Discover more from How to Lead Everybody (with their permission)
“It’s only mansplaining if it comes from the Mansplain region of France.
Otherwise, it’s sparkling condescension.”
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “mansplaining.” It is the unasked-for explanation of a topic to an audience that already knows the information.
For example, the above explanation of the term “mansplaining.”
While this is famously “a man talks condescendingly to a woman” concept, we can see it in other situations, as well. I have been known to “momsplain” to my teenage kids from time to time.
It’s hard to get mansplainers to stop, since they may be motivated by a strong internal drive to prove “I know about this!” “I am smart!” “I am an expert!” that sometimes is especially intense because they wear that expertise as a mental armor. They may be showing off what they know so that they don’t feel like the weakest gazelle in the herd. It’s not so much about making sure the other person receives the knowledge; it’s about proving that the mansplainer has the knowledge. So much knowledge!
Ironically, this display of “strong” intellectual intelligence makes the mansplainer look weak in emotional intelligence (EI). If you are an occasional mansplainer, using the knowledge that mansplaining exposes your soft, vulnerable EI underbelly can help you keep it in check (“No! Not my vulnerability! I don’t want ANYONE to see that!”).
If you are trying to curtail the mansplaining of someone else, appeal to their ego as part of your redirect: “…but I’m sure you already recognize that we’re up-to-speed on this.”
Or put them to work: “Great! Since you are so well-informed on this topic, let’s have you write that part of the proposal for the team.”
Or, if you have a relationship with the mansplainer that allows for mutual, humorous sarcasm: (in a PBS announcer voice): “This demonstration of mansplaining was made possible by the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and a grant from the Kaynak Foundation.”
Or, if they are incorrect (but speaking with confidence anyway) challenge their grasp on the facts. “Are you sure about that? That seems at odds with <insert currently accepted knowledge, data, expert here>, and I’d hate to have you embarrass yourself by publicly repeating something that’s wrong.”
This last one is a bit of a “nuclear option,” and should be used privately and sparingly. Try not to squish people like this when other options are available.
(Photo by Jason at https://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/47888)