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Updated Oct 26, 2012 at 12:42PM EDT by Brad.

Added Oct 16, 2012 at 03:06PM EDT by Brad.

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Mansplaining is an Internet slang term used to describe condescending and inaccurate explanations that are given under the assumption that the audience is entirely ignorant on the subject matter or topic. The name stems from an online behavior commonly exhibited by male newbies on female-oriented discussion forums, however, any member of either sex can be guilty of mansplaining.


The concept of “mansplaining” is widely believed to have originated from an op-ed article titled “Men who explain things,” written by Rebecca Solnit and published in the Los Angeles Times on April 13th, 2008. While Solnit didn’t explicitly mention the term “mansplaining” in the article, she explained her personal experience of getting patronized by a male friend. A month later on May 21st, the earliest known mention of “mansplaining” was posted in the LiveJournal blog Fandom_Wank’s comments section under an article titled “Women Who Hate Dean Hating Women Hating… wait.” The comment read:


Later that same week on May 24th, 2008, LiveJournal user BigBadWolf released a collection of forum profile icons, some of which featured references to “mansplaining.” On the following day, the term appeared in the text of another LiveJournal blog post titled “You’re Such a Special Little Snowflake, It’s a Wonder You Don’t Melt in the Laundry Room…” in describing an argument the writer had with another woman in the laundry room.

“Maybe I’m not explaining myself well,” I swear this woman sounds like she’s trying to ‘mansplain’ something to me, “people who are doing more than 2 or 3 batches of clothes should leave one washer and dryer free so other people can use the machines.”

The word continued to spread across the blogosphere, however, “mansplaining” remained largely obscure outside of LiveJournal community until April 2009, when the first definition entry of the term was submitted to Urban Dictionary. On February 4th, 2011, the word chosen as the Urban Word of the Day.

To explain in a patronizing manner, assuming total ignorance on the part of those listening. The mansplainer is often shocked and hurt when their mansplanation is not taken as absolute fact, criticized or even rejected altogether. Named for a behavior commonly exhibited by male newbies on internet forums frequented primarily by women. Often leads to a flounce. Either sex can be guilty of mansplaining.

Notable Examples

Privilege Denying Dude

In November 2010, an advice animal image macro series called “Privilege Denying Dude” (shown below, left) began circulating on Tumblr, which satirized the typical white male’s patronizing viewpoint on a range of politically sensitive issues like racism, homosexuality and feminism.

Not Intended to Be A Factual Statement

In April 2011, the United States government stood still on the verge of shutdown as the Congress struggled to reach a compromise in budget plans. During the debate on Senate floor, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl put forth a false statistics that Planned Parenthood, a non-profit maternal and child health service organization, spent 90% of its budget towards abortion-related activities.

“Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors, and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don’t have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”

The congressional debate was nationally broadcast via C-SPAN and several political blogs quickly reported on its inaccuracy, citing the organization’s 2009 budget chart which shows only 3% of services performed were abortions. In response to news media inquiries, Senator Kyl’s office then released an ethically questionable statement saying that his remark was “not intended to be a factual statement”.

Ryan Gosling Blogs

Several instances of Ryan Gosling‘s “Hey Girl” single topic blogs have been brought up as examples of mansplanation, including the Feminist Ryan Gosling as well as Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan, a spin-off blog based on the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate.

Todd Akin’s Sexual Assault Gaffe

In August 2012, Republican congressman William Todd Akin was interviewed by the St. Louis television station KTVI-TV during his campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate. During the interview, Akin was questioned about his position on abortion in cases where the woman was impregnated due to sexual assault, to which Akin replied that he believe the female body is able to prevent itself from being impregnated in cases of “legitimate rape.” Following the broadcast, Akin’s remark became widely ridiculed on the Internet.

Mansplaining Paul Ryan

In October 2012, Time Magazine published a series of Paul Ryan’s photographs for his runner-up position as Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2011, which featured Ryan sitting on a workout bench while performing bicep curl exercises. Coinciding on the same day with the highly anticipated vice presidential debate, Ryan’s workout photographs soon led to the launch of Mansplaining Paul Ryan, a single topic blog that pairs up Ryan’s workout photos with patronizing or patriarchic commentaries on key election issues like economy and women’s rights.

Search Interest

External References

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Top Comments


“mansplaining” is too often used to describe accurate explanations given to people who should be condescended to because they are entirely ignorant of the subject matter and show a strong, unbending desire to remain ignorant through their rejection of contrary logical arguments and evidence by calling these things “mansplaining”.

e.g., the above sentence is long and uses big words. A lot of people will call that “mansplaining”. Those people are retards.


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