Sean Lennon, a man, says mansplaining is sexist in tone-deaf Twitter war

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Sean Lennon, a man, would like you to know that the phrase “mansplaining” is sexist.

In a later tweet, Lennon wrote that mansplaining is sexist because “it is derogatory to one gender. The only reason anything is ever sexist.” Oh Sean, this is not very woke of you. Go pick up some Elena Ferrante, we'll be here when you get back.


In a reply tweet, Lennon indicates that "mansplaining" means "talking down to a woman," which is not technically true. Mansplaining, which dates back to a 2008 essay, is generally defined as when a man tells a woman how she should feel about something that she already knows about, although there are other definitions.

Some backstory, via The Cut: Singer Elizabeth le Fey is calling on people to boycott the Desert Daze festival because the band Foxygen is set to perform. Le Fey, who has a complicated history with Foxygen, tweeted earlier that she was contacted by Lennon after she accused Foxygen lead singer Sam France abused her.

Lennon then responded with the now-deleted tweet (le Fey has since posted it on Instagram):


It seems hard to believe, but things descended from there. Both have been retweeting support messages and posting lengthy defenses on Instagram. The only thing that would make this more like teenagers is if they deleted the messages a few hours later so their school wouldn’t see. Twitter wars on hard on everyone, folks, and there really are no winners.

The mansplaining tweet is probably the low point, although this about “the Kesha stuff” is certainly close:


To be fair, it's always nice to hear that someone is waiting for all the facts before making a judgment on a situation. But taking a step back and saying "let's get all the facts before we accuse this man of a horrible thing" is very often a symptom of a system that keeps women oppressed. Lennon uses the phrase "trial by social media" to describe what is happening to Desert Daze, but trial by social media has become a thing in part because so many people feel there is no other way to achieve justice in a system that often silences people without power, especially women.

It's almost like men in power are explaining to oppressed women who are challenging them on how the system works. Luckily there's a phrase for that: Mansplaining. See how that works?

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