A friend of the blog recently let me know how understanding mansplaining is helping the children of England navigate today's world.
Scene: A family home in Manchester, England. Kitchen interior. Mom is cooking, and pre-adolescent Son and Daughter are nearby.
Son: Mom, how do new words get made?
Mom: Oh, well, lots of different ways. Sometimes somebody just makes something up, and then their friends start using it, and then it catches on, and then everyone uses it. Or sometimes an old word gets modified to describe something new. Or sometimes two words get combined to describe something. Here's an example I saw the other day in the New York Times: mansplaining. It's a combination of man and explaining.
Son and Daughter: What does it mean?
Mom: It's when a man starts explaining, especially to women, how to do what they already know how to do, or how they are wrong about what they are actually right about. Or they interrupt to give some small facts about something you are talking about that you know more about that he does. Man explaining - mansplaining, is how the word is formed, and it means that annoying sort of totally unnecessary explaining done by men, usually to women, and often interrupting the woman when she was talking. [See here and here for an elaboration.]
Son and Daughter: Okay.
Scene: The next day. Out and about in the family car, kids in back seat, mom driving.
Daughter: Hey mom, did you know [story ensues about something that happened last week].
Son: [Interrupts Daughter and takes over narrative with his version.]
Daughter: Hey! Shut up! Stop mansplaining me! [resumes her narrative]
Zuskateers, we can't say for sure that knowing the definition of mansplaining this early in life will have a profound impact on Son and Daughter as they grow up. We can't say for sure that having the opportunity early in life to identify mansplaining in action in a relatively benign setting will make Daughter more likely to challenge it from now on, and/or Son less likely to engage in it. But surely they both have more of a chance, now that they know what it is, than they did before. Yay kids! Keep asking questions.
Sons, partake not ye of the mansplaining. Daughters, when the mansplainer arriveth at thy very footstep, remember to callest out "Stop mansplaining me!" The End.
Thanks to the family in Manchester for sharing this story with TSZ!