I was driving with a close friend the other day and the subject of protective gloves came up.  I was thinking out loud about when to don gloves to protect my new granddaughter when my friend began to fill me in on the uses of gloves: when to wear them, when to change them, what they are good for, etc., etc., etc.  If he had looked into the back seat of my car, he would have seen that I have a box with a small quantity of everything needed to stock an ICU.  I gently inquired if he was familiar with the phenomenon of “mansplaining,’ to which he gently replied that he was not, but he was sure I had several definitions I was going to share with him.  And so it goes.

Nicole Tersigni and Jen Kirkland’s new book, Men to Avoid in Art and Life was published on August 11 and is already unavailable for two to four weeks via Amazon.  The New York Times describes it as “an explanation of ‘Mansplaining’ with help from 17th Century Art.”  You can read (and see) more about it here.  A sample caption, pasted over an oil painting of a man speaking to a woman holding a water jug: “I’ve seen you get water from this well every day. Allow me to explain all the ways you’re doing it wrong. Number one…”   I imagine the book was well along the road to publication before any of us dreamed we would be sheltered in place, seeing the same few people at the same unnatural distance day after day, losing patience by the hour. I believe this has contributed to an excess of Mansplaining, a practice that is not only unnecessary but also (intentionally or not) misogynistic.  

And speaking of misogyny, the long knives are out for Kamala Harris, now that she has been chosen as Joe Biden’s running mate.  Fox News has already criticized her for lacking charm and warmth.  Really?  To me, she is exceptionally warm and charming—but even if she weren’t, since when are charm and warmth requirements for elected officials?  Mitch McConnell and Jim Jordan (to name but a few) could never pass that test. Clearly, male and female candidates aren’t judged by the same standards. 

Just wanted to ‘splain that.


Do you have any thoughts on Mansplaining? Your experiences or lack thereof? Let’s talk!

Photo by Van Tay Media via Unsplash



About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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