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Seven Studies That Prove Mansplaining Exists

kayne west grabbing the mic from taylor swift at the vmas

Remember when Kanye West cut off Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs? As Swift launched into her acceptance speech for Best Female Video, West ran onstage and grabbed the mic away from her and said, “Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’m gonna let you finish, but I’m sorry, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.” Both Beyoncé and Swift looked stunned.

This is perhaps the most famous pop culture moment of a man interrupting a woman to explain something to her—the YouTube clip of the interruption has been seen 23 million times. Though the crowd greeted West’s interruption with booing, men interrupt women and discredit their accomplishments every day, usually without backlash from any crowd or TV commentators.

For an engaging primer on the realities of mansplaining, look no further than Rebecca Solnit’s new book Men Explain Things to Me, which collects seven essays on feminism, violence, and how when men often explain things to women “whether or not they know what they’re talking about.” In May, Soraya Chemaly also addressed the mansplaining phenomena with a great article “10 Simple Words Every Girl Should Learn.” In that piece, Chemaly advised parents who want to combat sexism to teach their daughters to practice saying “Stop interrupting me,” “I just said that,” and “No explanation needed.” As her article points out, women are taught to be overly polite and active listeners in conversations, but men are not taught to socialize this way. 

For example, just last week, Fox News excellently showcased some mansplaining on a segment that instructed women to “not raise their voices” or “talk too much” in the workplace. Within that segment, host Steve Doocy interrupted the guest author as she spoke about her new book.

While individual women might feel like they’re the only ones frustrated at being ignored or interrupted, there are numbers that show it happens all the time: studies show that men interrupt women during meetings, while in groups with friends, and while speaking one-on-one. In the interest of showing how mansplaining is a proven phenomena, I've gathered seven studies that show how men often dominate conversations.

no mansplaining land

1. Women get interrupted more than men. Both men and women interrupt women more often than they interrupt men, according to a paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. In that study, two researchers at George Washington University reported on an experiment where they put 20 women and 20 men in pairs, then recorded and transcribed their conversations. The result: Over the course of each three-minute conversation, women interrupted men just once, on average, but interrupted other women 2.8 times. Men interrupted their male conversation partner twice, on average, and interrupted the woman 2.6 times.

2. Men interrupt women to assert power. Not all interruptions are the same, of course—sometimes we interrupt people to be encouraging about what they’re saying. But a 1998 meta-analysis of 43 studies by two researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz from 1998 found that men were more likely to interrupt women with the intent to assert dominance in the conversation, meaning men were interrupting to take over the conversation floor.  In mixed groups rather than a one-on-one conversation, men interrupted even more frequently.

3. Men dominate conversations during professional meetings. A study by Brigham Young University and Princeton researchers in 2012 showed that women spoke only 25 percent of the time in professional meetings, meaning men took up 75 percent of an average meeting. The study also found that when women were left out of the conversation, it was harder for them to have an effect on decisions and discussions during majority votes on issues.

4. Men and boys dominate conversation in classrooms. A 2004 study of Harvard Law School classrooms found that men were 50 percent more likely than women to volunteer at least one comment during class, and 144 percent more likely to speak voluntarily at least three times. Another study of Harvard classrooms, back in 1985, found that in classes with a male instructor, men spoke two and a half times longer than their female classmates. However, when female instructors led classrooms, the study found they had “an inspiring effect on female students,” leading women to speak three times as much as they did with a male instructor.  This problem occurs in elementary and middle school as well, according to research by Myra and David Sadker from 1994. In classroom discussions, boys called out answers eight more times than girls and were more likely to be listened to, while girls who shouted out answers were instructed to raise their hands. Boys also raised their hands in more disruptive ways by jumping out of their chair and making noise, pleading for the teacher to respond.   

5. Patients are more likely to interrupt female doctors than male doctors. According to a 1998 study by Candace West, a sociology professor at University of California Santa Cruz, doctors who are women are more likely to be interrupted by their patients than male doctors. The study looked at the number of times patients and doctors interrupted each other and found that patients were more than twice as likely to interrupt a female doctor than a male doctor.

