Entertainment And News

Teen Boy Wonders If He's Wrong To Decline To Help His Classmate After She Accused Him Of 'Mansplaining'

Photo: Shutterstock.com / Ground Picture
A photograph of a two students in a classroom, with the male student showing his laptop to a female student.

Navigating conflict and disagreements in high school can be challenging for all of us, and it isn’t always clear who is right or wrong.

Recently, one student took to the subreddit “r/AmITheA--hole(AITA)” to sort out his own concern; declining to help a classmate after being accused of ‘mansplaining.’

The student explains that he sits with two girls in physics, Ellie and Mia, and Ellie usually asks him for help after lectures. Because her questions are usually very vague, he tends to just explain the fundamental concepts of the whole lecture to her, to make sure he doesn’t miss anything.

RELATED: Woman Asks If She's Wrong For Not Inviting Her 'Aggressively Child-Free' Sister To Disney World

Eventually, Mia accused him of 'mansplaining,' a charge he found offensive.

He also says that explaining the material out loud like this helps him understand it better, so he sees it as a “win/win situation.”

Recently, however, the other girl he sits with in-class interrupted him as he was explaining a problem.

“You don’t need to mansplain every single detail,” Mia told him. “Stop speaking to her like she’s an idiot.”

The student was surprised, since Ellie had never expressed frustration with him for being condescending, and he wasn’t trying to be rude. He apologized but wasn’t sure what to do next.

RELATED: 15 Things I Should Have Said To The Guy Who Mansplained Beer To Me

The next day, Mia sat down next to him and asked if he could explain something to her. The student then suggested that she speak to the teacher instead, because he didn’t want to seem like he was “mansplaining” to her either.

She apparently then called him a “jackass” and went to ask another table for help.

RELATED: Woman Kicked Out Of Bachelorette Party After Confronting Bride Who Kept Crying Over Her Ex-Boyfriend

The commenters on Reddit seem to be in agreement that the student wasn’t wrong for what he did.

One person wrote: “OP, you did right by sticking up for yourself. She can't expect to be rude to you for helping someone else and then turn around and ask for your help.”

Others agree, saying that it wasn’t fair for Mia to not apologize for calling him out, and then expect his help right after.

Another pointed out that Mia wasn’t even using the term mansplaining correctly. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term mansplaining is defined as: “to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.”

This definition usually refers to when a man inserts himself into a situation without being asked, something the student in this post did not do. A fellow student often asked him to explain broad concepts to her, and he did so.

Most commenters appear to agree with this consensus. “Yup my thought exactly. Mansplaining is real, but it's not what does, he is just helping a girl who asked for his help.”

RELATED: Woman Refuses To Drop Ex-Husband's Last Name After He & His Fiancé Claim It's 'Weird' She Still Has It

Another comment pointed out that Ellie had requested the explanations, and if she was happy with how the student explained them, then it wasn’t any of Mia’s business to intervene and argue otherwise.

Someone piggybacked off of this, pointing out that “Mia inadvertently insulted Ellie if OP’s explanation was working for her.”

Other commenters appear to be in debate about the term mansplaining itself, and if it still has a use in conversation.

“Much like gaslighting, the usage of the word has been massively expanded to all sorts of marginally related situations,” one person argued.

“I honestly think it actually functions in society as a sexist pejorative used to shut down a guy in a conversation. As in the OP.”

RELATED: Stay-At-Home Dad Asks If He Was Wrong For Taking Son Trick-Or-Treating Without His 'Workaholic' Wife

Although the term mansplaining does come from a very real, very frustrating phenomenon that many women have to deal with, the term itself has begun to lose some of its original meaning.

Just because a man is explaining something, or talking at all, doesn’t make it inherently condescending to others, or “mansplaining”.

The words we use to define our world are constantly changing, but it can be frustrating when they are used to explain different concepts than they were originally intended for, especially when it causes conflict like in the post.

At the end of the day, I hope these students passed their physics exam.

RELATED: What Is 'Mansplaining'? 5 Ways To Assert Yourself & Your Intelligence When It Happens

Hawthorn Martin is a news and entertainment writer living in Texas. They focus on social justice, pop culture, and human interest stories.