Guess What? Women 'Mansplain' To Other Women, Too

woman giving look like "are you kidding me"

“Always remember, ask the waiter for a to-go box if you can’t finish your food.” These words weren’t uttered by a parent to their child, and not even by a man to a woman. They were said by me last month to my grandmother after she told me what she ate at a Mexican restaurant. As if I’ve earned my Ph D in doggie bags. As sad as it is to admit, mansplaining — the act of explaining something to a woman using a condescending tone — is something women do to other women, too. Worse of all, I mansplain. And the time has come for everyone - myself included - to resist the urge to mansplain and quite simply, shut our traps.

If I was to be told, “Melina, you’re such a mansplainer,” my first reaction wouldn’t be, “Oh, I should check myself.” My first reaction would be more along the lines of, “Exactly how man-like do I appear?” Honestly, the term wouldn’t really sink in. That’s why I prefer to use “smarmy know-it-all” instead of “mansplainer” for anyone who offers unsolicited advice, opinions, and explanations because EVERY gender does this. Think about it. You wouldn’t call a first grade girl a “mansplainer” when her Sunday School teacher asks the class, “Who here knows the story of Queen Esther?” then takes the reigns because she thinks she’s a 7-year-old Biblical scholar and recaps the entire story in under three minutes while plowing through every single spoiler alert, even though the teacher was asking a simple “yes/no” question. Someone should have shut me down.

Just as further proof that I’m not the only female “mansplainer,” here’s another example of smarmy know-it-all-ism that is NOT ME. I once volunteered at a charity fashion show working backstage doing whatever it was the charity organizers needed me to do. Before the show, one of the makeup artists decided that it was the perfect time to knock the socks off of every other professional makeup artist there by 1) Standing in the middle of the room and yelling out how to apply mascara, 2) Followed by more yelling about how to remove mascara, and 3) Culminating in bringing her model around to show off why her model’s mascara looks better than everyone else’s (“The secret’s in the mascara application.”) See what I mean when I say that we should just start calling it “smarmy know-it-all” instead?
Here’s something I’ve learned over the years — if the words, “Explain to me,” “Show me,” “Teach me,” or “In your opinion, what would you do?” aren’t explicitly stated, then don’t offer any words. “I’m so excited to start my new job next week!” does not translate to “Spare me no mercy when giving me your brutally honest opinion of my career path. I’d much rather weep than enjoy myself at my own dinner party.” Simply by listening and offering support and words of encouragement are all that is necessary to being a good conversationalist. Because as much as you may think everyone is just dying to hear your expert opinion on doggie bags, believe me, they’re not.
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