The Art Of Mansplaining

man·splain

manˈsplān/

verb

informal

gerund or present participle: mansplaining

  1. (of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

Sound all too familiar? Mansplaining has been around for a long time, but it's not something you may notice or are at the receiving end of exclusively until you enter the corporate world. To be mansplained is simple, a man explains something to woman with the incorrect assumption she doesn't understand. You can also be "meeting mansplained", in which a woman speaks up and explains an idea or pitches a new concept, only to have a man recycle what she says and explain it to the group. This is when the team cheers and throws confetti around because his idea was amazing. Maybe a bit dramatic, but you get the idea. 

While nonwomen sheeple's (you know, sheep people) will smack their head or speak up with "Exactly what Jane said, Jane tells us more of your concept." Men colleagues will overlook what just happened and continue talking with John about Janes idea not even realizing they are doing this. 

So how can we protect ourselves from an inevitable mansplain without being deemed, Office Bitch? Here are two common scenarios and expert advice to handle them.

When a man explains to you what it is like to be a woman in the workforce. 

Hand him a mirror and tell him to repeat after me, "I am telling a woman what it is like for her in the workplace." This has happened and will continue to happen. Suddenly, explaining over the water cooler what it is like for women to work in the workforce is common, except its men discussing not women. When you notice this happening, simply reply with the facts. "You can not explain what is is like for a woman in the workforce because you are a man and your perceptions are just that, the way you perceive it for us. Look at this conversation; you are trying to talk about the opposite sex as if you are a woman. I appreciate you willing to have this conversation, let's chat."

When a man takes credit for your work. 

Don't make a scene, take a breath, and walk away for a minute. This is going to happen more times to you in your career, and it never gets easier. Once you are level headed, have a conversation where instead of accusing him of stealing your idea you pose a simple question. "How did you feel the pitch (or presentation) went?", "I noticed you used "I" over "we" a lot, did you mean that intentionally?" most men have no idea they just mansplained a woman. Sadly it's a double edge sword because if you did that you'd be called out and spoken over, it's a glass ceiling we are still working on busting through.

Have you been mansplained? Email us or leave a comment! HomeBase@lifecyclediaries.com.