Mansplaining vs Mothering

Given the times we live in, most of you have heard of the word “Mansplaining” by now. The opposite behavior to Mansplaining is “Mothering” behavior towards a grown man.

Here is a table outlining some of the differences between mansplaining and when a woman engages in mothering behavior towards a grown man:

DefinitionWhen a man explains something to a woman in a condescending manner, assuming she doesn’t understandWhen a woman treats a grown man as if he were a child, providing excessive care or guidance
Gender dynamicsTypically involves a man explaining to a womanTypically involves a woman caring for a man
Power dynamicsOften involves a power imbalance, with the man assuming he has superior knowledge or expertiseCan involve a power dynamic if the woman is in a position of authority or control over the man, but not always
ContextCan occur in a variety of settings, including the workplace, social situations, and personal relationshipsCan occur in a variety of settings, including personal relationships and work settings, but is less common in the workplace
PurposeOften used as a way for men to assert their dominance and expertise over womenMay be done out of a sense of caring or nurturing, but can also be a way to exert control over the man
ConsequencesCan lead to feelings of frustration, belittlement, and a sense of being talked down toCan lead to feelings of emasculation, frustration, and a sense of being patronized or not taken seriously

It’s worth noting that both, Mansplaining and Mothering towards a grown person can be problematic and have negative consequences for the person on the receiving end.

Both behaviors can be rooted in gender stereotypes and power imbalances, and can lead to feelings of disrespect and a lack of autonomy.

However, it’s important to recognize that each situation is unique, and it’s possible for a woman to provide guidance or support to a grown man in a way that is respectful and not infantilizing.

The best way to avoid both “mansplaining” and “mothering” towards the opposite gender is to cultivate self-awareness and actively listen to and respect the perspectives of others. Here are some specific strategies that can be helpful:


To avoid mansplaining:

  1. Check your assumptions: Be aware of any biases or assumptions you might have about someone’s knowledge or abilities based on their gender or other factors.
  2. Listen actively: Make a conscious effort to listen to what the other person is saying, and avoid interrupting or talking over them.
  3. Ask questions: Rather than assuming you know the answer, ask questions to clarify the other person’s understanding and knowledge.
  4. Acknowledge their expertise: If the other person does have expertise or knowledge in a particular area, acknowledge and respect it.

To avoid mothering:

  1. Respect boundaries: Be mindful of other people’s boundaries and avoid overstepping them, even if you think you’re helping.
  2. Treat others as equals: Avoid treating someone as if they are less capable or less intelligent than you are, regardless of their gender.
  3. Check in with the other person: If you’re unsure about whether or not your actions are helpful or appreciated, check in with the other person to see how they feel.
  4. Encourage independence: Rather than providing excessive guidance or care, encourage the other person to take ownership of their own decisions and actions.

Overall, the key to avoiding these behaviors is to approach interactions with others with an open mind and a genuine interest in understanding their perspective.

By valuing the experiences and knowledge of others, we can build more respectful and equitable relationships.

If you wish to understand the opposite sex better, do read:
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

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