Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Some Incredible Men

When I was very young and just beginning to get what feminism was about and why it was necessary, I had a boyfriend whose uncle was a nuclear physicist. One Christmas, he was telling — as though it were a light and amusing subject — how a neighbor's wife in his suburban bomb-making community had come running out of her house naked in the middle of the night screaming that her husband was trying to kill her. How, I asked, did you know that he wasn't trying to kill her? He explained, patiently, that they were respectable middle-class people. Therefore, her-husband-trying-to-kill-her was simply not a credible explanation for her fleeing the house yelling that her husband was trying to kill her.

—Author Rebecca Solnit on how "men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they're talking about. Some men." She goes on to add, "Every woman knows what I'm talking about."

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Ugh, I read this yesterday, and it just made me want to slug someone. But the part about talking to the dude in Aspen was pretty amazing.

I've become much better at "shutting that whole thing down" these days, though.


Oooh, yes! Can we claim this and make it A Thing?
I smell a Tumblr meme.


@Ophelia Ah I'm so ready to shut that whole thing down for real, and by that whole thing I mean this planet.


@NeverOddOrEven Yes,yes,yes. "Mansplain" needs to join the lexicon.

dj pomegranate

@travelmugs I actually read this the other day and was talking to my mom on the phone later that night and had the opportunity to introduce the word "mansplain" to her. Her response was, "About time they had a word for that."


What do you do to shut it down? Especially if you're shutting it down & the men are not random strangers but actually people with a fair bit of power & influence in your professional life? (I would love tips).


@dj pomegranate I introduced it to a now-retired coworker about our overboss. Her eyes lit up, and she went "Yes. That is exactly what he does." I didn't even have to define it for her, she just knew what we were talking about the second I said 'mansplain.'


@harebell Never expect it. I find that misdemeanor-level mansplainers will respond if they see genuine shock, or confusion, or laughter on your face. Give them some kind of nonverbal cue to indicate that this is not the conversation you expected. When they ask you why you're smiling at them or whatever, you can be apologetic and deferential (assuming it's someone above you who you don't want to piss off), but you were just so surprised to be lectured on something so rudimentary.

I enjoyed reading the article above, but I think the attitude where we've come to expect this kind of shit also leads to its perpetuation. These guys can't really tell the difference between bored resignation and deference, so they go on thinking that they've educated one more benighted female, and it just gets worse.

evil melis

PETITION TO MAKE SMILING CONDESCENDINGLY AT DUDES A NATIONAL SPORT (sorry that Todd Akin thing got me all riled up, I'm full of feminist nightmaaaares


@RationalHatter totally. when i'm in the mood i can shut it down with it with a "yeah, obviously" and then move on, but i'm not always in the mood. that's the problem with being a feminist. one is not always in the mood for setting the record straight. (not that i'm abandoning the cause.)


@harebell I think my strategy might apply to your mansplainer-in-position-of-authority situation. I wait for an appropriate moment in the conversation, then respond (or interject if necessary) with additional information above and beyond what they have "explained" to you thus far. For example...

Mansplainer: The thing about plywood is that it can't be bent.
You: Right, because the thin pieces of wood it's made of are glued together at right angles. Although they do make flexible plywood for applications where it needs to be curved.

Or, if you want to be a little snarkier, respond with a question that demonstrates your understanding of the topic -- again, beyond what they've already explained. Example:

Mansplainer: You see, our economy is so consumer-based it just can't recover fully until the housing market rebounds.
You: So true. Do you think the Fed's low interest rates are enough to stimulate the housing market, or does the government need to introduce more programs to help out underwater borrowers?

Then you get to see them look surprised/confused AND still struggle to answer your question with authority. WIN!


@janedonuts I know what you mean. I'll usually put in at least a cursory derisive laugh/attempt to interject, but sometimes it's just too much effort. In my most recent run in with one of these guys, I just turned and walked away while he was still talking. I have no idea how long it took him to notice that I was gone.


Everyone, I'm starting a Mansplain themed tumblr. It needs to exist. The world needs to know. Who wants to help?

Litebrite Idea

@xx-xx-xx Yes! I was one of the few men or women who was able to counter a chronic offender (in all fairness an equal opportunity conversation dominator - men got cranky with him too) using these tactics!

What I wonder is why when some guys (don't recall it happening with women) appears to be very knowledgeable about a subject that I am less knowledgeable about but genuinely want to learn more and know enough to ask an interesting question get SO angry/cranky/annoyed when they don't know the answer and then sort of/kind of lash out at me??


@xx-xx-xx Yeah, I definitely take @xx-xx-xx's tactic - particularly when it's someone in a position of authority. Then, you sound like you're being engaging and interested, while simultaneously shutting down the condescension.


Oh, I figure that already is. I was referring to "Shut that whole thing down".


I bow down to you, Conversation Ninja.


@evil melis
I will begin my training post-haste.


@NeverOddOrEven I am so in on this project.




This was an epic read.

Pocket Witch

@PistolPackinMama Ohmigosh, how have I never seen this? Thanks a bunch!


@PistolPackinMama I miss that place bunches and bunches.

Faintly Macabre

@xx-xx-xx Ooh, I love doing that when it's a subject I actually know a lot about! I've found older men who run camera/photo supply shops are especially bad and tend to assume that younger women know nothing about photography. Unfortunately for them, I obsessively research almost every photo thing I use (cameras, film, etc) and have a good memory for technical information. If they get condescending, I will grill them with questions until I hit the limits of their knowledge or they get something wrong.


This is great!@j


In case you are experiencing severe deja vu like me: the piece was originally posted in 2008 and has been reprinted, as explained in the header at TomDispatch.


@anachronistique I'm glad it's getting renewed attention, though. Salon reposted it yesterday, as well.


@anachronistique Oh thank god for pointing this out. I thought I was going insane or perhaps had developed some *really* intense deja vu! But, yes, good reading (both times) I read it.


@anachronistique The embarrassing thing for me is that I have sent this article to so many lady friends that as soon as I saw it I said "REPRINTED, AWESOME" at the computer screen.


@anachronistique yes, thank you! it's been kind of driving me crazy that it's all over my facebook feed, even though it's a great article and should be read widely. shared it on google+ when i read it but not like anyone saw that... *zing*


@travelmugs Totally worth it, yes! I just spent some very confused moments yesterday going "wait, did I hallucinate reading this already? OH GOOD I DID NOT."


@anachronistique Good to know, because a line said "The idiots who have been in power since 2001." I was like, heyyyy, surely you don't mean Obama?

Beatrix Kiddo

So...did the nuclear physicist have a MORE credible explanation for why she would possibly have run naked out of the house screaming that her husband was trying to kill her? Because I can't think of a single fucking one.


@Beatrix Kiddo
Bitches be crazy, yo.


@Beatrix Kiddo I believe it can be summarized as "bitches be crazy"


@NeverOddOrEven JINX!!!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Beatrix Kiddo Her wily uterus took over her brain?


