How to Spot and Stop A Mansplainer
By Julia Abramson
Mansplainer - noun
Someone who feels the call to explain to a woman something they probably already know. I have the unfortunate distinction of being an expert mansplainer spotter. Having dated one for almost three years, I know the ins and outs of picking them out, “hearing them out” and then shutting them down. Mansplainers come in every form, but there are three universal truths I’ve found to be universal for them all. Here is a beginners guide on how to spot and stop a mansplainer.
DISCLAIMER - I’m not going to preface each step with #notallmen. You get the gist.
SPOT- The 'A' word
The use of the word Actually. Yes, "Actually" with a capital 'A' is the first building block of a mansplainer. As soon as they figure out they can use that word as a tool to interject into your thoughts, they’ll be actually-ing you at every turn.
STOP - good ol' reverse psychology
I’ve found that reverse psychology has worked best in this instance. Turn their favorite word against them. In your counterargument, use Actually, but enunciate it so intensely and ridiculously, that even the Mansplainer Magee that you're trapped in this conversation with realizes how dumb it sounds. If that has no avail, I’m not opposed to the line “Actually, fuck you.”
SPOT - the hair gel ratio
Grooming habits say a lot about a man and copious amounts of hair gel couldn't say more about a man who's about to ruin your night out by explaining why voting for a third party candidate is the right and moral choice. This might seem trivial but hair gel truly is an indicator. After my ex started gelling his hair, it was like he had acquired a license to be right about everything. Since picking up on this pattern, I paid close attention to the habits of gelled men, and discovered what I like to call the “Hair gel to mansplainer ratio.” The more a man mansplains, the more likely they are to be wearing enough hair gel to smother a small country.
STOP - drop down and get your legal eagle on
Stop them in their tracks by pointing out simple facts. I’ve figured out that this is surprisingly very efficient. For instance, point out that you don't need to channel “There’s Something About Mary” to know that you're right. State your case, provide limited evidence to back your argument up, then mic drop out of there like Obama.
SPOT - tell 'em boy bye
Claiming false authority on a topic that has nothing to do with them...at all. For instance, my ex once turned to my friend and me at a bar, and told us why “we” (the "we" in this instance also including him a straight white man) should take back the word “cunt.” Queue the record scratching music. In fact, I wish “Lemonade” had been released at that time, cause I would have “Boy-Byed” him out the bar and out of my life. Instead, I got stuck in an unnecessary, circuitous argument about how I should feel about a derogatory word for women. Ladies, make sure you're spotting mansplainers who live for sucking you into devil's advocate arguments.
STOP - shut it down
First, stop to roll your eyes so hard you black out for a second. Secondly, shut this shit down. It may be hard for a man to believe there is a place where they don't belong, but there is. Tell him that plain and simple. Then play some Alanis Morisette as you walk away like a bas ass woman who don't need no man to explain to her very basic concepts.
Although the Mansplainer has walked the earth since the dawn of time, they are especially audacious in this day and age. Let my experience be a guide through the trials and tribulations of encountering this fragile species.
Julia is a writer and life explorer based out of Atlanta, Georgia. When she's not shouting out literary symbolism in TV shows or pretending she's Stevie Wonder's backup singer no matter where she is.