Most, if not all, women know the moment. You're going along, having a fine time in your day, discussing things like regular human beings do. You happen to be near a man, and then he gets that glint in his eye. He's gearing up. You know what's coming. Suddenly, you hear it: "Well, actually..."
The Mansplainer has arrived. Certain types of dudes just LOVE to explain things about women, to women, especially when they're totally and 100% wrong! The arrogance is strong with these ones. Thankfully for those of us who'd rather experience our mansplaining secondhand, there's mansplained.tumblr.com, an excellent collection of submissions where women have come clean about the times when men have tried – and failed – to explain women's issues to women without at all being asked.
15 Your Bodies Are Made For It
One user writes of a super gross dude who decided to voice his opinion about what women are good for in the middle of an otherwise perfectly pleasant conversation.
“While in a group of three other women and one man we discussed whether or not children were in the picture in our futures.
I said I didn’t want kids, for many serious reasons, but then on the end I half-jokingly added I was too big of a wimp to handle childbirth regardless.
The man looked at me, dead-pan, and said, 'Women who are afraid of the pain of childbirth are cowards. Women have been doing it for generations, you’re built for it and meant for it.'"
Thanks so much for your expert, completely misogynistic, opinion, you dimwitted dweeb. May you one day wake up in an alternate reality where men are forced to have babies and women can run their mouths about how you should stop being such a coward about it. God forbid you actually convince someone to date you. We totally shudder for that unlucky lady.
14 "I Know A Woman's Body Better Than You Do"
This submission very unfortunately comes to us from somebody's actual husband. Like, the person they chose to spend the rest of their life with.
“I’ve been having trouble in the sack, lately, but I think it has mainly to do with the fact that my husband, who is otherwise an amazing and wonderful man that is always on the forefront of feminist movements, tells me this when I say that I’m pretty sure that I’m torn.. ahem.. down there. 'No, darling, you’re just imagining it. The pain isn’t really physical. Look, I know a woman’s body better than you do. This is just psychological. You need to just think the pain doesn’t exist… and all of this will be fine.'
The pain really does exist. There is a tear. I do know my body better than a person who isn’t in my body and better than a person who doesn’t even know what it’s like to be in my body (i.e. not another woman).
Mainsplained by own husband. I took him to my gynaecologist for a good talking to.”
13 "You've Really Just Got To Learn To Take Care of Yourself"
This one is just sad. SMDH.
"When I was 16, my boyfriend was a college undergrad who had just turned 21. A bit of an age difference, but we were quite evenly matched in things like knowledge, intellect, emotional maturity, and sexual experience.
Before this, I had dealt with some medical issues that later turned out to be symptoms of an immunological disorder. I had frequently been on antibiotics, which made me prone to vaginal yeast infections.
Some of these were so bad that they left some scarring on my vulva. Nothing too noticeable, but the tissue is easily irritated by rubbing or friction of any kind.
One afternoon, my boyfriend is going down on me and sees a slightly irritated scar. He stops and asks about it (okay, fair), so I begin to explain this sensitive topic. As soon as the words “yeast infection” come out of my mouth, he cuts me off and proceeds to give me a Puberty 101 lecture about hygiene. He points out that he could have contracted a yeast infection as well, but obviously he is really just concerned for my health, as he ends his lecture with, 'You’ve just really got to learn to take care of yourself.'
Right. I am mature enough to deal with a complicated immunological disorder and to have sex with you, but clearly, I don’t know enough to wipe from front to back."
12 Camping Ridiculousness
I feel like we've all been here at some point, unfortunately.
"I went on a camping trip with a group of friends when we were about 20 years old, and I was tenting up with my then-boyfriend. I had my period at the time, and the campsite had no flush toilets, so most of us had taken to using the bushes. At one point, I excused myself to go pee, but my boyfriend grabbed my arm to stop me – king of tact, he said (rather boastingly), “but you can’t pee in the bushes, you have your period!"
"What’s your point?” I replied.
“Isn’t it a pain to have to take out your tampon in the bushes every time you have to pee?!”
