The one thing that any rational man would refrain from doing is mansplaining female anatomy to a woman, or so we expect. However, some men have so much confidence in their knowledge and gender it makes them blind to who and what they are talking about. This became clearer when a man chose to correct an article written by a woman on a photo spread of vulvas by a female photographer. The gentleman pointed out that the use of the term vulva was incorrect, in this piece published by The Guardian, and that the correct term was ‘vagina.’ Even when a gynaecologist pitched in to correct him, he went on to mansplain her how this wasn’t about technical terms but ordinary language. All this despite, the article specifically spelling it out in bold letters that it was about vulvas.
- A man corrected a female gynaecologist, on use of the word vulva, and how the correct term is actually vagina.
- Unnecessary and irrelevant mansplaining is something that women have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
- Why is it so hard for men to accept that perhaps women know better when it comes to their own anatomy and physiology?
- More so, when women prove them wrong, they move to find grammatical errors in their argument. Instead of apologising and making a dignified exit.
The correct word is vagina.
— Herr Doktor Professor Paul Bullen (@paulbullen) February 10, 2019
So @paulbullen here is where you mansplained to me — the correct use for the article was vulva, the common use vagina could not have applied here as it was specifically about loving vulvas and not a general lower repro tract article pic.twitter.com/1Cx7PTnJTN
— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) February 11, 2019
Seems like mansplainers fail to perceive how amusing their mansplaining tendencies are. Especially in matters where they have little or no knowledge, or they go on to “correct” women without checking their credentials or understanding their context. They have this inexplicable urge to point out at women’s mistakes, that too publicly. And when you point it out, they accuse women of overreacting or blowing the entire argument out of proportion. Or worse, they refuse to admit that they were wrong, and it was actually the woman who misunderstood their well-intended suggestions, just like this “the-correct-word-is-vagina” guy.
Unnecessary and irrelevant mansplaining is something that women have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. It isn’t limited to professional or technical topics. Men have a lot of unsolicited corrections to offer on our thoughts on relationships, motherhood and even physiological functions and anatomy exclusive to the female gender, like menstruation and the difference between vagina and vulva.
So, how do you even tell a mansplainer to stop, when he doesn’t believe that he is wrong, or that we do not need his opinion on a certain matter? Why is it so hard for them to accept that perhaps we know our bodies better than them? That we understand the biases we face due to our gender better than they do? Do they just assume us to have a low IQ, or uneducated or in need of instant coaching?
Why is it so hard for them to accept that perhaps we know our bodies better than them?
I am not saying that men know less, or that they are foolish. It’s just that please don’t cross us when we are writing or speaking about female sexuality, body or experiences like menstrual cramps and childbirth unless you are a subject matter expert.
Why are mansplainers so desperate to prove themselves right? Despite knowing they are wrong, why is it so hard for them to simply admit that they were wrong?
We know that most men are conditioned to offer solutions and to lead. While times are changing this conviction is very hard to get rid off. Sometimes it is just a thing of habit, to correct women even when she is an expert on the subject matter. It is when they get proved wrong that all hell breaks loose. The male ego takes control of rational thinking and humility. Suddenly it is all about saving your image. Dear men, you only come out looking worse, when you refuse to back down and stay adamant on your mansplaining stance. It tells us that you are unwilling to change. That for you ego takes precedence over what is correct.
No, I am not saying that women are right all the time, or that men know nothing about vagina, menstruation and childbirth. But it is very hard for women to speak up even today. To rise against all stigmas and just express themselves. So unless she is misleading, hold your silence maybe?
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.