Think you’re NOT a mansplainer? Fear not! You, too, can be painfully condescending to women without even knowing it! Just follow this easy how-to and you’ll be smirking with smug satisfaction in no time as dozens of hysterical female commenters follow you around the internet.
Scenario: You’ve just read a blog post written by a woman you’ve never heard of and you find her viewpoint to be different from yours. (I know, I know, bitches be crazy.)
First: Call her by her first name.
Despite that you have no knowledge of or rapport with this woman, please call her by her first name before launching into the reasons she’s wrong. This helps establish that you are leading the discussion and, hey, you’re a nice guy.
This is especially neat if you never EVER refer to male authors by their first name.
Next: State your opinion as fact.
Present your opinion as though it is the correct one, period. That doesn’t mean you should just make shit up (because women can fact-find, it turns out), but do not ever use language that suggests you are offering refutable points. When responding to a woman, avoid phrases like “I think…” “it seems to me…” “in my opinion…”
Third: Respond as though her facts are opinions.
Just because she’s put together a well researched article or posted something about her real-life experiences doesn’t mean you draw the same conclusions. Her “spin” on facts is just as valid as yours. Actually, probably less so. Because never forget: she is seeing it through the eyes of a woman, and that is blinding her to how things actually operate. Even if you’ve never read any of the pieces she’s mentioned or spent a single moment as a woman, your opinion on her experiences are always warranted.
Fourth: Be sure to let her know what you think of her.
If women didn’t want your input, they wouldn’t post public pieces. And because they are posting publicly, they are holding themselves up for you to evaluate. If you find yourself agreeing* with a woman, for example, you should always tell her so, and in declarative statements. She should know that you have decided her points are valid.
*Yes! Mansplaining also works when you agree with a woman!
However (and this is key) you are not limited to evaluating her content. Beyond what a woman is saying, it’s often rewarding to remark on how she is saying it. Consider offering evaluative commentary on:
Her tone of voice
Her choice of phrasing
Her ability to hold your interest
Whether or not she is funny
How she looks (hey, if she was brazen enough to post a picture of herself, she must have expected feedback on it)
Fifth: Make assumptions about her with impunity. Especially about her age and experience.
There are many possible reasons a woman posting online may have a viewpoint different from yours. Take a look again at her picture. Does she look younger than you? Probably she just doesn’t have enough experience. Does she look older than you? Probably she is out of touch. Does she look…not so smart? You probably went to a better school than she did and/or have read WAY more on whatever subject she’s on about. You have good reason for assuming how it is you know better, and you may as well share it.
Now, if she’s really pretty, you have a bit of a problem. Sure, her good looks have probably allowed her to think she can say whatever she wants because no guy contradicts her in real life (because he wants to sleep with her). But if you come out and say that, you are crossing over from mansplaining into straight-up chauvinism (if not misogyny). You’re not THAT guy. So, don’t mention how pretty she is. Instead, speak to her as though you’ve been connected in a dating app. Use innuendo and flirtatious language to make sure she knows you’d never let a thing like her being wrong get in the way of your wanting to get in her pants.
Lastly: If a woman calls you out for any of the above behaviors, call her out for being overly sensitive.
Women are just ridiculously sensitive, amirite? You’re not the guy who tells women to smile because you’re a misogynist! You’re the guy who asks them to smile, kindly, because women are lovely and you don’t want them to look sad. You’re just being nice. You’re just being helpful. You’re just trying to demonstrate that you are right and, honestly, you just know more than she does (whoever she is).
When a woman suggests you’re being a condescending asshole, she doesn’t have any idea what she’s talking about. She is weak and can’t handle a dissenting opinion. She is defensive because she’s wrong. She thinks all men who disagree with her are lady-haters, when nothing could be further than the truth. If you hated women, would you have even bothered to read the piece in the first place?
Women should appreciate not just that you’re reading their words, but that you’re going so far as to comment on them. You’re basically doing them a favor.
And when you fully realize the extent to which you’re due gratitude for your commentary, when you fully embrace how important it is for you to offer your voice to her words, THAT is when you will have mastered the art of mansplaining.
I mean, thank you.
Published March 9, 2016
This post originally appeared on Medium.
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