Oh, mansplaining. That unique experience of having a dude explain something to you (something that you may in fact know all about), based on his erroneous assumption that you have the adorable, squishy brain of a new born bunny. Recently, a Toronto woman trolled a guy on Twitter for mansplaining her own joke about mansplaining to her. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an extended “mansplanation,” you will find her exchange extremely, hilariously satisfying.
On April 12, writer Katie Cunningham tweeted, “my favorite game is to act like i can't understand something very simple when a man is explaining it to me to see how dumb he thinks i am.” As if on cue, a man stepped in to play that very game. Someone whom BuzzFeed describes as “a random guy who follows her” responded to her tweet by explaining, oh so helpfully, “this, my dear, is called deception…” Cue trolling!
Of course Cunningham responded to this edifying bit of explanation by pretending to be completely baffled by his comment and leading him to continue explaining the nature of deception to her (because it’s such a difficult concept, right?). After she screencapped the exchange and posted it on Twitter, it quickly went viral.
Cunningham told BuzzFeed that she’s gotten a mixed response from other Twitter users, saying, “The majority of the reactions have been really great! Lots of slow clap GIFs and crown emojis haha, it’s been pretty fun. Obviously, there are plenty of mean @’s, mostly from people who have apparently never been condescended to, or people calling me a sociopath for this ‘game.’”
To be fair, it’s not clear that the guy in this exchange, who goes by “greghughes” on Twitter, is really as tone deaf as the tweets seems to suggest. He’s maintained that he was simply playing along with Cunningham’s joke and that, as often happens in social media, his own lack of seriousness didn’t come across. In the wake of Cunningham’s tweet going viral, he tweeted,
He told the Mail Online that he was joking, and said that he’s been shocked to discover that people think he was being serious, even going so far as to defend his intentionally ridiculous statements. “I've had people showing support and trying to defend my comments as if they were genuine and that's just hilarious,” he said.
Cunningham told BuzzFeed that she and Hughes have direct-messaged about the viral exchange. “He says he was playing along, and we had a pretty legit talk about the fact that sarcastic or ironic misogyny is inadvisable on a platform where you can’t read tone,” Cunningham explained.
“There are some dudes who are never going to expect me to be intelligent,” she said in an interview with MIC. “So if you sort of make a joke of it, if they catch on, they kind of learn something ... then realize that they were talking down to me in the first place.” Here’s hoping that this dialogue, which has been shared more than 13,000 times, will help the mansplainers out there to take a good, long look in the mirror and recognize their own patronizing ways. Is it bad that I’m not terribly optimistic?
Image: Benjamin Child/Unsplash