5 Ways to Shut Down Mansplaining at the Office
Categories: Work

5 Ways to Shut Down Mansplaining at the Office

Things you should worry about at the office: figuring out how to advance your career, recovering from a sick day, and proving to your boss you’re in it for the long haul. Things you absolutely should not worry about at the office: male counterparts bringing you down with one of the oldest tricks in the sexist playbook, mansplaining. We’ve all seen it. A man, who probably has less expertise than the woman he’s talking to, gives an unnecessarily condescending explanation of an issue, theory, technology, or other concept to a woman. Since no one, and we mean no one, has time for that, we caught up with Rita Sever, a former HR director and consultant at Supervision Matters, to give us five tips to shut it down.

1. Plan ahead of time. Sometimes the best offense is a great defense, so knowing that mansplaining will, unfortunately, probably come up at some point will help keep you from getting caught off guard. Sever suggests that we come up with a key phrase like “I can speak for myself” or “got this” that we can state whenever we sense mansplaining is going down.

2. Practice strength in numbers. “Use a staff meeting to describe the phenomenon, in a playful way, using video clips like this hilarious one from Scary Mommy and then, as a team, devise a way to fight the mansplaining virus together,” suggests Sever.

3. Find an ally. Sometimes, it takes an outside force to enact change. Sever suggests asking other people to call the culprit out “so it is not just you sounding the whistle every time it happens.”

4. Move on. Sometimes the best solution is to walk past your haters and move on with your day. “Simply say something like, ‘I need to make a call. See you later,’” says Sever.

5. Have a serious talk. “Explain that you are committed to working cooperatively, and show him how his behavior is undermining that. Offer an objective description of what he does with no interpretations in the description,” says Sever. She adds, “This will help clarify the impact of his mansplaining on your work and common goals. Then make a clear request about how you want his communication style to change.”

Tweet us how you say boy, bye to mansplaining at the office @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)