I attended a luncheon this week which featured a panel of women in leadership roles in a male dominated industry. The host asked the panel if they often experienced “mansplaining” but no one on the panel really knew what that meant.
Here’s a definition in case you haven’t heard this term:
mansplaining (n.) the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.
I have experienced this first hand because web design, and anything in information technology, is still very much a male-dominated industry. Men in IT talk to me in a very oversimplified way, and it’s really irritating.
Women can’t possibly know this stuff, right?
Wrong! I have worked and trained in website development for more than twenty years. I know my way around HTML, CSS, CMS, web servers, MySQL, PHP MyAdmin, domain registrars, DNS settings, SSL, etc.
Yet, to this day I am talked down to in very simple terms, sometimes by men I’m working with on a client project and other times by potential male clients.
A most recent example: An IT guy was explaining to me how to change two DNS settings on a domain like I was a five-year old. I can do that in my sleep. I changed the DNS, but he couldn’t see the new website. When I reminded him he needed to flush his DNS, he kept saying the site wasn’t live and I had done something wrong.
Guess what? He flushed his DNS and saw the new website.
The difference in how I spoke to him was as an equal and not in the condescending manner he used on me.
I’ve had inquiries where a potential client will talk condescendingly to me about a website project idea, with the mistaken assumption that he knows much more about it than I ever could.
Never assume someone is ignorant or unintelligent because of their gender.
And there’s no need to explain my own job to me. Thanks!