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7 Proven Ways To Shut Down 'Mansplainers' Immediately

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mansplaining

Mansplaining: it’s a term that almost all women can easily define yet men have trouble grasping, despite the fact that many of them do it.

If you've never heard of the term, you may have experienced mansplaining first hand. It's frustrating and condescending, and doesn't exactly make you feel like the empowered woman you are.

So what do we do about it? We educate and retaliate. Here's how.

What is mansplaining?

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, to "mansplain" something means that a man will interject and condescendingly oversimplify a topic under the assumption that his female listener is uninformed, often in spite of her expertise.

According to Merriam-Webster, mansplaining means "to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic."

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The concept is ancient, but the word itself is often attributed to author Rebecca Solnit in her 2008 essay, "Men Explain Things To Me." Though Solnit herself did not coin the term, her experience with mansplaining launched the term into use.

The term itself is said to have originated on LiveJournal, where a user commented using the term.

Can women be mansplainers?

The short answer is yes. Women can mansplain, but it's known as another term called "womansplaining." Mansplaining, in general, is actually not limited to one group of people.

The whole concept is about talking down to someone you think doesn't possess the knowledge needed for certain things. That concept has no gender bias and has an equal-opportunity approach.

Men and women do it, and both do it often. The only real difference is that womansplaining is tagged onto women explaining things that are considered or labeled "women's work."

But there are tons of variations of the term: privilege-splaining, white-splaining, and so on. The term is, essentially, siding with the person who has the most power or hold over the conversation. In other words, almost everyone does it at one time or another.

Having a guy mansplain something to you can be annoying at best and demeaning at worst, and many women know this all too well. Luckily, there are several ways to turn the situation around, asserting yourself and your intelligence.

How to Deal with Mansplaining

1. Add related information to the conversation.

This is a classic way to turn the tables and fight mansplaining. Surprise the mansplainer with information that he might not know. This will show him that he’s preaching to the choir and that there’s no need for him to go on any longer about the topic (unless it turns into a fair, two-sided discussion from here).

Don't be passive and sit by; instead, add your opinion to the mix. This is perhaps the most obvious way to stop a mansplanation from continuing, but it rarely fails.

2. Remind them of your skills.

Another way to beat mansplaining is to remind the guy that you do have the skills to accomplish whatever they are trying to explain to you.

Tell them you have the skill, and that you are qualified to do it, and if they don't believe you, show them. Their jaws will drop along with their dignity.

3. Stay calm.

When you are being mansplained to, it can be hard not to get angry, but you need to stay calm or they will use your "emotional reaction" in their evidence.

Respond in a calm manner and those men won't know what to do with themselves. Be composed, cool, and collected when you respond to not feed into the stereotypical concept that women are tied to their emotions.

4. Be sarcastic.

Feeling a little sassy? Don’t be afraid to slip in a, "Thank you for all of that information,” or a, “Wow, you really know a lot about this topic!”

While point number one above works better to assert your knowledge, you do not owe anyone proof of your intelligence. If you’re tired of listening to him talk, this is an easy way to signal that he needs to stop.

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5. Point out errors in the information by posing questions.

If he’s wrong and you know it, don’t be afraid to point it out. One way to do this is to ask questions like, “If what you said is true, then why would X happen?” This shows that you are well informed on the topic without having to elaborate.

If his information is all correct so far, you can still challenge subjective aspects of the topic and engage in an opinion-based debate. Your ability to advocate for your own side of the debate (or the other for the sake of discussion) shows that you know your stuff and you think critically about it.

6. Call him out.

This one takes guts, but it shows you're tired of his condescending behavior. While you may tell him that he's mansplaining andeeds to stop, the sad truth is that men often stop listening when they hear feminist terminology like “mansplaining.”

A more effective method is to firmly tell him that you're educated on the subject or that you simply don’t appreciate his condescending tone. If he tries to discredit you further or resort to name-calling, point out his errors like in tip number five.

7. Walk away.

This is the “kill them with kindness” solution to mansplaining. While it’s not the most satisfying method of dodging a mansplanation, it is consistently effective in preserving your time from being wasted.

You can say something like, “I don’t have time for this,” or, “Thank you” as you walk away... or just turn around and do it. Either way, you’ll be telling him that you don’t need any more information. As a fair warning, this method is best used in casual settings rather than professional meetings.

In the age of third-wave feminism, men continue to feel threatened by strong-willed, educated women. Too many times, it results in women being pushed aside and discredited from the casual bar setting to the workplace and anywhere in between.

Don’t allow any of the men in your life to make you feel insecure about yourself or your intelligence. So don’t be afraid to be assertive, sarcastic, snide, or whatever works best for you in the context of the conversation. You deserve respect.

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Emily Van Devender is a freelance writer based in Colorado, USA. She writes about astrology, politics, feminism, and psychology

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