Story on Undermining

City: Los Angeles

Industry: Agency

I sent his mansplaining right back at him.

One evening at a bar for a friend's birthday, I was speaking with two SWMs (Straight White Males) when I discovered they really love gaming. I said how great it would be if there was a simple game of Mario Cart happening in a back room of every bar in LA (as a joke, but semi-serious). SWM #1 interjected, "Not to sound sexist, but every girl I ever talk to brings up Mario Cart." Strike 1.

I offered that maybe we've evolved past and are disinterested in toxic masculine war games. Unphased, SWM #2 explained group games are kind of how they catch up on life, chatting with one another with their mic'd headsets. I thought that was cute and said, "Oh that's a cool way to catch up!"

But SWM #1 seemed to miss the part where I heard what SWM #2 had said, which was strange, since Iā€™d just acknowledged it as a good way to stay connected. SWM #1 cut SWM #2 off: "You know, like, we all talk to each other and fill each other in on our lives..." He slowed down his speech... "you know, like a group chat with your girlfriends." Strike 2.

To that point, I held my hand in the air, as he was interrupting SWM #2 (doubling down on rudeness, interesting move), and said "I know what a conference call is, dude." Note, SWM #1 also seemed to have missed the part where I discussed that my job was talking to gaming engineers all day, and I could actually explain in technical detail how the graphics are rendered in the games they dearly love and bond over. Strike 3.

I moved on from this conversation pretty quickly and had a great rest of my night. Typically, I had been raised to be ā€œa nice girl" but, instead, I was an honest person in the moment when I was being undermined. I'm glad I sent his mansplaining right back to him and didn't let it slide. Hopefully they learned a lesson; maybe it will take more women stopping them. So, speak up ladies! Don't let a mansplainer dismiss you!