Go! Podcast

How to deal with a “mansplainer.”

Hello and happy Monday!

This is Susan Hyatt and it’s GO time.

81st episode in a series of GO mp3s to wake you up on your Monday morning and get you going.

The topic of today’s episode?

How to deal with a “mansplainer.” 

(Dun dun dunnnnn!)

Wanna read the full transcript? Here ya go:

If you’ve never heard the term “mansplaining” before, here’s a definition:

“Mansplaining” is when a man explains something to you in a manner that feels patronizing or condescending.

Like, when a man interrupts you when you’re working, studying, or minding your own business, because he has just GOT to share an unsolicited opinion with you.

Or when a man assumes that HE knows more about your own life than YOU do. Like HE knows what’s best for you. HE knows how you ought to workout, or run your business, or dress, or eat, etc. Even if he’s a complete stranger. Even if he doesn’t know the first thing about you!

If you’re a woman, I’ll bet that you’ve experienced mansplaining at least once in your life. For many ladies, it’s a daily occurrence, and it can be so annoying and insulting.

I actually did a podcast episode all about mansplaining a while ago, but this is such a pervasive issue in our culture, I decided, “I gotta do ANOTHER episode on this topic!”

I had a “mansplaining encounter” recently, and I’m really proud of how I handled it.

I’m going to share the story of what happened—and then after the story, I’ve got a couple of quick tips on what to do and say the next time YOU encounter a mansplainer. Because ladies… {spooky, whispery voice} they’re everywhere. 

So, a couple times a week, I meet my trainer Eli at the gym for a 30 minute weight session. Eli and I have been working out together for 6 years. He’s a hugely positive influence on my life. I totally love our workouts. They’re always a highlight of my week.

Anyway, after I do my 30 minute workout with Eli, I usually stay and do another 15-20 minutes of weights on my own. (We joke and call it my “extra credit.”)

Last week, while I’m doing my extra credit, an older man walks up to me and says,

“You know, it’s rare that I ever see anyone who works out with a trainer stay after and do MORE work.”

I smile and say, “I like to do extra. I love weights.” And I move along to my bicep curls.

A few minutes later, he comes up to me AGAIN and says, “You know, you don’t really need a trainer. I’ve been watching you, and you clearly know how to work out on your own. Why are you wasting your money on him? I think he’s slowing you down.”

What on earth? I thought to myself.

You’ve been “watching me”? First of all: ew. Second of all: double ew. Third of all, Mr. Random Gym Dude, YOU don’t get to tell me what I should do with my body, my time, or my money. 

Those are the thoughts that were going through my mind. At first, I didn’t say them aloud. But then I thought, Fuck that. I’m going to speak up. I’m going to let this guy know that he’s being totally inappropriate. 

I turned to him and said:

”Have you ever heard the term ‘mansplaining’? No? You should really look it up. It’s this thing men do to women. Like, when you assume that I couldn’t possibly know for myself if my trainer is worth it, or if what we’ve done together for the last 6 years is working for me, and I need a random guy who doesn’t know me to observe me for 10 minutes and tell me what to do. Like, when you assume that YOU know better what I should do with MY body than I know for myself.”

And I re-rack my bar and walk off.

About 10 minutes later, he walks over to the leg machine very sheepishly and says, “I am really sorry. I just Googled ‘mansplaining’ and I understand your point. I meant no offense.”

And I said, “Glad to hear it.”

Another mansplainer: reformed and reborn.

1 down. 2.99 billion to go. LOL.

So here’s the deal:

If a guy walks up to you at the gym, in the coffee shop, at the bank, airport, wherever, and starts giving you his unsolicited opinion on YOUR life, you don’t have to just smile, bat your eyelashes, and pray that he’ll go away soon. You can speak up—and you should. Because these guys need to understand that what they’re doing is not OK.

Here are a couple of things you can say to shut down a mansplainer.

If a man tries to give you unsolicited advice at the gym, you can say:

“I’m just fine over here, and I’d like to get back to my workout. Have a great day.”

If a man tries to give you unsolicited advice about your body, your weight, what you’re eating, or anything like that, you can say:

“That’s interesting. Are you a doctor?”

That will usually force the guy to admit that, uh, he’s NOT a doctor, and he probably has NO qualifications to be dispensing health and wellness advice.

If a man tries to give you unsolicited business advice, you can say:

“Actually, I’ve been running my own business for 5 years. I have a great team, and great mentors, and I talk to my customers regularly to see what they’d like me to create next. If I’m going to make any business changes, it’s going to be driven by my customers’ requests. But thanks for your input.”

If someone is being especially rude, and continually interrupting you, you can pull out the big guns and say:

“I would never presume to come into your office, or your personal space, or interrupt your workout, and tell YOU what I think you should do with YOUR body. So, I’d appreciate it if you’d grant me that same courtesy. Thanks.”

That will set him straight!

Or, if you need a quickie, you can just say:

“Hey. What you’re doing right now is called ‘mansplaining’ and it’s really not cool. Google it.”

If you’re thinking, “OOH! Those phrases are GOOD! I need to print those and put them in my wallet for mansplaining emergencies!” … you’re in luck! I always post a written transcript of every podcast episode, right beneath the audio player, so if you hop over to my website – SHYATT.COM – you can find a transcript of this episode with those phrases right there.

Go to SHYATT.COM, then click the tab that says BLOG, and you will always find my latest blog posts and podcast episode links and transcripts over there.

Good luck out there. Oh, and by the way, mansplaining isn’t always a male-gendered issue. Ladies do this, too! Not QUITE as often as men do, in my opinion, but we’re all guilty of delivering unsolicited advice, from time to time. It can be really tempting to chime in and tell someone what they ought to do, especially if you’re a coach, or a teacher, or just a bossy smarty-pants who knows a lot of things. You know, like me. LOL.

But you know what? Regardless of your gender, it’s always a good idea to check yo’self before you start spouting advice at someone who never asked for your opinion.

Let’s all just… do better.

That’s my lil’ sermon for today’s episode.

Get out there and have an amazing week.

It’s GO time.

Susan Hyatt

It's Time

No more waiting. No more covering up.

No more Shrinking. No more Hiding.

The BARE book is here! Order the book now or pre-order the audiobook read by Susan herself!