I was interested in this discussion of mansplaining on Exponent II. Of course there was a defender of patriarchy (what would patriarchy do without little ladies to stick up for it?) who said the term "mansplaining" was sexist and offensive. Kmillecam had a pretty great response to that:
I would argue that yes, mansplaining is a phenomenon that MEN do because of their privileged status. If a woman is condescending about an issue she is ignorant of, then it wouldn't be called mansplaining, it would be something else. Mansplaining describes when a privileged man feels entitled to tell women/feminists what to think about a feminist issue.
If it seems sexist and offensive, I would ask for you to get really clear about the definition first. And then explore WHY you find it offensive. Perhaps it is just a new idea that warrants contemplation.
Anyway, I read the discussion, including someone's suggestion that the term be replaced with the gender-neutral "jerksplaining," and then I washed dishes, and then I thought about how Jennifer Ehle, who played Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice, and Colin Firth, who played Darcy, and David Bamber, who played Mr. Collins, were all in The King's Speech. And then I thought about how Mr. Collins was a total mansplaining jackass--that's part of why he's so horrible, the fact that he thinks he knows everything and Elizabeth knows nothing--and then I wrote a comment, which I liked well enough that I'm posting it here too, in a somewhat expanded form.
If you want a really clear sense of what mansplaining is and why it's called mansplaining and not jerksplaining, read or watch the scene in Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth. A man telling a woman she doesn't really know what she's talking about--even when what she's talking about are her own feelings--is mansplaining. And he feels every right to do it because by and large, society supports his position, not hers. Privilege and custom are on his side. Furthermore, by and large society forces her to submit to him, not just intellectually but sexually, if he wants it--regardless of whether she does. Fathers like Mr. Bennet who refused to marry their daughters to creeps with money were all too rare.
Consider also Elizabeth's response to Collins: