How to Explain Mansplaining – The New York Times

But if you’re a man who wants to counter your manologue tendency, try this: When you hear yourself saying, “Now, to answer your question,” ask yourself whether there was a good reason you didn’t start at exactly that point. Otherwise, these manologues may never, ever end.

Source: How to Explain Mansplaining – The New York Times


If you’d paid attention to what the guy said up to that point, you might have a clue why he hadn’t started at that point.


Congratulations, you are why he spent twenty minutes laying out ground-work for the answer…and why it will be twenty five the next time, because you couldn’t be bothered to listen to what you needed to know to make the answer make sense when someone isn’t assuming that you’re a telepath that knows exactly what context they are answering in.


Next time you find yourself writing a long article about how what someone else is doing is wrong, maybe you should consider asking why they did it.  Or talking to someone who isn’t exactly like you about why it may be.

This may be shocking to a sexist like yourself, but men aren’t the only ones that get caught in this junk– I am quite female, but have people like yourself complain about how prolix (good word!) my answers tend to be.  And then they utterly ignore the groundwork I just spent ten minutes of painful being-the-center-of-attention* laying out and fail to grasp an incredibly simple point.

Pay attention instead of asking a question and then ignoring the response to read a freaking drink’s lable, and maybe you’ll learn something.

* I am shy.  Call it “social anxiety disorder” if it makes you feel better, but I’m shy.  I got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to talk to my favorite author, and mumbled out that his books were some of the most important ones I’d ever read– then blushed myself silly and hid behind my camera.  People routinely ask me a layered question with a ton of assumptions, then ignore the answer for what they already want to hear.  Utterly disrespectful of my time and effort.


7 thoughts on “How to Explain Mansplaining – The New York Times”

  1. Me: “Okay, time to start a new subject. What’s the first step?”
    Class: “Define your terms.”

    You have to start somewhere. If you start at what someone is immediately asking about, you likely have to backtrack at some point to explain necessary material. If you don’t have everyone using the same data, how can anyone become educated or convinced by an argument? We may all be entitled to different opinions, but not to different facts; and in many cases, describing facts in different ways will lead to apparently different conclusions.

    Take, for example, the minimum wage argument. Is it a social engineering argument, or a supply-and-demand problem? Even if both parties in a discussion agree on the conclusion, each facet will lead to very different conversations. To make certain they’re talking about the same thing, they have to first backtrack to lay out necessary data.

    Or take a simple question that any kid might answer. “Why is the sky blue?” You might say “Because of refraction and the composition of gas and dust particles in the atmosphere.” That answer makes no sense to someone who doesn’t understand the underlying science, which means that you have to spend a while explaining the various elements (no pun intended) that make up said science; and if they already do understand it, they wouldn’t ask the question in the first place.

    This isn’t something that only men do. There’s nothing there that is inherent to “maleness.” If we’re talking about “people who give a long story to answer a short question and then realize they have to wrap things back around,” then I know significantly more women who do this than men. Men tend to be much more direct about such things. That’s hardly universal, though; I’m someone who tends to leap into a story that doesn’t seem relevant at first until it wraps around a few minutes later. I just like that style. It works out well for both teaching and stand-up humor, as long as I don’t wait too long to wrap it back.

    1. This isn’t something that only men do. There’s nothing there that is inherent to “maleness.”

      But it is inherent to “people who don’t share the world view of the authoress, AND ARE AWARE OF THAT.”

      She’d just define any woman who behaved that way as acting masculine, and any guy who didn’t as either “wrong” or “right,” depending on if they shared her world view and agreed with her.

      1. Ugh. On the flip side of that there are the women who don’t give enough information and then get SO FREAKING UPSET that the person – male OR female – doesn’t have a clear understanding of what they’re talking about and only respond with the info they know about. It’s like they expect the other person to be psychic, and rant “Do I have to explain EVERYTHING?!”

      2. Plus the flavor that is offended that you *don’t* share their assumptions– and they really don’t want to lay out what they think and why.

        Run into this in a lot of “news” articles– “don’t bother yourself with THAT information, it’ll just confuse you; draw conclusions off of my three short quotes carefully selected to point to a conclusion!”

  2. I’m with you on the social anxiety part. I tend to be very nervous about saying anything that could be construed as being argumentative or dictatorial, and so I start my answers with nested layers of qualifiers and conditionals. My ex-wife used to tell me; “Just shut up and talk!”

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