@Beatrix Kiddo Black hole


I didn't realize this was my life. But this is my life. Minus all the published books. How has no one ever pointed out to me that this is happening all the time? HOW DID I NOT NOTICE?


@laurel That describes it perfectly. For so long I had no idea -- I just assumed dudes who did that were idiots, and never imagined it had anything to do with me being a woman. How wrong I was, ugh.


Like most lady problems, I feel like this is dramatically exacerbated in most religious circles. Anyone else?


@travelmugs YEP. Even egalitarian-leaning religious circles. So frustrating.

dj pomegranate

@travelmugs Yessss...explicitly condoned patriarchy does not help the lady's cause.

Judith Slutler

It makes me sad, but my brother has a tragic case of this. I believe it hit a fever pitch the time that he started explaining to me what my profession means and what it's for and why I do what I do from a perspective that would've made sense back in the 1920s or so. I couldn't even get a word in edgewise to explain my own perspective on, you know, the thing I went to college for and make money with and what I do in grad school. SMH

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Emmanuelle Cunt My father has this problem, too. He's pretty excellent, though, and doesn't get surprised or flustered if I correct him on something.


@Emmanuelle Cunt My sister's ex-boyfriend was like this. I am not upset that they broke up.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose My father once explained how lightbulbs work to my best (lady) friend, a 20-year veteran of GE. She and I laughed about it later over margaritas.


@Emmanuelle Cunt My brother, too. I love him, but I'm an attorney, and he likes to tell me how I'm wrong about, say, some aspect of labor law, because he read something on a blog once. I finally asked him, "AND WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR LAW DEGREE, FRIEND?" and he stopped. For a couple weeks.

Better to Eat You With

@Lemonnier My mom used to do this to my sister's ex. I can't count the number of times he said, "Where did you go to law school?" and she stormed out of their house.


@Emmanuelle Cunt Aw, my Dad has no idea he does this, but he does things like, oh, I don't know, argue with me about literacy rates in the 1920s when I'm a Modernist literature student.

Beatrix Kiddo

@Lemonnier I'm a lawyer too, and I've had good luck responding to law-related mansplaining with, "oh, did you see that on an episode of Law and Order"?


@Beatrix Kiddo I dig that. Much appreciated!


This is so painfully appropriate after Akin's recent asshattery.


At my last job my younger, less experienced, male (obviously), coworker kept doing this to me. I was taing at the time so it got to the point where I was literally teaching classes on the same subjects that he was mansplaining to me. I'd be like "oh, thanks for sharing, I just made a powerpoint about that if you want to learn more about it."


There was just an egregious example of this at my workplace--new big boss started explaining the 4 p's of marketing (very basic stuff) to a woman who was older than him and had been working in the field for, oh, 25 years, has an MBA, etc. She ended up quitting.


Okay, so, I've identified as a strong, opinionated feminist since I was 12 or so, so it can be really difficult to recognize the ways in which I'm still bound by this patriarchal bullshit.
To elaborate: sometimes my boyfriend will remember something differently than I do, or he'll assume a certain significance to something I've done that's just not true. In these times, I'll actually take a few moments to ponder his POV to make sure that I'm not mis-remembering. And he's often found it puzzling that I need to consider it for a few seconds - he has this confidence in his version of the truth that I don't have in the same way.

It was this line that made me realize this: "billions of women must be out there on this 6-billion-person planet being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, that the truth is not their property, now or ever."

Anyway, now that I've put this to words I'll make an effort to remember that I AM a reliable witness to my own life. When sober.


@insouciantlover Yes to all of this! Especially the disclaimer at the end.

superfluous consonants

@insouciantlover i totally agree, but would also add that considering other people's POV and recollections is good manners, and shouldn't be totally abandoned just because we learned it from ten thousand years of oppression. my (largely excellent) husband and i have had to have the YOUR MEMORY =/= OBJECTIVE REALITY more than once, though.


@insouciantlover My boyfriend is very very good at not doing this, but I am so super sensitive to it. Once you realise you've been denied the ownership of your own experience for your whole life, I think that's not an unnatural reaction. I basically will never properly trust someone who isn't willing to at least let me have my version of my own experience - they can have theirs, sure, but let me have mine too.

My boyfriend did, once, tell me that I didn't smell something that I did smell, and try to explain why I might think I was smelling it. This caused me to stop walking in the middle of the road, plant my feet squarely, and literally yell 'DON'T TELL ME WHAT I SMELL. YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME YOU DON'T KNOW HOW I FEEL!' Luckily he conceded that he did not, and apologised nicely.


@Craftastrophies This is such a tangent, but I am ALWAYS smelling things that other people don't, and the other day I convinced my boyfriend that the smell was, in fact, corn. Just like I'd said it was. (It was just like corn!)


@superfluousconsonants Hah, me too. Generally speaking, mine is not a mainsplainer, but every so often I'll call him out on the fact that just because we remember something differently does NOT mean his version is correct, and he's generally baffled. Since this happens rarely, and in isolation, I find it humorous as opposed to irritating :)


@superfluousconsonants This is almost exactly what my therapist pointed out to me yesterday when I brought this up to her! The key is definitely finding a balance.

Not It

Ha. My now-husband once watched one of these motherfuckers explain static electricity to me, at a dinner party. (It was winter, and I had just shocked myself on the way to the table.) He then asked my husband if he had gotten the explanation right. Mr. NotIt replied, "I don't know, but you should ask her, she's teaching Physics right now." "Well, was I right?" He wasn't, and then he launched into a lecture on how rude it is to correct people. I remember this one because Mr. NotIt was so surprised by the boor, and I was surprised that he was surprised to see someone condescend to me.

Atheist Watermelon

@Not It what drives me absolutely NUTS about shit like this is that if you call it out as the sexist horseshit that it is, lots of guys will just see you as a silly histrionic man-hater, and there is absolutely nothing you can say to convince them that you're right. I gotta borrow from someone else's comment from yesterday about the Todd Akin bollocks and channel Madeleine Kahn: "Flames... on the side of my face..."


@Didldidi Yes! I tried to call someone out on this this weekend, and all it did was confirm his "yelly feminist" stereotypes. And then I had the same follow-up discussion with my guy as @Not It: he said, "I can't believe he called you 'ignorant'!" and I just couldn't believe it was such a surprise to him.


@Not It I love-hate that moment when important men in my life get the woman's-daily-life epiphany. Seeing them suddenly realize that I get spoken to/treated "like that" daily.


@bot I never know whether I'm pleasantly surprised or even more irritated by how surprised men get at how women are treated. Like, it's great that you can recognize it-- when it's happening to a woman you know so you have knowledge of its untruth. How often do you see it happening to other women and you don't think to shut it down?

