‘Calm down dear!’ Mansplaining Brexit.

It’s almost two weeks ago now that a few colossal bellends managed to persuade half the country that voting leave would ‘stick it to the man’ whilst also making the NHS filthy rich. Sigh. A lot has happened since then. Mainly, two of most colossal bellends of them all have sort of just thrown their hands in the air, said ‘well, it’s nothing to do with me’, and then sloped off to write newspaper columns and go to dinner parties with their other Brexit-proof friends.

But it’s not them I want to talk about. Of course Nigel Farage is a cowardly plasticine-faced liar. Of course Boris Johnson is an over-privileged nonsense-monger who wouldn’t know a working-class protest vote if it pissed on his pasty. These truths were pretty self-evident to me from the outset, so this has been more of a confirmation than a disappointment to me.

nigel face

Ole plasticine face in all his glory.

The leave vote was a disappointment. A huge one. A heart-breaking one if I’m honest. And not because if will effect me in any real way; I’m a white, educated, employed British national who owns a house – I’m pretty Brexit-proof too. No, it’s because it just fucking sucks. But you can read about why it sucks on a million other blogs, so I’m going to talk about something else that got my goat in the aftermath of vote leave…

Like many people who feel passionately about the value of multilateral diplomacy, diversity and the free movement of people, I was pissed as hell on the morning of the EU referendum. Accordingly, I took to Facebook and I think I think I spoke for many with my succinct status update, which went something like “fuck this shit.” That’s all I had to say at that point. Luckily though, others step in where my usually verbose nature failed me.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, enter the mansplainers. When others get angry or sad about Britain voting to leave the largest economic and political union of democratic states in the world, thank goodness for the voices of reason, those who tells us to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off; those who have no time for, you know, emotional reactions. *barely conceals rage*

They were all over the place! Everywhere I looked there was someone telling be to calm down! And no, they weren’t all men, but they were all mansplainers as far as I’m concerned.

Also, they were mostly men. White, British, privileged men. Left wing and feminist too, but still, like, sooo privileged. If that describes you then, you not, sorry but not sorry. Cos you guys need to know when to shut up sometimes, you have the floor for your entire lives, learn to pipe down occasionally.

There were three key arguments made by the mansplainers, and they went something like this:

“Calm down guys, it’s not helpful to call half of the country racist.”

Oh, isn’t it? Blow me down with a feather! There was I thinking hurling accusations of prejudice around at time of obvious division was a bloody brilliant idea! I mean, isn’t the best way to get across your differing political outlook just to shout ‘NAZI!’ really loudly at someone from across the street? It’s not? Awkward.

Of course this particular pearl of wisdom died down within a few days. You know, what with all the racism. 

The thing is that, as is usually the case when people dole out wisdom from on high, there was an abject failure to see the point. Leave voters weren’t all racists (I haven’t met anyone yet who thinks that they were, either), but the leave vote was seen as a win by racists; an implicit legitimisation for the shocking minority of bigoted, Britain-first garbage that has been rearing its ugly head since. Sorry leave voters, but shit just got real. This is the consequence of supporting a campaign that used refugee-fear as a persuasive tool. Deal with it.

nigel racist

The EU has failed us all, by taking in refugees. FFS.

“I think this a major lesson for everyone – social media is DESIGNED to be an echo chamber that reinforces your own biases.”

Yes, someone actually wrote this. On Facebook. Sigh. To be fair to the anonymous mansplainer there was a caveat about their own failings in this area but still, give me a break.

I saw  a lot of this around and about the place; the idea that the reason that we were all so shocked was we just listen to the ‘echo chamber’ of social media and treat it like a representative poll. Well, if you do that then – brace yourself – you are a moron. There’s a reason they’re called Facebook friends and not Facebook representative-samples-of-the-UK-population.

I wasn’t shocked because all my Facebook friends were voting remain (in fact I put an ironic status up about this before the vote and got mansplained to then, even after I’d explained it was a frickin’ joke!) I was shocked because the polls were close and I guess I just expected in the end that people would be cautious and vote for the status quo. Duh.

“One response is to simply throw our hands in the air, yelp in despair and give up. This is not an option. It would be irresponsible…”

This one comes straight from the pen of Owen Jones, who I usually love and largely agree with, but since the referendum result have found ever so slightly grating.