6. Men get more space in print and online journalism. Men don’t just talk more in face-to-face conversations, but in our media conversations. According to a  2012 study by the OpEd Project, women write 20 percent of traditional opinion pieces, 33 percent of online opinion pieces, and 38 percent of college newspaper opinion pieces. Bylines on literary reviews and creative nonfiction also skew male, according to the annual VIDA count. And when it comes to coverage of politics, a 4th Estate analysis of 2012 election coverage showed women were vastly underquoted

7. On Twitter, men are retweeted more often than women. The tendency to give more conversational space to men is a reality on social media, too. A tool named Twee-Q creates a score based on the amount of men and women retweeted by twitter users. Women make up 62 percent of Twitter users, but according to Twee-Q’s statistics on retweets, men are retweeted almost twice as often as women, with close to 63 percent of all retweets belonging to male users.

When girls are reminded to be polite and boys' behavior is brushed off, the phenomenon continues. To stop the interruptions and conversation domination remember Soraya Chemaly's ten words that keep mansplainers in check—and boys should be taught to respect other people's contributions to conversations.

No Mansplaining Land image is a detail of Bitch's Maps & Legends issue cover, illustrated by Jenn Renninger. 

Lucy Vernasco is the new media intern at Bitch. She's had years of experience hearing men explain things.


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Comments

81 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Is Ignoring A Woman a Form of Mansplaining?

I was just having a conversation about a project where three men pretty much ignore and disregard me. As I was reviewing project email, I realized that one in particular has never responded to me ever. Another does so sporadically and the third simply stopped acknowledging me after a disagreement about an unrelated topic.

It has the effect of silencing me and prevents work from getting done, but other women who have leadership roles don't see it as an issue of concern.

Curious?

Please Explain to me...

If we interrupt you, we are mansplaining, now if we do NOT interrupt you we are as well?? That is not mansplaining.....that is MISANDRY.

ignoring != not interrupting

ignoring != not interrupting

settle down, beavis

How about just DON'T BE RUDE

How about just DON'T BE RUDE and when someone points out that you are rude, DON'T RETREAT INTO ACCUSATIONS OF MISANDRY.

We don't have a problem with you because you're male, we have a problem with you being an asshole. Unless you are trying to tell us that being an asshole is an endemic part of maleness... do you really want to go there?

It just so happens that males get away with being assholes to women a lot more often than the reverse and, while we're at it, you're assholes to one another too. Do you LIKE your world being this way? Just wondering.

Well, misandry doesn't exist.

Well, misandry doesn't exist. So it can't be misandry.

Fighting straw

You totally demolished that argument that no one was making; way to go, brah. *eyeroll*

wait...

Did you just mansplain what misandry is?

Here's my explanation, thank

Here's my explanation, thank you for the polite inquiry.

You are making a common mistake, one that is easy to make, which is to confuse the symptoms with the cause.

Imagine that you went in to doctor's office with a bevy of symptoms, we'll pick three: you are lethargic, you are sensitive to light, and you have had a seizure. The doctor does not say to you, which is it? Which of these conditions do you suffer from? the doctor says, these three things together point to the possibility that you have meningitis, and you discuss other possible symptoms, and take some tests.

Because your doctor is able to look at your symptoms as an indicator, and especially as a collection of related indicators, she is able to determine the underlying cause. The symptoms are important, but they do not exist independently of one another, they are not the condition themselves.

Mansplaining is a symptom of sexism, which is a system of devaluing and dehumanizing women. Mansplaining works as part of the organism of sexism by devaluing women's contributions, and by placing the knowledge, opinions and contributions of men over women's, and at the same time belittling women.

While the silencing behavior described by the original poster is a different manifestation, it is likely still a symptom of sexism, as a systemic devaluation of women's contributions (in part, it's of course more complex than that). Her contributions going totally unacknowledged forces her out of discussions, her work is not valued, it is treated as if it does not exist. That is a silencing act. It is not "not interrupting," as you interpret it, but it is instead non-acknowledgement.

Imagine for a moment that you walked into a group of people that you knew, and none of them said anything to you, attempted to include you in the conversation, or acted as if you were there at all. How would you feel? How about if this happened regularly?

So to review, you are mistaking the symptom for the cause, and therefore assuming that all other symptoms must be from some other disorder, they cannot be connected/caused by the same underlying condition. You are also misinterpreting an aggressive act - determined non-acknowledgement - for an act of consideration and respect - hearing someone out without interrupting.

