Me: Where should we plant the rhubarb?
Husband: Over there under the tree.
Me: But that’s in the shade?
Husband: Rhubarb like shade.
Me: Don’t all plants need sun?
Husband: Nope, not rhubarb.
Me: Since when are you a farmer?
Husband: It will be fine.
Needless to say, it wasn’t fine. Because rhubarb (and all plants for that matter) need sun for photosynthesis, which is how they feed themselves. And this is something I’ve known since the second grade.
But rather than say, “Wait a second Mr. Farmer Man, that makes no sense so we’re either looking up your rhubarb-growing theory on The Google or we’re planting it in the sun,” I shrugged my shoulders and planted it in the shade.
Now in all fairness, it turns out he was partially correct. Rhubarb can grow(ish) in the shade. Although you can’t really tell what it is (miniature rhubarb hybrid? alien octopus that fell from the sky?), and it only produces a few skinny stalks each summer.
Unfortunately, this “harvest” isn’t enough to bake a strawberry-rhubarb pie, which I do every year, so I have to walk over to my neighbor’s house and ask if they could spare a few stalks.
Which is really just a pleasantry because they are overwhelmed by their huge rhubarb plant what with it being planted in the sun and all.
And inevitably, as I cut up the rhubarb to prep the pie, my husband will wander into the kitchen and ask, “Did that come from our garden?” because he is still 100% confident that rhubarb grows in the shade.
Male confidence is an amazing thing to behold. Especially when they are talking about stuff they know very little about. And especially when they are talking to women who know more than they do.
This is the essence of “mansplaining,” which was coined after an accomplished female author recounted her experience at a party where the male host gave her a blow-by-blow lecture about a fabulous book that he felt she must read.
Only she didn’t need to read it because she had written it.
And even as her friend tried to politely interrupt him to explain this fact, he continued on. Blustering and full of confidence, showcasing his mastery of the book. Which it turns out he hadn’t even read.
After the encounter, she wrote a piece titled, “Men, Explain Things To Me,” which I encourage every woman to read because not only is it hilarious, it’s chock-full of incredible insights and research-based facts on mansplaining. (And yes, I actually read it.)
But rather than lament mansplaining or give more funny/infuriating examples, I want to explore womansplaining. Which is a topic one of my fabulous readers submitted for this week’s post.
Womansplaining is actually a real word (I looked it up on The Google) that hasn’t gotten as much play simply because there are very few occasions when women are so confident that they explain things to men. Even when they know more than them on a topic.
So rather than give examples of womansplaining (because I think there are about two), I am going to encourage you to womansplain more.
To say what you think, share what you know, and discuss what you feel. Because when we don’t, we are silent. And in that silence, men are saying what they think, sharing what they know, and discussing what they feel.
And as a result, decisions about our lives are being made without our voices, society is being run without our leadership, and rhubarb plants everywhere are dying.
I know that feels scary, and there’s reason for that. There are real consequences when we speak. We may be judged, talked over, proven to be incorrect or worse.
But there are real consequences when we don’t speak as well.
So please. Women, explain things to me.
Explain things to other women. Explain things to men. And to your children. Explain things to your elected officials and your boss. Explain things at home and at work and everywhere in between.
My blog is one big womansplaining machine. It’s where I say what I think, share what I know, and discuss what I feel.
And I’m so glad you’re gracious enough to listen to me.
Sharing is caring. Send my womansplain to your brave girlfriend or a mansplainer you love. Thank you!
ALSO. I’m hosting a talk on Bravery Mindset: 5 Steps to Authentic Confidence. If you’d like access to the recording, register here.
And finally, womansplain to me. What is something you would like explained to men? I’ll use that for next week’s post!