Dear Internet: Do we have a feminist version of “mansplaining”?

Like many other Canadian feminists and news junkies, I have spent the past week or so reading approximately six lengthy articles per day about Jian Ghomeshi.

If you’re unfamiliar with this topic, Ghomeshi is a very popular radio host here in Canada.

News recently broke that he hurts women. Here are links to three pieces that really stuck with me:

This story is developing so quickly, those stories will probably be irrelevant by the time I post this. Sorry, I tried my best! Google it or something!

I’ve spent so much of my time recently reading about this story, discussing this story, arguing about this story and explaining this story. I’ve been trying to answer questions like these:

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Jian could be innocent, we don’t know all the facts.

We’ll never “know” all the “facts”. Assuming Jian’s innocence is assuming the guilt of his accusers. It was saying that eight (or nine or ten or fifty…) women are liars.

Why didn’t the women tell anyone? Why didn’t they go to the police?

“Why didn’t they go to the police” is a question only white men have the privilege – the luxury – of asking. They did not go because they knew it would likely go nowhere. They wouldn’t be believed, or they’d be believed but there’d be no evidence. They did not go because of a staggering power imbalance.

Why didn’t they tell this guy to scram when he seemed weird? Why did she go to his house/get in his car/spend any time alone with him/etc.?

The only question we should be asking is “Why does this man hurt women?” End of story.

These are just a few examples. I am happy to be surrounded by people who are open to having intelligent conversations about this, who are happy to learn. Men who understand that a woman’s perspective on being a woman is more relevant than his own.

The Internet has coined the term “mansplain”, which Urban Dictionary defines as “to delight in condescending, inaccurate explanations delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this conversation.”

I’d like to suggest we have a term for feminist explanations, defined as “to patiently and repeatedly deliver thoughtful explanations regarding sexism, patriarchy, misogyny, feminism and one’s own world view as a woman, delivered with rock solid confidence and certainty that she is worth listening to because she is the woman in this conversation.”

What should we call it, friends? “Femsplaining”? “Fem-ducation”? “Feminterpret”? I do not like any of these.

Sydney Mines man faces impaired and firearms charges, Dingwall, N.S.


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