Assistant Professor Casey Johnson Discusses Mansplaining in Feminist Philosophy Quarterly
January 20, 2021
Several types of mansplaining — the explanation of something by a man, usually to a woman in a condescending or patronizing manner — exist, according to University of Idaho Assistant Professor of Philosophy Casey Johnson, but one in particular undercuts women’s discourse to make it appear less relevant. In a recent paper titled “Mansplaining and Illocutionary Force,” published in Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, Casey explores mansplaining through the lens of speech act theory, the view that single utterance is really three acts: saying something, what a person does by saying it and its effect on the audience. Johnson analyzes how social position and power make a difference to speakers, conversation, testimony and other related phenomena, and how “speech-act confusion mansplaining” prevents women from getting their point across.
In this type of mansplaining, mansplainers incorrectly incorporate a woman’s gender into their perception of a woman’s speech action.
“Her conversational contribution is taken to have a different force than the force she intends,” Johnson writes.
The mansplainer perceives her as asking, for example, rather than telling. The result restricts women from discourse, which in turn prevents them from sharing their knowledge. This pattern isn’t unique to mansplainers.
“(The) conversational dynamics that mansplainers exploit is itself benign,” Johnson writes. “Layering this conversational phenomenon on top of a system of misogyny, subordination and silencing however is pernicious.”
About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu