For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, “mansplaining” is the incredibly frustrating experience when a man explains something to a woman under the assumption that she has no knowledge or experience on the subject. While it’s always rude and patronizing, it’s even worse when the subject at hand is one the woman actually has professional expertise in.
Hilary Jerome Scarsella is a Ph.D. candidate in Theological Studies at Vanderbilt University whose work focuses on the relationship of traumatic experience to religious faith and liberation theology. She recounted an experience of mansplaining, and how men can respond, in a viral Facebook post.
Honestly, she’s already been much kinder than I would be in similar circumstances. She listened to him respectfully, challenged his points, and he doesn’t engage productively; he doubles down on his opinions and leaves. In many cases that would be the end of the story.
Her new friend pointed out this guy’s mistake, and that it was too late for him to rectify it. He had a subject matter expert right there, and he didn’t take the time to listen or to learn.
Her friend speaking up created a safe space, and it stemmed from a practiced commitment to challenging male patterns of behavior. He isn’t a savior; he was simply doing what decent men can and should be doing whenever they see sexism in their daily lives.
Just taking on one or two of these guys a month would make a big difference.