What Is Mansplaining? A Reading Guide

by Sadie Trombetta
Hannah Burton/Bustle

No matter how well-intentioned the men in your life are, chances are they're guilty of interrupting you, speaking over you, or explaining something to you that you already know. Yet, when you call these same men out for their behavior, you're met with the same question again and again: what is mansplaining? You may know all too well what this typical sexist behavior is, but here are five books to give the men in your life so you don't have to keep explaining it to them.

At the grocery store or in line at the movies, at group fitness class or pumping gas, in a meeting at work or over drinks with a partner, there seems to be no way to avoid the clutches of mansplaining. A term made famous by feminist author and essayist Rebecca Solnit, mansplaining is that nasty little habit men have of explaining things to a woman she already knows (and often times, knows better than the explainer). It takes many forms — someone talking loudly over a woman they disagree with, a man proclaiming a woman is misinformed because she disagrees with him — but no matter what it manifests as, mansplaining is a damaging and sexist behavior that hurt women at home, in the workplace, and in the classroom. It's time we put an end to it, once and for all.

Are you tired of trying to explain the sexism women face everyday, only to be talked over by a man who knows better? Then maybe it's time you give the men in your life these five books that perfectly capture what mansplaining is, and other everyday challenges women face living in a man's world.


'Man Explain Things To Me' by Rebecca Solnit

In the book that started it all, Rebecca Solnit sheds a light on the phenomenon that is now commonly referred to as "mansplaining." As humorous as it is biting, Men Explain Things to Me is a now a feminist classic everyone, men and women alike, should read to understand the everyday sexism women face at work, at school, at home, and everywhere else they go.

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'Everyday Sexism' by Laura Bates

As the title would imply, Laura Bates's collection of stories explores the many different kinds of sexism women are faced with on a daily basis, including mansplaining. Started as a website where people could share their own stories of normalized sexism, Everyday Sexism became a viral project that drew attention to the catcalling, workplace discrimination, and the sexual harassment and violence facing women around the world. A must read for feminists everywhere, Everyday Sexism should also go on the TBR list of the mansplaining men in your life who don't understand what its like to walk in a woman's shoes.

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'Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference' by Cordelia Fine

In Delusions of Gender, academic psychologist and writer Cordelia Fine sets the record about boys and girls straight once and for all. Drawing from the latest groundbreaking research in the field, Fine dismantles the long-held belief that the male and female brain are wired differently. Instead, Fine points out, these assumed differences are the product of our culture and beliefs. While it may not talk about mansplaining in those exact terms, Delusions of Gender still makes a great read for guys who think the girls in their lives just don't, just can't, understand as much as they do.

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'Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace' by Jessica Bennett

Want someone to understand the battle you're fighting? Hand them your battle plans, which in the case of mansplaining in the workplace is Jessica Bennett's funny and compelling Feminist Fight Club. Dubbed an "Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace," this collection blends personal stories, research, and advice together to create one powerful guide for making it as a professional woman.

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'He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know' by Jessica Valenti

Like Bates's Everyday Sexism collection, Jessica Valenti's He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know lays out the very real, very common sexism that women face on a daily basis. Witty, biting, and too true to be ignored, this collection will make the men in your life understand the oppressive effects of mansplaining and more.

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