On occasion, a “mansplainer” tries his best to inject himself into my world. It’s all I can do to not roll my eyes or laugh out loud. For you see, I like to be polite, even when someone is trying their best to patronize me. It’s not always easy to do. Even with the best of manners, a sneer or a chuckle does burst through on occasion.
So what’s mansplaining, you ask? My dear friends, this is what it is:
gerund or present participle: mansplaining
(of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.
Rebecca Solnit says it the best: “Every woman knows what I’m talking about. It’s the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men’s unsupported overconfidence.”
If you grew up in the sixties like I did, there wasn’t a nice, convenient word like mansplaining for it. Most of us gals were just used to dudes talking down to us. It was the norm (in many places, it still is). In the household I grew up in, words like “women’s work” and “weak” were tossed around like confetti at a clown parade.
Even though the men in my home were stronger physically (although I am known for my groin kicking talents), I ran intellectual circles around them. Which meant, I began to completely disregard their pandering, diminishing talk at a pretty young age – before I even discovered Gloria Steinem. In my mind, father did not know best and neither did my brothers or the boring farm boys and jocks at my school. I was a feminist before I knew what one was.
But I’m also deliriously boy crazy. Still to this day. I adore men to pieces. I love them in every size, shape, color, and stripe. Really.
So it makes me sad (and sometimes enraged) when some dude (usually a stranger) still engages in talking down to me or any other woman for that matter. I thought in this day and age, that would have been fixed by now. Wishful thinking? Perhaps.
But I’m an idealist and I’d like to see this changed so that we can all work together.
Men of the world, I am on your side. So what I’m about to say isn’t a slight on you. This is my love letter to you so that we can encourage mutual respect on both sides.
Guys…pull up a chair. Let me momsplain this to you (yes, my kids accuse me of that):
But what I don’t like is when you talk to me like I’m less informed than you. This does not inspire me or impress me. It makes me feel invalidated. You see, even if you do know more than me, there is a way to deliver that info.
It all comes down to tone.
Before you send that well-meaning email pointing out my typoes (yes, that is deliberate) or open your mouth to monopolize a conversation with “all that you know” about a subject, take a moment to consider your tone. Is it respectful? Do you assume you know better or are you open to the fact that someone – a woman – may know as much or more as you? Do you underestimate the person in front of you (that’s dangerous, you know…any martial artist will tell you that)? What words will you choose and how might you deliver them in a way that will leave both sides feeling as if they matter?
If you want women to actually listen to you, it is easy: just respect us. Talk to us as equals, not dumb little girls that need to be told. Treat all women as well as you treat your momma. You’d never let any man talk to your mom or granny like she’s a welcome mat, would you? I didn’t think so.
Look, I know some of us gals can be mean. I’ve perfected the eye roll down to a science. I’m not proud of that and I am trying my best to not do that in your presence any more. I know that my eye roll is the disrespectful equivalent of your mansplaining. But it’s been my knee jerk reaction to many years of men talking to me like I don’t know my onions or like I’m some “poor little thing” who needs to be schooled.
So let’s make a pact: mutual respect. If you’re in, I’m all in. Because I really, really like you guys and I want us to get along. Deal? Cool.
Hey, can you open this jar for me? (KIDDING.)
The calm before the storm that came this week.
As I was researching mansplaining, I cam across Rebecca Solnit’s brilliant article (it’s where I got the quote above). It’s a must read.
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Grab Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead 2016 and start your 2016 off right.
A the beginning of every year, I plot out my year and resolutions. Soon, I notice that the anti-resolution people are out in full tongue-clacking glory. Susan Hyatt noticed them too and wrote this on Instagram. YES.
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Quick one-pan dinners – perfect on a cold winter night!
A compelling story about endometriosis – a disease that affects millions of women.
I’m a big Martha Stewart fan and this book rocks: Martha Stewart’s Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Dips, Spreads, Snacks, Small Plates, and Other Delicious Hors d’Oeuvres, Plus 30 Cocktails
Marie Kondo has a new book coming out: Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up
I’m a fiscal conservative and already thinking long and hard about retirement: How to Retire with Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is
I admit: I think Chrissy Teigen is damn adorable. And her new cookbook is coming out soon: Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat <- SO coveted.
What I’m Grateful For:
A massage on the schedule
Fresh tarot cards at the start of the year
Snow on the ground
A whole pound of White Peony tea.
Soundtrack for 1/2/15: Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King <- addictive!
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2016
images from stock photography and personal collection[sc:opt-in]