Ugh, to live in a world where being condescended to is egregious and not par for the course.

fuck fuck fuck

@damselfish recently i was having some sort of serious discussion with my fiance, and he remarked on how i seem so afraid that people will be condescending toward me (this was right after i'd told him i felt HE was being condescending, so this was more of a derailing tactic on his part than anything else...), and that he didn't think it happened as often as i thought it did. dude, just because people automatically respect your opinions and ideas doesn't mean they do the same for me!


@Not It Mr. NotIt sounds great. I find when someone calls you out on correcting them (in a rude way) a simple "Sorry. I didn't want you to embarrass yourself in front of the next person you told that to."
Pride is so silly in this regard. If I'm wrong about something, I'd want to know!


@damselfish Gah, I'm STILL irritated about an incident from 6 months ago. A senior colleague treated me with condescension bordering on derision in a meeting with about 15 other people, including my (male) boss. My boss didn't notice a thing amiss. Even afterward, when I brought it up to him, he insisted that I must have just misunderstood mansplainin' colleague's intent/tone. I took a firm line and insisted that I knew what I'd experienced, but my boss was still skeptical. It was only after another colleague (not incidentally, another man) mentioned to my boss how badly he'd thought mansplainin' colleague had treated me in this meeting did my boss finally take it seriously.

Oh, and it's worth mentioning that my boss regards himself as a feminist.


Argh, how do you deal with mansplaining from loved ones? Like, my wonderful partner who got all butthurt because I pointed out he was negating my own experiences by pretending mansplaining was just dickishness. Ugh, lawyers and their words and their need to be right. :|


@hopelessshade I have no suggestions on that, just wanted to apologize for my profession and our effing pathological need to be right. My Torts professor actually warned us about that back in my first semester, but that's apparently not such a widespread warning (or it just doesn't, for the most part, take).


@stonefruit I knew it when I got into this. I have it myself. But he has training to win arguments and I don't. >:[


@hopelessshade My boyfriend does this too...particularly when we're having arguments, he'll end up explaining how my perception of what happened isn't actually what happened, and then I want to stab him in the eyeballs. He is not normally so terrible. (For the record, he is not a lawyer. He is just someone who needs to be right.)


@frigwiggin But on the other side of things I can get kind of pedantic with him (my dad is an immense pedant, so I come by it naturally), so I'll catch myself explaining something to him and realizing that I probably sound extremely condescending. So there's that.


@hopelessshade and to be clear I am not some shining paragon of virtue in this regard! But it is a particularly annoying occupational hazard, and definitely something more lawyers should work on. I think part of it is that lawyers are so hellbent on interrogating ideas/arguments that we don't realize that the people expressing those ideas/arguments sometimes feel like we're actually interrogating them, personally.

Get rid of your lawyers, seriously, we are revolting.


@stonefruit I don't think you're revolting. I don't think my man's revolting. I just wish he'd stop nitpicking my opinions and let me be right on these things!


@hopelessshade Oh man, do not ask me, because I have literally yelled at the ex in a restaurant to shut up because he didn't know what he was talking about. He loooooved to mansplain. Oh, and he passive aggressively didn't talk to me for like 3 weeks and then tried to back out of watching my sister's dog because he was mad at me.


@frigwiggin The guy I'm seeing at the moment IS a lawyer, and this is one of the reasons I think we should probably not see each other much longer. He does that with EVERYTHING. Sometimes I just want to be like, "look, I'm trying to help you understand how someone else sees or experiences this differently, so shut up and listen instead of just whining about how you don't understand, and trying to be right." Even if we're just talking about something trivial like a movie. Despite my decidedly non-confrontational personality, I seem to be a lawyer magnet... help! :)


@NiceDress We're not all like that....(male ones tend to be much worse!)


@WaityKatie I have found that to be true. One of my best lady friends, also a lawyer, is nothing like that. And for some reason, the gentleman lawyers I tend to attract all seem to have litigation as part of their background, even if they don't currently practice in that area.


@NiceDress Have pity on us, we have to deal with these oppressive d-bags all day every day at work! At least you can walk (run) away. And yes, they are every bit as condescending and hateful to their female colleagues and opposing counsel. Lots of men don't think we belong in this profession at all! Still!


@WaityKatie Ugh, that sucks. That's honestly one of the reasons I decided I didn't want to work in politics, after majoring in political science and doing several nice internships in DC... I couldn't bear the thought of willingly surrounding myself with guys/people like that for 40-60 hours/week. But somebody has to do it, so I'm glad you are. I imagine it's super satisfying to beat them in court.


@stonefruit Hah, thanks for the warning! I'll make sure to alert my boyfriend, whose in law school right now. He tends to make these definitive statements, but I'm a science grad student, so I'm all, "Well, what do the data show us?"
It has caused tension at times, b/c I'll be like, "Um, you do realize that your last statement was 10% fact and 90% baseless speculation, right?"


This link simply will not load for me. Is there another one?

It stays white, and then when I exit I can see it for a second before it's gone. What is that about?


@KatnotCat Sorry, there's no man around to explain it to you.

Pocket Witch

@KatnotCat Try this one? (Scroll down a bit.)

Pocket Witch

@Pocket Witch Phooey, where'd my link go? Well, let's do this the old-fashioned copy-and-paste way: http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175584/


@Pocket Witch Ah thank you very much!! That works!


An ex (a sound engineer) once explained to me (a construction lawyer) the legislative scheme for building codes. When I corrected him, he said "I think we're both saying the same thing."


@RobotsNeedLove That's when I pull out the "That's great to have an opinion about things, even when you're wrong. Good for you."


@RobotsNeedLove That is my favorite part, how when you call them on how wrong they are, they can't even admit it! I recently got in a facebook kerfuffle with this dude who started screaming at me in all caps that my student loans were NOT FEDERAL LOANS! THEY ARE BANK LOANS GUARANTEED BY THE GOVERNMENT! YOU'RE WRONG! I responded, no, you're wrong, actually my loans are direct federal loans made by the federal government, and I think I know a little better than you what kind of loans I have. His only response was, "Well, I guess the law must have changed since I had my college loans in the 90's. Student loans all used to be made by banks." Really? No shit? How about next time you try knowing something about what you're talking about before yelling at me condescendingly in all caps? Or at least be able to say "my bad" when you're proved wrong? But no.


@Mabissa Or the "No, I think we're both seeing other people."


My boyfriend's friend made (what he thought) was a passing joke. The butt of the joke being that I'm a "bitch." This lead to a conversation about why I think it's NOT OK for men to throw that word around which lead to him telling me that I am "too sensitive" and will "never make it in the Real World." And basically telling me how to feel about being called a bitch.


@ginalouise Same type of thing when guys say you should feel flattered when men harrass you in the street or elsewhere. Don't tell me how to feel when people I've never invited any contact with say obscene things to me or think it's okay to put their hands on my body without my consent, when I'm just trying to go about my life.

