What is mansplaining really? Before we get there, let’s understand what “explaining” something really means.
The very act of explaining means to make something clear by describing it in specific detail. This includes providing the necessary ideas or facts. Typically, an explanation comes without any intonation, just matter of fact. It is also often littered with examples, to help the other person understand properly.
However, mansplaining is something different. If you’ve never heard the term, it is used to describe the way that a man explains something in a condescending and patronizing way. More often than not, this is described to a woman.
It happens more often than you might think and it’s nothing short of annoying. In the worst cases, it shows a severe lack of respect and care for the woman being spoken down to. No more! It’s time to spot the signs of mansplaining and cut the crap, today!
[Read: 15 signs of a lack of respect in a relationship that you can’t ignore]
Mansplaining is a way that a man shows his supposed “superiority” through the use of a patronizing tone while talking to a woman.
Used in any social situation, it is unmistakable to anyone within earshot. It’s clear that a man is trying to put a woman in her “place”.
This is either by the words he is saying or the way that he is saying them. Firstly, no woman needs to be put in any place. Secondly, a man is not superior just because he was born with something else between his legs. Mansplaining is nothing short of wrong, disrespectful, frustrating, and egotistical.
The tone and what is said can differ, but its intention is to make a woman feel subordinate, and in some instances, stupid. Don’t internalize mansplaining or think it has anything to do with you. It isn’t about you, it is about your gender. That is why you have to either call it out or just let it go.
Of course, if you let it go, the guy is just going to carry on doing it to other women, assuming that he is better than everyone else. [Read: Dating a narcissist: How to teach them to change for the better]
You could argue that mansplaining has been going on for generations. This probably dates back to times when men were seen to be somehow superior to women. We’re talking about Victorian times and beyond, when women were supposed to be seen and not heard.
Thankfully, things have changed a lot since then, but many lingering gender issues still remain. It’s something we need to address before they go on to bother our future generations too.
For that reason, it’s vital to understand what is mansplaining, and the signs of mansplaining so you can call it out when it’s happening.
A guy who is mansplaining will often talk really slowly on purpose. They may also look at you after every word. They want to make sure that you can “keep up” with the complexity of what they are saying.
In their mind, you’re not intelligent enough to understand the concept. That’s why they need to speak slowly so you don’t miss it entirely.
Since you are so simple-minded, they don’t want to leave you in the lurch with their very complex explanation. [Read: Male privilege – What it is and what it looks like in real life]
The point behind someone mansplaining is to make you feel stupid and ignorant. That robs you of your power and gives it to them.
This is much like explaining something to a kindergarten-aged child because they just don’t have the maturity to understand what is so obviously above their head. A guy who is trying to mansplain you will over-explain and bore you to tears.
Instead of using all the ‘big’ words, he feels the need to “dumb it down.” It is their duty to simplify it so that you aren’t left scratching your head with all the verbiage that is way over your intelligence level.
The truth is that you probably know and understand far more vocabulary than he does.
They make you feel embarrassed and belittled, but sometimes you aren’t even sure why. This proves that they’re pretty good at mansplaining and have obviously had practice. The whole point is to make you feel this way.
Being nice enough, the tone makes you feel like you are stupid. It also threatens you enough not to say anything because you feel the hostility that lies beneath the surface. [Read: Should a girl ever dumb it down to impress a guy?]
You will notice that when a man is mansplaining to a woman, those around them will become very uncomfortable.
Most people know that talking down to someone or showing dominance through intimidation isn’t cool, but not a mansplainer. Take heart, if anyone is listening, they are thinking “man, what a dick.”
Another tactic is speaking loudly. Mansplaining typically comes with a loudness that isn’t necessary. This is because they don’t want you to miss any of their words.
You obviously can’t take it all on board without extra volume! It’s also about showing off because everyone around will hear. [Read: How do narcissists control you so subtly? And why you allow them]
Over-explaining is one of the cornerstones of mansplaining. Since they want to make it seem like you can’t hold a concept in that silly brain of yours, it is their duty to say it many times.
Mansplaining is not only irritating, it can go on and on forever. Children learn by repetition in school, such as singing the alphabet song. He assumes you have the brain of a child and he needs to keep repeating things. [Read: 16 clear signs you’re in a narcissistic relationship]
Since they know that you aren’t capable of doing anything right, they make it very obvious that no amount of explaining is going to result in what they want.
Saying things like “just do the best you can” really means, “I know that you aren’t capable, so just do what you are limited to”.
Mansplaining is not only meant to make you feel stupid but to show off a man’s so-called intelligence, especially with a crowd watching. If it were just about you, then he wouldn’t feel the need to make sure to talk to you in such a way. [Read: 33 creative insults to intellectually insult someone with sarcasm]
You walk away from a session of mansplaining wishing that you had stepped in and said something to defend yourself.
