Getting phantom pain "(wo)mansplained" [bwahaha]

The "Mansplained" blog site is run by guys that seem to specifically cater to chauvinistic explanations. In their own little chauvinistic way. Now remember before you start to fight fire with fire: the fire department always uses water. And then, I do have a visible handicap and also - if not particularly - as that I would suggest that appearances is not everything.

Realizing that the same objectionable treatment that men routinely seem to do to women by "mansplaining things (as either sex can be guilty of "mansplaining" things, see Urban Dictionary)", also may be given in particular by women (of course not exclusively), to men with a visible handicap or disability.

And that can be a powerfully painful realization. Also if not particularly to women that seem to believe they can get away with complaining about men but "(wo)mensplaining" to handicapped men at the same time.

Those then constitute a group that are part of a type of behavior that one might call "Wilde Hilde". All nice and dandy but if anything, such will not stand. Never will such behavior stand. Remember the dude? Il duderino? That will not stand.

A somewhat recent example. Let me mansplain.

I (male) took part in a prosthetic arm research at an artificial intelligence laboratory not far, where I would have to activate myoelectric electrodes that were placed on my arm stump in order to perform actions with their robot hand.

That hand, as I was told, was extremely sophisticated. While it was acting up when the phone rang due to subtle electromagnetic interference at the crudest level, my own prosthetic (mechanically "crude" but so much more sophisticated on all integration levels) seemed to be over 1000 times cheaper (what is 6000 versus 120000 CHF), infinitely less dependent on motors and batteries, massively faster, massively more precise, unbelievably lighter and certainly tons more robust. And certainly not acting up when the phone rings. There are a lot of things about my prosthetic arm that can definitely irritate impertinent researchers that "abuse" their "prosthetics? we help amputees" tag to promote their heavy ass whimsical gadgetry. But that is another subject altogether.

While and after activating stump muscles to pull my tendons over my (relatively edgy) bone ends under test conditions (many repeats with a myoelectric robot hand of experiemental nature, meaning, 100 attempts to get 10 actual grips or so), substantial overuse preceded (and as I figured, caused) severe stump and phantom pains.

So I (male) did express that - pain, overuse, as result of their setup - towards the psychologist (female) running the experiment with me.

So the psychologist (female) that ran the experiments with me "(wo)mansplained" to me that  "she had to check" with her neurologist (female) whether I (male) "did have" these experiences at all.

She obviously figured that I would make it up. The overuse and the pain. Obviously. Her wild fantasies far from all reality were so intriguing so I had to ask. First (in her view), I would volunteer for the experiment, then, (as she would contend) I show up for all tests, and ultimately (her deepest suspicion coming true), I would fake pain. That was what she figured. What she must have gone through in the past? For us to guess, but, jeez.

So she(female)  did check with the neurologist (female). So after she had "cleared" my (male) experiences with "her" (not my) neurologist (!) she "informed" me that my pain "could indeed be" in fact as I said they were. The researcher said that it was "confirmed" by the neurologist rather than "dismissed" and only then did she acknowledge it. So the neurologist "(wo)mansplained" to the psychologist stuff that she then "(wo)mansplained" to me that, in essence, was stuff I had "mansplained" them to begin with but was too visibly handicapped to get it through as "mansplanation".

Really, I never felt that I urgently required anyone to validate my own stump pain and phantom pain. I was more like, look I can tell you once or twice, but ultimately, who cares what you believe.

But it was interesting to learn that that was how they (female) regarded things.

They later set up an appointment with me (male) and an orthopedic surgeon (male) who also "mansplained" to me that my overuse problems triggering extreme stump and phantom pains were - as had been handed up to him through two levels of "(wo)mansplanation" - in fact and truth actual consequences of overuse (which, if you allow me to "mansplain",  I had told them right from the outset) and that it was "clear" now that "overuse caused it" and "they recommended that that overuse stop".


Like, three of these non-disabled people (two female, one male) took it upon themselves to "validate" my very clearly present pains and my very reasonable explanations where the pain might have come from. However no one cared to check a thing, no one performed an examination, test, investigation, measurement, imaging or anything whatsoever to even attempt to objectify my statement. They could have performed ultrasound (cheap, fast, sensitive) to check for tendon overuse. They could have quickly done an MRI (as in fact that was an MRI study) but, no, no stump imaging with an MRI. They - researchers (2 female, 1 male) - preferred to make this a focused "(wo)mensplaining" thing rather than trying any actually factual step to elucidating facts whatsoever.

Boy, did I feel that was so necessary ; )

With experiences such as these I am convinced that people think that missing an arm and hand is equal to missing part of the brain.

If anything, some stereotype of "(wo)mansplaining researchers (ab)using the "amputee excuse" to promote research into worthless gadgetry" got confirmed more.

Also I believe it was important to them to use a somewhat condescending tone in order to override their own insecurities while taking it upon themselves to "(wo)mensplain" my pain to me.

Interesting where they get the idea from that I should treat them any differently myself?

Some other women - while being at it - tried to explain to me, how I feel. As if I needed a "(wo)mansplanation". Or they tried to physically beat me into submission, thus exceeding the verbal plane in "(wo)mansplanation" - effectively annihilating any communicative thread with me. Or they tried to cover my head with their distortions of facts.

I cannot say that as man with a visible handicap that I can totally avoid women that do target such appearances such as mine. And I tell you one thing - some of them seem to have books if not encyclopedias in storage containing "(wo)mansplanations".  As my handicap is exceedingly rare and as it does contain a wicked myriad of complex complications interfering with each other, your quintessential person in the street will have not the faintest idea of what all is involved. The same goes for the average doctor, surgeon or other specialist that may see 1 or 2 arm amputees in 40 years of practice. How a woman (or some other person but trust me here, men are far more cautious) can assume to get away with "(wo),mansplaining" aspects of my disability (or how I feel about it, or other things in life) to me (whom they might consider a if not the specialist for that)  is far beyond me.

And last but not the least, I found that it is particularly women that hate men "mansplaining" stuff that will not necessarily let go of visibly handicapped men as these might still (or even more) appear as interesting targets - maybe so they can sharpen their own "(wo)mensplaining" skills? Or, maybe not so much after all ; )

Bwahaha : )

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: - Getting phantom pain "(wo)mansplained" [bwahaha]; published 13/06/2013, 06:02; URL:

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1685678550, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{ - Getting phantom pain "(wo)mansplained" [bwahaha]}}, month = {June}, year = {2013}, url = {} }