Atheist Watermelon

@NiceDress my dad, a chronic mansplainer (who would actually yell at my mother to shut up and imply that she was "on the rag" if she vocally disagreed with him), would tell me this my whole life (he's also someone who whistles at every single passing girl on the street. he's really charming.) I once made the mistake of trying to explain that I feel extraordinarily threatened and marginalized when men harass me on the street and his response was "when did you get to be such a man hater? Lots of women are flattered by the attention. Stop being so silly." AUGHHHGHHGHHHHGHHHH.


@Didldidi Auuuugh my MOM thinks catcalling is flattering, and I'm like "mom, I got yelled at by some guy telling me to suck his dick, and when I said no, they turned the van around and chased me down the street."

"Oh, that's not catcalling, that's harassment! I meant men who tell you that you look good!"

Welcome to reality, mom. Men who say you look good quickly turn into the men who chase you down the street. But no, catcalling is really okay! Because things have.... changed and back in the day it used to be a bunch of nice construction workers whistling at you. And it wasn't scary because they couldn't leave the worksite, lol~ Nevermind that it's the prototypical example of street harassment....

Atheist Watermelon

@damselfish yup... and MY mom even took that a step further- when my younger sister and I were about 12 and 14 respectively, and at the mall by ourselves, we were followed by this douche who was clearly masturbating and breathing heavily down our necks. we quickly found a security guard and advised him. Later, when we told our mother about the event, her response? "Oh, the poor guy, why did you tattle? He was just desperate!!"

Um, WHAAAAT?!!?!!!

Atheist Watermelon

@Didldidi I sometimes think my parents went out of their way to achieve the specific goal of fucking us up in our adulthood

polka dots vs stripes

The more I read by Rebecca Solnit, the more I'm a fan. I read A Paradise Built in Hell and loved it and I'm working on A Field Guide to Getting Lost, definitely adding more to my list!

(ps hi pinners! I lurked for awhile but wanted to comment on something on The Billfold and here all in one day, plus the busy season is over at work finally, so, here I am!)

Jane Marie

@polka dots vs stripes welcome!


UGH THIS. It's happened both professionally and personally. One of the lighter instances: I was in a bar in Boston watching a Sox game with my (male) friend. It was late in the game, close score, so when we went to get beers, we dallied at the bar watching an important at bat. After the fifth pitch, I leaned back to my friend and said "full count". Some dude next to me turned around and said loudly, patronizingly (DUH) "That's when there's 2 strikes and 3 balls". My excellent friend laughed so loud at him. I've been lucky in that I've always had great dudes around me who find the mansplainers so, so sad.


@perfect_cursive !!
Yay for you and your guy-friend having the perfect response.


@harebell I'd been training for that moment since the 7th grade, when I had to justify to a boy why I was wearing a Rangers jersey. He literally frakking quizzed me on the players for about three minutes until he decided, with a nod, that I Shall Be Allowed to Like Hockey.


@perfect_cursive I'm surprised there are any female sports fans left at this point. In gradeschool, a classmate tried to "mansplain" to me that the shortstop plays between 1st and 2ns bases. Ugh.


@travelmugs DON'T get me started on pink baseball caps...........


@perfect_cursive That happens to me, too! ALL THE TIME. The quizzes! All the time!

I spent about 5 years working in baseball, and some time covering it, and oh my god, it never stops.

(also this is my first-ever comment here after many months of reading and loving all of the people in this community!)


@perfect_cursive Aah, this happens in football too. I'll never forget the time I was sat in a bar with a bunch of men and one of them made a joke about women not knowing the offside rule. I went 'do you know it?', and after it'd emerged that none of the guys there actually did, I was able to get the bottles and glasses and do a classic explanation.

I love this advert, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi-3kVunkow&feature=player_embedded#!


@perfect_cursive i hate that "You Shall Be Allowed To Like ____". i'm not into sports, but i feel like this applies to so many topics and behaviors. i have been very lucky as well to have a lot of really wonderful men in my life, beginning with my dad and continuing through close friends and my boyfriend, who never treat me like i'm lesser in any way because i'm female - but i think about the fact that that happens all the time. it's silly, but it makes me feel abnormal sometimes, because i see how differently even they treat Girls Who Act Like Girls Should. and how it's so sad that that happens, because they treat me like i'm smarter and less fragile than how they Treat Girls. but i watch Girls play into it constantly and like crazy and with no apparent want for anything else. and conversely, i've had problems in multi

it's also depressing/sadly cathartic when i meet new guys, and i watch as they realize that i won't stand for being pandered to like they're used to doing with Girls, and they're fucking dumbfounded. the phrase "You're a really chill girl" used to infuriate me.

fondue with cheddar

@travelmugs But...the shortstop is in between 2nd and 3rd.


@itiresias That's the real crucible for friends or potential make-out-partners. If you won't stand for pandering, and a dude's like, back away slowly, then fuck him. If the dude responds positively, well, then.....fuck him.


@perfect_cursive "I'd been training for that moment since the 7th grade, when I had to justify to a boy why I was wearing a Rangers jersey. He literally frakking quizzed me on the players for about three minutes until he decided, with a nod, that I Shall Be Allowed to Like Hockey."

UGH, I hate that moment of "Now you must PROVE that you are worthy to like this thing you like!" As a geek, I get it a lot there, where it's like, "No, I was LITERALLY GOING TO TEACH A CLASS on Star Trek, I think I know what's up," but I find it worse in re: sports because I do know less about sports, and I don't keep up very closely, mostly because I've lived in Europe for three of the last four years, but I am going to love the Red Sox no matter what you say to me, so please don't explain to me in technical detail why you think they suck or why I'm not a good enough baseball fan.

(Of course, I'm always up for a good round of "RED SOX SUCK" "NO YANKEES SUCK" with my many New Yorker friends. That's just tradition.)

The Lady of Shalott

You guys, last week I was hanging out with three of my friends and my boyfriend who was meeting them for the first time. And we were having a pretty light (for us) discussion about hockey that took up most of the night. And like, we weren't even SHOUTING so we weren't even that involved with it!

My boyfriend at the end of the night said "You know, I like hockey. I watch hockey. But you guys: SHIT. You know a lot about hockey!"

I was incredibly proud and happy of me and my friends.


"billions of women must be out there on this 6-billion-person planet being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, that the truth is not their property, now or ever.
This bit really made a lightbulb go off for me. I had been assuming mansplainers just have this compulsive need to take on the "expert" role. It makes far more sense, and is far more insulting, to think that they've been assuming I can't know these things until a man has told me about them.


Oh man, this totally happened to me yesterday/today!
For brevity's sake, let's just say I'm a librarian by correspondence. I got this ridiculous response to some research I did for a patron by mail. He goes through the entire letter saying things like, "I don't know how to make this any clearer to you, MarianTheLibrarian" and at the end he writes this thing about trying not to be paltry, and then goes on to define the word for me.
Needless to say, in addition to responding to his research request, I also went through his entire letter correcting his spelling and grammar and commenting that I am well aware of the definition of paltry. Mansplaining ruins my worklife!


@MarianTheLibrarian Apparently he's not so aware of the definition of paltry, also.


