Last week I had the ~privilege~ of a guy not just not explaining to me what I was already doing, but then had the honor of him showing me how to do it. And doing it wrong.
I was using a power tool while disassembling a set and this was not my first rodeo with using drills. Another person and I were working on this one platform and we both had done the sides of it when this guy comes over and asks if he could help me. I said I was fine and that I’ve done it before. He insists that he do it and it had been a long day so I was not ready for a fight. So, I give him the drill and he then starts trying to use it to unscrew the screw in the wood. For at least 2 minutes, we both stand there and he cannot do it. I ask politely for it back because I want to finish it and go home and in the amount of time he struggled with one screw, I got 4 out. He came across very arrogant and acted like I had no idea what I was doing, even though I just had been working for 20 minutes. It’s like because I am a woman, and tools and construction are normally seen as being male territory, it was assumed that I had no idea what I was doing.
I’m not telling this story to say that I’m better than this dude, but it was very clear that I knew what I was doing from the fact that this was twenty-five minutes into when we started. But if you are going to come over and try to mansplain to me, at least be able to do it.
So, I then started thinking back to some other conversations I have had with males and realized that I have had guys explain and argue things with me that I obviously knew what I was talking about.
I went on a date with a guy who I already had a weird feeling about but went anyway, and in the beginning it was better than I thought. He then asked what I was doing at school and I said I recently joined a sorority. He looked surprised and said that I did not seem like the drinking and partying type. I explained that sororities can be more than partying and going out and he flat out said no. Something that I was in and a part of did not matter to him because we went on for 5 minutes stating how sorority girls were only partiers and about drinking.
This is not an attack on men, I have a brother and guy friends who very rarely do this, and I can even catch myself overexplaining things at times. Mansplaining has happened countless times to countless women. The assumption that because we are women and gender stereotypes are still ingrained into society, certain areas, women are “not” supposed to know anything. It’s a double standard. When women talk about “male” things, we are treated like what we said is not true, but when men talk about “women” things, they are seen as progressive and being open minded.
I felt like I was supposed to be a damsel in distress who needed a man to come and save me from having to do a stereotypical male job where they are supposed to know more than women. Maybe his ego was hurt because he saw a woman doing something he thought a man should be doing. Maybe he thought that since a woman is doing it, he definitely should be able to do it.
The concept of masculinity and how men should stay in their typical societal path and women should stay in theirs, is a concept we need to leave behind. Not to throw out the “it’s 2019” card, but it is. Women have fought too hard and too long to still be seen as dainty little flowers who cannot do anything a man could do. When men take it upon themselves to try and explain something to me when I clearly did not ask, most times, they have been wrong. Women are strong, and amazing, and talented to do so many things; and it’s time the rest of the world starts seeing it.