At some point we all have to acknowledge that we are all racist, we are all misogynist, all classist; we are all prejudiced at some level because we are all real human beings conditioned by the reality in which we live. Disturbing as this is to admit, it merely demonstrates the powerful social influence and the universal success of the prevailing globalised culture. The simple fact that we have all grown up and have been educated and socialised within it means that we have all, to varying degrees, been psychologically shaped by it. Men, particularly white men, have become the indisputable heirs of the kingdom insofar as power and privilege are concerned. This hierarchy – or patriarchy – has its winners, but it has created by both accident and design a structural system of oppression in which everyone, including the white male oligarchs at the top, is a victim. It is an oppressive system that alienates and dehumanises all who come into contact with it. Racism, Sexism, Classism, and almost every conceivable social and economic prejudice, have diseased the entire human race, and so it must be the task of all human beings to overcome this destructive, and unnatural, default setting. Perhaps the best way to see each prejudice is as a particular symptom of a singular systemic problem – power lust.
Feminism rightly developed from the historic injustices of a patriarchal matrix of power which consciously and unconsciously worked to exclude female participation at every level of society. Few will claim that the work of Feminism is complete. Far from it! It might be better to say that the cause of women’s liberation, in the fullest historical sense, is only just beginning. Yet Feminism is an intrinsic component of a wider resistance to the mechanisms of power and control. Recent developments in radical Feminist discourse have resulted in the troubling “manspaining” check-your-privilege neologism. Its origin, as far as we are led to believe, was quite accidental; stemming from the blogosphere and addressing the phenomenon of men patronisingly taking it upon themselves to explain things to women typically more qualified than themselves. Of course this is valid criticism, and behaviour with which we are all familiar. Like most terms in use over cyberspace its meaning and application have mutated. Mansplaining is now little more than a method to close down discussion between the sexes, and, at best, this can only be counterproductive to wider resistance. At worst it is in itself sexist. Yes, people can be condescending and patronising, but naming it in such an engendered dismissal is meaningless and grossly offensive. Ending dialogue is the goal of the oppressor, not the oppressed.