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A handy primer seen at the Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017. (Photo by Pip Cummings)
A handy primer seen at the Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017. (Photo by Pip Cummings)

Splainception

Twitter erupts after man tries to ‘mansplain’ female anatomy — and the term ‘mansplaining’ — to women

By WITW Staff on February 13, 2019

A Guardian article about a photographer’s portraits of vulvas became the unwitting source of Twitter drama this weekend after a man commenting on the article claimed, incorrectly, that the paper should technically have used the word “vagina” instead. But when another user corrected him and accused him of trying to “mansplain” to women “something you obvs know nothing about it,” Bullen unabashedly doubled down.

That’s an incorrect use of the word mansplaining. :-). Not that I want to legitimize the term, but by its own definition it requires more than just having just a man who is explaining something. Even if some in the audience are women.

— Paul Bullen (@paulbullen) 10 February 2019

Despite widespread derision, Bullen continued to stand by his statements by making a series of increasingly abstract arguments that he claimed vindicated him.

Relatedly, if a pregnant woman speaks about the baby in her belly, I would not tell her she should be referring to it as a fetus. Fetus is a technical term appropriate in scientific contexts. Even a doctor does not ask “Would you like to see your fetus?”

— Paul Bullen (@paulbullen) 11 February 2019

And when a friendly gynecologist stepped in to show him definitively, that the correct term in this case was in fact “vulva,” Bullen still refused to acknowledge that he was in error. Instead, he shifted the goalposts by suggesting that what he had actually meant to do was to make an “empirical claim” about “standard usage” and that Dr. Gunter’s “expertise” was actually “part of the problem” preventing her from agreeing with him.

Twitter, unsurprisingly, was equal parts outraged and amused by Bullen’s determined obstinacy.

And as users scrutinized his Twitter profile — uncovering, among other things, that Bullen had a decided penchant for retweeting Donald Trump and far-right neo-fascist group the Proud Boys — one user noted that this wasn’t the first time the wannabe know-it-all had made an embarrassing mistake.

Read the full story at The Poke.

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