@MarianTheLibrarian The whole "women can't be reliable witnesses" thing just happened to my mother the other day, too. She is a restaurant hostess, and there was a wait. So she gave this male patron the little buzzer thingy and said "don't go past American Eagle [the restaurant is in a mall] or it won't work." Sure enough, she buzzed him later, and he didn't show up. She waited 15 minutes before giving the table to someone else. He finally showed up, called the manager out, and then berated my mother and accused her of calling him a liar because, according to him, he showed up right on time. The manager nearly fired my mother. It wasn't until another manager convinced the first one to let her keep her job that she was able to stay. Horrible.

Princess Slayer

The first day I met the fiance of one of my best friends he told me what I should do to fix my couch leg.

Half the furniture in the living room at that time was made by me. She had already told him this before he met me.

He has made up for this terrible first impression in later years, but good lord did I bristle at him for the longest time because of that. He also followed that up with a solid half hour of explaining to her why the furniture she bought for her bedroom sucked.

dj pomegranate

@Princess Slayer Aaaahhh I would also be so pissed.

I had forgotten this incident until this thread, but this is a classic: a few years ago, my car needed some work done. Unfortunately, I was scheduled to pick it up at the same time I was scheduled to take a final exam. So my bff and my roommate (the mansplainer) picked it up for me while I was at my exam. I know a fair amount about cars and I had talked to the mechanic when I dropped it off AND on the phone the previous night. When I got back from my exam, I was like, oh, so how did it go? And BFF and Dude were like "Oh, fine, no problems at all, here are your keys!" and then Dude started in on a mansplain in which he told me all the repairs that they had made and why...and then mid-stride he said, "Well, I mean...it's kind of complicated, so I'll just have to explain it to you later if you want to know more." BFF and I both just looked at him in silence for a second before BFF burst out laughing and said through her laughter, "I....really don't think you have to explain it to her." I don't think he ever figured out what was so funny.


My brother, a chronic mansplainer, once launched into a diatribe about how Teachers Are At Fault and Schools Get Plenty of Funding And Spend it Wrong to my other sister - a teacher at a low income high school who's both excellent at her job and slightly feral. The ass blistering he received from her was the most beautiful thing I've...ever seen.

Also, now that he's married, he suddenly believes me about all that "feminist bullshit" he used to poo poo at when I complained about the patriarchy.
"Did you know, Ialdagorth, that men are sometimes dismissive of or assholes to women JUST BECAUSE they are women? I've seen it happen to my wife, an actual woman!"

*monocle pops off, stabs self in face*

Seriously though, he called ME for advice the other day. It's like he got married and realized that women are people who sometimes know things about actual stuff.



I'm torn between being heartened at his change of heart, and raging that he still had those feeling when he had sisters.


@Ialdagorth He mansplained mansplaining?



Atheist Watermelon

@TheLetterL mansplainception

Atheist Watermelon

@thatgirl JINX!!!! lol!!!


@Didldidi Amazing.


@Ialdagorth AHAHA. This reminds me of (an otherwise, pretty good-guy) Ex in college who took some women's study classes and started MAINSPLAINING BASIC FEMINISM TO ME. I was just like: Yeah, no shit sherlock, I am aware of those phenomena because I live them every single moment of my existence.


My favorite mansplaining incident was when, several years into my legal career, I was on a date with a law student who began telling me about his "mock deposition," and then immediately proceeded to define "deposition" to me. "A deposition is when you ask the witness questions..." My response: "Baha!"


@WaityKatie And this is where I would make a gloriously sarcastic show of settling in to receive his hot manly wisdom, eyes wide and expectant, chin in hands, enormous grin, wagging my imaginary tail like some human golden retriever being taunted with a tennis ball. "Oh, please, DO tell me how the legal system works!"

I was not a terribly successful dater.


@KatPruska I thought I showed amazing restraint by not pointing out that, not only was I actually admitted to the bar and engaged in the actual practice of law (rather than "mock law") but I had graduated from a law school ranked approx. 50 spots higher than the one he was currently enrolled in. But naturally I thought it!

Queen of Pickles

@KatPruska This is my tactic too! Ah, yes. And repeating the things they say back to them in a slightly-too-high voice, tinged with breathy incredulity.

I like when dates get bad enough that you can purposely sabotage them with no guilt whatsoever. Like throwing a rotten watermelon off a second-story porch, just to see it splatter.


Everyone, I'm starting a Mansplain themed tumblr. It needs to exist. The world needs to know. Who wants to help?


@travelmugs What do you need? Anecdotes? Jokes?

dj pomegranate

@travelmugs Perhaps this guy can be the Mansplainin' Mascot?

Springtime for Voldemort

@travelmugs Related: the everyday sexism project. http://www.everydaysexism.com/

And I would totally help.


This was the best thing I've read in months. I love when someone lays out in words something I've experienced or known on some level forever, but could never quite articulate in a a way that the people who most need to hear it would understand or not mansplain away (and I'm sure those who want to will still do so with this).

I find it especially infuriating when otherwise intelligent, reasonable men do it, because when you try to get them to understand, they just can't reconcile it with their own self-perception (because that's the territory of awful, Todd Akin-y men, not men like ME!).

Ugh, now I wish I could just carry around a taser and zap dudes who do this. Maybe the Pavlovian thing would work after a while?


Oh, and I see things all the time like the bomb-making community couple situation when it comes to sexual assault. It seems like even a lot of lady-sympathizing guys' default reaction is disbelief. I remember when the whole DSK-maid thing broke, and my bf at the time immediately thought it was crazy and that there was no way he could have done it (never mind the actual results, he made that inference before anything else came out). We both work in media, and he had interviewed DSK before, and "knew" he couldn't have done it because "he's just such a nice guy." I've seen similar reactions from men from whom I would have expected better -- the automatic assumption that the woman is lying or "just interpreted things wrong."

I don't see how it reduces you in any way to acknowledge that a man who is not you did something terrible to a woman. But of course if you argue otherwise, then "you're just saying that because you're a girl/it happened to you/other irrelevant excuse." *cue stabby feelings*

dj pomegranate

@NiceDress Extra frustrating because it's in fact just as (and probably more) legitimate that these dudes are defending someone like DSK that because they "just interpreted things wrong" or "are just saying that because you're a dude/it hasn't happened to you/other irrelevant excuse." But somehow it's always the womenfolk who jump to conclusions. Never the menfolk.


I was just explaining to my husband what mansplaining was, and he started laughing hysterically and reminded me of the time we were at a bar and I mentioned using the internet, and this guy we weren't even with went on a huge mansplanation tangent about what a router is and how it "makes the internet" and that he was certified to mansplain this to me because he was a graphic design major. I laughed, but I don't think my husband's jaw ever came up off the floor.

dj pomegranate



@dj pomegranate He knows how to make the internet BECAUSE he studied graphic design in college. Duh.


