Over the recent past, I have seen the words “mansplain”, “mansplained”, and “mansplaining” used here at dKos and in other liberal media to describe conservative arguments against full reproductive healthcare and equal rights for women.
In my opinion, both men and women should have equal access to effective and complete reproductive healthcare and full and equal political and civil rights. Conservatives, both men and women, who publicly argue against reproductive healthcare and equal rights for women typically demonstrate a good deal of ignorance and arrogance in making those counter-arguments, and are deserving of all the censure, loathing, disgust, and laughter that typically follows when a public person says something stupid into a live microphone.
The term “mansplaining” is however, pejorative; an expression designed to cast aspersion on one group of people based solely on an inborn inherited trait. The term “mansplaining” should never be used unless one wishes to belittle and denigrate all men.
Clearly, a term that insult all the members of one gender has no part in a struggle for gender equality.
The conservatives who fight against reproductive healthcare and equal rights for all women do so not because they are men, but because of their political beliefs. The entitled ignorance and arrogance of those political beliefs does not arise from their maleness, but from their conservatism. They are a minority among men in the United States, and so a term that insults all men should not be used to describe the behavior of those conservatives.
Moreover, anyone who believes that “mansplaining” accurately reflects some truism about how the different sexes behave is only perpetuating a stereotyped misunderstanding of the sexes. Such beliefs and views undermine the idea of a baseline equality of all people, regardless of gender.
The term “mansplaing” carries a nice combination of mocking scorn, disgust, and shame, and seems perfectly suited for taunting political attacks. It is also insulting to half the human population. It is a good way to let your readers know your low opinion of conservative gender politics, and also reveals your low opinion of men in general. As such, the term “mansplaining” is a poor choice in a discussion about political equality of the sexes.