Glad I could clear that up.

To the original poster, totally that sounds like a horrible situation and those dudes are totally acting like sexist a**holes, though not exactly mansplainers (though I bet they mansplain, it is just not what they are doing to you). I'm sorry your supervisors aren't supporting you or seeing it as a problem. Also, I'm sorry some dude who needs to be schooled about how shit works derailed you getting your question acknowledged and responded to. I wish I had some helpful strategy for you to deal with this. The only thing I can think is to gently force a response by saying, hey did I miss an email, I made a suggestion x amount of time ago and didn't see anything about it. Or however you could phrase it that would illicit a response. Good luck, that sounds frustrating and infuriating.

Thank you for stepping up and

Thank you for stepping up and acknowledging the original poster. I am also glad the others who felt compelled to educate the original poster posted as it provided us with yet another possible research field rich in mansplaining to draw from. Social media commentary.

the physician analogy is

the physician analogy is great

Ignoring

Ignoring is a form of workplace bullying.

Totally agree! I used to work

Totally agree! I used to work in a male dominated workplace as a project co-ordinator and I can not tell you how many times I directly addressed male co-workers only to be completely ignored or sometimes have them respond to another male co-worker instead of me! I got the feeling that many of the men I dealt with, especially the older men, did not like answering to / taking orders from a woman.

I don't know that it's

I don't know that it's mansplaining as such, but it's definitely sexist bullshit.

Lookout guys! The latest top

Lookout guys! The latest top studies from feminist institutions is pointing us to a new scientific conclusion:

Sometimes men interrupt women.
OHMYGODMENAREALLPIGS

Because y'know interrupting somebody is clearly a male privilege now.
So allow me too go through this garbage that 'Everyday feminism posted' sourced from 'BitchMagazine.org'

Please let me point out that whoever wrote this evidently never went to school, the article claimed "Seven Studies That Prove Mansplaining Exists"
But it turned out to be 7 dot points of bullshit with that had nothing to do with any studies whatsoever.
Also, if the title was slamming men for "Mansplaining" Why was it pretty much entirely about men interrupting women?

So here they are, the 7 not so brilliant dot points of complete garbage.

1. Women get interrupted more than men

Being a man doesn't make you more likely to interrupt somebody
And what's stopping you from cutting back in? Oh yeah that's right women don't interrupt men as much because clearly they are too good for that.

2. Men interrupt women to assert power
Says who? Have you ever heard a man say "Interrupting women makes me a man, yeah!"

I personally, have never heard it or seen it put in to practice. Most likely because it doesn't happen. There are plenty of social opportunities to assert dominance.
It's probably also the fact that your too concerned about what men are doing wrong in society that you can't see that women are perfectly capable of the majority of things men do too.

Just because somebody did a study on men doesn't mean the women can do the same things?

If we continue to categorize people by gender (M/F/LGBT) We are only going to experience things like this as a re-occurring problem.

In ancient Rome they did not have genders as such, they were categorized
"active/dominant/masculine and passive/submissive/"feminized"

3. Men dominate conversations during professional meetings.
This one kinda annoys me, again with no evidence, even if it was true, whoopy doo, so what? Simple solution, speak up more.

4. Men and boys dominate conversation in classrooms

I'm sorry, I think I just got a bit of poo in my ear from that bullshit.

5. Patients are more likely to interrupt female doctors than male doctors

So this is just point 1 with the word patients and doctors added it?

6. Men get more space in print and online journalism.6. Men get more space in print and online journalism.

My dad used to work as a journalist for the Canberra times, he had a well known column that featured in the paper.

There were many times I remember as a little kid strangers coming up to dad and complimenting the column he wrote.

He had a 3-4 inch wide column on the side of one of the pages.
It wasn't an unpopular column, nor was it a big column, nor was he a woman but I don't see him crying about how he didn't write a bigger feature, let alone blame it on an entire gender.

And last of all number...

7. On Twitter, men are retweeted more often than women.

If this doesn't scream westernized feminism I don't know what does.
If I had to read this type of shit on twitter I wouldn't re-tweet you either.

do you feel better now? as

do you feel better now? as that was not very well argued, so i can only assume you were just pissed.

Just a couple bullet points about your rant:

* just because you've never seen or heard about something it doesn't exist? Honestly, this comment nullifies anything else you have to say, because that idea is so out of touch with, you know, reality.

* If you're gonna bring up ancient Rome you are going to have to prove that ancient Rome has anything to do with what you are talking about. First, you are going to need to site a source for that statement about classifying gender. Second, you are going to need to prove that that lack of classification lead to fewer problems of gendered oppression. That's what making an argument is.

* Your dad is irrelevant. Your dad getting less space in print than other men, or anyone, is irrelevant to the assertion than men get more space than women in print and on-line media. That bullet point is an overall stat. Overall, men get more space in print and on-line media than women. So even if your dad's column was smaller than some women's, it is irrelevant because in total, media is produced more by men than women. It's not super hard logic to follow.

* If you can't make an argument about a certain point, perhaps refrain from talking about poo. It makes your overall argument look immature and poorly thought out.

* And finally, try to tie everything together. Your last point is not the time to bring up Westernized feminism without definition or clear critique. If this little diatribe was meant as a critique of white people problems meets feminism than you could have fleshed that argument out in that final point, or mentioned it sooner. And honestly, your statement if this doesn't scream westernized feminism I don't know what does? I'm gonna go with taking up the mantle of "child brides over there" and assuming that women "over there" aren't concerned about it and that thus western women have to save these child brides screams western feminism a lot louder than being concerned about men's voices being prioritized over women's in multiple sectors of society.

If I was grading this as a persuasive argument I would give it an F.

I'm not sure what pisses you off so much about the idea that women's voices and opinions are valuable, but maybe you should think about why you are so pissed, before you try to construct arguments about why the things that piss you off are wrong.

Also, one more thing: LGBT, not a gender. Think about what some of those letters mean. Lesbian, Gay, Bi, not genders right? Trans* describes gender, but is not a separate gender category, cause transmen are men and transwomen are women. If you want to go further down the alphabet soup, gender non-conforming folks deserve acknowledgement and recognition for being neither men nor women, but for the rest of it, not a gender.

Bravo

That's all. Just bravo.

Punctuation

The English language has many types of punctuation. Some are optional, but are good to use to clarify points (e.g. the Oxford comma). Some are mandatory (e.g. the period at the end of a sentence). You have neglected to use virtually all punctuation that either necessary or optional in your post. This has rendered your post visually painful to read, in addition to rendering your arguments less valid simply because you did not take the time to proofread. Your writing style is that of a native English speaker, so there is no need to utilize the straw-man argument of, "What if English is not my first language? Are you criticizing someone's attempt to learn a second language?"

Feminist Institutions? Harvard Law, Princeton, GWU, BYU, UCSC?

What do you consider to be the "latest" studies? Because the studies cited in the article go back to 1998.

What is a "top" study? Are studies rated somehow and I didn't know about It? Is this based on clicks? Votes? Word count? Number of peer-journal citations?

What is a feminist institution? Because if GWU, UC Santa Cruz, BYU, Princeton and Harvard Law are what you consider to be "feminist," then feminist may be synonymous with "highly respected." What makes these institutions feminist exactly? Or were you trying to be pejorative about these institutions by calling them feminist? Do you understand that feminists are interested in equality?

Since you describe the institutional and controlled studies here to be cited here as "dot points of bullshit," what should we consider your journalist father example to be? NOT a "dot point of bullshit?" Yours is, I must point out, a sample size of one. It's the dot point. .

Well, you could try talking

Well, you could try talking to the people involved instead of asking strangers on the internet about something they have zero insight into.

Correction

Myra and David Sadker, not Mary. Their research was SO important!

This is the perfect kind of

This is the perfect kind of article, it's virtually critique-proof from any man, if a man disputes it, you can turn around and say it's proof positive of the articles contention. if a man agrees with it, then he's now of a sudden emasculated because he's let a woman "walk all over him"

If women are so stepped on by men, they make up 50% of the population, why don't they start their own companies? Why because women can't work with women.. that's another proven fact that your article seems to let glide by.

If you want to read a real article you should check out imtherealrealdeal.blogspot.com

"if a man agrees with it,

"if a man agrees with it, then he's now of a sudden emasculated because he's let a woman "walk all over him" "

Says who? Whoever says that has some pretty odd ideas about masculinity. "Oh no, agreeing with a woman makes you less of a man, gasp and horror!" And they probably fall into the bully category anyway.

