Wednesday, May 11, 2016

3 Simple Ways to Combat Mansplaining in the Workplace

Mansplaining is a portmanteau of the words man and explaining. It is when a man explains something to a woman in a condescending or patronizing manner.

Most incidents of mansplaining takes place at work. This is particularly frustrating due to the codes of conduct most companies have in place. When mansplaining happens at a social gathering, a woman is free to speak her mind without fear of losing her income or feeling the glass ceiling fall even lower than it was before. To put it simply, a woman can clapback at a mansplainer at the family barbeque but not at the office. Here are three simple ways to clapback without backlash at your job.

1. "Don't interrupt me. It's unprofessional."

This is one has been the most successful for me. It has resulted in me being treated more like a supervisor than a subordinate, by my own supervisor. The reason is the buzzword "unprofessional". No one, especially not a misogynist, wants to be called unprofessional. A chauvinistic male operates under the belief that he is inherently more professional and intelligent than his female equal. To infer that he is being unprofessional immediately puts an end to their interruption, mid sentence in fact. This also effects those around you. People will become more respectful about interrupting someone because they don't want to be the unprofessional one. Sometimes interruptions are necessary, but there is a polite way to do it. People will realize that because of you, and your workplace will improve in respect to mansplaining.

2. Remove emotions from the situation.

Male chauvinists believe that women are too emotional. They think that we take everything personally. Any disagreement with them must be an emotional outburst, as far as they are concerned. So let's dumb it down for them. Instead of saying words like rude, disrespectful, or inconsiderate, use words like unprofessional for the reasons stated above. A phrase that often works for me is, "Your behavior is inconducive to our company's core values".  This is highly effective because the person must stop what he is doing to evaluate your statement. What are the company's core values? Which ones am I violating? Imaging the impact this statement has when members of your corporate departments are present. What image is he creating for the company or organization by being rude and disrespectful? Essentially, you're telling the person they are being rude and disrespectful without using those exact words. Why do we need to avoid those words? It's simple, emotion.

The determination of someone's rudeness is based upon your opinion. Opinion involves emotion. For you to ascertain that someone is rude, you would have to feel insulted or offended. This also involves emotion. Telling a male chauvinist that he is rude or disrespectful will cause him to dismiss anything you say as a gusher of emotion not worth his time or acknowledgment. So, keep your objections emotionless, factual, and refer to the company's mission statement and core values for support.

3. Womansplain

Yes, womansplaining is a thing, but what man would bravely admit to it? It is essentially the same as mansplaining with a mere gender role reversal. Once at a business meeting a man interrupted me to mansplain. I was feeling petty so I responded, "Woa, someone didn't make par at the golf course this weekend." It was rude, disrespectful, and condescending. Everyone in the room laughed. Immediately this man had to make a decision. Would he become the overly sensitive person he once accused me of being and complain about my comment? Or would he call me out on my behavior in one of the other two ways I have previously suggested? He chose to become emotional. He went on about how great his golf game was and attempted to get back to his mansplaining. But as I said before, I was feeling petty. So I womansplained him again. "Easy there. There's no need to be so emotional. Calm down." He was livid. He called a meeting with my supervisor for sexual harassment. There was only one problem, He had done the same thing unchecked almost every single day to every woman in the office. So, my supervisor informed him that he would pursue a vigorous investigation and ensure that everyone who was found in violation of the policy would be disciplined. He opted out of the complaint and a truce was called in that meeting. He had a more difficult time changing his behavior. I, on the other hand, became Wonder Woman at the office.

Male or Female, no one likes to be interrupted. No one likes to be disrespected or stereotyped for any reason, including gender. So don't assume that all men are sexist and that woman are not at all sexist. Standing up for yourself is quite effective, as is standing up for others. This includes a person of the opposite gender. If each one of us makes an effort to create an environment of respect, we will all spend less time dreading our work days.

No comments:

Post a Comment