My ex would do this constantly. Apparently living on a ranch where you keep two horses, but do most of the work on four wheelers leads to a better knowledge of breeds, breeding, training, and conformation than working/riding at a show-horse barn and breeding facility for fifteen years. WHO KNEW?


This article perfectly explains how I feel at work. Mansplain has quickly become my favorite word. It is just so ... accurate.


Possibly tomorrow I get to go into the job I left recently and train/orient my replacement. I just found out that my replacement is this guy who, in the past, has repeatedly ignored me and then in a separate incident, made completely useless suggestions to me about something I was working on-I'd been working in that area for 3 years intensely and 8 more, on and off. He, to my knowledge, has never worked in this area. I am not really looking forward to it, but I can use the money. Hopefully he will not be chock full of how there are better ways to do the job I did for five years and it will go well.


@kitryan Good luck! I would love to hear how it goes. He sounds...not promising.


@kitryan I'd probably assume he's going to do the same in training, but is there some sort of binder of "how it's done" that you can leave behind with him and his supervisor so that when he fucks up, he can't blame your training?


@Ophelia It's a very idiosyncratic job in a very small department. My former boss is very appreciative of my abilities though and all I really need is for him to know that I explained it correctly (so that he will be a good reference). I hope that he'll be around for enough of it that that will be obvious. Maybe the dude will surprise me.


@kitryan Ok, first of 2 or 3 sessions is over. It went well. I don't know why dude was such a 'dude' before, but clearly the first 2 days of doing the job had illustrated that there was a lot to know. It was also obvious that I did indeed hold the knowledge he sought. I talked a lot. Hopefully for past workplace, he will retain it. I don't know how it's going to go, but I did my part. I go back next week for another day or so.


@kitryan Oh good! Glad he recognized that duh, his predecessor knows more about this than he does. Good luck with next week!


I am not victim to this directly very often, but I feel there are public acts of mansplainin' going on everywhere! In a way this is worse since I cannot interject, and it especially drives me crazy when the guy is talking about something I know about and he is dead wrong (or maybe that is always the case?).

I think I am going to get index cards printed that say "the guy explaining something to you is wrong and also an idiot. You can do better." and hand them to fellow victims in these cases.


@aliceandstuff That is amazing. I want to make a batch of these cards too.


sighhh... i just wish i could shoo mansplainers away.

i was at a bar with some friends once, telling them offhand about some bike parts i had bought and was going to install the next day. this girl's boyfriend juts in and starts talking about the tour de france and expensive pro bikes, but from the sounds of it, he doesn't know much and somehow commandeered the convo away from me. he asks me which bike brand had a team in the race. i say the only bike company i can think of offhand is cervelo. he disagrees and asks if i can think of any others... i list off about ten random bike manufacturers, each of which he says doesn't sound like they make bikes. ok. i then list a brand of upscale espresso machines, and he was like, "yes that's it!" i snorted but i wish i had told him to stop spewing bull.


"Dude, if you're reading this, you're a carbuncle on the face of humanity and an obstacle to civilization. Feel the shame."


fuck fuck fuck



@i'm a self-rolled man I started to, and then I saw "feminist nazis" and I just closed the window. Nope!


@i'm a self-rolled man Can everywhere just be The Hairpin, now? I'm tired of the hostile internet.

fuck fuck fuck

@OhShesArtsy for real. why are people so unreasonable and mean to each other? for fear of perpetuating the sleepover stereotype, CAN'T WE JUST PAINT EACH OTHER'S NAILS AND STOP SAYING FEMINAZI?


I'm going to regret asking this, but isn't "mansplain" a pretty sexually-loaded term to use for this?

Yes, it's dudes that are the guilty parties (in all of the cited cases) and, yes, there's the added angle of assumed gender-based superiority on the part of the dude. But I assure you dudes do this to other dudes because some dudes just have to swing their dicks around (metaphorically, of course) and feel superior to the crowd. It just seems like there's a way to at least separate the gender assumption from the term.


nope. the gender assumption is the point.

yes, explaining things to people who already know them is something some dudes do to other dudes. it's also something some ladies do.

that's why, when it happens in a single case, unless it's a particularly egregious and obvious display of sexism, we are inclined to give the explainer the benefit of the doubt and listen to him with an open mind. (see: Rebecca Solnit's initial reaction to explaining Aspen dude)

but then when you step back for a second and consider the overall pattern of this behavior, you notice that it's way more likely to be a man explaining something to a woman. and even when the man isn't literally thinking, "I am superior to this woman because of my gender," he's still unconsciously giving her ideas/opinions less credence than he would if she were male.

the term mansplain is meant to highlight this pattern. there's a power in giving a name to this phenomenon. it legitimizes the experience of women who are so used to having their experiences read as less legitimate that they doubt whether what they're experiencing is real.

Lily Rowan

@Ti:Sapph Right. It IS a gender issue.


@Ti:Sapph Here's an example (cribbed from Shakesville) to help you understand how mansplaining is different from a simple gender-neutral penchant for "swinging dicks around"...

"my ex used to do this:

ex: something's wrong with my computer.

me: Oh, looks like there's a phrenicle in the stubert zone

ex: something's wrong with my computer

me: Why not check the stubert zone for phrenicles?

ex: something's wrong with my computer - - I'll ask Dick at work about it.


ex: Hey, I spoke to Dick at work about my computer. Turns out, (begins speaking really slowly) there are these things called phrenicles which SPEAK ... TO... the molydimes. The molydimes can reside in the jiminy zone, or they can reside in the stubert zone, but WHEN they reside in the stubert zone, sometimes there's a problem with them communicating with the loovarths, so it's best to keep phrenicles out of the stubert zone. All I have to do is move these phrenicles back to the jiminy zone and it's solved. Isn't Dick at work a computer god?

me: ..."


@sashay The only reason I don't like "mansplain" is because "'splaining" basically happens between multiple groups where there is a signficant power difference. Whitesplaining, etc. ("No, you're wrong, I didn't say something racist, you're misunderstanding and too sensitive and just don't get it!") I feel like giving it a more generic name helps bring to light the various ways it happens.

That said, it so perfectly sums up my experience with men I know that I use it. A lot.


@packedsuitcase I see no reason why we couldn't coin the terms "Whitesplain" or "Straightsplain" or "Cis-splain"...or basically any other "splain" that you can think of. I do agree with your point that "splaining" happens between groups with uneven power differentials, but I don't see why that would invalidate the use of "mansplain". You said yourself that it perfectly describes your experience when you've been "mansplained" to, so I think it's a good word to keep around for situations where you know the splainin' is happening because you're female and your conversational partner is male. You could pull out "whitesplain" when you're being invalidated because of the other person's whiteness, and "straightsplain" when someone just can't help pointing out that there's nothing wrong with being gay, they just don't want to see gay characters in children's television because "kids' TV isn't about sex, you know".


@wee_ramekin I agree, it's more that I wish there was a catch-all term. But I guess I'll stick with 'splaining and just add a prefix depending on the context.


