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 recently retired, having previously served congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Barbara enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and weaving. She shares her home with Russell, a solid charcoal gray cat with an attitude; Khaleesi, a tortoiseshell rescue cat still getting accustomed to being around people; and Sadie, a beagle-and-yellow-lab mix

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