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Tue May 20, 2014, 01:08 PM

The author behind “mansplaining” on the origin of her famous term

Interesting interview.


“Men explaining things to me had been happening my whole life”: The author behind “mansplaining” on the origin of her famous term
Your work has always focused on sexualized and gender-based violence. The second essay in your book, “The Longest War,” is based on one you wrote in the wake of the Delhi and Steubenville rapes. What are your thoughts on mainstream media narratives regarding rape and domestic violence? Do you think we are at an inflection point globally in public discourse surrounding these subjects?

Yes, I really do. Remember when Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered, more than twenty years ago? That started a conversation about domestic violence and how often it becomes lethal and how horrific and oppressive and terrifying and discriminatory it is. Then OJ Simpson lawyered up, in the way that incredibly rich men that do awful things to women do, like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, or the recent case of the billionaire, Gurbaksh Chahal, who recently got off on probation after hitting his girlfriend 117 times on camera. There are just so many times when other kinds of hate crimes get the attention they deserve, and I never feel that we shouldn’t pay attention to other kinds of hate crimes, but I’ve just waited and waited and waited for violence against women to be treated as a hate crime.

Last year I organized a campaign demanding that Facebook recognize violent misogynistic expression as hate speech, and it was clear that the idea of gender-based hate was a difficult one for many people to wrap their heads around. Why do you think that is?

It’s interesting to see how hard a time people have seeing that as a problem in this way. I mean, replace any number of words– “Jewish,” “gay,” “black”– with “woman” in terms of violence. But, I really felt like the New Delhi murder in 2012 was a watershed moment. That and Steubenville felt different. These were not treated as unique terrible crimes that have nothing to do with anything else. That’s the way that each case about rape or domestic violence is usually portrayed. We have three murders of women a day at the hands of their partners. These are supposed to be isolated incidents so that we don’t have to focus on the culture and no one has to talk about changing the system or addressing patriarchy and masculinity. The term rape culture has been useful.

What is different?

It’s because young women on campuses are doing brilliant networked organizing around rape and campus sexual violence. It’s because young women are speaking up. It’s because feminist voices are really coming of age. Engaged voices are changing the media coverage and not accepting the “Oh, it’s her fault. What was she wearing? Why was she there? She should just lie back and enjoy it.” One of the things that is most notable about 2012 was that all five of the Republican candidates who said exceptionally stupid and obnoxious things about rape lost their elections.

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/20/men_explain_things_to_me_the_author_behind_mansplaining_on_the_origin_of_her_famous_coinage/

( I'll be reading her book-- sounds very good)

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