@jule_b_sorry re: phrenicles -- my go-to example of that is the greatest two seconds of Buffy:

Giles: Stop that. Now, costumes, sets, um, the things that you, uh, you know, uh, you, um, you hold them, you touch them, uh, use them, um...
Harmony: Props?
Giles: No.
Riley: Props?
Giles: Yes!

I play it in my head, in meetings.

i make lists

@wee_ramekin Hmmm...I have a female coworker who is a 'splainer, but I'm not sure what kind. She's definitely whitesplained before, when she tried to tell me that hoisin and plum sauce are the same thing (I'm Chinese!) but what do you call it when she 'splains common literary authors (Yes, I've heard of David Foster Wallace, thanks) when I have a degree in English?

She's also the type of girl who just gets along better with dudes. So, there's that.


@i make lists Hmmmm. Jokingly, I'd answer your question "insufferable jerk".

More seriously, I'd say we could use the word "splainer" for someone like this, where their splainin' isn't founded in some belief in superiority because of sex, skin color, or orientation, but just because the person thinks they are All That.

Atheist Watermelon

@i make lists Is she tall, willowy, and blonde, and does she happen to enjoy gin and the Big Lebowski...? just wonderin'


@queenofbithynia Oh dream!Giles, not you too!


@Didldidi Yes! And she doesn't understand why other women don't seem to like her.

Springtime for Voldemort

The worst offenders? The Feminist Dudes, often older gentlemen who did something feminist-y back in the day (minored in Women's Studies in the early 90s, canvassed for the ERA, did six months on the rape crisis hotline), and that means that they are now The Decider on all things feminist. They will lecture you about women's oppression, and on your own specific experience, because you are a dumb young women who needs a man to bring her to Feminism/The Right Kind of Feminism. Incidentally, they often minimize various issues (wage gap, rape), while being their own special brand of body-shamers (they love them some "natural" women.)


@papayalily UGH, THIS.

"Natural women", UGH. UGH UGH UGH UGH RAGE.

(My rage is beyond making sentences. Sorry.)

Springtime for Voldemort

@OhShesArtsy And understandably so!


@papayalily It's just, I've spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to explain (to men and women both!) that glorifying any body type over any other is damaging to women. It's especially frustrating from men who are trying to be progressive by talking about how "gross" the "mainstream, plastic" women are without realizing that feminism has to be about OUR CHOICE to be whatever kind of person we would like to be - including a "mainstream, plastic" woman.

I just can't, you guys. I can't listen to it any more. I can't handle being berated from both sides - I'm too skinny, I'm too fat, I'm conforming to the mainstream beauty ideal, I'm too "natural" to be beautiful, I shouldn't care about beauty anyways - it's just a social concept that I should rise above if I take myself seriously, I should polish how I look to prove that I am serious, etc etc.

fondue with cheddar

@papayalily "older gentlemen who...minored in Women's Studies in the early 90s" STOP MAKING ME SOUND OLD. (I attended college in the early 90's.) When I read "older gentlemen" I think of OLD...like grandpa old.

Bed Monster

@papayalily Yo, there was a guy who did JUST THIS on some beauty related article. The whole natural thing drives me nuts because most times when men are referring to a "natural" look, at least mascara and eyeliner are involved (and usually some form of concealer/foundation and/or lipgloss as well).


@papayalily Or you know, the worst "real women" (have curves or whatever). Ahsjkhsdg;lgj!! ALL women are real women, damn it.

Springtime for Voldemort

@jen325 LOL Sorry, totally didn't mean it that way. And that specific one is younger than the rest (who are all more like 60), but has his head up his ass enough to warrant special inclusions. He minored in us, so he can't ever be wrong about us.


@jen325 Hello, fellow Old!

fondue with cheddar

@papayalily I wasn't really offended, it's okay. :) I find that my personal definition of "old" is constantly changing. I figured out that "old" always seems to be 10 years older than my parents.

@Xanthophyllippa Greetings, my old sister!


My boyfriend's father does this ALL THE TIME. He's a financial advisor and I write about finance. Granted, men who work in finance are reaaaally bad with this in general, but usually once you show off a little bit they decide you're legit and have a real conversation. It's awful that I have to do that at all, but what can you do? Regardless, every time I try to engage my boyfriend's dad in a real conversation now, I can see him get exasperated. "Now, you know [this stock] has a really good multiple right now."
1) I don't write about individual stocks' investment profiles, which is boring (and pointless)
2) I talk to men more clued in than him on a daily basis
3) I tried to engage him in real conversation once, and now he generally doesn't speak to me and talks to my boyfriend instead
4) When I mention this, my boyfriend just says "oh that's because you're pretty and he doesn't want to seem creepy." Boyfriend doesn't seem to realize that proves my point.

SIGH. #financebros


@alliepants Just to defend dudes in finance, I work for a financial software company mostly dominted by males, and no one has ever mansplained anything to me. (Explained, yes, but not mansplained.)


@SarahP HA "dominted." I obviously meant dominated, sorry.


@SarahP Well, to provide another perspective, I work in finance and I have literally never had a conversation about finance with a dude who didn't at some point restate what I just said to him LOUDLY AND AUTHORITATIVELY back to me. As if what I said was some sort of "infinite monkeys typing with typewriters" fluke, and he needed to make sure I understood that what I just said was factually correct. As in,I say "Oh I checked the mapulator, and the sprogfork in it appears to be active." "Well, make sure to check the mapulator, because it's important to know that the sprogfork in it is active." "Umm, ok..."

Basically, mansplaining is super rampant.


@jule_b_sorry It is definitely rampant, and I'm sorry for your bad experience! I wish your colleagues could be more like mine. :/


Love this. I'm taking it global. I had this massively at an interview at McKinsey (who surely are the professionals at this). I was working for the UK government at the time and was asked about it. Interview chap interrupted me to say "No that's not at all how it is. HM Treasury works like this..." Of course he had never worked there and was wrong. Amazing that he couldn't not mansplain when the whole purpose of our interaction was for me to talk about myself.


@dontannoyme Ha, I was just thinking of the worst mansplainer I know throughout these comments... and he works at McKinsey. Jerk.


Once, I was explaining the term "mansplaining" to my father (a textbook Narcissist), and he kept interrupting me to assert that mansplaining was just an attempt to let everyone have a say in the collective reality, because Feelings, and a bunch of other stuff that got more and more incoherent as he went on.It was clear that he he had no clue what mansplaining was, not even enough to disagree with the concept, but by golly he was going to talk about it anyway. I finally interjected: "Dad, hey Dad--DAD! You know what you're doing? You're mansplaining about mansplaining!" He was all, "no, you see, you have to understand that--" And I said, "yes, you're proving my point!" He was all butthurt that his mere daughter interrupted him but at least he stopped.


@siniichulok AHHHH! I had the exact same encounter with my dad too! Luckily my dad is a pretty cool dude and got over his butthurt quickly, but it just demonstrated the concept so perfectly.