"Why because women can't work with women.. that's another proven fact that your article seems to let glide by"

Citation needed.

badly

Citation badly needed.

Could you please document that.

I'm a man, and I find it hard to believe that "women can't work with women". Would you please provide cites for the proof (meaning peer reviewed, scientific research) of this. Personally I know of a number of successful companies run by women, some entirely women, and some of my best bosses have been women. While this is anecdotal, not research, it is enough to cause me to question your assertion.

Ugh you're right

I couldn't believe this tripe either. Seriously? Girls are now using fucking Twitter retweet counts to prove some feminist point? Ughhhhhh. That is ridiculous! And "men are quoted more in media?!" Who cares? Women absolutely dominate the blogrolls and have since the early 2000s. Cherry picking junk from Fox News too?

This is the stupidest study I've seen in ages. And she wrote a book about it? Really?

What gets more nationwide

What gets more nationwide attention, the media, or a fucking blogroll?

Grow up.

Let's not get nasty and have an actual discussion. It seems to

Let's not get nasty and have an actual discussion. It seems to me that the first statistics (women interrupt men 1 time, men interrupt women 2.6 times, women interrupt women 2.8 times) are saying that people tend to interrupt a little less then 3 times per conversation. Clearly, there's a disparity when it's a man and a woman in conversation, but it doesn't necessarily mean men are "mansplaining." (it might, but not neccessarily).

The second "proof" seems like it assumes a little much to me, but doesn't seem contradictory, so I can accept that.

The third seems bogus. In professional meetings, don't men take up about 2/3 to 3/4 of the decision-making sector? I could be wrong, but if this is true, then they are interrupting as much as one would expect (75% or 3/4 of the time). Also, whenever anyone isn't involved in a conversation they will be less likely to be listened to because they weren't there.

The fourth "proof" seems to indicate a same-gender (or same sex, it's unclear where the correlation lies) preference. 150% more likely is about 4x as much. if the writer meant as likely, that would be 3x. Males definitely speak more often and for longer periods, but I'm willing to bet that controlling for the gender bias would make the stat way less striking (though potentially still weakly correlated).

The fifth just confirms the first proof. female doctors are twice as likely to be interrupted than males. (women interrupt men 1 time, men interrupt women 2.6 times, women interrupt women 2.8 times), meaning they are interrupted on average a little less then they would in normal conversation. Doctors are the experts, so it follows that they would be interrupted less then in average conversation, but people seem to interrupt one way or another.

The same argument for the third proof potentially applies to the sixth proof. Men are more likely to write for journals, so they get more space. Again, there's a definite hierarchy here, but I doubt it's due to "mansplaining." Could also relate to sex (or gender) disparity in the field.

The final "proof" seems at least reasonably acceptable, but based off the other "proofs," I doubt the legitimacy of it. Just my opinion.

There's a lot of real disparity in our world, I feel like this article is reaching (and stretching quite a bit) to find a disparity where it exists mildly at best.

Hysterical MRA backlash

I grow more amused daily at the kind of hysterical response some men give ANY observation that women suffer bad consequences as a result of the way men and women are acculturated. Why respond with irrational hysteria? Why not respond thoughtfully to the data provided?

Both men and women suffer ill effects from the imbalanced ways we raise our children. In my opinion, I find the culture even more toxic for boys -- stultifying to their emotional development -- although the consequences for women are drastic, in terms of living in constant wariness of men and accepting lesser pay, lesser mobility and lesser voice.

Why don't we stop reiterating the out-grown myth that the sexes are "opposite" and start encouraging all our children to experience and express a full range of humanity?

MRAs are professional victims

Sorry, I feel the need to mansplain to you that the correct term is Testerical ;-)

Toxic masculinity is absolutely a thing, but how can the culture be worse for boys when the outcomes are worse for women? Don't agree with that bit, but for sure patriarchy hurts men too...

Outcomes for Boys

I think what's probably being asserted is that while the easy quantifiable consequences are worse for girls there are unmeasured consequences for boys (i.e. poor ability to understand/express their emotions). I don't know that I agree, but I think that's what's being said.

