Men Who Are Still Guilty of Mansplaining.

It was, at this point, all the way back in 2008 that Rebecca Solnit released her seminal essay, “Men Explain Things To Me.” In 2014, it would go on to become the crux of her eponymous collection of essays, which also featured such titles as “The Longest War.” And it has, indeed, been the longest war–that is to say, the one between “men” and women, generally spurred by “men” constantly “clapping back” when they feel they’re being attacked or that their “authority” is being in any way “stepped on.” Women, in contrast, are still expected to sit quietly and listen intently to what the “sage” “male” has to say. To accept that her opinion is real cute and all, but now how about she sits back and listens to an “expert.” And, of course, if she says anything to negate his thoughts, he comes back with a condescending “explanation” (or “mansplanation,” if you will) of how it’s really sweet that she has her “beliefs,” but here are all the reasons she’s wrong. 

Some “men” will simply respond to you with a flat-out, “No” to a thoughtfully composed “opinion” (because of course everything a woman “believes” is just an opinion–it couldn’t possibly be doctrine the way “men’s” words are). If a woman ever said “No” as a starter to a response to a “man,” it would not be received lying down. And maybe if this woman was fortunate enough to be deemed a Scholar on certain subject matters like Solnit, she would have a bit more clout, which is why Solnit admits, “I’ve had a lot more confirmation of my right to speak and think than most women, and I’ve learned that a certain amount of self-doubt is a good tool for correcting, understanding, listening and progressing–though too much is paralyzing and total self-confidence produces arrogant idiots.” Unfortunately, most packing a vagina (not to exclude trans people or nothin’–that wasn’t a J.K. Rowling moment) do not have the good fortune of being slapped with a Legitimate Book Publisher. 

Luckily, Solnit can speak for the majority of women when she says, “I[’ve] objected to the behavior of a man, only to be told that the incidents hadn’t happened at all as I said, that I was subjective, delusional, overwrought, dishonest–in a nutshell, female.” Because “credibility is a basic survival tool,” “men” have been at the top of the food chain since the dawn of time, whereas women are so often working to survive without it. And still managing to prove their infinite value while operating with far fewer tools (well, minus the tools that are “men” themselves).  

Solnit is careful to note that even those female voices subjugated in the West still somehow have it “better” than most other women on this planet, as she remarks, “More extreme versions of our situation exist in, for example, those Middle Eastern countries where women’s testimony has no legal standing: so that a woman can’t testify that she was raped without a male witness to counter the male rapist.” 

Upon the release of Wanderlust in 2000, Solnit realized it was only after its acclaim that she gained a new level of confidence that many women still can’t ever imagine. Prior to that, she realized, “Most of my life, I would have doubted myself and backed down. Having public standing as a writer of history helped me stand my ground, but few women get that boost, and billions of women must be out there on this seven-billion-person planet being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, that the truth is not their property, now or ever. This goes way beyond Men Explaining Things, but it’s part of the same archipelago of arrogance. Men explain things to me, still. And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don’t.”

So often, there is no point in responding to anything “men” say. Especially in the comments section of, say, a pop culture article. As Solnit put it, “His scorn was so withering, his confidence so aggressive, that arguing with him seemed a scary exercise in futility and an invitation to more insult.”

Women who bother with wasting their breath (at least vocally and in front of the “man” in question as it’s happening) know better by now. That the “man” is incapable of “reception.” Or being convinced of anything other than what his own doctrine is. A doctrine he feels should be spread because “explaining men assume [we are], in some sort of obscene impregnation metaphor, an empty vessel to be filled with their wisdom and knowledge.”

The fact that “men” have never known what it’s like to “fight wars on two fronts, one for whatever the putative topic is and one simply for the right to speak, to have ideas, to be acknowledged to be in possession of facts and truths, to have value, to be a human being” actually makes their opinion ultimately less valuable anyway. 

After the essay’s release, things, of course, got more meta for Solnit as she described, “Some men explained why men explaining things to women wasn’t really a gendered phenomenon.”

