This 'Titanic' Scene Was Full Of Egregious Mansplaining Before The Term Was Even Invented
In the hundreds of times that you've likely rewatched the movie throughout your lifetime, there's a possibility that you may not have noticed that Titanic features the worst case of mansplaining in cinematic history. Seriously. It's pretty freaking bad. For those at the back of the room who need a refresher, the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of mansplaining is outlined as being, "what occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he's talking to does."
And this is precisely what we see happen to poor 101 year-old Rose Dewitt Bukater when she's forced to listen to some dude condescendingly explain the sinking of the Titanic to her. An event that she actually has first-hand experience of, and likely knows more than enough about, thank you very much. The offending incident happens at the beginning of the movie, when Rose comes aboard a research vessel with her granddaughter after they find Jack Dawson's very naked, sexy drawing of her from way back when.
However, before her helicopter has even landed, one "expert" by the name of Lewis Bodine shares his doubts regarding the woman's legitimacy. Not only is Rose old, he tells treasure hunter Brock Lovett, but she also used to be an actress, "she's a goddamned liar," he yells, "some nutcase seeking money or publicity." Which is an uncomfortable sentence to hear in this current post-Weinstein climate in which we're more than aware of the dangers of women's experiences being discredited as little more than a grab for money or attention. Strike one, Mr. Bodine. You're officially the worst.
Knowing that Bodine has little-to-no respect for this woman or her experiences, we're then forced to watch him explain how and why the Titanic sank. Even though she's literally a woman who was on-board the Titanic when it sank. The sequence makes sense for the story, laying down some historical context for the audience before the narrative hurtles forward towards its tragic end, but it makes no sense as a conversation. Particularly one between a living survivor of a tragedy and a contemptuous self-appointed "expert" of that same tragedy who wasn't even alive when the damn thing happened.
Making Bodine's testimonial regarding the sinking of the Titanic all the more insulting is the unprofessional language he chooses to describe the event. Not to mention the added sound effects he throws in to really illustrate the horror that he believes this poor 101 year-old woman most definitely did not experience. He's acting like a monster.
Just imagine getting to that age and having some guy like Bodine explain the worst thing that ever happened to you by littering the anecdote with descriptive words like "ass," and making annoying noises the whole time. Understandably, Rose was mortified. And admirably, she didn't try to take him out by swinging the thunderous heft of the Heart Of The Ocean at his patronizing head. (Another round of applause for Rose, guys. This woman was a saint.)
But then, impossibly, the whole thing gets worse. Bodine continues to cheerfully describe the horrifying manner with which the Titanic sank, pinpointing exact moments that compartments flooded and that the ship split — moments in which people that Rose cared about likely died in horrific, unspeakable manners. Clearly, it's a fantastic time for Bodine, who gets to enjoy a moment of superiority and authority over an elderly woman whom he's already decided is an opportunistic liar. Just look at how pleased with himself he was that he got to really own this poor elderly citizen.
Except, thankfully, Rose was having none of it. In fact, she even retaliates by casting some serious shade against his improper analysis, proving that sarcastic, sassy comebacks are truly ageless.
But it's what she says after this that really cements the problem at the heart of mansplaining, with Rose explaining that the "experience" of Titanic sinking was "somewhat different" to how Bodine described it. The issue her isn't just that this scene is an example of women receiving an unsolicited explanation of something that they're actually fairly knowledgeable about. It also stems from the infuriating implication that women couldn't possibly know more than a man does on any topic — including something that may have been experienced by the woman first-hand. This woman clung to the side of the ship as it went down, for goodness sake. She knows exactly how the damn thing happened.
So, there you have it, at least now you know what's up. There's a new villain in Titanic that you probably never even noticed until now. His name is Lewis Bodine, and he is an insufferable mansplaining baby of the highest order. Our girl, Rose, definitely deserved so much better.