I’ve decided the term mansplaining needs to lose the gender reference.
I’m not being a sweet little PC snowflake here: I just think it is unfair to label this as a thing that only men do. I’ve been at the receiving end of unnecessary explanations by a wide range of people, but not any more often from men than from women. What’s more, as I have spent a good deal of my career in the position of mentor, I find it perhaps a little too easy to slip into this mode myself.
Yes, men do it, but women do it too, not to mention non-binary folk: So it’s not mansplaining, it’s just splaining.*
I know it can be annoying to be on the receiving end of a splaining session, but it doesn’t always have to be:
— Splaining is what people do when they are confident, or so lacking in confidence that they are making up for what they lack.
— It’s what people do in an effort to be helpful, or to show off.
— Splaining is how someone demonstrates their fragile superiority, or how they walk through the steps so you two can work together to see if there’s something missing.
— It’s what people do if they are arrogant, or simply unsure of what you already know and so are saving you from having to recreate the wheel.
— Splaining can be an asshole move, or it can be very well intentioned; which means it can be exasperating to be splained to, or it can be very informative and welcomed.
* I can’t claim credit for coining this term. A frequent bit on the show I Love Lucy was to make fun of Ricky’s Cuban accent, thus he frequently would tell Lucy that she “had some splaining to do.”