Ladysplaining explained

Welcome to our inaugural blog post! We promise [little more than]* occasional reviews of what we’ve been reading, watching and cogitating upon recently, a bit of friendly dialogue, and the lofty [ideals]** of correct apostrophe usage and split infinitive avoidance at all times.

The name for our blog is inspired by a recent article by Annabel Crabb in The Monthly.

Therefore it seems fitting that the topic of ladysplaining is the subject of our first blog post. Annabel’s analysis of man- and lady-splaining resonates profoundly. One of the many things your [humble]*** bloggers have in common is that we are [seeking to succeed]**** in male-dominated professions. So mansplaining is certainly not a new concept.

However, there is much we still wonder about the subject and Ms Crabb’s article has prompted a few reflections and a few questions**** from each of us (see below in the comments!)

[Translation into man-speak:

*the best ever ** reality ***esteemed ***brilliantly succeeding ****Ladysplain-style]


2 thoughts on “Ladysplaining explained

  1. Personally I am partial to a little mansplaining myself on occasion. I don’t (always!) see in it a deliberate attempt to patronise the long suffering listener, rather an innate enjoyment of hearing my own voice so articulately express incredibly intelligent thoughts in delightful prose. However, despite this pre-disposition, I frequently observe that in interactions with academic colleagues, I will always frame as a question what many others (men?) may frame as statements. I feel like the main thing that sets us apart is that I’m aware it is patronising to give the other person a long, barely relevant lecture, whereas they are not. On the other hand, I’ve long had the suspicion that mansplaining is a way of proving oneself, and so if I get mansplained, I try to see it as a compliment that I’m worth trying to impress. However, I still wonder:
    Surely men mansplain to other men? So what do men do about it? Do they also get annoyed? Is it all about power and ego? Or is it just lack of social skills? Is it really about putting the other person down, or is it about proving yourself to be on their level? Is it really a male vs female thing? We both know many men who do not mansplain (brothers, fathers, colleagues) Or does it boil down to arrogant vs the less arrogant? Or socially inept vs socially adept? And if it IS a male vs female thing, is it offensive that I’m suggesting a male trait is arrogant and socially inept?


  2. My interest in the article was piqued by ladysplaining, rather than mansplaining.

    I was delighted and amused to read of Annabel’s assumption that, when her friend to whom she had sent a draft of her book failed to phone immediately, her friend thought her draft book was appalling, when in reality her phone battery was dead. I have had to overcome my natural inclination as a self-diagnosed sufferer of Imposter Syndrome [] to believe that any less-than-effusive response (even where no response is required) to my work is a sign of the observer’s disapproval of it. I was utterly convinced that I had failed a Masters subject and started mentally calculating the mark I would give myself for my work (which I had given a decent shot at), and wondered whether I might just scrape a pass. When I received a high distinction, I wondered whether there had been some administrative mistake and the comments handwritten on my essay were actually meant for another, when I had to face facts and realise that I had actually done a decent piece of work.

    I admire the confidence of my (mostly, but not always) male colleagues who do not doubt appear to doubt the quality of their work. While I’ve heard it argued that a perfectionist attitude and concern for the quality of one’s work should result in a higher quality overall, I can’t help but think that those with greater confidence may well experience less sleepless nights!

    I also wonder whether the tendency of women to ladysplain represents an intrinsic lack of confidence, or something else? Are men really more confident, or do they simply refuse to confess any lack of confidence in the same way? Is the difference in approach due to how different people (and perhaps, to generalise, different genders) deal with lack of confidence- the mansplainers by projecting greater confidence and the ladysplainers by confessing and proclaiming it, both as a type of therapy and as an insurance-policy against rejection (oh well, her work’s crap, but at least she has apologised for it first and turned it in on time?!)? If men are more confident, on what is this confidence based, and how did it work out like this?


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