I can explain myself!
The habit of speaking up for women and belittling what they do or say is a sometimes unconscious form of male violence
Published: Wednesday 08 July 2020 | 12:10:47 am
By Mileyda Menéndez Dávila
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Let me shut up about your silence.
Have you noticed how many times a man explains to a woman or a girl something she already knows, often in an affected tone? That attitude is a type of micro-machismo that since 2008 is identified with the term “mansplaining” (its literal translation would be “macho-explanation”), and it is a typical [form of] gender violence, a patriarchal mechanism that takes away from the value of the female experience in order to silence it.
It can be an unconscious act, transmitted for centuries through diverse cultural channels. When it is brought to their attention, some revise their attitude and try to unlearn it.
WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN?
It can happen at home, at work or in any public place, to women of any age or social status:
You tell a story and he interrupts you because he thinks he can tell it better, even if it’s an experience of your own.
In a children’s fight, the boy is first asked to explain what happened and is held responsible for what the girl involved does or says.
Male health care workers downplaying female ailments
You propose to discuss a vital issue and you are stopped with a derogatory ¨no start with your stuff¨
A service provider disregards your opinion about the problem whose solution you are going to entrust to him
When you complain about the way they treat you, they ask you if you are ¨on your days¨
When arranging a payment or service you are asked if there is not a man in the family to represent you
Your colleagues reinterpret your ideas to present them as their own, without giving you credit
You are describing something and a man interrupts you to talk about another source ¨más importante¨, without acknowledging your expertise on the subject
They refer you to deepen your publications on a subject and they don’t even notice that they are yours
In a task of your responsibility, they ask someone of a lower professional level for his judgment because he is a man!
Anatomy of the macho-explicator:
Interrupts with intimidating or arrogant gestures
Explaina in a condescending or professorial tone
Raises his voice to cancel yours
Smile with irony and dismiss your demands for respect
He doesn’t look at you when he talks, he prefers to look at another man
If you criticize him, he establishes a hostile silence
Cut the chain:
To curb male chauvinism, you must first be aware that not because it’s often right
Let him know that you perceive that attitude as violence, and that even if it’s not intentional, it hurts
Stand firm when speaking, change your tone slightly and raise your voice if necessary so that you are not cut off
Defend your position with firm arguments, without apologizing for having your own viewpoint
If they insist on explaining the obvious to you, ask questions that will show how deep your knowledge is
Support other women when you see them being silenced, both at home and in public spaces