And it was a phenomenon indeed, as the essay made the rounds and clearly seemed to resonate with women everywhere. Solnit pointed out, “By 2012, the term ‘mansplained’… was being used in mainstream political journalism… and I was sometimes credited with it. In fact, I had nothing to do with its actual creation, though my essay, along with the men who embodied the idea, apparently inspired it.” Alas, even after all this time, “men” don’t appear to understand that they’re the joke when they continue to mansplain. Many of them are still too young to have an excuse for acting in such an old guard way. But then, that’s just a testament to how it takes generations for a trait to be stamped out. What’s more, pissing off the old guard is getting easier and easier to do. They’re all so rattled by losing power that they’ve turned into barking chihuahuas–all bark, no bite–ready to yap at the slightest movement of one’s mouth. Especially if what comes out of that mouth shatters their fragile worldview. 

We cannot continue to live in an environment where “men’s” “presumption… makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.” 

In short, stop rewarding mediocrity–as has been the case for centuries of white men taking up spaces that they were only in possession of by non-virtue of their skin tone and gender. In 2020, Taylor Swift’s “mad woman” from folklore would become like a sardonic and bittersweet addendum to Men Explain Things To Me in pop song form. Because the go-to for “men” to dismiss women is, even to this day, to brand them as “cuckoo.” Thus, Swift sarcastically sings, “Every time you call me crazy, I get more crazy/What about that?/And when you say I seem angry, I get more angry.” As is the usual “male” “right.” Thus, Swift, oozing with venom, delivers the chorus, “And there’s nothing like a mad woman/What a shame she went mad/No one likes a mad woman/You made her like that.” She further illuminates, “Now I breathe flames each time I talk/My cannons all firin’ at your yacht/They say, ‘Move on,’ but you know I won’t.” Rightly so. For how can any woman “move on” when every day–for what will be the foreseeable future–she’s faced with a battlefield for merely expressing herself? Is that enough of a fucking explanation for you?

Men Who Are Obsessed With Karen.

Does she even exist (in non-Lana Del Rey form)? Or is it just another conveniently file-able stereotype for “men” to classify women so they don’t have to think so hard. Technically speaking, the evolution of “Karen” as a catch-all term for upper middle class white women with anti-science, anti-“the help” “values” did arise from a real person. And, like all things, the Karen trope existed long ago, not just in 80s-era terms like “yuppie” or “richie,” but, as is the case with most memes that go viral well after it already made the rounds on Reddit, Karen was born there. Specifically from a bloke who was basing the stereotype on the ex-wife of a fellow Reddit user, telling his internet brethren all about how she took the kids and the house. It’s the exact sort of entitlement Karens have come to exemplify to those looking for the perfect witch to burn in the endless American trial called rampant inequality and injustice. Which Americans seem ostensibly more enraged about on a regular basis as their Constitution has falsely claimed life could be otherwise, where other countries appear to be more realistic about the inherent life cycle (under pretty much any economic system) of one party being subjugated and the other doing the subjugating. A classist yin and yang balance, if you will.   

And yet, what’s most odd about Karen taking such flight in all facets of where pop culture is disseminated is that “men” are the ones who seem to derive the most pleasure from wielding the “insult.” That Karen was, indeed, sprung from the rib of a “man,” so to speak, could have some accounting for why they seem to be more obsessed with her than women. Or, it’s simply the age-old story of “men” naturally getting off on anything that debases women, even if only a “subset” of them. Then again, Karen is also debasing herself by being the sort of broad who marries a CEO, a cop (or chief of police), a corporate defense lawyer, etc. What’s more, there’s no denying that the most frequent users of the trope are those who embody the spirit of the Karen class themselves, though, of course, they would either 1) never admit it or 2) think this form of self-deprecation gives them a pass for having privilege. 

