This morning someone sent me this Tweet.
And I stared at it for a few minutes, a little bit in awe, because this was the most perfect example of mansplaining I’d seen in a while. And perfection is something to marvel at if you think about it.
It doesn’t matter what we were talking about (something pretty boring about blogging platforms.) It doesn’t even matter what was said, or who was right or wrong. I think it’s pretty clear we both think we’re were right.
And seriously, who has a Twitter argument if they don’t think they’re right?
What matters is how completely he shut me down and the way he did it. I imagine that he was pretty pleased with himself, like the dude in the picture.
Here’s my breakdown of this specimen of mansplaining.
A) Twitter Dude is explaining my own critical thinking to me.
B) He’s graciously acknowledging that he’s not entitled to ask me to engage in critical thinking. In the same breath, he’s suggesting that he’s been asking me to do just that, but I’ve been unwilling to comply.
C) He’s suggesting that if I do not agree with him, there’s something wrong with my critical thinking skills.
D) The only responses left to me are to either agree-to-disagree or go on the defensive and argue with him about my own thinking.
E) His message to me assumes, completely, that he’s right. There is no room for argument. I’m too stupid to know that I’m wrong. And he doesn’t want to be bothered with me anymore anyway.
I understand why the term ‘mansplaining’ irritates some men. It’s generalizing. It assumes that all men talk to women this way. I don’t use the term myself very often.
But it happens. It definitely happens.
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.