Mansplaining and Manfraud

Mansplaining is a new portmanteau often quite hilariously used to refer to the common male practice of explaining things (often inaccurately) in a patronizing manner to women. As one woman, Karen Healey, puts it on her blog:

Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate “facts” about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.

The patronizing tone is the distinguishing characteristic, but it seems closely connected to the common male practice of just, well, making shit up.

This may not be confined to verbal communication, however. A paper recently published in the journal mBio indicates that men are also more likely to engage in research fraud. According to a press release by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University:

Overall, 65 percent of… fraud cases were committed by males, but the percentage varied among the academic ranks: 88 percent of faculty members who committed misconduct were male, compared with 69 percent of postdoctoral fellows, 58 percent of students, and 43 percent of other research personnel. In each career category, the proportion of males committing misconduct was greater than would have been predicted from the gender distribution of scientists. The gender difference was surprisingly large among faculty, said [senior author Arturo] Casadevall…. Of the 72 faculty who committed fraud, just 9 were female – one-third of the expected 27 if females had committed fraud at the same rate as males.

We don’t know why, but Casadevall argues it might be biological. As he explained, “As research has shown, males tend to be risk takers, more so than females, and to commit fraud entails taking a risk.”

Well yes, but that seems mostly to do with why men are willing to commit fraud. But do they also have greater inclination to do so?

A common tactic people use when they’re caught using misleading or unpersuasive data is to argue that, well, I knew it was true, and I’m sure it still is and if you look at [hard to understand Gobbledigook] you will understand that I’m still right.

Or, in other words, mansplaining.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer