I'd like to have a discussion about use of the word mansplain
on this website. Man or woman, doesn’t matter, if you use a word that many people find offensive, they're going to tune out what you have to say. In conversations about gender relations, is the objective to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding, or is it to demonstrate the destructive power of gendered insults by consistently ignoring repeated requests to stop using a word that people feel unfairly defined by? Because those two objectives are not compatible.
Looking back at this comment
from the Men Explaining Things
thread — "Offending the powerful is a feature, not a bug." I mean, really? What is the goal here? Is it to have people understand your hardships — your life experiences, which might be different than theirs? Or is it to simply to say, "I feel justified in pushing your buttons because mine have been pushed, and I'm going to do so regardless of the fact that I am now offending you"? Of course the phenomenon of men condescendingly explaining shit to women exists; you'd have to be blind not to see it. But right away in that thread people started using mansplain
, even in the face of numerous objections. This did what? It derailed the fuckin' thread; it took the focus off the topic at hand. People who were using it refused to stop. Was it worth it?
Do you guys remember when people were using the word USian
a fair bit on this site? Well, there is no other single term that correctly describes people from the United States of America.
Anything else also describes people from other countries in the Americas. But you know what? That shit was derailing threads and almost everybody here stopped using it. It was crystal clear that the word was poisoning discussions.
My goal here is to help facilitate better discourse on this website. I think it’s nothing but positive that women find this place less of a boyzone than it once was, but since we’re all humans and not on opposite sides, perhaps it’s important to remember that polite conversation needs to be a two-way street.