Latest Tweet

158

I have been dancing for a decade. I’ve taught, traveled around the world to dance, and choreographed. Dancers respect me and come to me for my expertise.

Some awesome songs came on at a birthday party, so I started dancing. This boy pressed the side of his hip to mine to correct me. “No, no. You’re doing it all wrong. Let me teach you.”

This is the crucial spot where we choose what to do with mansplaining: swallow our rage, gently correct despite our rage, or let them soak in our rage. I am happy to inform all of you other angry people that I let him have it.

"You’re trying to teach me? I KNOW how to dance."


"Yeah! What dances do you know?" Trying to catch me in a lie and put me in my place, establishing his dominance.

"Blues, swing, tango, lindy hop, salsa, jazz, modern, hip hop, and tap."

O yes. And I said it loudly in front of everyone he knew.

Not only did I say it, but so did all my fellow dancers.

"Yeah! She’s a beast on the dance floor."

"She really knows what he’s doing."

"She’ll dance circles around you."

And then, to pin the nail in the coffin, I said with extreme calm and confidence, “It seems I need to teach you how to dance.”

110

When I was around 13, my mother dated a man she met through her best friend for about a year. I tried my best to get along with him but grew to really detest him, as he suffers from severe Smartest Guy In The Room Syndrome, leaving him convinced that no matter what the topic or context, he knows more than anyone else present (he’s definitely a smart guy, but no one is as smart as he thinks he is). He mansplained regularly to both my mother and me (one of his favourite tactics was to put her down by getting *me* to explain things to her, which had the double effect of making her feel stupid and therefore vulnerable while offering the pretence of flattering my intelligence), which I instinctively knew was crappy but obviously didn’t have the language to identify as misogynist and generally mean-spirited and manipulative. Our interactions became increasingly contentious and eventually I avoided him completely. Mercifully, they broke up.

Fast forward around 15 years to a holiday dinner at my mom’s best friend’s house. I’m now a late-stage PhD candidate in literature, the kind of late stage where people who aren’t especially familiar with doctoral programs tend to be unrestrained in asking why you aren’t done yet/when you’ll be done (if there’s ever a time when people are restrained about those questions!). In walks the Mansplaining Ex during the pre-dinner chat. I’d run into him a handful of times at similar occasions, but not for around a decade. Naively assuming that my being an adult will affect the way he interacts with me, I greet him pleasantly and laugh politely at his first reminiscences about my younger self, in spite of his inevitably condescending tone.

He asks me about my dissertation, and when I explain my project comments that it doesn’t sound very literary. My hackles rise a little, but since I tend to be interested in texts as cultural objects, I’ve heard this before, so I try to offer my usual response patiently. He interrupts me partway through with “What you should do is…” and then proceeds to describe a totally different project; basically a memoir that may or not be fictional (I work on memoirs and truth, but I’m not writing a memoir, I’m writing…a dissertation). “Someone’s actually done that already,” I answer, impatient by now. “Her name is Lauren Slater and the book is called Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir — it’s pretty interesting, but that’s not really appropriate for a scholarly thesis.” “All right, here’s what you should do instead,” he says, unfazed. “First, you should write a memoir that reads like a novel. Then, you should write a novel about the same story. Then, you write a questionnaire about the differences between the two and distribute it to your readers and then write a dissertation based on their answers.” Gritting my teeth to hold on to my last shred of patience, I answer, “Yes, with all the spare time I have, I’ll write two books, find publishers for them, get them widely read, develop a set of questions, somehow gain access to a wide cross-section of readers to answer the questions, and write a completely new thesis. I’ll get right on that.” Him: “Well, if you’re taking so long and having such a hard time finishing anyway, that’s what you should do.” [Note: I never said either of those things] Then he asks me what I do “for a job” and dismissively says, “Oh, you’re a teaching assistant,” when I tell him I’ve worked as a TA and also taught independently. Rather than lose it completely, I walk away, seething. 

Later on, during dinner, he offered many deep and, incidentally, racist insights on Syria and China, and wound it all up by commenting how much less funny and intelligent I seem now than as a child. Probably because I don’t have to put on a smile and tolerate your bullshit for my mom’s sake, you sanctimonious, self-satisfied ass. Maybe I’ll write a memoir called “The Incredible True Story of the Douchebag Mansplainers I’ve Known” and give him a starring role…once I finish writing those other two books and my new dissertation.

61

I was about to fill my water bottle at a fountain in my University’s library, when a guy behind me said (helpfully): “Just push the button, babe, and the water comes out.” I turned around, about to tell him off when he reached around my waist to press the button on the fountain for me, smirking. I just got out of his arms and walked away. 

