Dear Wil Wheaton – Only YOU Can End Mansplaining

5 Feb

Hi Wil,

I know, I know, this is the second open letter I’ve written to you in, like, a month. And I know, you didn’t even read the first one, even though I poured my heart and soul into it, and tweeted about it extensively (and by extensively, I mean obnoxiously).

The thing is, Wil, I need your help. I know we don’t know each other very well, or, really, at all. I’ve tweeted at you a lot while drunk, so you already know how funny and awesome I am. I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek, so I know what you look like in terrible sweaters. One time you tweeted back at me (actually, you tweeted twice, but the second one was to correct a typo), so I am pretending that means that we’re internet buds. That’s how these things work, right?

So anyway, here’s the whole story:

Last night, I was wasting time on twitter (as is my wont). You tweeted a link to something on his tumblr, and since I think you’re aces, I clicked to check it out.

Guess what I discovered on your tumblr? Oh, just something that you reposted about women’s reproductive rights.

“HOLY CATS!” I yelled, scaring our actual (unholy) cats.

Matt, naturally, asked me what the hell I was yelling about.

I told him that I had just stumbled upon a trifecta of the the three things I love the most – Wil Wheaton, women’s reproductive justice, and social media.

Matt wanted to know why he and Theo weren’t part of that trifecta.

I told him that they were part of a different trifecta.

He tried to argue that if it was a trifecta of three things that I love the most then he and Theo should be on it.

I told him that there were two trifectas of things that I love the most. There’s the one I mentioned above, and one involving Matt, Theo and cake. He told me that I couldn’t have two trifectas of things that I love the most. I told him that I can have as many damn trifectas as I want, because I am the boss of trifectas. I told him that he gets no say in how many trifectas I have.

He just rolled his eyes and left the room. Then he came back and asked if, out of all my trifectas of things I love the most, his came first.

“Sure buddy, whatever,” I said. I wasn’t really paying attention to him, because I was having an IDEA.

See, the thing is, I get mansplained a lot. Maybe not here, on my personal blog, but on posts that I write for other sites. My post about that rape joke on The Oatmeal that went viral? You better believe I got mansplained to hell and back on that one, both on BlogHer (which picked it up and featured it), and on various other Serious Business News Sites that linked to it. Oh and the mansplainers and misogynists came here, to my post about The Oatmeal’s 5 Super Neat Ways To Use A Hooker, intent on proving that I don’t know anything, ever and am just silly feminist who likes to get worked up over nothing.

So now that I know that you love protecting the rights of lady parts (and, hopefully, ladies themselves), I have this brilliant plan. See, I realized that if only I had a picture of you holding up a sign that says “STOP MANSPLAINING”, I could just post that picture whenever dudes are mansplaining. And they would be like, WELL, if WIL WHEATON says I should stop, PROBABLY HE IS RIGHT.

I know what you’re thinking – a picture like this is a powerful tool. In the wrong hands, it could definitely be used for evil. But just think of how much good I could accomplish with it!

An added bonus is that if you ever happened to catch yourself in the act of mansplaining, you could look at the picture and be like, “Oh, great, advice from someone I trust.”*

So please Wil? Just one little picture?

Remember when you told everyone not to be a dick, and it was great, and world peace was achieved?

Now you can do the same for people facing mansplainers everywhere!

Anyway, that’s all. I’ll let you get back to your whatever it was you were doing.

Sincerely,

Anne

p.s. You could also take a picture of yourself holding a picture that says “Anne Is The Best,” and it would be great because it could mean your wife OR it could mean me. Everybody wins!

p.p.s. Sorry again for all the drunk tweets

p.p.p.s. Sorry for all the annoying sober tweets, too

p.p.p.p.s. Here is a picture of me in a Star Trek-inspired sweater I found at a thrift shop. I thought maybe you would like it? In like a geek solidarity kinda way? I really tried to 80s up the makeup to make it more TNG authentic

star_trek_sweater

p.p.p.p.p.s. This is the face I make when I am getting mansplained

*The credit for this joke goes to Jesse Dangerously, who is way funnier than me on social media AND in real life

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8 Responses to “Dear Wil Wheaton – Only YOU Can End Mansplaining”

  1. Rosie February 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    I LOVE THAT PICTURE OF YOU. Also, this post. I will help you annoy Wil into reading it.

    • bellejarblog February 6, 2013 at 4:21 am #

      Thanks and THANKS! STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.

  2. runesandrhinestones February 6, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    This is brilliant. Everyone loves him, and nobody enjoys being mansplained (whether by men or women). Also, jumper is way cool 😀

    • bellejarblog February 7, 2013 at 2:29 am #

      Thank you and thank you!

      I know, I feel like I’ve come up with a really excellent solution here! Gosh, if only Wil would listen!

  3. Michael October 12, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    Wil Wheaton is a pretty good guy to have in your corner, so hopefully something came of it – nice guy by the way, I met him once, briefly.

    To be honest though, my reply isn’t actually about Wil. I read several of your posts about The Oatmeal, and was left with some thoughts, though I’ll try not to go too far into that, because I can’t guarantee that my choice of words wouldn’t spark some vitriol.

