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In 2008, author Rebecca Solnit's now famous essay, Men Explain Things to Me, set off a firestorm.
Though Solnit didn't use the term "mansplaining," the essay is credited with birthing the term that's now part of regular parlance. Women (and other underrepresented groups such as people of colour and non-binary people) had finally found a way to articulate that phenomenon they routinely experienced, particularly at work.
Men - Need - Something - Woman - Woman
Men feel the need to explain something to a woman, even if the woman hasn't asked for an explanation and often pertaining to something that's directly in the woman's area of expertise and not at all in the man's. Or when the topic is about a woman's own experience and the man wants to explain her experience to her.
Even women who are famous for their mastery of a domain find themselves being mansplained.
Sallie - Krawcheck - CEO - Wealth - Management
Sallie Krawcheck, a former CEO of wealth management at Citibank and before that the CEO of Smith Barney investment advisers, says that venture capitalists interested in her new financial investment venture Ellevest mansplained financial advising to her.
We all have our own stories. Most women I know just roll their eyes knowingly when asked about mansplaining. Most of us experience it so often that we aren't always even conscious it is happening.
Note, as Solnit does, that "mansplaining is not a universal flaw of the male gender, just the intersection between overconfidence and cluelessness where some portion of that gender gets stuck."
Term - Research - Feeling - Fact - Feeling
But the mansplaining term has stuck. And research demonstrates that the feeling of being mansplained is, in fact, not just a feeling.
Studies show that in meetings, men speak more, and more powerful men speak even more. Men interrupt more, and are less likely than women to cede the floor when they are interrupted. Women worry (correctly) that if they fight to get their voices heard,...
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