42

I participate in 18th century living history events. A young man with whom I am acquainted mentioned that he got himself a new gun on Facebook. Excited for him I asked him what kind he purchased. He replied: rev war.

I pried a little further, rattling off various types, hoping for a more detailed answer, to which he said, “Bess. It’s British.”  

I understand that style of musket is an English model. Fed up, and unwilling to deal with him any longer I said, “Silly question, eh? ;)” And I kicked myself, knowing I ought to have stood up for myself explaining that I knew what kind of gun he’d gotten and I was wondering what model he’d gotten for himself. 

He replied with, “Uh yea”. 

Only when another man asked him what kind of gun he purchased did he say both the kind and model.

Apparently I need basic answers because I can’t possibly have a working knowledge of 18th century muskets.

90

I was on the train, reading a book, when a man sat down next to me and struck up a brief conversation. At one point he asked, “What do you do?”

I replied, “Oh, I’m a college-” before he cut in to say, “Oh, a college student! That’s great! What are you studying??”

"-teacher," I continued.

He blinked for a moment, then said, “Oh, you’re a TA! Do you like the professor you work under? Is he nice?”

THANK YOU OH GENEROUS MAN for explaining MY OWN profession to me. Obviously I needed that.

52
Mansplaining Cis-splaining Twofer wooo. This thread is actually a lot longer and features many many instances of mansplaining and cis-splaining given that it was about a university debating group inviting a transmisogynistic, anti-sex work radical feminist to speak against a motion on sex work being empowering but this bit took the cake especially as ALL the people arguing for her inclusion are cis men.

Mansplaining Cis-splaining Twofer wooo. This thread is actually a lot longer and features many many instances of mansplaining and cis-splaining given that it was about a university debating group inviting a transmisogynistic, anti-sex work radical feminist to speak against a motion on sex work being empowering but this bit took the cake especially as ALL the people arguing for her inclusion are cis men.

72

I was recently having a conversation with my boyfriend, our roommate (who is a women’s studies major) and a mutual friend.  We were talking about fighting in sports and our friend says that women can’t beat men because they are just “naturally” weaker.  He goes on to say that maybe if the woman is bigger than the guy she could beat him, but at the same weight there was no way.  I pointed out that in American high school wrestling, the girls compete with the boys, and I assume, sometimes win.  The friend says maybe that is an exception, but that it’s probably very rare.  Since I am a wrestler, and my university team used to be all boys, and that’s who I always trained with, I was pretty annoyed.  My roommate and I were trying to explain to him that there is a natural variation among girls and another one among men, and while maybe the average size of men is bigger, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of girls who would whup-ass in a fight.  My boyfriend and I are pretty much the same weight, but he is a bit taller and skinnier than me, and we are pretty evenly matched in strength.  I wasn’t about to fight him in front of everyone just to prove my point (and potentially embarrass him), but I’m pretty sure I would have won. Our friend eventually stopped arguing, realizing that he had no good reason for why men are definitely stronger than women.  

46

We pulled up by the corner shop, my dad was off to get cigarettes. I mentioned how nice the fish and chip shop smelled, to which he responded ‘No it doesn’t, they never do. You must just be hungry.’ 

Sorry, wasn’t sure you knew my sense of smell better than I did.

94

This happened when I was twelve years old but it still bugs me to this day. Our new teacher for the year, let’s call him Mr. H, is explaining the water cycle and the three basic forms of matter. He said that when things were put into a solid state from a liquid state, they contracted, taking up less room. Having watched The Magic School Bus I raised my hand. “Except for water right? It expands when it freezes.” He told me no, water follows the same rules and contracts. I gave him the example of a jar breaking when it was left in the freezer full of water, because the water expanded and broke it. He scoffed and said that they both contracted, but the glass contracted more causing it to break. My mom (also an elementary school teacher) was totally incredulous when I told her about what he had said. Needless to say, that entire year was filled with condescending responses like that, always towards the girls for some reason.

45

My boyfriend and I were walking through a mall parking lot when I noticed that the handicapped parking spaces were located further away from the entrance than quite a few of the normal spots were.  Puzzled, I pointed this out, and my boyfriend proceeded to explain that people with disabilities just need the extra space to get out of their cars, and the proximity to the entrance doesn’t matter.  I told him that while some people do only need the space, other people (*cough* like my grandmother who has a handicapped permit *cough*) needed to be as close as possible to the door.  It was quite some time before I could convince him that he was wrong, even though he’s never known anyone who had to use a handicapped parking spot before.