The hard-on for turning a “white woman’s” name into something derogatory comes at a time when contempt for white folk is at a fever pitch, and, indeed culls from some of the same inspiration Keegan-Michael Key took in the Key and Peele sketch, “The Substitute Teacher,” transforming white people names into pronunciations that suit his own “culture” (namely, subverting the way Jacqueline, Blake, Denise and Aaron are said) in the spirit of what was done to “ethnic” students in the past by their white teachers. The payback factor in this shoe on the other foot parody feels especially salient in the joy of calling out Karens. Even if the majority seeming to do so are self-hating whites themselves (after all, you have to be pretty self-hating to treat others the way whites with power do). More to the point, “men” who are obsessed with Karen. As if they wouldn’t take plenty of pleasure in turning her around and fucking her up the ass if she let them. Alas, she’s too prim for such things. And that’s part of why “men,” especially, love to hate on her. It’s merely grounds for misogyny (you don’t see no “man’s” name getting dragged even half as much for being a white stereotype) under the guise of being a “social advocate.” Just as much as Karen thinks she is.

Men Who Are Proponents of the Surgi Mask Because It Solves the Butter Face Problem.

Because “men” have never been very particular or discerning as a breed, there frequently comes a time when he will opt for the phenomenon of a woman known as a “butter face.” You know the trope: a woman with a “hot” body but a rather unfortunate visage to go with it. As in: “She’s got a great body–but-her-face…” Well, never has there been a better time for “men” with low standards to thrive. To “clean up,” as they say, on the unwanted dregs of women now forced to conceal their butter faces in public with a surgical mask–usually “required” in most stores, though that’s a word that has remained as loose with most Americans as the classification of American beauty. To some, so long as it’s a woman with the right body specifications, she’s “beautiful enough.” In fact, “[insert adjective or noun here] enough” is the low bar Americans set for themselves long ago when they decided to settle in a shithole wasteland with terrible weather (yes, that’s shade at the East Coast and its colonial settlers). 

So long as something just barely qualifies as satisfying, an American–particularly an American “male”–is pretty okay with it. I mean, just look at the U.S. president. Not even qualifying as satisfying, yet still, that’s what was pursued, asked for. Just as it is with the butter faces of this world. For who wants a pretty face, let alone anything resembling a “healthy mind,” when one can simply rail the physique that best suits his fetishes? Ones that might further amplify when she chooses to keep her mask on even while indoors. After all, it’s better than using a paper bag instead (see: Nip/Tuck, season three, episode eleven: “Abby Mays”). Indeed, maybe it adds a bit of much needed kink for both parties trying to ignore the elephant that is her face in the room. 

Because women do not have an option to call a “man” something like a butter face in normal circumstances, the victory of the surgi mask in terms of covering a countenance once too unbearable to look at in comparison to a “sick” body (if the body matched the face, of course no one would be looking in their direction at all–also known as: The Fat Person’s Invisibility Irony) isn’t as triumphant for them as “men.” Just another effortless vindication that seems to be merely congenital with having a so-called penis. In one of the many glaring examples of sexism in the English language, there is no official name for a man with a bangin’ body and just an okay, if even passable, face. And no, “butter face boy” or “justicebody” (“just his body”) do not count. Are not nearly as tailored or insulting. 

Which is rather what makes it all the more upsetting that he’s profiting from the labeling of this type of woman during a pandemic. But hey, that’s patriarchy, innit?

Men Who Remark, “You Are Delusional” When You Say Something Against Art (Or Anything Else) of the Old Guard.

Right in keeping with the “instant write-off” “burn” of “OK Boomer,” a tradition as old as time for “men” has been the tried and true gaslighting method. In keeping with that tactical shutdown of any opinion–particularly a woman’s opinion–against that which is accepted as The Unequivocal Truth (e.g. Ulysses is an unbesmirchable masterwork), one of the simplest ways to negate a female and make her feel like she ought to shut up lest she start talking further nonsense is simply: “You are delusional.” Knowing full well that this once cut to the jugular for its intention to scare a girl into thinking she might have to go the way of Mrs. Lincoln or Frances Farmer, with the “men” in white coats sure to come and put her in her own white coat of a straightjacket. Well, darling, fuck that. So-called crazy is worn as a badge of honor these days as though it is a form of cosmic retribution for all the times any “abnormal” behavior or dissenting viewpoint was suppressed by “men” and their power-hungry need to puppeteer the thoughts of others to mimic their own.