How lucky are all of us defeatist losers to have a figurehead like Mr Jones to shine a light in our darkest hour? I mean, I was literally going to give up on any idea of opposing social injustice or celebrating diversity ever again. I was just going to sit in my house and eat crisps and watch Love Island (which, by the way, will not be half as sexy when they can’t get Spanish visas anymore and have to film it on the Isle of Mann, brrr).

But I can still yelp in despair. Let me yelp in despair Owen!

“Okay, can the privileged white men on my Facebook feed stop lecturing people about ‘not demonising the disenfranchised’. Let us be angry for a day and stop being patronising fuckwits.”

Hmm, this may have been me. But I stand by it!

The very fact that there are so many people confusing the anger of Remain voters with some sort of haughty, middle-class disdain is pretty rich. I’m not saying that there was no class divide in this referendum – so please don’t mansplain the stats to me in the comment section, pleeeeaase – but what I am saying is that if all working-class people in all areas voted leave then how the hell would Scotland, Northern Ireland, Liverpool, Manchester and London boroughs like Newham have voted for remain?? How I ask ya?

I wonder if it ever occurred to the mansplainers that they were actually imposing a view on the ‘disenfranchised’ just as much as Farage and Johnson were. You don’t speak for them either, dickwads! And neither do I. I speak for myself, and myself is angry and confused and saddened by almost everything in the British media right now. So there. Now leave me alone and go and tell a woman how to put up a shelf or something.


What do you think? Have you had the referendum mansplained to you one too many times? Or maybe you totes agree with the quotes I’ve put on here. Have your say in the comment section, tweet me @aafew or hop on over to my Facebook page.


10 thoughts on “‘Calm down dear!’ Mansplaining Brexit.

  1. I enjoyed reading this… Disclaimer: it doesn’t mean I agree with everything! 🙂

    I also think both the Remain and the Leave campaigns were so inane that they were insulting. As for people who explain to me what to think regarding the referendum result or anything else, frankly, I’d rather they made themselves useful and put up a shelf or two. (I need somewhere to put my books.)

  2. As Australians (who are mostly middle class and white, although my group is more diverse than most), WE were shocked when watching the results come in. WE wondered how it happened, how people could believe scare campaigns and not actually research WHAT it was they were actually voting for!! I was sad for all my UK friends who were devastated at the result. And now both Farage and Boris have left, looks incredibly suss. They have left the mess for someone else to deal with, although I note Farage is still happy to accept his European parliamentary salary!

    Then we had our own election and it looks like a bunch of racist parties (not kidding, mega racists) grabbed some of our senate seats 😦 and the election was overshadowed by a massive scare campaign about medicare (our version of nhs I guess). *sigh*

  3. Oops, I may have been one of these, sorry! (Or I may have come across as one of these – I leave that to your judgement.) I campaigned to Remain, and was gutted and angry on Friday morning.

    I knew that racists would be empowered by the result, but there weren’t many of those on my timeline that morning. What I did see was a lot of educationally privileged people laying into those with less privilege – in terms of education, income, security etc – with real vitriol. (Not you, but quite a few other people.)

    I saw some working class people on Facebook (some who voted Remain but who still identified with working class Brexiters) say they were being turned off from the Left for good, as a result.

    So yes I posted some “Not all Brexiters…” stuff, along with lots of migrant solidarity stuff.

    I guess it’s one of those things with social media – if not well explained, in particular if not well targeted, a post written in the heat of the moment can seem like it’s written to you as you express your emotion, rather than to its real intended targets – those who betray some ugly prejudices as they express their emotions.

    I looked back on some of my initial post-Brexit posts after reading your blog. They weren’t all well “targeted”. I can see how this could have felt like me trying to take away people’s space to grieve and be angry and fearful, and I’m sorry for that.

  4. I was devastated, completely shocked and gutted by the result and still am. I’m actually comforted by your post as it reassures me that I’m not mad and that people’s opinions that I usually respect and admire mirror my own! I think that comments from brexiters on my own wall (only 2) have just proved that they are what I always feared but never faced and that is right wing fascists of the nasty persuasion (for nasty read nazi). As for mansplainers they have been friends of friends so quite lucky there, still frickin irritating. I’m more peed off with people saying we have to move on and get over it, I don’t think I can I’m still too angry.

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