Girlsplain: Ali Kitinas and Jodie Matthews take on mansplaining with new podcast

Former youngest Australian CEO, Ali Kitinas, 22, takes on mansplaining in new podcast menture

Have you ever been ‘mansplained’ to?

Greek Australian Ali Κitinas believes the experience is common for women.

“I think most women have a pretty negative experience of being mansplained to. I learnt recently that a woman is mansplained to six times per week on average,” the 22-year-old creative shares in an episode of ‘Girlsplain’, the podcast series she launched in January with friend Jodie Matthews.

‘Mansplaining’ is a neologism that refers to any man who condescendingly explains things to a woman, often about things he has incomplete knowledge about, or knows little about. There is now a ‘trend in the English language of creating gendered neologisms – blends and compounds that add an aspect of gender to the meaning of already existing words that originally are gender-neutral (or appear to be)’ writes Maria Szymańska from the University of Lodz, Poland. The academic adds that these neologisms are made more prominent through social media.

The term surfaced soon after Rebecca Solnit published an essay titled “Men Explain Things To Me” even if the author never used the term. The American writer described a time at a party when an older man interrupted her to explain a “very important” book to her on the topic they were discussing. The book he was ranting about was, in fact, Solnit’s book, which, as it turned out, he had not read.

The actual practice “has been around for millennia”, says Jodie Matthews, the co-host of ‘Gilsplain’.

“It’s just one level of systemic oppression that women face.”

Sydneysiders Kitinas and Matthews created the podcast to “turn mansplaining on its head” as they “break down the important issues facing women today”.

‘Girlsplain’, the co-hosts hope, can lead the challenging discussions “at a level of two friends who might be relatable to younger women’s experiences” and create a “safe place for people to learn and feel comfort in the sense that it is a shared experience.” Photo: Supplied

“We want the podcast to be a place for all women to share all experiences, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds,” Kitinas tells Neos Kosmos.

The podcast aims to provide space for open conversations about issues commonly faced by girls and young women alongside “research and statistical backing to give validation to the points we’re making”.

“There will also be anecdotal experiences we’ve both had as women. It’s really important to bring both of those together and discuss what it means to be a woman today.”

Matthews hopes their podcast “will reach the ears of listeners from all over the globe.”

“Because the messages and themes Ali and I are addressing are relevant to women in every nation, culture and community”.

One of the first podcast episodes tackles the theme of coercive control.

Kitinas reflects on her personal experience.

Kitinas is currently working fulltime in the fashion industry, in a role that encompasses content creation, production, and social media. Photo: Supplied

“I didn’t realise at the time that what I was experiencing was coercive control. It wasn’t until I moved away from that situation and discussed it with friends that I started to realise that some of the behaviours that I’ve experienced were not healthy.”

There are plenty of red flags for identifying coercive control, she says, such as the pattern of controlling and manipulative behaviours within a relationship. Ultimately, it comes down to trusting your judgment, Kitinas says.

“If you feel like something is wrong, that’s a sign, you know, if you’ve got a gut feeling and then you’re being told not to speak to someone that you care about it, I think that’s a huge red flag and a red flag that I didn’t necessarily pick up on at the time,” she says of the pattern she experienced first-hand.

At 22, the Greek Australian boasts a multifaceted professional background. She has trained in the performing arts industry since a young age and has worked alongside industry heavyweights, including Disney Australia.

In her teen years, she became known as a social entrepreneur in the broader community, having been dubbed Australia’s youngest CEO for her business undertakings six years ago.

The producers’ passion for feminist issues began at school years ago, and that shared passion underscores ‘Girlsplain’.

“As a friend, Ali has brought so much to my life, including an appreciation and understanding of her Greek heritage, which is an integral part of her identity,” says Matthews, an international relations and law student.

Kitinas’ family hails from the islands of Lemnos and Kastellorizo, and she has always felt very proud of her Greek heritage. She also credits the “strong female role models” in her life as her influences.

“I have a strong relationship with my mum, and dad has one brother, but I have three aunties that played a big part in my upbringing. They’re strong, independent women.”

The ‘Girlsplain’ producers believe that reaching their target male audience is equally vital for the impact they are aiming to have on the podcast.

Their starting point is that all genders have the potential to move beyond behavioural patterns rooted in patriarchy.

“It’s almost more important for young men to listen to these things and not feel they’re being berated. Their behaviour lots of times is learned behaviour based on […] systems that are set up for women to be inferior for as long as we’ve been around really,” Kitinas explains.

Girlsplain co-host Jodie Mathews, is pursuing academia in the fields of international relations and law. Her professional background encompasses roles in the political field, having served as a media advisor to several Members of Parliament. Photo: Supplied

She shares the hope that young girls facing similar concerns she had in high school would listen to the podcast.

“Back then, I was not necessarily in the healthiest state of mind and not valuing myself. I experienced some bullying in high school, and I realised that a lot of the things that I experienced when I was younger that were negative would be because I was a successful young woman.

“When boys were successful in the ways that I was, they were praised for it. Whereas I was bullied and condemned for being outspoken or being smart.”

To learn more about ‘Girlsplain’ and listen to the podcast, visit