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Mansplaining is when a man explains something to a woman in a patronising tone, dismissing her because of her gender. You can be a woman of colour talking about racism and sexism in a first world country. But, when a white man tries to drown your voice because of his racial privilege… That’s mansplaining. Here are 10 easy ways you can respond to mansplaining.
What if a professor ignores your input in an engineering class just because you are a woman, who happens to be an extremely good student as well. Recognize the fact that someone is trying to override your point of view and the primary instinct behind it (consciously or subconsciously) is to bring you down by the virtue of your gender.
Imagine cracking a joke on your Facebook profile, and an acquaintance appears out of nowhere, trying to explain you YOUR OWN JOKE. When a person is coming from the place of a self-assigned superiority complex, you can’t speak to them in their kind of authoritative tone. It’ll give them all the more reasons to reproach you. Approach them assertively and make yourself heard.
Chances are, even if you are a PhD in your academic field, a man will still try to imply that you don’t know what you’re talking about. But as an adult, you will get your fair share of opportunities to wrong the right. Especially if you have younger cousins, nephews, peers who look up to you - by speaking out, set a benchmark for how a woman should be treated in professional and personal spaces.
Mansplaining has been a part of our patriarchal culture since time immemorial. Rigid societal rules perhaps made sense when man’s only preoccupation was agriculture and farming, but we have come a long way from that. Women have repeatedly served as examples in being able to execute whatever profession that a man can. So every time you are being mansplained, sometimes about an issue as personal as your periods, don’t be afraid to call out the person if they refuse to apologize.
Ladies, we have all done it. Criticized another woman on the basis of looks, her fashion sense or weight - we have rolled our eyes at women who ride bikes or are immediately back to work after giving birth. Refrain from doing so and indulging in conversations that encourage the same.
As we said earlier, men are often blinded by the privilege bestowed upon them by good ol’ society. Telling someone that what they are saying is fundamentally wrong and also unkind could be a bit unpleasant. But think about it, say you are at the traffic light on your bike and a man in a car tries to lecture you on how to ride your own bike. What he is saying holds no ground and is based on assumptions which need to be challenged. And you can do that then and there.
If push comes to shove, it’s quite okay to give them a taste of their own medicine. When a man tells you that in order to avoid being harassed on the streets, you should stop stepping out of your house. Put a check on his self-righteousness - does this fine specimen of a human being have his own house to begin with? A mansplainer needs to understand that you are not being defensive or on the edge, but standing up against something which is unjust.
You are reading a book on the quantum theory and a classmate approaches you to explain the concepts you are going through in front of him, because a woman supposedly always needs help. Especially if it is online, you don’t need to fight it out with a troll. Because a troll is a troll for a reason - they want to bully you into submission. But you can still maintain a moral high ground and walk away from that.
Don’t we all want to just combust when a man tells us that gender inequality is a social construct and women get the same opportunities as men? While maintaining a bit of composure is ideal, you don’t have to suppress your frustration and angst when someone is just refusing to treat you like an equal just because you’re a woman.
Don’t let a person get away with mansplaining you. If a colleague tries adamantly to suggest the right way for fixing your car’s tyre, dismiss him outright because hello, it is your car. Defend your position right then. It will be way more effective than taking up the matter with the person several days later.