No estoy de acuerdo

While it is absolutely the case that Patriarchy Hurts Men Too©, I really can't see how you're arriving at the conclusion that, as a class, things are worse for boys than girls. Normative masculinity is toxic, but normative feminity is self-abnegation.

That said, I agree entirely that binary gender construction is intrinsically harmful, and we should stop trying to enforce gender norms for children at all.

Also: Hi oolon! :-)

So now you're upset because you can't find anything to critique?

There's always someone who attempts to discredit an article by calling it "impossible to critique". Like, they couldn't find anything wrong with it, so the fact that they couldn't find anything wrong with it is reason enough for it to be wrong. Because making a reasoned and fact-checked argument now automatically makes you wrong. If you want to be right, you should base your arguments on outdated stereotypes and personal defensiveness, apparently.

It's easier to explain it that way, isn't it?

Because come on. No female owned companies because women can't work together? Do you believe that for real or are you just trolling? There are more women owned companies because of the above statistics. Women band together, work together and support each other.

Just because you haven't seen it, doesn't mean what you say is reality.

disagree how?

This piece lists research -- are you disagreeing with the results? you don't like the methodology? You think the sample wasn't big enough? and which researchers produced the "proven fact" in what peer-reviewed article?

Talk about citation needed.

Talk about citation needed. I'm a leader in a company comprised 95% of women, including the CEO. We work together, building each other up and encouraging each other to get promotions and success, just fine. In fact, this is a billion dollar company. Kind of feels like proof that women CAN, in fact, work together. Try not to get your opinions confused with facts.

citation

I hope you weren't responding to my comment about citation needed, which was intended to agree that it was needed to show women can`t work with women. That is just a myth. Women know how to support and work together in ways men never envision. I love working with women. Sorry if that was confusing.

if a man agrees with it, then

if a man agrees with it, then he's now of a sudden emasculated because he's let a woman "walk all over him"

Really? I agree with it because it's totally consistent with what I see in the professional environments I operate in. If you're even the slightest bit observant, it's pretty impossible to miss all of these things happening. I'm not sure why acknowledging reality would impugn my masculinity. Does "being a man" require maintaining a willful fantasy these days?

Personally, my favorite thing

Personally, my favorite thing about the word "mansplaining" is that -- finally! -- some of the intent behind the dismissive term "hysteria" has reached the 21st century and gone equal opportunity. My second favorite thing is the irony of that.

No thanks for your

No thanks for your mansplanation of hysteria's "equal opportunity," since it's based on utter ignorance. No one has been locked up in a mental institution or isolation room for mansplaining. Not even equal opportunity with deterring female mobility with warnings of "bicycle face" or infertility from using bicycles, and definitely no where close to requiring invasive genital exams annually of young women. Nope, still no equal opportunity dismissiveness or oppression of men.

My apologies if you

My apologies if you misinterpreted my personal opinion on the matter. It was not my intent to imply a 1:1 equivalence between the two things; it was simply meant to draw attention to the dismissive flavor of the new term by making an analogy to the tone of older one. I believe, however, that your response did a much better job of illustrating my point than I could have hope to do myself. In that regard, I thank you.

tv segments

While the Fox News segment probably was particularly terrible, I can't think of any cable news channels where people actually have civil conversations in interview segments. Everyone is constantly talking over each other, pushing complex agendas in a short amount of time, and dealing with time delays, regardless of the hosts' or subjects' genders. I'd like to see a more indepth study, but until then I'd tend to think those programs are probably just filled with unisexplaining.

Rachel Maddow on MSNBC has

Rachel Maddow on MSNBC has very civil conversations with her interviewees. They have time to answer her questions. She does not talk over them. She always gives fanatics and stupid people enough rope to hang themselves. She does not need to do it for them.

Quick Corrections

Interesting article, contains some good content but I'm always depressed when there are stupid mistakes included. Just undermines the message somewhat when it's Brigham Young not Bringham,Doocy not Doosey and importantly Myra not Mary Sadker!

Thanks!

Thanks!

I made those fixes, thanks for your note.