His guy friends seconded his protest. A group of 20-something boys ALL thought that the hole you put the tampon in is the same hole you pee out of. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate his precious mansplaining about my anatomy."
11 Paging Dr. Misogyny
This account is an example of many on the site where doctors, actual medical doctors, decide to mansplain to their patients instead of, you know, treating them. Super infuriating.
"I have bipolar disorder. While I have had some difficult years, I have been well for some time now. Recently, I went to see a new doctor for a sinus infection, and because I hadn’t seen him before he had to take a medical history for me. After explaining my illness, my meds, my other self-care strategies, I waited for his next question.
'How old are your children?'
'Oh, I don’t have any children.'
He sat back, and said, 'You must have children. You have had mental problems because you are not fulfilled as a woman. You have a husband but not children to care for and that is the source of your illness.'
I explained carefully that I was not going to have children but he must have misinterpreted me..
'I know that you are older [I am 40] but you can still adopt. When you are ready ask me for a referral and I will ensure you receive a child'
Putting aside the somewhat creepy manner in which he was suggesting I obtain a child, I couldn’t believe it was so simple! 20 years of mental illness and if I had just popped out a baby during that time it could have been all sorted."
10 Mansplained by the Sea
Yet another example of classic mansplainers not really grasping how the whole "not explaining things to women about their own bodies" thing works:
"Last week, my friends and I were on holiday at the sea. We’re going to college together (age 20-30). Our house had a small swimming pool, so we would go swimming each evening. One of my male best friends had a bag packed with everything you could only imagine to need, such as bandaids, pain meds, lighters etc., so one of the girls asked him if he’d put a tampon in it. He had. We were sitting with another guy.
'So,' my male friend said. 'You’re on your period?'
'Yeah,' she said. Because, duh.
'Well,' he said. 'A pity you can’t come swimming.'
Him and the other guy started laughing. When the girl and I, puzzled, wanted to know what was so funny, they explained to us: 'You know, when you’re on your period, you can’t go swimming. Your tampon will swell.' And the other guy turned to me because I snorted in disbelief, spilling my drink everywhere, and said: 'Well, have you ever worn a tampon?'
It was comical. We sat there, thunderstruck, listening to two guys explaining to us, girls, how not only could we not swim with a tampon, but how they imagined wearing a tampon felt, and how they couldn’t understand why women couldn’t just take pain meds because the cramps would 'go away instantly, why the fuss?' Needless to say, once they had finished their little explanation, we had a good laugh and kindly explained to them what Mansplaining is and why they had just delivered the most ridiculous example one could imagine.
When we had dinner, we retold our little conversation to our other friends and altogether had a really good laugh – the two Mansplainers sat embarrassed and ashamed."
9 "Homophobia Isn't Real Because Nobody's Homophobic To Me"
This one is just a straight up ragequit. Some people are garbage.
"I was at a dinner party a few weeks ago with a bunch of random friends. The conversation turned to some people I thought had been homophobic toward me. A straight man at the table said he didn’t think they had been homophobic. I told him that it might not have been obvious to him but to me it was loud and clear as I put up with it every day, so I know when it is happening, albeit subtly. He again denied that it happened. He then said, 'homophobia doesn’t happen.' I didn’t quite know how to react. This then progressed in to a situation where he demanded that I tell him when I have experienced homophobia. 'You see,' he mansplained to me, 'I never see homophobia.' I responded by saying, 'that’s because you are straight.' Still unconvinced, he said, 'why don’t you talk about it more then?' You see, obviously I am lying or I would always reveal to everyone painful moments of discrimination. I couldn’t possibly spend my life trying to ignore them. His logic was that because he isn’t homophobic (yes, he said that) I should be comfortable telling him these details. The conversation ended with me leaving the room defeated after he had apologized by saying, 'I’m sorry you took offense [see what he did there?] I just don’t see it so it’s hard to believe it happens.'
To top it off, I had to quit my job a few days earlier due to a horrible incident of homophobia at my workplace, and yes, he knew the whole story."
