Sunday, June 03, 2018

Mansplaining


It's hard to surprise this old blogger. But sometimes I can be shocked. Particularly by a male blogger who considers himself a feminist.I won't use names here but suffice to say that I've been following and commenting on his blog for a very long time. And he on mine.

Naturally, over the years, we have accrued readers in common who regularly comment. Some commentators are fairly detailed in comments on my blog and on others. A trait that charms me. Imagine readers taking the time to evaluate carefully and comment and offer well thought out, often opposing opinions. Some take exception to that. I watch a lot of this unfold on others' blogs but rarely on mine. A battle of insults ensues, often ad hominem attacks which I have always deemed unfair unless the writer writes from a lofty privileged platform and not from personal experience - i.e. monolithically condemning great swathes of the population for having the effrontery to be fat or alcoholic or consuming mindlessly, take your pick.

I truly don't write to have an army of sycophants worshipping at the altar of my deathless prose. I write from experience and often receive personal emails from readers looking for help with addiction or grief or loneliness or depression or even knitting. Many I meet in the flesh, many are supportive - for instance when Grandgirl was in India, a long time blogger friend offered to look out for her.

But the email I received the other day took my breath away in its condescending mansplaining. I was told, in no uncertain terms, not to "encourage" a female blogger whose comments were "upsetting" him. To stop "taking her side". And please note I have rarely, if ever, commented on a comment on anyone else's blog. And certainly not on his.

I'll let that sink in for a minute there.

Note that my opinion and regard for this blogger was completely shoved aside in his subjective consideration. He just needed to set me straight as to how he "felt" and how her "accusations" and "put downs" were going on a long time. That was all that was important.

Well, heat and kitchen come to mind. Seriously.

I will also note that the blogger he refers to has never, ever, upset me in any way.

In fact she has been incredibly supportive through grief and depression.

I guess I should take my ladybrain and scurry back to the kitchen and forget this blogging business and leave it to the Big Boyz who know what's best for bloggers like me, you think?




41 comments:

  1. I have felt fortunate that commenters on my blog have pretty much been kind. Don't think I've ever had to delete any. Of course, WordPress doesn't let spam type comments even see the light of day. Hold tight to your convictions. Some days, that's all we have.

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    Replies
    1. I am equally fortunate even though I do write on many outre topics. I can't recall when I've been attacked. Truly. Then again I don't view opposing comments as "attacks".

      Thank you DKZ, our convictions are all we have and I am always open to genuine enlightenment.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  2. What a cheek!
    I've been watching this 'feuding' for years and at times think they've like a load of kids trading insults. Playground bullying, some coming over with a holier than thou attitude, others bewildered but sticking with the main pack. The outsider writes well but can play them along at times.
    As an outsider I wonder why they don't just ignore - slander isn't involved but words taken the wrong way, they don't seem to understand 'sticks and stones may hurt my bones etc etc.
    Anyway that's my view on this - jumbled and badly expressed.
    Take care
    Cathy

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    1. Very well expressed Cathy. Yes, it does remind me of children pissing on each other with the circling silent majority cheering them on. It truly baffles me. No one gets into a reasonable and civilised debate without ad hominem attacks polluting the waters.

      Oy vey.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  3. How interesting that I have never come to read your blog in all these years but today, of all days, I did!
    There are so very many comments I wish to make but I'm going to try to be better than that, I've probably said more than enough already!
    Thank you for not being a mindless sycophant

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    Replies
    1. LOL Kylie and welcome.

      I felt I had to post about this as truly, there was no private response I could make to the emailer who seems completely oblivious to his manly demands on how I should behave in the blogosphere.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  4. I'm the blogger being referred to here, and it seems to me I'm being strangely misinterpreted. First of all I don't understand how I'm "mansplaining". Mansplaining as I understand it means a man trying to explain a woman's experience, which I'm not doing and have never done. I'm only talking about my own experience.

    The situation as I see it is this. There has always been a severe personality clash between myself and blogger X. A while ago now I asked her to keep away from my blog, and she herself said she was going to keep away from my blog. However she didn't and for some months she has been not only pestering me relentlessly but tearing me to bits behind my back on her own blog. There seems to be nothing I can do to stop her.

    I asked www and another blogger not to encourage her to attack me but they've both somehow construed me as attacking her. I'm not attacking her, I have only asked her to keep away from me.

    What started as a personality clash seems to be turning into some sort of blogging bush fire, which is unfortunate and isn't at all helpful. I have no idea how to restore normality except to not fan the flames. All suggestions welcome.

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    1. See what you've done here, Nick? I truly hope you do. I do say over and over again that men are completely unaware they mansplain so much. Parse the email you sent me, please. And comment intelligently on it. (Can you imagine me sending you an email like that? Telling you how to act on another person's blog?)

      I've never had an issue with you apart from a private one a few years back - wherein you did attack me for a simple, reasonable question I asked you.

      But be that as it may.