The image of a “man” making the “crazy” gesture–circling his index finger near his temple–comes to mind as he tauntingly chirps, “You are delusional” to any woman who has said something that is, from his perspective, not in keeping with formerly accepted without question old guard “truths.” But how is this immediate rebuffing supposed to breed any form of intelligent conversation or cultivate an overall philosophy of heterogeneousness (after all, don’t “men” of this nature tout all things “hetero”)? Alas, thanks to the political climate of the past several years, there has been a societal conditioning to believe that argument is no longer intelligent, but merely a product of harboring the “wrong” stance. They get particularly uppity if you violently suggest that–gasp!–despite white “men” being the most pervasive kind of “artist” in every century, this sect is, in fact, the most whining, noncreative excuse for “artistry” the world has ever known (this includes Christopher Isherwood, invention of Montmere or not). But no, we cannot say such things. Such things are “delusional”–merely a product of an undiscerning woman’s inability to separate a feel for talent from her own feeling of being jilted by the type of person who masturbates over white “men” and all they “do” on a daily basis.

That’s fine though, this delusionoid would rather be pazza than finger the pages of James Joyce with reverence when I could be fingering my pussy with much more genuine respect instead. You go on ahead and have your Birth of a Nation/Gone With the Wind viewing party with Trump though. Just make sure you know that you’re the one actually in the padded room as you soak up these “beacons” of High Art.

Men Who Have No Difficulty Crossing Out One Woman’s Name in Ephemeral Favor of Another.

In the archives of what “men” are capable of, there is no more common affront than the propensity toward self-imposed amnesia. The almost superpower-like ability to simply forget about a past relationship and the wrongdoings committed therein. About a girl he once spouted sonnets to and made the false promise of what love is supposed to entail to the rom-com dosed female: happily ever after. More to the point: forever. “Men” do not have the capability to fathom such a concept. To them, forever is a single night. If a girl is “lucky,” maybe more than a year. She, in all her naive optimism (particularly if it is her first major relationship), will fail to see that even tattooed names can be crossed out in favor of another (just look to that famed Norman Rockwell painting pictured above).

She will assume that, like her own heart, his is steadfast and true, when, in fact it is irresolute and false. Pining for Alice one day and Zelda the next. How can he be blamed though? When there is so much vagina in the world to experience. So many women’s minds to infiltrate and steal from to pass off as his own lack of personality. But he is culpable; and somewhere within the depths of the hole where his soul should be, he must know it. Otherwise, why would he be so adept at blocking out the past and the person he pretended to be in that now bygone era? Of course, whether he wants to admit it or not, the past is always present. Feigning to forget that is the only means with which to blithely flit from “cherishing” one woman’s name to another before ultimately crossing it out until he must finally settle for the youngest “thing” he can get when he’s at last too middle-aged to be bankable in any way other than being “straight.”

For the woman scorned, however, she will never forget the name that so easily tossed out her own.

Men Who Make Gaslighting Their Religion.

Just as religion with its devout followers that cannot be convinced that their beliefs are in any way wrong, subjective or otherwise completely coked out, so, too, does the Church of Gaslighting have its unswayable acolytes. The lackeys known as “men” who will, until their last dying breath, insist that it is the woman who is the “psycho”–the one with the perception of reality that is either “blown out of proportion” or deemed utterly “cuckoo” because, I don’t know, she has “blood coming out of her wherever.” Her perception–nay, “opinion”–is not to be trusted. No, you should trust the word that’s been bowed to for ages, that confabulation ejaculated from the penis that serves as the “male” control center. Or rather, the gash or stub where a penis is supposed to be on most “men” today who can only seem to get aroused when a woman is powerless.

