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What Is Mansplaining and Why It Has to Stop Now

We're sure you've experienced this already.
IMAGE Warner Bros.

Let's admit: We as girls are fortunate to be living in the twenty-first century. After all, we are able to enjoy the very rights our female ancestors had been denied, such as voting and working. We thank our lucky stars that our Filipino society has significantly evolved since our Maria Clara days, when women were treated as the lesser sex.

However, despite the fact that the overall crime rate against females has gone down, a more commonplace form of internalized misogyny has been taking the world by storm—a global phenomenon known as "mansplaining."

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In the simplest of terms, mansplaining is used to define an instance wherein a man tries to explain something to a woman, regardless of whether or not he is knowledgeable on the topic, or whether or not the woman was even looking for an explanation in the first place. It's spawned several internet memes and angered many netizens in the process. And although most people tend to brush it off as a trivial joke, mansplaining is definitely no laughing matter.

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"Mansplaining is used to define an instance wherein a man tries to explain something to a woman, regardless of whether or not he is knowledgeable on the topic, or whether or not the woman was even looking for an explanation in the first place."

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Imagine this: You are an educated woman. You possess intelligence, which is something not even the most powerful (or patriarchal, for that matter) people can take from you. So instead of depriving you of your willpower, since it's impossible, you are made to look like a fool.

Mansplaining is never too obvious—it's often dressed up with a "Well, actually"— ostensibly a guy who's "just trying to help." But one simple comment by whoever he is makes you look like you don't know what you're talking about, or like you're simply not fit for whatever task has been set before you. It makes you look like you need to rely on a man to be productive—and isn't this very behavior the kind that we have been striving to put behind all these years?

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What makes matters worse is when men fail to see the error of their ways. They usually think they're just lending a hand, when in reality, it's just their subconscious holding onto the age-old notion that women are incapable of using their brains correctly. Men can deny it all they want by defending their actions as jokes, or insisting that men are as much victims of sexism as we are. But think of it this way: If it was a man, and not a woman who was speaking, would they still try to inject their own opinion? Of course not.

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In trying to voice out this issue, however, more often than not we're squashed down for failing to have "a sense of humor." Hey, in our defense, we can laugh at funny tweets like the best of 'em. We do like jokes—just not "jokes" about rape, catcalling, or sexism in general.

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In allowing mansplaining to continue, we are merely feeding onto the idea that the world has been completely wiped of sexism. But it hasn't. If it really were, then women wouldn't be raped on a daily basis. Women wouldn't need a companion to walk alone at night. Women wouldn't be catcalled or subjected to strict dress codes. And most importantly, women would not have men explaining the obvious to them.

Mansplaining is living proof of the fact that sexism is still alive and well—it's just not as obvious as it was before. Thanks to modernization, even men have started to think that sexism isn't "cool." But in resulted in them developing a disturbing form of internalized misogyny instead.

At the end of the day, although we can fool ourselves all we want, the reality is that despite the strides the world has made in feminism, it still hasn't been totally wiped clean of misogyny. Mansplaining is enough evidence for that. In raising awareness on this matter, we can start putting an end to what remains of the world's sexism—one step at a time.

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Caitlin Anne Young
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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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