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Mansplaining: another underground form of cultural machismo?

Mansplaining: another underground form of cultural machismo?

May 1, 2024

Although it is very likely that it is not basically due to biological differences, it is clear that, to date, the behavior of men and women is different in many aspects. Some of these differences also allow one of the two sexes to dominate the other and have it easier to impose their points of view and their purposes.

The mansplaining, as a psychological phenomenon of domination , is an example of how the man, statistically, tends to try to take the reins of the dialogues with women, independently of the subject of which one speaks.

Let's see what it is and what does it have to do with sexism and cultural machismo .

What is mansplaining?

The term "mansplaining" is a neologism from English that in its original language is composed of the words "man" and "explain". It is usually used to refer to the statistical trend (and the action through which that trend is expressed) of men to explain things to women in a patronizing and condescending way , as if their interlocutors were especially bad people understanding, even if what they are talking about is a subject of which women know more than men.

For example, a man with no college education who explains to a biologist what hybridization between dog breeds does without even letting her speak is a relatively clear case of mansplaining.

What characterizes mansplaining is not that a man talks about certain issues related to femininity or feminism (after all, a specific man may know more than a specific woman about any topic, and vice versa), but that, In a systematic way, it is assumed that the role of women is to remain silent and learn .

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The hypothesis based on machismo

The concept of mansplaining has begun to be used relatively recently, and it is believed that it has not been a decade since it appeared, although its origin is little known.

It has been welcomed with enthusiasm by associations and organizations linked to feminism and gender studies for obvious reasons: it can be interpreted as a micromachism, a subtle form of expression of patriarchy and cultural machismo that from this perspective he would reproduce a system of domination of men over women.

After all, in practice, mansplaining has a clear effect in terms of power relations: it makes the views of women invisible and annulled and that this is assumed to be normal. In other words, "mansplaining" is a word that many women needed to refer to a problem that until recently nobody knew what to call, despite the fact that numerous scientific researches have noticed its existence over the last few years.

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Mansplaining towards other men

The previous one is the interpretation of mansplaining based on the idea that this is one of the consequences of a system of male dominance. However, there is also another possible interpretation about this phenomenon. An interpretation based on a data that may surprise considering what we have seen before: men they also perform mansplaining when interacting with other men .

This is the conclusion that allows to reach an investigation conducted by Elizabeth Aries. After analyzing more than 40 hours of conversations, Aries found that men and women adopted very different styles when interacting with other people.

Males tended to compete more to dominate conversations regardless of who was in front, while the women showed a greater willingness to connect with others through symmetrical relationships and did not try to control the direction of the conversation.

For them, conversations about the most banal issues were also a scenario in which they can gain power and influence, and try to scale up little by little through their interventions, struggling to gain the attention of others.

Thus, in groups composed solely of men there were also a number of individuals who, when it had passed a time, they were invisible to a minority that ended up capitalizing on the conversations , something that happened much less in women's groups.

A much more aggressive style of interaction

These conclusions fit very well with the findings found in other research in psychology and that do not focus basically on dialogue: men tend to be more competitive and many more types of interactions, even though there is apparently no concrete or recognizable reward to the that can be accessed by doing this.

Thus, mansplaining would not be so much a way in which men try to nullify women, but a reflection of his style when it comes to interacting with the whole world .

Of course, these results always focus on statistical trends. A man does not have to fall constantly in the mansplaining, and a woman does not have to be always submissive or avoid fighting to extend her power in conversations. Simply, the mansplaining is much more generalized in one of the two sexes and stands out more and more frequently when the people who speak to each other are of opposite sexes.

The Fader Response (May 2024).

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