Everyone that’s not a man will have been mansplained to at some point but if you are a woman, you will experience this regularly. I remember it happened very regularly for me and it actually became a really depressing, infuriating, energy-draining part of my life.
So I want to give you some tools to combat it.
Tip number 1
The first thing to do is to pay attention to the fact that despite how you are being made to feel, you are not the idiot in this situation. It is not you who’s completely disconnected from reality – it’s them.
Mansplaining taps into our deep insecurities as women, and activates a core belief, essential to the maintenance of patriarchal culture. All children adopt a collection of core beliefs, through the stories they are told and the ways in which they are socialised and enculturated. Mansplaining is so damaging and impactful because it taps into one of these core stories.
This story says that women are not as intelligent as men. No matter how progressive our parents may have been, all of us brought up in a patriarchal society have a subconscious belief that women are less than men. This belief is powerful, and it’s also everywhere. When we are mansplained to, it taps into this belief, waking it up. We feel like a fool because the mansplainer is reaffirming one of the most powerful and fundamental beliefs you and I have been programmed with; that we are fools compared to any man. Of course, this is not true.
Tip number 2
The second thing that’s really helpful to do when you find yourself being mansplained to, is to just stop talking. Go completely silent. What this does change the power dynamic. A mansplainer can only continue mansplaining when there is space created for him to interrupt or give information that is not welcome. And if you go completely silent in the middle of a conversation, and you change your facial expression to one which clearly says, ‘I’m not engaging with this you fool’, it can be really powerful.
Tip number 3
Occasionally being silent isn’t enough to get them to realise that they’re being a fool, so the next stage is to interrupt them, and a very powerful way to interrupt them is to ask them a question.
Mansplaining is a form of domination. These men are trying to dominate you. They’re trying to assert that they are more intelligent than you, that they have access to information that you do not. This isn’t true! In most cases they themselves are not an expert in this particular field, you probably are.
So, when being mansplained to, flip the script. Interrupt them if you need to and ask THEM a direct question back. Not a question about what they are trying to explain to you, but instead a question about what it is they think they are doing.
You want to ask questions such as
‘Why do you think I don’t know this?’
‘Why do you want to know that?’
‘What do you hope to achieve by explaining this to me?’
These questions cut through all of the shit. You’re rising above the topic the mansplainer is lecturing you on, and are asking a much bigger question about his entire intention. The next time you encounter a mansplainer ask him:
‘Have you heard the term mansplainer? I really think that you should look it up because that’s what you’re doing to me right now.’
This is such a powerful move because not only does it name what’s going on, it makes them feel shame, which is the only appropriate feeling for them to experience.
The Final Tip
Something that is going to be really helpful for you to recognise is that when you call someone out on their bullshit, whether it’s manipulation; whether it’s somebody making an inappropriate joke; whether it’s somebody being oppressive through the language that they’re using; or the way that they’re speaking to somebody else, in that moment of calling them out on it, the power dynamic really does change.
Remember that everything is an energy game. The more that you have control over your energy, the more awareness you have of how energy works, and how you can use and work it, the more powerful you’re going to become, and the less and less this sort of bullshit is going to happen to you.
Are you ready to change?
I really hope this has been helpful. If this is something that you want to know more about, maybe you want more practices, more techniques or one to one support in really changing the game for yourself and shifting your life so you’re not putting up with crap, we can work together here. This is my passion. I want other women to have all the tools that I have developed so that your life can be as good as mine.
Dr Kate Tomas