had the power to smash the patriarchy, this one, from Bliw, would totally do it.

This toilet-bin combo is totally not offensive in any way at all,
which we find immensely invigorating after all the mansplaining bullshit.

Hygienically covered bog roll - this soothes our soul and takes our mind off the offensive eejits of the world!

Pictures of coffee farmers attached to a fairtrade cooperative
are a delight to contemplate, and provide happier food for thought.

Finally, let us alert you to the existence of our friend Jane's hugely enjoyable blog, cleverly named Temple of Janus - it's got some EXCELLENT monastic drains! Jane is one of the most rampantly intellectual, brainy and amusing people we know, and yet has never been guilty of mansplaining anything to anyone. We love Jane to distraction, and not only because she once referred to our humble blog as "literally the best thing you will ever read on the internet".

Also, let's have a festive video, to take away the bitter taste of all the mansplaining!

Festive video - Wanda Jackson, Hard-Headed Woman

Related Reading
Jane's totally rad blog: Temple of Janus
Our own forage into the murky world of monastic drains (not half so learned as Jane's):
A Draining Matter
All our posts on gender equality
All posts about Shewee Fiend Friend, one of our favourite feminist academics
All posts about Caitlin Moran, a feminist we love so much it hurts

Some of our favourite people of the male sex, who are frightfully clever and knowledgeable, yet would never dream of mansplaining anything to anyone:
Intellectual Friend
Semi-Intellectual Friend
German Friend
Obsessive Emmerdale Fan Friend

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