Bitch Media Online Editor

Problems? Email [email protected]

It's great that this article

It's great that this article proved itself in a sense. I'm an active member of the glbt community and don't see this harsh of backlash when someone posts an article, complete w citations. That's what gets me the most, people saying she's nit-picking, or making a mountain out of a more hill. We reject anything new and uncomfortable as a species, especially when we're told we're doing something wrong or that power must be shared. My favorite? "Yeah, Fox News was bad, BUT! This woman is obviously hating on men!"
Grow up. The world is changing and women are waking up.

The world is changing

It's great that this article proved itself in a sense. I'm an active member of the glbt community and don't see this harsh of backlash when someone posts an article, complete w citations. That's what gets me the most, people saying she's nit-picking, or making a mountain out of a more hill. We reject anything new and uncomfortable as a species, especially when we're told we're doing something wrong or that power must be shared. My favorite? "Yeah, Fox News was bad, BUT! This woman is obviously hating on men!"
Grow up. The world is changing and women are waking up.

Conversations should involving listening

I am a woman and personally find it a challenge to truly, fully listen to other people when I'm participating in a conversation. Much like many of the men cited in these studies, I often feel the need to assert myself and my knowledge. While I know interrupting isn't very conducive to a productive conversation, it can be a challenge to hold back. Regardless of our gender, we have much to learn from each other. Here's to hoping I and others can get over the power play and actually converse with each other.

I also interrupt people a

I also interrupt people a lot, but I get a ton of shit for it. I do think we all need to watch our behaviour in these cases, but it isn't just about who feels like interrupting. it's about who is allowed to interrupt.

3 & 6

I think studies 3 & 6 might have more to do with the percentage of women, as compared to men, in a male dominated work atmosphere. This in no way excuses it, but might further explain why it occurs so often -- a statistically biased assertion, which leaves me to ask why more capable women aren't hired (the study seems to concentrate on the symptom and not the disease itself). Some pretty interesting studies though. It's sort of something we all knew already, but now that it's backed up with numbers, it's harder to deny.

How to Properly Interrupt Someone

The article is 100% correct on the problems that are addressed, even the "surprise" twitter retweeting concern. While many of these I'm sure are done "innocently" (that is, not intending to exclude) it's indicative of a larger problem. Given the... colourful... discussions in the comments, I figured I'd at least do some clarification here. Or, at least what I would consider clarification about the whole "men can never interrupt a woman" thing some people seem to be saying here.

Disclosure: Yes, I am a guy... attempting to explain something, and yes I can see the irony in this.

First up, this applies to interrupting men and women, by both men and women. There are ways this can be done in a positive manner. This depends on what kind of interaction you are having, be it either a conversation, an (intellectual) discussion, or a period of instruction.

Conversations:

Don't interrupt to demean what the other person is saying.
Wait your turn before you reply. This is done through a natural break in the conversation (usually a brief pause). Bring up any points you have at this time.
If you must interrupt, it had better be for something important based on what was just said or just experienced.
If something requires explanation, do not treat your conversation partner as an idiot.

In short, during a conversation there is really no need to interrupt.

Instruction:

If someone is explaining something to you, either by way of expected instruction (such as a classroom, a speech, or a debate) or because of a question you asked, there is never a reason to interrupt until they are done. Save followup questions until after unless expressly permitted by the person speaking to ask at any time. If there is an issue related to time left, then interrupt but be respectful about it. This includes interviews. If the speaker is going off on a tangent, then interrupting to bring them back to the topic is also permitted, but again be respectful about it.

Again, there really is no need to interrupt here.

Intellectual Discussion:

This is the most lenient of the three. During a lively discussion, interruptions happen frequently as ideas are introduced and addressed. This does not give you free reign to talk about anything, and the person must still be permitted to continue the topic they were discussing, or address any problems introduced by said interruption. You must still be respectful and not demeaning to the individual.

If you must interrupt, take the "foot note" approach. If the comment you have to make would not fit in an appropriate-length foot note, then save the interruption until it is your turn to speak when you can address your concern in full.

Note that there is a difference between actively (as is the case from time to time, aggressively) disagreeing with someone says and being demeaning about what a person says.

Interruptions don't always have to be a disrespectful attack, but more often than not they are.

Thanks for explaining, man.

Thanks for explaining, man.

Nice hypothesis. The

Nice hypothesis.

The explanation could be that men have more testosterone and will therefore interrupt more often. And men will have lower social skills because of the testosterone and therefore again interrupt more often. While men will be a bit more careful in interrupting other men as they could become angry and hurt them. And women will interrupt men less often for the same reason.

