Let’s be true to ourselves, girls – we have all faced the brunt of mansplaining. It is blatant sometimes and subtle some other times. We have seen it at work, in social gatherings, and in regular conversations. This term might have been coined newly, but there is no denying that the phenomenon has existed since time immemorial. But what really is mansplaining?
Mansplaining is a blend of ‘man’ and ‘explaining.’ So, this is when a man explains something to a woman. And why should that be wrong? Oh, that’s because the man does so in a patronizing manner, interrupting her and assuming that the he knows more about a particular topic than her, caring two hoots about her expertise on that topic. Unfortunately, those topics are generally women-centric ones, making mansplaining a tad bit more ridiculous. So, the whole assumption behind mansplaining is – as sad as it sounds – that women are less intelligent and aware than men!
And while this is something every woman has faced and continues to face, here are seven ways to respond to mansplaining.
Don’t take it personally
Mansplainers are not picking on you – they’d do the same with just about any woman. It’s just them. Do not take the prattle to heart and do not hold a grudge against them. Feeling bitter about this is going to harm only you. So, take a chill pill, ladies!
Nothing gives a mansplainer a high than when the woman does not speak up for herself. Don’t get intimidated and speak out! You don’t have to be aggressive or combative – respond, don’t react. Just be polite but firm in conveying your expertise and experience in the field. Also, don’t hesitate in asking for the credentials of the mansplainer and why he feels so comfortable in interrupting you.
I am giving men the benefit of the doubt here – but, sometimes, they might not even realize that their behavior was inappropriate. And you speaking out help them course-correct in future.
Use facts to back your argument
We women are often held guilty of using more emotions and less facts in our arguments. A certain way of stopping the mansplainer in his tracks is by corroborating your opinions with strong facts. Remember – no emotions here, please!
Ask impactful questions
Don’t you think it is very unfortunate when people don’t know that they don’t know! Ask some pertinent questions to the mansplainer to check on his knowledge and to demonstrate yours. He might just mellow down a little when he realizes that he doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does.
Rope in other women and build a tribe
A wise woman once said, “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women, who have her back.” Also, nothing unites us more than a common enemy. If there are other women around, rope them in. Just calling out a colleague and taking on the mansplainer together is going to be fun apart from helping to shut the man quicker.
Try a healthy dose of sarcasm and laughter
Isn’t this a secret weapon that we women possess in abundance? Sarcasm, if the man understands it, will work wonders in conveying the right message. And when you back it up with laughter and humor, it might unnerve the mansplainer.
P.S: Read the disclaimer in bold.
If all the other tactics don’t work, this is the only option you have left. At the risk of sounding cocky, you sometimes just have to let barking dogs to themselves. No, you can’t get them to shut up as hard as you try. They will only when they want to.
How else have you dealt with mansplaining? Share your experiences with us!
– By Sonal Jaiswal