Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Meta-Mansplanation

Disclosure: Leftist Gender Warrior (below, in photograph, circa 2005) isn't a real person!


I actually created her years ago in response to some silly anti-feminist men who were screeching about how the evil, sucky "leftist gender warriors" (their phrase) in academia and society these days were totes ruining their homobigoted, patriarchal traditional family structures (my phrase). I thought theirs was a great phrase around which to build a recurring blog character, and that's why you see her pop up every now and then around these parts.

But want to hear a funny story, involving Leftist Gender Warrior, of perhaps The Single Best instance of mansplaining that I have experienced on Internet?

Back in May, I wrote a "One-Act Play" about that Hasidic newspaper that photoshopped Hillary Clinton out of a political photograph. This play of mine featured two characters: Leftist Gender Warrior (LGW) and Dan Splainer (DS).

Given their names, costuming, and my choice to deliver this "dialogue" in the form of a play, I thought it would be obvious that I wasn't relaying a verbatim anecdote. Had I wanted to write about something that had actually happened in my life word-for-word I would have said, "Hey, guess what happened to me today [insert what happened to me today]."

Instead, the play was a compilation of various reactions I had seen commentators, mostly men, engage in online to either (a) defend the paper photoshopping Clinton out, or (b) shut women up about gender issues that uniquely affect women by acting as though they, the men in the convo, were privy to a more objective take on things.

Most commenters here seemed to get that, as the post seemed to resonate with many.

One commenter did not get it. Instead, he took Big Time Offense to the post and proceeded to explain how the conversation in my play, that hadn't actually happened, had actually gone down.

It was very strange. But privilege gives people wacky ideas about their alleged ability to explain reality (or non-reality, as the case may be) better than others.

Listen how commenter Dan (srslyyourname?) 'splains what my fictitious character, Dan Splainer, had really intended when my fictitious character made his remarks to my fictitious Leftist Gender Warrior character:

"So, let [sic] get this right, the male character you didn't give any cool lines to, defended the deletion of H Clinton in an Arab/Islamic [sic] paper... Do you think that would be a common opinion among men? Or are you just highlighting one douche (who was probably trying to annoy you anyway, the fiend!)"

Dan, the 'splainer (as opposed to my Dan Splainer character), assumed that my play was deigning to relay a verbatim conversation between "one douche" and myself. He further assumed that he, rather than me- the person who was supposedly at this conversation that never actually occurred- had a more objective and fair take about how the dialogue actually happened.

Dan's theory: the "douche" was just trying to annoy me, he wasn't actually sexist, and I was just being overly-sensitive about stuff.

Dan continued enlightening us with a later, conflicting theory: the "douche" wasn't a "douche" at all and was probably just playing that oh-so-needed role of "Devil's Advocate."

(Helpful Side Hint: Devil's Advocates are very rarely needed in feminism. There is already a name for feminism's Devil's Advocates, and it's called "roughly 93% of the rest of the world").

Anyway, Dan, in general, expressed far more grave concern over how the douchey Dan Splainer was portrayed, a character I intentionally wrote as the douchiest of all annoying douchebag mansplainers, than with how problematically Dan Splainer was acting towards Leftist Gender Warrior throughout the play.

Coupled with Dan-the-commenter's utter ignorance of feminism, as evidenced by his condescending-yet-ignorant rhetorical questions, and combined with his dead certainty that his point of view about a sexist conversation that I contrived in my own head was more accurate than my own is pretty much the pinnacleparagonprimexamplenumerouno of mansplaining.

Congratulations, Dan. You win!

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