      There is, IMO, a taint of drama queen (king?) in your self victimization or aggrandizement with regard to the exchanges you've had.

      This is the blogosphere. No one is tearing anyone to bits.

      Seriously? Surely, you can't believe that! If you do, I'd truly consider resigning from blogland if I were you.

      And suggestion: maybe lighten up a little. WTF is normality anyway? How would you like your commenters to behave both on yours and other blogs? A list of rules perhaps?

      Have fun Nick.

      We do like you. In spite of.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  5. Well the first time I've commented here, so hello;) This is laziness on my part, reading without commenting. But it seems to me that writing blogs brings out our personalities and occasionally people become very subjective about other people. The secret is not to talk about human fallibility in others, it is not really important, we should in the end support each other...

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    1. Exactly Thelma, thanks for delurking and commenting. There are bound to be clashes with others at times. But we can't take them seriously and certainly we can't attack the person offering their opinions unless they are trolling and spoiling for a fight and I haven't met too many of those.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  6. Nick, and I quote you,

    "mansplainging, as I understand it, means a man trying to explain a woman's experience...". You then go on claiming that is not "what I am doing and have never done".

    You are kidding me. It's what you do all the time; "explain a woman's experience". How many times have I taken you up on it? Asking you to NOT make yourself the spokesman for things you know zilch about? Keeping myths alive by regurgitating them.

    You know what I really really really "like" about you? Your amazing ability to put women down whilst pretending to support them. Last example, and you were lucky WWW didn't pick up on it, the height of arrogance, when in your office fashion piece "All Tarted Up", you came up with this little pearl of wisdom and insight:
    "... and women will be too nervous to refuse because they're hazy about the law and they doubt they'll get any support."

    Oh did I laugh, Nick. Did I laugh? And then some?

    So WE (women) are "too nervous" (implying low self esteem, on the verge of hysteria) and we are "HAZY". Nervous and dumb. Next we all dye our hair platinum blond. Because we are nervous and dumb. Brill. Keep going talking shit, Nick. You know something, Nick? Sometimes I wish you'd talk about men. Or something. Of interest. You actually know about. If you were my father, and he'd talk, at age seventy one, about the totally inconsequential and half baked most of the time, I'd be ashamed. I'd disown him. As I said to Rachel (whose assessment of you you don't want to know) the other day: A man of your age should focus on the big questions of life - not peddle and regurgitate the likes of Eva Wiseman (Guardian) on her more confused days.

    Your second paragraph: Forget about "severe". "Personality clash" will do. I riled you, picked you up on your weak points. And you didn't/don't like it. Arguably, I shouldn't pick you up on your weak points - after all, it's not NICE, is it, but either we do have grown up discussions of we play with yellow rubber ducks in the paddling pool of our earliest awakening.

    You "have asked her to stay away from you". Fair enough. Thing is I did, Nick, I did stay away from you. What do you do? You go round the blogs of, say John's, trying to ingratiate yourself with Rachel who, remember, told you to "fuck off", telling all and sundry that you are tired of my "sanctimonious ..." - forgotten the rest. You deliberately stoked the fires, Nick, when no one asked your opinion.

    As to going behind your back. That's impossible. Blogs are as open as a market place or a forum in old Greece. For all to see. What YOU did was send emails (out of sight). That's going behind someone's back. Ask Kylie. Who commended me a little while ago for not entering into a behind the curtains gossip fest about you, as tempting as it was.

    You ask for suggestions, Nick. Here is one. Stop stoking fires you then appear helpless to extinguish. (Wo)man up, Man!

    Other than that, condolences. Take as many as a man who has time to whinge about me within twenty four hours of his mother dying needs.

    U

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    1. Well everyone's broken out of that pretty little anonymous veil I hung on my blog window. Good for you both.

      I missed that cogent piece on hazy women, drat. I guess we're all too busy painting our nails to brush up on legal rights.

      I hear you on writing from our own experience and wisdom and even failure. Perhaps when we do, and we are honest, we are less vulnerable to the barbs and needles of our critics urging us to wake up and smell the whatevers.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  7. Balderdash. Ignore the old fart and you continue with what you do best, post well written blogs.

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    1. Ah thanks Ramana, I like Nick, I don't deem him an old fart, not yet, but he treads far too heavily on my feminist toes.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
    2. Good Lord! I didn't know that it was Nick. I would have used different language had I known.

      Delete
  8. Oh my. Stirred up a hornets' nest, have we?

    WWW, I know you'll keep doing exactly what you've always done here on this blog: writing from your heart AND your head.

    I've rarely had a nasty comment on my blog. Only twice, about me; once, about someone's estranged husband whom she wanted to disparage publicly, which is why I made moderation necessary.

    People who bother to read my blog regularly are invariably friends, or become friends, and they are kind and supportive and always polite. I've been fortunate.

    It would concern me, too, if one of these friends were to try to tell me what to write or not write. That's a red flag. It's not up to anyone else to tell me how to "be" and when a friend has tried, she's been shut out. I don't need friends like that.

