Wikipedia defines mansplaining as, "to explain something to someone, typically a man to woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing."
The big problem with mansplainers is that the advice they give women is usually unsolicited and unwanted. Mansplainers patronize women by talking down to them as they assume women do not already know what they are saying or that women are incapable of reaching the same conclusion on their own.
Let's break down my most recent run-in with a mansplainer to see why this societal phenomenon is so messed up (and for so many reasons):
A random man off the street came up to me and started talking to me as I was sitting on some steps outside. (Not off to a good start here: Nothing says entitlement like mansplaining a total stranger.)
It quickly became clear to me that the conversation would be one-sided and long-winded. The man (white and in his late 40s) elected to mansplain me because he noticed the medical shoe on my foot as he was passing by. He had lots of medical advice to give me. It did not seem to matter to him that he knew nothing of my medical situation whatsoever. The irony is that my foot was on the mend and I only had one more follow up with my orthopedic doctor. This meant his advice was as irrelevant as it was unappreciated. When the mansplainer came up to me, I happened to be enjoying one of my first days walking around without a boot in months.
As the mansplainer launched into the importance of icing and elevating my foot to make it heal, I could not get a word in edgewise. When I tried to thoughtfully interject he either talked over me or completely ignored me.
He was offensive with his sexist language. When I go to my doctor for medical advice, I have never been told to, "Sit on my a**" to elevate my foot. Is that a medical term?
After I dealt with the mansplainer and went back to enjoying my afternoon, I thought of some clever ways to get mansplainers to leave us ladies alone. Sometimes ridiculous situations call for sarcastic approaches.
1) Slow clap as they walk away.
2) Give them a medal. They think they deserve one.
3) Walk away saying, "Villains gotta vil." You might sound like you're straight out of last season's The Bachelorette, but if you walk away, you'll be the villain, right?
4) Sing his praises (literally) so maybe he will shut up.
5) Put a cookie in his mouth. It's harder to speak with your mouth full.
6) Put on earmuffs, summer temperatures notwithstanding.
7) Literally run away. Practice makes perfect!
On a serious note however, there are a few ways to stop mansplaining in its tracks.
Three legitimate strategies:
8) Stand up for yourself. Don't let anyone make you uncomfortable.
9) Ask a lot of questions. I chose to engage with the mansplainer to try and figure out why some guys do this. I started with, "Are you a doctor?" Turns out, surprise, surprise, the mansplainer was not a doctor and had no medical training whatsoever. By asking him this question, it undermined his authority.
10) Ignore them. Remember, a mansplainer's advice is unsolicited so you are under no obligation to listen.
For all you ladies out there who have been mansplained, let me know in the comments what happened and how you dealt with it.