Where do mansplainers get their water?
From a well, actually
If you identify as a woman and currently exist in anywhere other than a remote uninhabited island, I’m sure you’re well aware of the persistent and frustrating interruptions we all experience when trying to be heard in the company of men. The terms “mansplaining” and “manterrupting” have become commonplace and practically pop culture with the rise of recent feminist movements, which seek to promote gender equality in society.
mansplaining: When a man speaks condescendingly to a woman on a matter he believes her to be ignorant of, when in fact his own knowledge of the subject is materially incomplete. The possibility that she may know more about the subject than he does is one that the mansplainer cannot fathom.
manterrupting: When a woman is interrupted by a man and naturally realizes the only possible reason for this could be gender discrimination.
In fact, a new app was recently developed which counts how many times a woman is interrupted by a man. It’s goal is to promote “equal voices” by reducing “manterrupting.” Using the microphone on your device, the app detects whenever a male voice interrupts you (for female users) and whenever you interrupt a female voice (male users). According to a study by George Washington University based on conversations between men and women “when speaking with a female, participants interrupted more and used more dependent clauses than when speaking with a male” which basically means finishing their sentences for them. The app was released on International Women’s Day, a celebration of women everywhere and a declaration of power against patriarchy!
However, what is actually being done to promote real change? Mansplaining and manterrupting have become buzzwords, easily brushed off by those who think feminists are overly sensitive. We’re becoming more and more aware of the issue and when it happens to us or other women, but are we doing anything to call it out? To change the dialogue?
In light of this new app, the marketers decided to team up with female artists on a project call “We Won’t Be Silenced.” Many of the female artists that collaborate with XConfessions depict images of powerful women, standing up to social norms and standards, like this illustration by Noelia Towers.
Isn’t it a little sad to let technology dictate sexism or gender inequality? Surely it sends a more powerful message to call out acts of silencing and discrimination when we see them. In a progressive society, men and women should be willing to take responsibility and learn. But of course, it’s not always that easy! I also think that putting these issues down to labels like “all men” interrupt “all women” is super cis-normative and generalised. But if you do need help in situations like these or find yourself constantly overshadowed in business meetings, I find interrupting back with phrases like “I’m so glad you agree with my idea, Bob” or “Thanks for reiterating my point so eloquently, Steve” can be pretty effective! Let’s try to look at the bigger picture here. We are still facing an uphill struggle towards gender equality. How can we make all of our voices not only heard, but viewed as valuable and indispensable, just as they should be? I can’t wait to live in a world where my crew can be made up of men and women, without the important roles and creativity of women being undervalued or stepped all over!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section! Your voice is important!