    I will say that while I fully support your causes, as I truly find sexism appalling, and can’t even comprehend the mind of someone who would commit rape, I find that your approach – at least in the comment sections – somewhat excessive. Many of the men who commented said things I couldn’t agree with, but just about any man who disagreed with you in the slightest was called a misogynist, even if their opinions deviated only slightly from your own. I understand that a war on misogyny is an enormous one, and that to make a dent, you may have to be relentless, but holding people to so high a standard that their every word is scrutinized is not only unreasonable, but in some ways it hurts the cause (I’ll expand on that thought lower down). I say unreasonable in the sense that with 24 hour days, sometimes things come out wrong, not in the sense that people shouldn’t be held accountable for what they say. I knew a woman who, when she accidentally described her classmates as “girls” rather than women, chastised herself at length despite being the last person in the world who would have meant anything by it, it didn’t accomplish anything but to stress her out, she already knew that she didn’t agree with the use of girls rather than women.

    Now, I understand that it all contributes to a larger problem, an underlying culture of subtle and not-so-subtle subjugation and diminution and juvenilization of women, but calling out a man as sexist or misogynistic because of his (unintentional) choice of words closes down dialogue, dialogue which might help him understand your point, and turn him on to your cause, and instead leaves him feeling upset, insulted, and if anything, more anti-feminist than when he arrived.

    If you’ll bear with me a moment, I’ll say something seemingly horrible, but hopefully you’ll forgive me once I explain. I hate feminism, in much the way I hate any movement specifically aiming to further the rights or social status of one particular group. Now this isn’t because I don’t think everyone deserves equal rights, quite the contrary, I believe that **everyone** deserves equal rights, I believe that everyone should be a humanist, or egalitarian, or however you’d have it phrased, fighting for total equality among all humans. When one group fights specifically for the rights of themselves, it’s divisive, it takes away from the potential social power of the movement by breaking it up into factions, and worse, it sets different groups against one another, wasting energy. I’ve never seen a feminist page without men and women fighting against each other, and while many of those are trolls being fed, some are potential furtherers lost due to non-ideal approaches to discussion.

    Now, I know, seeing as how most humans are selfishly motivated, it’s never going to happen quite like that. Everyone on Earth acting together to eliminate inequality is a beautiful notion, but something like feminism is much more attainable, and much more direct in its goal. My reason for bringing up that other notion wasn’t to suggest you abandon feminism, but rather to, hopefully, bring you to the mindset of that unified Earth, where you can appreciate the benefits of that approach, and appreciate that being adversarial doesn’t help, and, ideally, should be diminished as much as possible. I’ll make a short anecdote related to this; in my third year of high school, I had a female teacher who, before coming to class, heard a boy in the hall call a girl a cow. The teacher then spent the next ten minutes effectively criticizing all men for the existence of that term, pointing out how horrible men are for describing women as animals. Now, I agree, that’s a horrible thing to call someone, but in her anger, she was forgetting that men have an insulting animal name that they are called as well: pigs. Now, I realize that the insult towards men isn’t as systemic as that towards women, which is the whole problem, and believe me, I would never defend calling a woman a cow, but I’ll use that to refer me back to my point from before, which is that divisiveness is bad, working together is good.

    The teacher didn’t win any men over during that class, while telling them off for something they themselves didn’t do. In order to effectively argue for equality, it has to be equality for all, which means men don’t use sexist terms towards women, but women don’t use them towards men either.

    I’m sure that you didn’t coin the term, but what do you think my first feeling was when I read your article’s title? It wasn’t sympathy for you having to deal with hard headed people, set in their ways, which is what I should have felt, instead I wondered how somebody who is so finely attuned to slights towards women could possibly be using so sexist a term as “mansplaining”. Nobody enjoys being “set straight” or patronized by somebody who has no idea what they’re talking about, and maybe you feel that I’m doing that to you now, but to ascribe that as something strictly male is undeniably sexist. Feminism should not be a war between men and women, but a partnership with the intention of equality, so on behalf of all men who treat it like it is a war, I apologize, even if they themselves wouldn’t.

    Respect isn’t something that happens in one direction, it has to flow in all directions, if you only respect yourself, and no one else, it’s not called respect, it’s called conceit. I am no more important than you, I would never intentionally insult you or malign your gender, but you are no more important than I am, and even if it’s intended to forward the cause of women’s rights, it is wrong, and patently illogical, to combat sexism and sexist slurs with sexism of your own.

    If you do read this, I hope you find some of my thoughts to be of value, and I apologize for anything which you might find offensive, as well as for the ridiculous length of this post.

    • wendykh September 12, 2014 at 3:13 am #

      Thanks for explaining precisely what mansplaining is. Jesus I hope this was all sarcastic?

      Yes I know I’m late to the party but I couldn’t stop laughing!

      • Michael September 12, 2014 at 3:27 am #

        This is amazing, I thought I had lost this post of mine, turns out I had done an email subscription to keep track of any responses, so thanks to you I’ve found it again.

        It’s been a while since I wrote this, so I can’t speak to my exact mindset, but no, no sarcasm, and I don’t see the humor either. I don’t know if the humor lies in a man coming in and trying to explain the whole situation, or if it’s some subtle meaning I’m not picking up on. If you have the time, and see this, I would be interested in a more fleshed out response. (Again, not sarcasm, I just don’t have much experience with this topic of discussion, and don’t realize where I went astray for you to find it funny.)

        Thanks for the reply though

    • TheBullyRag May 6, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

      I am a woman and a feminist. I agree with you pretty much 100 per cent and thank you for tackling a really complex subject with as much candor AND tact as is reasonably possible in a landscape where we’re programmed not to listen to you. In a world where it is a constant struggle for me to be heard, I thought I’d tell you that I hear you. That’s all.

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