And, no matter how much evidence a woman has to back up her case (not that there can usually be very much when it’s simply “her word against his”–a perennial statement on women versus the patriarchy), it will never register in the “male” mind, comprised of a collective Charles Boyer as “Gregory Anton” (a false name, if you couldn’t tell) mentality of “rightness.” That to manipulate a woman into thinking her feelings are somehow invalid or entirely imagined altogether is better than to simply admit to the truth, or at least a version of the truth that is closer to objective reality. That would be far too dangerous to the overarching “male” need to assure himself of his dominance, which can only come with the conviction that his perspective on the retelling of events is the accurate one. After all, women get their emotions too involved when it comes to memory, ergo how could they rehash things with any sense of “clarity” or “rationality”? As though displaying emotions is the furthest possible thing from being rational or having a normal response.

But just as you cannot talk a zealot out of their “crusade” for “God,” nor can you convince a follower of the Church of Gaslighting that listening to women– believing them without making them have to perform some sort of dance in order to actually be heard–is worth their time or effort (football and porn, on the other hand–the one that’s not holding a dick–totally worth it).

Then again, it’s easy to gaslight, one supposes, when there is so much gas contained inside the gasbag that is “man.”

Men Who Gloss Over Their Wrongdoings After They Feel Enough Time Has Passed.

While “men” will never and can never admit to having committed any wrongdoings toward another person, least of all one packing a vagine, he must somewhere know deep down in the recesses of his soul (which, in a “man,” is called his loins) that he has done something to affront. Otherwise, what would be the point of waiting months, years, sometimes even decades to at last come out of the woodwork feigning nothing trauma-inducing ever happened? Delivering a missive as though believing he is a messenger of God himself to say, “Hey.” Just like that, very la-di-da. Oh, nothing fucked up ever happened between us because time heals all wounds. Well, no actually, it’s more as Groucho Marx stated: “Time wounds all heels.” Except, alas “men” who are heels feign total ignorance of their heeldom, arbitrarily dropping cunt-ish information into their out-of-the-blue communication about how he happened to give a t-shirt you custom-made for him to his friend who now works out in it at the gym and isn’t that so funny? As though that’s the way to reenter into someone’s life after years of silence.

Of course, because “men” have such a fucking phobia of female rage, perhaps it is only to be expected that they would be too goddamn callow to acknowledge the elephant in the room: their shithead behavior. The behavior that caused a lifelong need for therapy that they probably owe you a Mariah Carey-inspired inconvenience fee for because you sure as hell can’t afford that kind of extra expense on the shoestring budget called “being a free spirit.” A “freedom” that, in part, was crafted from a self-protective need to never grow attached again.

There are other ways “men” like to attempt re-ingratiation as well, those methods deemed more “harmless” than direct communication, such as a bullshit like on [insert name of social media outlet here]. But the truth is, the only way to succeed in one’s endeavor at reconciliation with a woman scorned is to, at the bare minimum, address the fact that you are a fucking asshole with no real emotions for anyone other than yourself and anyone who serves your agenda in the moment. By opening with this admission, a “man” might catch more flies (for we all know “men” see women in just as annoying of a light as this insect) with honesty as opposed to gloss.

 

Men Who Wear Black Turtlenecks.

As Shania Twain probably should have contributed to a lyric for “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” “Okay, so you have a black turtleneck and think you’re Kerouac or some shit.” For yes, it is only in this one respect–if you are actually a beatnik living in the 60s of Paris, San Francisco or New York–that it would be even remotely “acceptable” to wear a turtleneck, let alone a black one. While some would argue that it’s a perfectly timeless fashionable winter statement, there is something very deliberate in a “man’s” choice to don this particular absence of color in turtleneck form.

More often than not, he is a “writer.” Or rather an “aspirant.” A motherfucking poseur, if you will. And because of his own latent insecurities about a talent that is not latent so much as nonexistent, he makes up for it in the aesthetics of what he believes a Writer with a capital “w” would wear. Your Dostoyevskys and your Tolstoys and your Chekhovs. Granted, all of the aforementioned had the viable excuse of living in the frigid airs of Russia that might have justified them wearing a goddamn turtleneck beneath their furs. What excuse does the slack-jawed white “man” sitting in front of a Mac as he “thoughtfully” takes years to never complete his opus have?