147

I’m a junior in a college that has a few major-specific classes that only allow students with that declared major in the class. While I’m not a neuroscience major, I’m incredibly familiar with the head of the neuroscience department due to my developmental emphasis in my psychology degree. Because of this, I was able to get into a major-specific neuroscience class. On our first day we all introduced ourselves and mentioned one or two things about us. I happened to mention I’m not a neuroscience major, but was in fact taking the class to help better understand the individuals I wanted to work with in the future. Little did I know sharing that fact would come back to bite me in the ass.

In a recent class we were listing possible and proven hereditary neurological disorders for discussion. I offered up a certain form of epilepsy that has been proven to be hereditary, a fact that I know because I actually have that type of epilepsy.

Promptly a young man in the class interrupted me and told me that epilepsy isn’t a hereditary disorder. I started telling him that yes, in fact, at least one type of epilepsy is, but he once again interrupted and said “No, it’s not. Look, I’m an actual neuroscience major. It’s not just a hobby for me. I actually took an entire course of this kind of stuff and I know for a fact there isn’t a type of epilepsy that’s genetic.”

This pretty quickly set me off. I’ve grown tired my entire life of people trying to explain my disorder to me, so I have very little patience for those that do. I explained rather curtly to him about my disorder and that there have been thousands of studies of this type of epilepsy, since it’s a rather common type, and that scientists have isolated the mutated gene that happens to cause the underdevelopment of certain neurological pathways that cause the disorder. He, once again, waived off my explanation saying that he had “heard of all that, but it’s entirely speculation, there haven’t been any actual studies or cases.” I corrected him saying that the nearby hospital alone has studied almost one hundred cases and was one of the leaders in studying the specific gene in the children diagnosed and their parents - a fact I knew very well because I happened to be one of those cases. In fact, I have been working with the neurological department for study since I was diagnosed 15 years ago.

Even after all that, he still tried to make a case about it not being a known fact, which was when my (male) professor interrupted and informed him that I was actually correct about this type of epilepsy being hereditary. Suddenly the other student was much more accepting about the idea, trying to cover up by saying that he had been thinking about another type of epilepsy.

He has since come to ignore my presence in the class, which is sadly kind of obvious since there are only 8 of us. At least he hasn’t made any more comments about disorders he knows nothing about!

64

Was reading Pride and Prejudice before the start of my Writing Workshop Seminar, and a male grad student asked how I could stand the stuff. When I asked him what he liked, he said he was ‘more into [Hemingway and] modernism’. I said, ‘as a feminist, I can’t really get behind his stuff’, and he proceeded to say that Austen’s characters are more obsessed with men than any of Hemingway’s, and that Hemingway’s work deals with emotion and inner turmoil to a greater degree than Austen, who is more obsessed with status and appearances. When I said I disagreed, he scoffed at me.

 In class, he proceeded to talk without end about Hemingway’s work and its value to all of our work. When I said that my work has nothing to do with Hemingway and that I barely even read all of The Sun Also Rises, he mansplained that even if I’m not aware of it, it is still an influence. 

Another time, he said Lena Dunham is a rich brat who only gets to be successful because of the funds made available to her by her father. When I said ‘so she doesn’t get to be talented because her father is wealthy’, he further mansplained that ‘if she’s the voice of your generation’s women, then your generation still needs men to do accrue wealth before you can express yourselves.”

Cool misogyny, bro!

109

I needed a new computer for my work as a translator and photographer. I’m not that knowledgeable about hardware, so I asked an IT-friend of mine what I would need in the way of RAM and other basics. She advised me on the system (desk top with preferably 8 GB RAM). Since none of the stores I visited online offered computers with those specs and I prefer dealing face to face, I set out to visit some physical stores with her recommendations and a list of the software programmes I regularly run at hand.

In one of the larger chain stores I went to, I didn’t spot any desk tops at all, so I asked the sales person where they had stashed them. I was informed by him that desk tops were passé, antiquated and old-fashioned, and told that I did not want a desk top. I wanted a tablet.
I told him that a tablet wouldn’t work for my profession and neither would a laptop. He said that a tablet was perfect to see my photos on and that the little typing I would need to do (not even asking what work I did) could easily be done on a tablet. I said that with my arthritis a tablet was too cramped and would cause me severe head aches and that I had the same issues with a laptop. He countered that I could always add a separate keyboard and mouse …

I said that a tablet wouldn’t be able to run my software, to which he replied that I couldn’t have any programmes needing that much space and computing power, and maintained mansplainingly that I wanted a tablet.

So I slowly read out what software I needed to run (simultaneously), starting with just a word processor and a good web browser, via Adobe Creative Suite, to finally my speech recognition software that really eats computing space. And adding that I wanted to use a double monitor set-up. It took him a while to take it all in and then he started mansplaining again: “But ma’am, a tablet wouldn’t suit your needs. What you need is a desk top … “

Ah, thanks for your wisdom!