But, you aren’t quite sure against what. In so many ways, mansplaining borders on manipulation. [Read: How to quickly spot narcissistic traits in a relationship]
Mansplaining is meant to make you feel insubordinate and to put you in a submissive position. If you take it to heart, it can make you question yourself.
You wonder whether you have done something in the past to make people question your abilities. Try to remember that it has nothing to do with you; it is about your gender and nothing else. Of course, it’s also about the out of control ego of the guy too.
Mansplaining can come off as, “I am just trying to make sure that I am helping you by explaining it completely”. Hostility is one of the underlying emotions behind mansplaining, not niceties.
Sometimes the condescending isn’t just implied, but flat in your face. He will use slurs and put-downs under the guise of being lighthearted. There are times when calling you something other than your name is the biggest put down of all.
As a way to make you feel more insecure, he may give you the up and down glance. This makes you wonder what it is that they are staring at. It’s just another tactic to knock you off your balance. [Read: 25 signs of covert narcissism – a different kind of mind game]
To add a little more threat to their patronizing tone, they will often get too close and invade your personal space. This is just more inward hostility, so take a step back and try not to be intimidated.
Mansplaining isn’t about having any actual power over you. It is about gaining the power they need to feel good about themselves.
They feel as if they can treat you in a patronizing manner because you are a female, and therefore, less than. [Read: How your own self respect affects you and your relationships]
Showing off, they will use big words *sometimes inappropriately* or try to get all technical to prove they know something.
If they were secure with themselves, they wouldn’t spend so much time trying to convince everyone how awesome they are. [Read: Selfish people – 15 ways to spot and stop them from hurting you]
It’s all in the way they say it sometimes, and not anything that is actually said.
Very manipulative, they put you in your place and then pretend they didn’t mean anything by it. That causes you to feel like you need to defend your actions or explain what you meant. Save your breath!
As if you need a diagram to get from one place to the next! Mansplaining involves dragging you around to show you everything that they are talking about. After all, you aren’t capable of abstract thought in that silly little head of yours. [Read: 10 communication techniques to finally get them to open up to you]
They make it very apparent that there was something more to the conversation than just telling you how to do something. You also get the distinct impression that you’ve just been called “stupid” without the word being said.
You know the one, you want to punch it but you know you can’t. When a guy is mansplaining, his face will have that “oh bless you, you poor unintelligent woman” look about it. His body language will also be meek and mild. Of course, his intentions are far from that.
You already know, and he knows you already know. However, by mansplaining, he’s making it clear that your understanding isn’t sufficient and he somehow needs to educate you further. [Read: Loving a narcissist: How to tell if you’ve fallen for a narcissist]
Worst still, he might hold his hand up and do that smug look again. He doesn’t believe your interpretation of the subject is enough, so he has to explain it again. And again. And probably again.
When you come up with an idea that you want to put forward in the discussion, he belittles it. He might also pass it off as crazy or insufficient. The idea is probably perfectly valid and useful, but he won’t admit that.
It’s likely that if you try to explain yourself and get him to listen, he will just shake his head. He’ll probably make a comment, something along the lines of “you women”. He’s clearly a delusional fool and your points are wasted on him. [Read: Do men have feelings? Why they act like they don’t care]
If a guy is clearly giving you the mansplaining treatment, what can you do about it? Do you just hold your head up high and be the bigger person, or do you try and take action?
The truth is that no guy who regularly mansplains is ever going to admit that he’s wrong. It’s just not in his nature. He’s one of those annoying creatures that has to be right all the time.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it.
You might never get him to stop, but you can do something to make yourself feel better. A good tactic is to be forceful with your speech back. Make sure that you use language that reinforces your knowledge and intelligence.
For instance, if a guy is overly explaining a task to you at work, stop him first. Then say, “Dave, thank you for your explanation, it was most helpful, but I’ve got this” and make sure that your body language is firm.
Make eye contact, nod your head as you’re speaking and keep the tone and volume of your voice strong. [Read: Relationship power plays: What men need to know]
The other tactic is to use humor whilst also calling him out on his behavior. There is the chance that perhaps he doesn’t realize what he’s doing. Yes, there are some guys who use mansplaining by accident!
In that case, you could make a comment such as, “thanks for mansplaining that so clearly to me, my tiny brain has obviously been exhausted for the day”. Then laugh, before walking away with your head held high!
At the end of the day, mansplaining is a tactic that some men use to put women in their “place”. It’s typically done out of being threatened. If someone is mansplaining something, take it as a compliment, because it means they see you as a threat.
It is an intentional act to make you feel less than and shamed. So, no matter who heard the conversation, hold your head high and shrug it off.
The very fact they feel the need to do it shows that you’re more capable than they are anyway.
[Read: 21 big signs of emotional abuse you may be overlooking]
Anyone who watches the exchange of mansplaining isn’t embarrassed for your sake, but for his. His obvious lack of character and self-esteem shines through.
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A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...
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