This is precisely why a girl, if she knows what’s good for her (especially in terms of ever hoping to encounter a “man” who isn’t more selfish and stingy than usual), ought to run in the other direction if she ever sees a “male” in her vicinity in this specific style choice (particularly if there’s only a mild chill in the air). For is a black turtleneck ever just a black turtleneck on a “man”? Absolutely fucking not. Like all of us, a “man’s” fashion choices are calculated, even if they reside somewhere in the “subconscious.” Which is where all of “men’s” darkest desires come to roost in the conscious world. On a side note, did you know col roulé in French means pretentious twat with vocal intonations like farts as he explains Turgenev’s brilliance to you?

Men Who Are Driven Solely By a Desire to Usurp Their Father in “Success.”

While the hands of time might persist in rendering us all genderless by 2030, there will always remain that one sect of “male”–that rare breed still born into money–that can’t help but be driven by an innate desire to usurp his father’s “success” (the Bush family generally comes to mind). This, in white “male” speak, pertains to 1) having more money and 2) procuring a more synthetic wife, paired with a younger mistress. As for poor sons born to middle class fathers, well, no one talks about them, unless it’s a story like A Bronx Tale.

The issue with this little plot to overthrow Daddy as the unshakeable patriarch is that no son can ever truly outshine the father that bore him into wealth in the first place. There is nothing impressive about a rich “boy” who becomes richer just because he slummed it a few years by not automatically becoming a CEO or senator. It goes against the very fabric of the falsity of the American dream, which still touts capitalism as a fair means to rise to the top by your own bootstraps. Thus, it is as Bob Dylan phrased it in “Temporary Like Achilles”: “I’m helpless, like a rich man’s child.”

That helplessness stems from the fact that a son can never outshine son cher papa on the integrity of merit. Even if he renounces access to the bank account and changes his last name, he will always know the cushion is there, just waiting to catch him if and when he should encounter a snag in the plan to Oedipally topple Father. And no, one doesn’t feel sorry for this pathetic and inane drive to outperform Dad’s success, particularly when the inheritance finally rolls in and the new patriarch by default–not by honor–can rename the family yacht anything cheeky directed at his father that he wants. The rich son wins by outliving his father, and by that alone. Just look at the Amises.

Men Who Assume That Their Material Success Is Enough to Impress.

Though we keep telling ourselves that gender roles are an illusion (and soon enough so will reality be altogether thanks to, among other things, persistent hologram concerts from the likes of Roy Orbison and Amy Winehouse), it would seem that many “men” still rely on the tried and true Jay Gatsby go-to of making a shit ton of money in order to both impress therefore “procure” a woman. Tragically, what he can’t seem to procure is a clue regarding how to be sociable in a way that doesn’t scream “eccentric millionaire” (although one hopes, at the very least, not at quite the same decibel as Howard Hughes). So he goes about his usual manner of being a bumbling idiot that somehow managed to make him vast sums of money not in the face of but precisely because he is socially inept and generally daft.

The girl, of course, is partially at fault for falling into the cliche trap of wanting to be, to use a gross, parody of something Frank Sinatra would say, wined and dined, allowing herself to fall prey to the inevitable sandpaper hangout session. Because, what can she say, that statistic about women making seventy-five cents for every dollar a “man” makes still rings true, and thusly, she could use a paid for meal every now and again. Yet for all his best attempts to treat the dinner like a job interview and go on about his various qualifications for the role of potential fuck and maybe–if she’s lucky–boyfriend, she is, as usual, of the Shania bent, not impressed much. And in truth, sort of just trying to get through the dinner without vomiting her food too prematurely (that’s for later, in the privacy of her own bathroom). So it must be said that just because a “man” has a wallet more burgeoning and thrilling than his so-called panisse does not mean it is enough to 1) keep a woman’s interest or 2) even reel her in in the first place. Because there’s something to be said for the non-faux pretension of poverty dick. Crusty though it may be.