Hey, it’s Friday. Time to let our hair down and do some culture.
There’s an awful, awful outdoor sculpture at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Ashe Schow at Washington Examiner was able to view it, while female, and not succumb to an attack of the vapors, but she seems to have exceptional fortitude – or perhaps an ingrained alienation from her feminine “otherness,” imposed on her by the patriarchal culture.
Other women are better equipped to recognize promptly how awful it is.
Maybe some of you XX types out there know what I’m getting at. You see it, right? And no, it’s not so much the dominating body language of this hetero white man, with the height privilege and the hiked-up leg privilege and the foot-on-the-bench privilege.
It’s the mansplaining.
— Cathy de la Cruz (@SadDiego) May 22, 2015
If you don’t see that the male figure must be “condescendingly explaining something to a woman” in this sculpture, well, you need to check your insular-patriarch privilege and do something drastic to yourself. The mansplaining here isn’t just lurking in subtle evidence, waiting to be caught by the sensitive eye. No; in the words of Ash Hernandez, the sculpture “screams mansplaining.”
I’m not a fan of screaming sculptures myself.
This, er, overheated reaction to a mild, demure – let us not say pedestrian – piece of art does shed light on the emerging pathology of “triggers” and microaggressions,” which seems to center to an unusual extent on art, and other works of expression and visual presentation (when it’s not centering on race). The whole canon of Western civilization will soon have to be sequestered behind blast-resistant doors with hazard signs on them.
But it’s worth highlighting a brief comparison with another piece of contemporary sculpture that had lower lips trembling at Wellesley last year. The male figure in this outdoor exhibition certainly wasn’t mansplaining. His demeanor was far from dominating, or even presentable; in fact, he looked like a military recruiter would write things in red all over his application, and send him home to his Mom.
One more note on mansplaining sculptures. Apparently there’s an official one, at Purdue.
It, too, has a fan club.
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) August 22, 2014