    I don't mind people disagreeing with me. I expect it. But I never expect anyone to tell me to keep quiet. Unfortunately, the only people who've ever done that to me have been men. It hasn't worked for them. Hee!

    -Kate

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    1. It definitely is a male thing, Kate. I wouldn't dream of telling anyone how to behave. Even my adult daughter and granddaughter, not to mind other bloggers!

      We all have boundaries and our own opinions and I believe we should be encouraging other writers in their writing endeavours. Not censoring and cat-calling or virtue signalling.

      It's all fun, isn't it?

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  9. Nobody's job to tell you what to write. It's really a nerve. Luckily most people who comment on blogs seem pretty nice.

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    1. I've never engaged in this type of bloggering before but that email incensed me.

      Civil behaviour should be a given in the blogosphere.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  10. Just for the record, my understanding of mansplaining is not that it seeks to explain a feminine perspective but that it is a man explaining to a woman and being excessively condescending

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  11. I'm greatly enjoying all the womansplaining. Is this person so confidently described meant to be me?

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  12. Kylie and Nick:

    I do like this definition of "mansplaining" one of many:

    "But here’s what makes “mansplaining” different: When a man “mansplains” something to a woman, he interrupts or speaks over her to explain something that she already knows — indeed, something in which she may already be an expert — on the assumption that he must know more than she does."

    I think a man instructing me as to how to behave towards another woman writer when I already have made up my own mind about her, qualifies, n'est pas? i.e. he "knows" better.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. That's a good definition. But no, I wasn't instructing you on how to behave. I was asking you not to encourage someone who has been stalking me relentlessly for months. This was an act of self-defence.

      Delete
    2. I honestly think that a lot of men (maybe most) don't understand the concept of mansplaining, nor how acclimated they are to engaging in it. Even in the most enlightened of them, I think there's often a certain amount of unconscious male privilege right below the surface. I say unconscious because they're often so shocked and offended when called on sexist behaviors.

      Delete
    3. Nick, I didn't mean to reply to your comment, I was replying to WWW. I think we were typing at the same time. Just so you know that what I said wasn't directed at you personally.

      Delete
    4. "Stalking" you? "Relentlessly"? "Self defence"? And an "act"? I think a lie down with a cold compress on your feverish forehead is in order.

      I know being stalked is the current fashion accessory must-have, particularly if you are male; please, Nick, don't make yourself a laughing stock. Next you'll say boo to a goose.

      U

      Delete
  13. Jennifer, you're absolutely right that men often mansplain without realising they're doing it. I'm sure I'm guilty of that myself at times. But to my mind, not on this occasion.

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  14. Ive got to the point where I'm roaring with laughter on this whole segment of my blog. I guess everyone can see how a man never listens when a woman has a genuine issue with a man telling her how to behave.

    He'd rather gaslight her continually.

    Yeah, I'm laughing as it's such a QED.

    XO
    WWW

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  15. Funny, I feel I'm being gaslighted myself. Total failure of communication here. Sorry if I'm being a totally obtuse arsehole!

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  16. well, this has been interesting! i don't write a blog though i do read a few. i am afraid that this attitude, this behaviour is all too common in men, they find it well nigh impossible to a) allow others to express their opinions, b) butt out when it becomes obvious to all that they should...because theirs is the only valid opinion after all, lol! and c)stop digging....in my opinion! this whole thread of comments has not penetrated one little bit into Nick's psyche, leaving the only possible answer...everyone else is wrong!!!! :) Ann McGee

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    1. Brilliant Ann. QED like I said. And he still goes on below. Proving the point. Unteachable. Unreachable.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  17. Ann: Here I am butting in again. Only to say that a) other people are freely expressing their opinions here (b) my opinion is just one of several, and no more valid than anyone else's (c) I wish the blogger who's pestering me would stop digging, then I can do the same!

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  18. No way...I love hearing your point of view...helps me expand my mind.AND it is your blog you can do or say what you want.

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    1. The above comment is to WWW's question at the end of her post, so as not to be misinterpreted

      Delete
    2. Thanks Gemma you are so kind.

      XO
      WWW

      Delete
  19. Well. I'll be honest, I've watched all that spinning out with a great degree of bewilderment. But I don't have a dog in that fight, so I have kept (and will continue to keep) my mouth shut.

    I decided long ago that my blog is my sangha - if someone is ugly to me, I just delete the comment. I don't mind at all someone disagreeing with me, but I rarely write "opinion" posts. It's mostly just about my life. And everyone who comments on my blog is kind. In fact, I'm extremely grateful for the loving support I get on my blog.

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  20. Well, that’s certainly a triangulating situation — trying to draw you in when all you do is provide the platform, maybe express your own support or point of view. Sounds like someone wants to have the last word, but I don’t know the specifics. As long as it stayed civil maybe okay to let it go. On the other hand maybe it’s time to announce topic will be closed and better they continue discussion directly on each other’s blogs.

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