8 Med School Mansplain
This story literally has a guy so sure about his (incorrect) anatomical information that he won't consult, you know, the actual person with that anatomy.
"I am a second-year undergraduate medical student at a well respected university. In an anatomy tutorial about the urethra and catheterisation (putting a tube connected to a bag in people’s peehole when they can’t pee adequately) a male acquaintance exclaimed that men were so unlucky because it would be so painful for them (the process is usually done with only an anaesthetic lube).
I said that it would be painful for women also, even though our urethra is shorter, it’s still hard to get a tube up there! To this he replied; ‘um no, the hole is huge, I mean, you can fit a dick in there!’ When I tried to explain that he was confusing the urethra with the vagina he wouldn’t believe me. So I told him that as a woman, I thought I had some knowledge of my own anatomy. Plus how did he think women could pee with a tampon in? When he actually looked it up he just stared at me blankly while simply saying 'Oh. You’re right.’ As if because I am a woman (with both a vagina and a urethra) he was surprised that I could possibly KNOW HOW I PEE."
7 It'll Be Fine
One more example of a dude not at all trusting that WOMEN KNOW THEIR OWN BODIES:
"My ex boyfriend once grabbed a bottle of scented hand lotion and used it as lube during sex without me noticing. As soon as I realized what he’d done I freaked out and told him that he couldn’t do that and that it was incredibly unhealthy for my vagina. He told me I was overreacting and that it was fine and when I persisted he told me that he’d had way more contact with vaginas than I did (due to having sex with a number of cis women) and therefore knew more about vaginas than I did.
Apparently living my entire life with my vagina makes me less of an expert on my own body than him. And then when I had a terrible reaction to the lotion and ended up with a vaginal infection because of it he said it must have been something else because it just couldn’t have been the lotion."
6 Women Who Don't Want Kids = Abused or Mentally Ill
Online dating can be a nightmare, particularly because, as this woman found out, it is absolutely rife with mansplaining:
"I’m female, in my late 20s, and single. In my online dating profile, I make it clear that I do not want children, but am looking for a serious, potentially long term relationship and not casual sex or anything similar.
I recently noticed that someone had been repeatedly looking at my profile, but had not messaged me, so I sent him a short note. He responded fairly quickly, stating that he had been looking through my profile, but that he wants children, so my not wanting them made me 'not long term material.' Fine. Except he then suggested we get drinks to see if there was any chemistry because he was open to casual sex with me.
I responded that I’m not looking for or interested in casual sex and reiterated that not wanting children doesn’t mean that I don’t want a long term relationship, and that I’ve personally found that casual sex gets in the way. I then wished him luck in finding who he was looking for.
He responded, telling me that I was going to have a hard time finding men who want a long term relationship without children because people who don’t want kids were either horribly abused themselves or have severe 'psychological damage.' He then suggested that I consider dating men in their 50s or 60s (my parents’ age) who are done having children.
At no point had I asked for his opinion on my choices or for any dating advice. But apparently I just don’t understand that it’s totally unreasonable for me to expect to find men around my age who are open to relationships and don’t want children."
5 I Know How Sex Works for You
A certain type of dude REALLY likes making generalizations about women and their sex life, leading directly to mansplaining to any dissenters, as explained by this submission:
"I was sitting around with some male acquaintances at university when they started talking about sex. One guy, who studies medicine (as do I) said, ‘Every girl gets more awake after an orgasm. Guys always fall asleep but girls just get randier.’
I tried to tell them that was complete bollocks, partly due to my own experience and partly because I know that there is a refractory period afterwards where various hormones are released making one feel relaxed.
They then proceeded to talk about how Mr Medic must be correct because on an evolutionary basis the guy only needs to fertilize one woman and then he’s done his job, whereas she would need to go around and get 'more seed.’
I don’t know what annoys me more; that they ignored my first hand account and the science we’d been taught on our course or that they seemed to have the biology of the male and female role backwards.
My comeback came to me hours afterwards: 'If all the girls you’ve slept with were more randy afterwards, they clearly weren’t finished and were probably looking for satisfaction elsewhere.'
