Have you ever found yourself trying to make a point in a meeting and were unceremoniously shut down by an over-confident, condescending male colleague? If yes, then you, my friend, have just been added to the long list of mansplaining victims.
The word “mansplaining” might have recently surfaced, but women have been on the receiving end of this patronizing behavior for the longest time. From homes to workplaces – women encounter mansplaining every day and in every sphere of their lives. While you may decide to ignore it at times, chances are, it will happen again …and again. So, the next time you’re faced with it, put your foot down and learn to shut down mansplainers because it is time to turn the tables.
How, you ask? Well, here are 5 useful ways to deal with mansplaining at work:
1. Speak Up
We wonder what gives men the authority and confidence to believe they know better. All we know is that if you don’t speak up, you will forever be mansplained. By ignoring it and letting it take its own course, you are calling it upon yourself.
So, when someone interjects, decides to speak over you, or impolitely dismisses you, put your point across more strongly. Be persistent and speak louder if you need to because chances are they won’t get the point until it is drilled into their heads.
Do this every time you are silenced and hope that the men in the room get the point! It’s a pity we women have to try extra hard to stand out but better late than never, right?
2. Use Humor
Humor is always a great tool to deal with conflict and uncomfortable situations because it relieves tension and lets you make your point at the same time. Make a joke or two about mansplaining and let the mansplainers in the room go figure.
Remember that losing your cool over these things is not worth your energy so you’re better off using humor and sarcasm to highlight the elephant in the room instead. If nothing, that should make people seriously think about mansplaining.
3. Challenge Them
Picture this – you are part of a brainstorming session, and when you finally get down to making a point, your overly enthusiastic male colleague decides to interrupt to ridicule your viewpoint and ‘educate’ you on what your approach should be. Infuriating, isn’t it?
At times like this, take a strong stand and refuse to take these things lying down. Challenge the mansplainer right up and see what he has to say. A lot of times, men have the habit of blurting out things just because they can.
Pinning him down and making a rational point will make him think twice before repeating the same in future. By doing this, you not only deal with him but also give out signals to all the other ‘potential’ mansplainers in the room.
If you have tried everything and are still unable to see a change in behavior, it is time to show them the mirror. Confront the mansplainers in the room and politely explain why their patronizing behavior bothers you.
Chances are, they are oblivious of their mansplaining ways. While some will take your word for it and make a conscious effort to change, there will be those who will revolt and mansplain you on mansplaining! So be prepared.
5. Support Other Women
Even if you have garnered the confidence to shut down mansplainers, your other female colleagues might still be grappling with the same. So, whenever you witness another woman getting mansplained, stand up for her and show your support. This will instill confidence in her and help her stand up for herself going forward.
There are enough and more people trying to bring each other down in the workplace so be the woman who supports, encourages, and lifts her colleagues.
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