If you’re a woman who has ever interacted with a man, chances are you’ve been mansplained to. Hell, in all likelihood, you were mansplained to earlier today. You may have even been mansplained to just now when your BF asked you what you were reading and you told him you were reading an article about mansplaining.
It seems that no matter who are you or what you do, there’s no escaping the eye roll-inducing phenomenon of men talking condescendingly to women about things they may know little to nothing about. But when a guy with no publishing experience tried to mansplain writing to writer Lara B. Sharp, she took to Facebook to teach him a thing or two.
About a week ago, New York-based writer Sharp was hanging poolside, minding her own damn business, and catching up on some essential feminist reading (Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things To Me, ‘natch), when some random dude (who Lara later identifies as “John”) approached her and asked her what she was reading.
Him: What’s it called?
Me: Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit.
H: What’s it about?
M: It’s a book about how men explain things to women and…
H: Oh, so it’s a book about men mentoring women!
You hear that? That’s the sound of millions of women around the world smacking their foreheads in unison.
After repeatedly referring to Lara as “young lady” (each time, she reminds him she is 47 years old), the man made some blatantly sexist assumptions about her and her writing, including this gem of an exchange:
H: What do you do, young lady? Do you work, or have kids?
M: Umm, I write…
H: Who do you write for, young lady? Women’s magazines?… What genre, young lady?
M: Memoir, mostly.
H: You write about yourself? I guess most women do!
PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP!
Being the utterly clueless man that he is, John offers to mentor Lara, even though he has absolutely ZERO experience in writing and publishing. He’s spent his lifetime managing a chain of convenience stores, so he thinks that qualifies him to advise on the publishing industry. Or something…?
M: So, you spent your life in the family business, owning corner stores, and you didn’t even sell magazines, but you can mentor me in the publishing industry?
H: Well, young lady, selling magazines in a corner store has nothing to do with the publishing industry. Consider that your first lesson!
John goes on (and on, and on) to say he’s never been much of a reader, but he recommends Lara uses a photograph of herself in a bikini on the cover of her forthcoming book. And oh, yeah. They should have dinner sometime. Because mentorship.
Lara takes trolling to a new level during the conversation, engaging in this A+ feminist banter.
H: OK, I’ve got to go… Call me! Oh, what’s your name, darling?
M: Gloria Steinem.
H: OK, Gloria, call me, I’ll take you to dinner! I’m going to think of a new last name for you. Something less Jewish sounding. It’ll be better for your career! We can talk about at dinner! Be a good girl, Gloria!
M: How about Betty Friedan?
H: No… I’ll come up with something better than that… You look like a Chrystal or a Lacey to me… A good name is very important… Did you just write that down?
M: Yes, I’ve just written that down.
H: Good girl! Call me! For dinner! I’m your mentor, so you have to do what I say. Haha! Don’t worry, I’ll come up with your name. And, don’t worry about the photo, because I have a good camera. Have a nice afternoon!
M: Oh, yeah, the bikini photo! OK. You betcha!
For Lara, the viral post, which has garnered over 50,000 likes and has been shared more than 18,500 times so far, resonated because “every woman, at some point, has had to deal with at least one Poolside Johnny.”
“A lot of women simply appreciated my sense of humor about the entire situation,” Lara told Hello Giggles. “Sometimes, women’s lives are full of so much absurdity, that we just have to laugh!”
You can say that again, Lara!