You Don’t Need to Be a Man to Mansplain

Last week I was asked to review a report with Simon, a senior leader in an organization where I consult. I have met with Simon before and I appreciate his thoroughness, his concern for the organization, and his analytical brain.

Simon and I started out the video chat with pleasantries, and then he started to review the report, sharing his screen. I tried to let him know that I had already read the entire report and that I had highlighted questions to discuss, but he kept talking. I got louder. He didn’t respond. I stood up, he didn’t notice. I waved, he continued.

I thought, “He will notice soon that I am not responding.” Reminder: This wasn’t a big presentation with a virtual room full of attendees, there were just the two of us in this meeting. Then I thought, “It won’t be too long before he notices he can’t hear me.”

Simon continued, without noticing that I wasn’t responding, for 43 minutes, without the slightest pause. I cleaned my entire desk area and wrote this blog while Simon read to me and explained.  

When Simon finally noticed that he couldn’t hear me he took one look at his ear bud and voila — he could hear me again. At this point, we didn’t have much time left and I didn’t have the patience needed to have a worthwhile discussion.

So, what is mansplaining exactly, and how do you know if you do it? This article, written by a man, says it all: How to Tell if You’re Mansplaining

How can you, regardless of your gender, make sure that you catch yourself before mansplaining happens?

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January 26, 2016

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