The question was worth $600.
Concepts from the world of social justice are just ideas until they make their way from academia and activist circles to society at-large. When feminist concepts begin to enter the everyday vernacular of mainstream Americans, they stand the largest chance of affecting significant societal change. So when the popular game show Jeopardy had a question about the term “mansplaining,” women everywhere were understandably excited.
The $600 question was raised under the category “Explains” and read: “This 21st-Century word happens when a male patronizingly tells a female about a topic she already understands.” Male contestant Shannon chimed in first with the correct answer, posed in the form of a question: “What is mansplaining?” After Jeopardy’s host, Alex Trebek, told the contestant he was correct, Shannon made it clear that he was not a mainsplainer. “I never do that,” he said.
According to Lily Rothman of The Atlantic, mansplaining is “Explaining without regard to the fact that the explainee knows more than the explainer, often done by a man to a woman.” Mansplaining implies a lack of respect for the listener and assumes that the female—by virtue of her gender—lacks the man’s intellectual capacity. Jeopardy isn’t the only mainstream arena where mansplaining has taken hold. The word made it to the Oxford Dictionary in 2014 with the definition:
Mansplain (v.): (of a man) explain something to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.
Women on Twitter were particularly delighted that the concept reached such a large audience: