Is This Quad City Event Guilty of ‘Mansplaining?’
Men helping women with car issues is great (and much appreciated) but what do you think of this offer?
It was brought to my attention yesterday. An event in the Quad Cities geared towards women and cars. No doubt, we all know the jokes associated with 'women drivers' and how 'women' take care of (or not) cars. In fact, a station vehicle here had some nasty dents in both the rear and front bumpers and whenever I would go out for a live broadcast or station appearance, without fail, guys would poke fun and assume it was me and my driving that caused it.
But it wasn't.
I want to start off by giving the men in my life the credit they deserve for helping me, supporting me and being wonderful. This includes my Dad, co-workers and my dearest friends. Thank you. Without your 'maleness,' I wouldn't be balanced or supported in the way only you, as a man, can support and love me.
Now, for the rest of you men out there... haha, just kidding. Don't worry, I'm not like that.
I wanted to bring this up because I can see both sides of it. River City Tire is providing a service to women to help them learn about taking care of their cars. I get that, applaud that and think it's overall a great idea. However, I must say, I have mixed feelings about the "Lipsticks and Dipsticks" event marketing.
It's definitely a catchy name. They are even giving the women wine and cupcakes to draw us in. The intention is admirable, but the tone, or the 'undercarriage,' if you will, is a bit like 'mansplaining,' as I understand it to be. Not over-bearing, but more like one of those sprinkles found on the cupcakes.
What exactly is this new, trending word being used? According to Merriam-Webster.com,
Mansplaining is, at its core, a very specific thing. It's what occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he's talking to does.
I realize this word only partially applies, given the knowledge of the event is by people who are experts. I can totally acknowledge that and am happy to.
When I first read the poster, it had an air of 'condescending.' Truthfully, when I read that you'll learn 'automotive lingo' and 'the purpose of fluids, filters, and tires,' and 'How A/C works,' it did grind on me a little. Personally, I have taken great care of my car, I have learned to do all of these things and in fact, know many men today who don't know how to do any of the things listed, either.
Because I feel their intention is good and they truly want to help women, I am in support of this event and hope to be able to go, if my Mom-schedule allows. However, I feel a pull to shed light in a direction where it seems there's a disconnect in the marketing of it.
In a world where we are still experiencing such large pay gaps between men and women in the workplace, for me, it's a matter of being aware of what we say and how we say it. It's about rephrasing old thought patterns and recognizing those 'blind spots,' no matter how subtle. For me, it's about having 3 daughters and hoping that gap will be closer to closing in their lifetime and mine. Language and words, no doubt, influence the way we think about things.
Mayim Bialik did a great video on this about the difference between calling women 'girls.' And in my world, that is a two way street with using the word 'men' and 'boys'.