The list of things men mansplain to women is long and winding, paved with microaggressions and "well, actually"s. Many mansplainers would, therefore, probably be shocked to discover that there are a lot of things they can stop mansplaining right now. Or at least, they can stop mansplaining them to me; I can't speak for everyone else, of course. But, I'm willing to bet that more than a few other people will agree with me on this one.
Mansplaining is when someone (usually a man) explains something to someone else (usually a woman or nonbinary individual) in a patronizing or condescending way. There is also the underlying implication that the person being mansplained to couldn’t have explained it themselves on account of them not being a man; what's more, the subject being mansplained is often something the person being mansplained to is actually an expert in. It is very annoying, as well as exhausting to deal with. Because it happens all the dang time.
Personally, I’ve also experienced mansplaining by proxy. This is when a person chooses to ask a question about me to a man I’m near instead of just asking me directly. That man could be my boyfriend, a co-worker, a tree that looks especially masculine. On more than one occasion, someone has asked about what I do while making eye contact with the man next to me.
There are several ways to respond to mansplaining. I’ve found that saying “u r mansplaining rn” doesn’t always work because it implies that someone is knowingly or unknowingly doing something sexist. Talking about gender inequality matters, but I’ve found that acknowledging inequality hurts some guys’ fee-fees, which obviously matter more.
Is calling out bigotry important in the context of progressing a social movement? Is addressing inherent misogyny one of the first steps to ridding society of it? Who can say! Until sexism magically solves itself, here are just a few things I’m ~*so glad*~ men have explained about women to me, a human woman. (And by ~*so glad*~, I mean that these are things you can stop mansplaining to me. In fact, they are not things I ever needed mansplained to me in the first place.)
In addition to mansplaining in the workplace, I’ve had men outside of work try to explain to me what I do for a living. That’s great, because after getting a degree, working 40+ hours a week for seven years in my industry, and spending my spare time doing related creative work, I’m just too tired to talk about my job myself. Thankfully, there are plenty of guys that will do it for me. I may be a writer, but oftentimes I just don’t seem to have the right man words to properly explain what I do.
2Why I Do or Don’t Like Something
I have this thing where if I watch a movie or show that harmfully plays into gender stereotypes or is blatantly sexist, I have a hard time enjoying it. Weird, right? This especially happens when it comes to comedy. I’ve learned, thanks to many a man, that this might have to do with my pre-existing condition of being female. It’s not that I don’t like rape jokes because they reinforce sexist stereotypes and make rape culture acceptable, it’s that I just don’t get them on account of my lady brain.
3The Friend Zone
I’ve had conversations where the friend zone is used to excuse misogyny in the context of heterosexual relationships. The notion of the friend zone often seems to imply that women owe men sex or being nice to someone makes that person entitled to a romantic relationship. I’ve heard men explain that the onus is often on them to initiate a relationship, based on heteronormative societal pressure and standards (which I agree exist). That is in turn used as a justification to continue pursuing a woman who wants to be “just friends.” And you know what’s more difficult than unwanted sexual attention after you’ve established you aren’t interested in someone? Having another friend. Whomp, whomp.
4The Importance of Feminism
Feminism benefits everyone because gender inequality affects everyone (to different extents, yes, but treating people of all genders equally helps everyone). Like with any movement, having male allies is important to feminism because it shows solidarity. And what’s more important about feminism than male solidarity? Amplifying female and nonbinary voices? Oh sorry, was that a rhetorical question?
Women experience sexual harassment at work, on the street, and in pretty much every other public space that exists. Ladies, I know it feels like catcalls aren’t compliments on account of them making you feel unsafe or just the fact that they are often just unwanted. But there are guys that say they are compliments or at least that’s what they’re intended to be. And everyone knows that intention is what really counts when it comes to sexist comments, I mean, compliments.
6What Mansplaining is
The most meta of all mansplaining! It seems to go without saying, but “mansplaining” doesn’t refer to every time a man speaks. I’d explain why, but there’s probably a guy that’s already done it for me.
7Anything I Didn’t Ask To Be Explained
Should You Explain The Thing To The Lady?— 🤜🏻🐸🌅💃🏼🌌🏴🔁 (@OaklandElle) September 14, 2015
A flowchart! pic.twitter.com/bR6gEXX6Nt
How’s a guy supposed to know that I don’t need him to speak for me? It’s not like he can read my mind/body language/social cues in which I didn’t ask for something to be explained. Thankfully, this helpful flowchart on mansplaining shows how to differentiate between being speaking up and speaking over. Aside from just, you know, reading social cues and being a decent, respectful human.