Monday, 22 June 2020

daddy issues

Via Language Log, we learn that Chinese netizens have cultivated a term to call out chauvinism and paternalistic behaviour, invoked in a similar spirit to accusing someone, albeit in a less gendered way despite the name, of mansplaining—with diē wèi (爹味, literally dad flavour).
While in the West some might find such withering words to carry power and pride for moving beyond (and sometimes rightfully so, though none of us should be so quick to label others less liberated or enlightened lest we remain ignorant of our own ample shortcomings) their parochial tendencies, the feminist advocate tracking this trend believes it to be more of an internet catharsis and a way of commiserating online (whose power also shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed) over unwelcome and unsolicited impositions and is not likely to affect society at large. Speaking of the above equivalence, mansplaining was inspired by a universal phenomenon described by author and essayist Rebecca Solnit who was approached by a man at a social event who’d heard she was a writer, to which she began talking about her latest publication on the topic of Eadweard Muybridge, whereupon the man cut off his interlocutor proclaiming that he had heard of about a comprehensive edition of the life of Muybridge that had come out recently—failing to entertain the likely fact that he was addressing the book’s author. Describing the experience without having the precise term, the internet soon provided one, falsely credited with its coinage, Solnit insofar as she can speak for mansplaining regrets that it is a harsher condemnation on men and their perceived mindset than she meant it to be.