Intolerance and Mansplaining

I was recently “unfriended” and blocked on Facebook by a high school classmate (I’ll call him “Matt”). I was really surprised; one minute there was a lively discussion going onmansplaining, and the next minute he had disappeared. I replayed the last few minutes of the conversation as best I could (since I could no longer see the conversation thread). Here’s what I think happened:

Earlier in the conversation, my classmate had decided to explain to me what was wrong with socialism, based on his professional experience. Interesting, I thought, because no one had mentioned socialism until he started mansplaining it to me.

I didn’t feel like taking it on at that moment, so I let the mansplaining go. Instead, I reacted to another part of what he said; I asked about his travels, something he had hinted about in his earlier comments. That seemed to move the conversation onto safe ground for a while.

A few minutes later, the subject had turned yet again. In the course of the conversation, I shared an observation about the various ways people process grief, based on my experience as a pastor. Poof! No more conversation. No more Facebook friend Matt.

So apparently the lesson to be learned is this: It’s OK for a man to have learned things in his career and share them in a social media conversation. But it seems that it’s not OK for a woman to have had a career, to have learned anything from that career, or to have shared that knowledge on social media or anywhere else.

Thank you very much for mansplaining that to me, Matt. And no, I don’t think I’ll make it a point to remember this lesson in the future.

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Barbara Bruneau

Barbara Bruneau is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is semi-retired, having previously served congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Barbara enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and weaving. She shares her home with cats named Abigail and Bijou.

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