tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

Let me splain for you

I've discovered a paradox. I should probably go down in history now, or at least get a certificate or something.

Actually I'm probably not the first person to discover this paradox, but fuckit, I'm gonna talk about it anyway.

First, it's not as fun as 'sploring.

Having said that, here goes.

It's probably in the last year or so that the use of the word *splaining has become really popular. First it was mansplaining - the word used for when a man jumps into a discussion about women's issues and tells everyone there how it is from the point of view of the man. People jumped on this, icons abounded and suddenly it was being used everywhere. Then it started to get morphed to fit whatever discussion was going on. So now we have cissplaining, whitesplaining and heterosplaining. Chances are there will be thinsplaining in use out there somewhere too.

It's come to mean "You are privileged and therefore don't deserve the privilege of speaking in this discussion." And it's everywhere. A bit like the tone argument, it's something that people are accused of almost willy-nilly, and (for example) whitesplaining no longer means abusing your privilege to tell non-white people what they should think, it actually now means "commenting while white". Or thin, or cis, or whatever. And IMO, since people started overusing the term, it's lost a lot of its clout.

So what's the paradox? Well, it's fairly commonly accepted that people shouldn't usurp the experience of others and apply it to themselves. One should only speak from one's own experience, because how could I possibly really understand what it's like to be anything other than what I am? So any time I open my mouth or hit my keyboard, I'm talking about my own experience - it's the only one I can speak on with any authority. I'm telling it like I see it, or speaking from my own perspective. Which means that everything I say is some kind of *splaining. Which is, apparently, a bad thing. Even when I'm womansplaining, kiwisplaining, expatsplaining, or sheepshearersplaining. And given that accusing someone of *splaining is another way of saying "STFU", it seems that I'm not allowed to speak from my own perspective but I'm only allowed to speak from my own perspective.

I find this confusing.

And no, it seems that speaking in the abstract is not permissible either.

I find this all a bit strange, especially in open discussion. It essentially amounts to only people of a certain 'type' (used for want of a better word) are allowed to speak, everyone else being excluded - and I can't see how this would lead to a realistic sharing of ideas or to learning - in fact, I can see such discussions fast turning into an insular circle-jerk in which one viewpoint dominates and the perspective gets narrower, not wider. I'm not convinced this is a productive way of conducting discussions.

But then, I would say that, wouldn't I? I AM TATSPLAINING!

In a completely different arena - Paleo diet? Realistic approach to health or trendy hipster fad?
Tags: omg lol wut, semantics, wankery
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