Ahhh, mansplaining. It happens a lot to me because I hold multiple degrees in every amateur historian's favoritest of favorite fields, WWII Germany and the Holocaust. As soon as a dude with even passing interest in the Nazis finds out I have this particular educational background they start going on all these mansplaining tangents: "WELL this LITTLE-KNOWN-FACT about the Nazis is that [all the things they heard on the History channel] and something something," and as soon as I go to refute/clarify something they muddled or got completely wrong in their tirade, I get, "Oh, no. It's been studied by scholars in world-class insititutions, and they have proven that [repeat the thing they were wrong about]." When I whip out my facts and cite actual historians and can discuss the different sides of an argument and ultimately am able to prove my point? They derail it completely with "Why would someone like you want to spend time on something so boring/depressing/difficult," as if being a woman means I'm too delicate to study this particular part of history. Urgh.


@Scandyhoovian How do you not barf on their shoes all the time?


@anachronistique Mostly 'cause of emetophobia. It's the only thing that stops me.


@Scandyhoovian oh academics. Which reminds me that I have an email somewhere from an amateur who has this awesome new theory about Macchu Picchu that involves my research except it doesnt because his version of my research is being interpreted through his distorted lens on the world.

This all reminds me too of an incident in my younger days in a class on Jesus where a future preacher decided to interrupt me and then re-explain my explanation to the class. The professor (who later convinced me to go to grad school) shot him down and told him to shut it and let me speak for myself. I miss her.


@Scandyhoovian My subfield within my main field is related to WWII-era Germany. I feel your pain.

sarah girl

I realized yesterday with a start that the relationship I'm in is literally the first one I've had where I've felt like I have a voice. I am an intelligent and capable woman, but I kept ending up in relationships where I was basically treated like an inferior child; I actually feel like an EQUAL PARTNER now and it's amazing. It's also sad that it's so amazing, because why did it take so long to find that? Sigh.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Sarah H. SERIOUSLY. It was a lightning-bolt moment for me when I realized my boyfriend asked me about things because he was interested in what I thought/knew/felt, and not because he wanted an opportunity to show me up. Gosh. How novel!

Atheist Watermelon

@Sarah H. yup... my ex used to actually LEAVE THE ROOM in a huff when I would talk about classical music, because it was the only thing he didn't know more than me about (he prided himself on being the authority otherwise). He would use the excuse that he felt excluded from the conversation when I would "talk shop" with my musician friends, but he would never even engage in a conversation about it with me alone except to say, "I dunno, it all sounds like movie music to me." yeah. glad we're not together anymore.


@Sarah H. I had an ex who would ask me comic book trivia questions because, while we were both comic nerds, I knew more than he did. This lead to an amusing phone call where I ended up explaining the history of the DC character 'Deathstroke, the Terminator' (who has a naming arc somewhat akin to John Cougar Mellencamp) and how poor Deathstroke used to be called the Terminator, until a certain movie series made that more problematic. I loved that he was so accepting of my knowledgeability, in such a usually guy-geeky subculture.


So I was curious how widely used the term was, and came across the awesomeness of this Urban Dictionary entry. (definition number 5)


657 up, 1466 down

A word typically used to imply that the previous speaker is overly condescending and/or has a different way of explaining because he happens to be a man and the other party a woman. Usually, this is based in an over- or misinterpretation based on prejudice about the alleged mainsplainers intentions or on an inability to take constructive feedback. Sometimes it is used as an attempt to unfairly discredit the speaker or his arguments without having to provide counter-arguments. Typically, the mansplainer is simultaneously implied to be sexist or misogynistic.


@frealtho **headdesk**


@frealtho A mansplainer's definition of mansplaining, how cute.

Hiroine Protagonist


One of those anti-feminist Urban Dictionary entries is allegedly by David Foster Wallace.

RK Fire

Sometimes, if I'm quick enough to respond, I'll use a phrase that my husband and I have regularly borrowed from Aqua Teen Hunger Force: "Yes, tell me about the thing that happened to me.. and not to you."

sarah girl

@RK Fire YES, I love this


@RK Fire I live in a family of 'splainers* and we've developed a code word when one of us is being obnoxious about the obvious - so whenever anyone says, "Albuquerque" we all know it really means, "check yourself."

*my dad is the originator of this, but we ALL do it. We're all fascinated by weird trivia, and assume that a) everyone else wants to hear it and b) we're the only ones who know about it. At least we have a sense of humor, though!

fondue with cheddar

@Ophelia That's great. :)

That reminds me of a in-joke in my family. Not mansplainy, but sort of related. I've never been a sports fan, but sometimes I would watch games with my family. It wasn't because I cared about the game, it was just a way to hang out with them. Other times I would watch sports specials with my brother, like the story a World Series or Stanley Cup winning team. This kind of thing was way more interesting to me than the actual game, so I would pay more attention.

One time we were all playing Trivial Pursuit, and I got a sports question. They read the question to me, fully expecting I would get it wrong, but before they even read the answers I said, "Ebbets Field!" and I was right. They were Blown Away because I "guessed" correctly. Now, "Ebbets Field" is what my family guesses when they don't know the answer to a question, which annoys be because it wasn't a guess. I knew the answer! But they didn't believe me because "Jen's not a sports person".

They were also surprised that, when we went to the Baseball Hall of Fame, I immediately identified photo of Ebbets Field from a distance. Geez, people...do you think maybe I actually learned something about Ebbets Field?

Ham Snadwich

I just got man-on-man mansplained about how 3D glasses work. Dude in my office is notorious for explaining the details about something when he clearly does not know WTF he's talking about. Then when you call him on it he backs off into a compromise position. "Well it could also be like the way you said."


I love my dad but he loves to tell me, "That is correct," when I tell him something. And I say, "I know. That's why I said it."


I was chatting with my first boyfriend a couple months ago -- we dated for a short while when I was 18, and I hadn't really caught up with him since he graduated from college four years ago -- and it was such a great reminder of why we broke up. "What brilliant work are you doing in grad school?" he asks. I explain that I've just written an essay looking at historical trends in Shakespeare editing, which were founded upon a search for one ideal text that-- "Oh, but that isn't right! You can't have one ideal text, Emma. [Explains why my views are narrow-minded for ten minutes although he has never studied this subject.]" "Yes. I know. That is why I'm writing about the narrow-mindedness in historical trends in Shakespeare editing. Historical. Trends. That other people did. And explaining why I don't agree with those practices. After having taken a class on Shakespeare editing and then read six books to write this essay. Thank you for assuming I don't know what I'm talking about after I told you I was top of my class in my Master's program."

He's a very nice guy usually, and with five years of distance I'm mostly just amused by him, but when we started dating I was so befuddled by him and the way he would tell me he thought I was so smart and awesome but then only talk about things he knew everything about all the time and completely dismiss any of my interests or seem surprised when I knew what I was talking about.


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