Male Friend: “Try this rum, you’ll love it.”
Me: “Nah, I don’t like rum.”
Male Friend: “I guarantee you’ll like it.”
Me: *Tries the drink* “Nope, I don’t like it.”
Male Friend: You’ve not given it a chance, to be fair. Try once again.
Me: “It’s really not for me, thanks.”
Male Friend: “You’re just saying to make a point.”
Now, this entire situation is termed as mansplaining. It might not sound like a big issue to you but it’s a serious one. Mansplaining is a situation wherein a man tries to “explain” something to a woman which she already is aware of or probably is an expert of, assuming that he being man knows things better. This is something which really irritates me. Some men ‘assume’ that they’re naturally superior to women and that the lady doesn’t know much about that particular topic. What if you have a “mansplainer” in your life? It could be your father, your brother, your boyfriend or your husband. How do you go about it? Well, to begin with, I would say that the first step is realizing that this is happening to you. That’s important. I know so many people who don’t even realize that a ‘close’ male friend is mansplaining her. They instead start questioning her own capabilities. Why? Now, understand that when I am stating these scenarios, it only relates to cases where the woman knows better than the man and he, being a man, tries to make her understand things. That is mansplaining. Scenarios where anyone could explain possibly anything to the other person when they genuinely don’t know it are different. That’s normal. OK?
Although this can happen anywhere to anyone but statistics show that this happens more to women at work. I know so many woman who do not even know what it means. Mansplaining can be mentally very disturbing to a woman, especially when she knows about the subject and the mansplainer is someone she trusts. Guys, the mansplainer may not do it intentionally but the point is that he is doing it and it’s illogical. How do we figure this out? How do we respond to mansplaining?
- SPEAK UP
Once you figure out and know that someone is trying to mansplain you, speak up. Remaining silent is never a solution to this. The more you talk about it, point it out there and then, the more are the chances that people know that you know.
- ASK QUESTIONS
Sexism is so deeply rooted to our culture that mansplaining appears to be normal. The fact that most women do not realize that they are suffering from mansplaining and most men don’t realize that they are doing it, shows how it’s a learned behaviour. Whenever someone tries to mansplain you, it would be great to ask back questions. Ask them of their experience in the field. Ask them if you wanted their expertise on the subject. But understand that “being ignorant of a thing” and “mansplaining” are two different things and when you try to mix them up, you are messing it up yourself.
- IGNORE THEM
If despite you explaining the mansplainer, they are not ready to listen, it’s better to ignore them. Isn’t it? For example, there is this friend of mine who started a discussion on Facebook about something which I really wanted to participate talking about. However, he was not ready to understand a point except his own. So, what was the point getting into a conversation with someone who is not ready to understand your perspective. It’s like wasting your time and energy on something out of scope. So, I chose to disengage.
Save your energy for the less hopeless cases. What do you think?
Elizabeth C. Fericy says, “Remember, a mansplainer’s advice is unsolicited so you are under no obligation to listen.”