Correctile Dysfunction

Many have this syndrome of responding to others and the bonus is they make you look like a fool as well. If answering wasn’t enough, they will go one step ahead and give a wrong explanation. I found an amusing term on the worldwide web – “Correctile Dysfunction” or “mansplaining” or “womansplaining”. According to the dictionary, it means: “The explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronising. It is vis a vis too applicable to women as well.” Correctile Dysfunction is gender neutral.

A female mate once narrated an incident that happened in her office during a group discussion on a specific computer program. The team consisting of seven was discussing it. My friend decided to raise a point and talk about a bug in the program. The moment she began to raise her point, a male team member cut her off and started explaining the same topic but had a different definition. To add insult to injury, he added that “this is what she wanted to convey”. At first, she was confused, it did not even register to her what just occurred. Then her jaw dropped and she was in shock. After the first few minutes of the blur, she acknowledged she just got “Mansplained”. 

Have you ever come across such “mansplainers”? I am sure you definitely would have come across one in your life. In Hindi, there is a popular phrase for this – it is referred to as a “keeda” or a bug that a person has in-built in them, to explain on another person’s behalf without consent. The intention is mostly to snub the other person with half-baked knowledge.  

Correctile Dysfunction: When did it all begin? 

As intrigued as I was with this term, I decided to trace its journey. Let me take you through the fascinating timeline of events leading to the birth of this word.

The term was first coined in 2006. At that point, it “described the act of instantly jumping on the keyboard to point out another person’s spelling error”. 

It was used for students who submitted assignments extremely close to the deadline without checking them for errors. 

It was used to explain misunderstandings created by auto-correct. 

The term got a new meaning altogether when a female artist took to Twitter to rechristen mansplaining. She felt the term must be gender neutral – applicable to both genders since even women have been observed doing the same. 

How do we deal with the Explainers?

Here are some tips to deal with Mansplainers

Just like in a sport, you have players who come and slug you or push you around. We have mansplainers in the real world. In a sport, you deal with them by dodging their moves. So, you can simply say “I have got this. Can we go to the next?” or “I appreciate your knowledge but I am afraid you are barking up the wrong tree.”
Quick Banter
Spot repartees and humour function great in a workplace or a social setting with mansplainers. If someone is insisting, that they know better than you, cut them short with “Aha, I can see how much you love swimming in deep waters.” Or “Oh wow! I am sure birds would love listening to your deep insights”.
There is another amazing way of dealing with these “smart alecs”. You can reroute the conversation to another person in the same group. Preferably from the same gender or pick a silent partner in the group and ask him/her a question on the same topic. Start by saying, 'that's a great take on that issue. Ms X or Mr Y, what's your outlook on it? Probably also could say, “Umm, it was great listening to your suggestions. Why don’t we hear from rest of the group as well. What do Ms Z has to say?” 
Raise your volume
Raise your tone intentionally and say “I want to add something too”. Sometimes to prevent yourself from getting heckled, you need to verbalize louder. Remember, 'I am speaking. Mr Vice President. I am speaking,' as Mike Pence cut Kamala Harris during a debate. Sometimes we got to tone up and make sure our voice is heard.
Stand up for yourself 
This is so necessary. Establish boundaries with colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and everyone around. I am not done yet. This is my time and, I will speak.Take charge of your life.

An ordinary and common error that everyone makes is to maintain silence when one gets “mowed” by people with Correctile Dysfunction. It is important to raise your voice at the right time. Use every tool you have in hand, to deal with these tyrants. It is a subtle form of pushing you off the stage or hogging your limelight. The common traits of such “Mansplainers” is to constantly snub people, show off their skills and knowledge on a subject and finally, try to become a “mouthpiece” for people regardless of whether their opinions are sought or not. Truly a dysfunction or error, they behave as “Mr. Know-it-all (s)” or “Ms. Know-it-all(s)”.

The moment you spot one, if you cannot scoot off from the situation, speak up for yourself and continue to make your point heard. You could also confront them and question them. They don’t like to be contested. Call them out in the open and they will be the first ones to retreat. As said, those engaging in mansplaining without realizing will need a wake-up call. Oftentimes many of these folks don’t realize they are disrespecting others by doing so.

Many of us think it is not good to engage with those with Correctile Dysfunction, but don’t you think “errors” are meant to be corrected? Lets Un-Mansplain!! On this note, I leave you with this quotation I read.

“A man recently mansplained to me, how he was not mansplaining to me while continuing to mansplain to me about mansplaining, and for that, I’m out sharks”.

Happy Un-Mansplaining!!!

Follow Priya Rajendran

2 thoughts on “Correctile Dysfunction

  1. Hey,
    This is something I have come across so many times in my life. But I cracked up with the term you have chosen to explain it. Still laughing. Correctly explained and put in perspective. Great work

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