Many South Australians will remember how an image that hit the media (and social media) in 2018 that brought a lot of heat onto the University of Adelaide because it looked like the august institution was embracing “mansplaining” in its visual communication.
This was because the image that did the rounds showed a seated male explaining or “mansplaining” something to five standing females, next to the University logo.
The local larrikin social media account, ShitAdelaide, is credited for starting the ball rolling by sharing the image, below, which showed the University’s logo accompanied by the “offending” image from a neighbouring ad by Renewal SA. As it turns out, that was unfortunate photo editing and billboard juxtapositioning.
However, one of the things any good MBA knows is that perception is nine tenths of the law.
And so, all local universities have become very careful, moreso than ever, to ensure they don’t convey mansplaining in their imagery.
But how does a male lecturer not mansplain?
With greater awareness comes greater responsibility to improve on past behaviours, whether individual or communal.
Therefore, to combat the history of SOME male teachers talking down to female students, we engage in a special activity called the Mantraining Elective or ME for short.
I have done ME recently.
In fact, my ME was handled by three magnificent female students and I am very much a changed man.
During ME time, the male staff member must ask his female colleagues and students for advice and insights across a range of issues, particularly in their field of expertise.
For example, I asked my ME team about their preferred positions when it comes to psychological constructivism vs social constructivism, whether they thought organisations (as arenas of power/knowledge) were containers of different bodies and sexualities, and whether or not when having hot chips they enjoyed them doused in sodium chloride and acetic acid.
As you can see, never a simple word was used when a more complex phrase could be employed.
And this is what I love about gender diversity on campus.
Nobody should care whether your participles dangle or not, they should only focus on what you put between your quote marks,
Why do the women look so bored?
Ah, this is the endurance test of ME.
After an exhaustive round of questioning, the women then are encouraged to carry out ritual shunning of the professor, ass pro, or tutor.
Shunning is the act of social rejection, or emotional distance, practiced in a number of societies around the world.
During this time, I had to reach deep within myself to find peace and centredness.
It is a powerful journey but one I emerged from a wiser, quieter man, more attuned to the attitudes and expectations of the women around me.
If you identify as male and haven’t undertaken a Mantraining Elective yet, I encourage you to contact Ms Paige Turner and see if she could fit you in some time.