Friday, May 13, 2016

Stop talking over me - or Living in the world of Mansplaining

I am not a shrinking violet. I am confident and speak my mind. And yet there is a behavior that, unless I am really determined, makes me go quiet: men aggressively, deliberately talking over me.

I’m in a meeting making a point the prospect does not like. He raises his hand (shows me the palm) and starts to talk in a loud, dominant fashion. He mansplains to me. I listen for a while, then try to politely interrupt, but it’s useless. He’s aggressive, determined to dominate, and rude. The bully in the workplace.

I’m at dinner with a friend. He’s mad about something and is determined to speak over me to prevent me making my case. As I speak he puts his hand out onto my wrist, holds it down and as every time I try to speak he speaks over me. Again and again until I give up. I can’t think of a way to be heard without being downright rude. I get mad. I go quiet (for a moment).

I’m in a board meeting and we’re discussing the need for diversity. And one member insists on mansplaining to me that diversity is not an issue at the company. I’m the only woman in the room, meeting after meeting, but I get explained to me why we don’t need another diverse board member. And when I speak I’m not listened to because he assumes I have an agenda. I do, but it’s the agenda of good governance.

I’m fed up of it, but I know I am going to keep experiencing the behavior. (Some) men trying to dominate women by talking very aggressively isn’t going to stop in my lifetime. So I have to deal. I talk a tough game. 3 years ago I was so mad I wrote a short, cryptic post on a day when only I knew why I was so mad. Titled Enough. But it’s never over. So I just have to put my big boys pants on and stride back out to change the world a little bit every day.

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