4 What It's Really Like
This submission is one of the worst, most infuriating examples of mansplaining we’ve seen so far:
"Today an acquaintance said that he would teach his sons to treat women like goddesses. I told him that women aren’t goddesses but just your regular run of the mill people with flaws and antics and histories. He then said that no 'lady' ever has a true flaw and proceeded to explain to me what life is really like for a woman in the real world. I have nearly three decades worth of experience of being a woman in the real world.If that isn’t the definition of mansplaining I don’t know what is."
So let me get this straight. Step One: You condescend to all women by treating them like weird abstract objects for you to treasure and not as, you know, whole actual humans. Step Two: An actual woman calls you out on it. Step Three: Mansplain to that woman that she is not a “lady” and explain to her own experiences to her. Smdh.
3 The LiberalBro Mansplainer
Not all mansplaining comes from conservative douches. Some mansplainers really think they're being progressive by teaching woman allll about the ways they could be more feminist.
"My friend and I had made a friend through some humanist organization in town. We’d already become quite tired of his 'professional atheism' because, despite both being atheists, we didn’t quite understand the need to treat it like a religion. He certainly tried to mansplain that to us, but it was boring.
Anywho, my friend is a big fan of weird nail polish applications and had recently been doing some water marbling method. She is a web developer who works from home so she has time for these things. She was showing off her nails to all of us in the coffee shop when our helpful man friend chimed in to let her know that her choice to paint her nails was a mechanism of her own oppression. As we sat agape, he went on to mansplain how all of these fanciful things that we do for our own amusement are actually the yoke of patriarchy keeping us down.
We didn’t respond much at the time, but when the same man texted me a few days later to ask me out, I explained to him that I didn’t date patronizing men. He went on to call me 'dear' while defending his nail polish stance in terms that was less murky so my ladybrain could process it. So nice to have such a great feminist advocate on our side!"
2 Sexism Isn't Real
One of the most infuriating things in the world is a mansplainer (or whitesplainer, or richsplainer for that matter) who refuses to acknowledge the existence of systemic injustice because they “haven’t experienced it.” Dude, do you even understand the meaning of the word you’re using?! You WOULDN’T see sexism, because you’re, wait for it, A MAN! And to be honest, proooobably a sexist.
"I am a mechanical engineer and I recently had a conversation with a man who was a manager of mine in a previous job. He asked me, 'Why don’t more women get into engineering, anyway? I mean, it’s not as if there is a problem with sexism anymore.' I was very surprised by this assessment and offered a few examples from my experiences. Then he explained that my interpretation of my experiences was wrong and did not explain why women would not want to work in engineering."
1 This Is Your Body!
In another example of medical mansplaining, a doctor thinks a grown woman with full knowledge of her own medical history is a little girl who has no idea what her body does, and then assumes that she'll have kids no matter what she says now. (Spoiler Alert: It's that she doesn't want kids.)
"I have suffered from endometriosis for the past decade. My doctor had exhausted every treatment option but hysterectomy, but he wanted to send me to a doctor who was would be more aware of whether or not any new treatments had been developed.
The visit with the new doctor began with a drawing of the female reproductive organs. He then started by saying: 'These are your ovaries, this is where eggs grow. This is your uterus, this is where the baby grows.' When I told him I knew that (everyone who took high school health knows this), he got angry and yelled at me to be quiet, HE was the doctor, after all.
He then explained endometriosis to me. While I understand that he is the expert and I’m not, I’ve suffered from this condition for 10 years, so if your explanation does not contain any information that can’t be found on the Wikipedia page for the condition, it’s safe to assume that I, or any long-term sufferer of said condition already knows the information you are presenting.
Then he offered a reinterpretation of his purpose: he was not, as my doctor had suggested, confirming that everything had been done before, doing something as drastic as hysterectomy – he was going to make sure that I was able to have children someday. I told him that I did not want to have children, that I never have, to which he replied, again practically yelling at me, 'That’s what you say you want!'"