I know that this is a magazine. But the theory behind this could have been included in the articled anyway. I think your readers would appreciate and understand it.

I don't think that your

I don't think that your testosterone theory plays out. Why would testosterone lead to more interrupting? Would it be a dominance question? If men were more likely to interrupt as a dominance display, how would you argue that that avenue of "testosterone expression" was so purely biological that it could be explained completely by the presence of a hormone? After all the use of language as a tool of dominance is culturally, not biologically constructed, and is a significantly more complex process than physical dominance displays.

Also your statement about men having lower social skills is biased and scientifically unfounded even before the possibility that testosterone might explain it even comes into play. Even if it could be quantified that men have inferior social skills, there is no supporting evidence that testosterone would be a factor in that, let alone the major contributing factor.

Not all (possibly no) differences between the behaviors of genders can be completely attributed to biological causes, in fact, biological determinism has fallen out of favor as fallacious and incomplete in many fields of study. I assume that is why a theory of catch all testosterone causation has not been included in this article.

But that's not what it means

As commonly used, "mansplaining" doesn't mean "interrupting," but "a man explaining."

It is a pejorative label used for a man explaining something so a woman can label it and dismiss it out of hand.

The next time a woman tries to explain something to me, I'm just going to dismiss it as "womansplaining" and watch her turn furious.

incorrect man-friend. here

incorrect man-friend. here are some excellent clarifying quotes:

"Mansplaining isn’t just the act of explaining while male, of course; many men manage to explain things every day without in the least insulting their listeners.
Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate “facts” about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.
Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!"

"A woman wrote about mansplaining. This, as you know if you are a woman, is when a man explains reality to you in a way that is intended to overrule what you very clearly know is actual reality, or to tell you things you have already said, or to tell you that what you are doing right is wrong."

"A feminist man should be able to understand the difference between mansplaining and simply explaining something while simultaneously being a man. The difference is the invalidation of the marginalized person’s expertise and experience as well as the general patronizing or condescending tone."

"“Mansplaining” — for which I will cease using scare quotes forthwith — is an internet-born term for what happens when a dude comes into a conversation, usually online, usually happening between a group of women, and proceeds to commandeer the discussion to explain to said women things that they already know."

Go forth now, fully understanding the difference between being interesting and informative and being a total dick.

Fascinating

Excellent.

I can only agree with the comments that laud this article (and the comments) as a helpful experiment in and of itself.
Meaning that, despite doing little more than calmly citing empirical evidence of the maneuvers and micropower that men (however subconsciously, however innocently) use to gain greater voice than women, there are still male commenters unnecessarily rushing to men's "defense." Men: this is not an attack. The article, and the research it cites, goes to great length to show that this is largely the way we are socialized, and to help make us aware of our our behaviors. Nowhere does it say that men cannot voice their opinion; only that perhaps women should be able to as well in equal share.

Nor is this article or research "against men." It seems that, in general, always listening to the opinions and advice of the most brazen and socially-oblivious has not historically worked out in our favor. The tactics, it seems to me, work as well on all blowhards (of which the majority happen to be men, as research indicates). The research helps us question why we allow aggression to be prioritize our attention (men and women) in the first place.

2012 Yale Law Women Study

Wonderful compilation of studies, and I'm SO glad you linked to the 2002 Harvard Law Study.

For an updated and more comprehensive study of gender dynamics in law school, definitely check out the Speak Up report published by Yale Law Women in 2012! It followed up on studies done by Harvard and Yale a decade ago and is packed with fascinating data. http://yalelawwomen.org/speak-up/

Here are some of the more interesting findings:
- The gender participation ratio improved by only 1.5% between 2002 and 2012, continuing to hover around 40/60 (women/men)
- Students and faculty both reported that women who speak often in class are stigmatized and socially sanctioned more harshly by peers than men who speak often.
- Men were more likely to form collaborative relationships with professors, such as co-authoring publications, while women were more likely to serve as teaching assistants, helping professors with research and class management, but not actively collaborating with them

guilty

I am guilty... It is interesting how deep the conditioning goes. I am really self-conscious even ashamed of how much I talk. All my life I have been hassled for it, punished and teased at school and by family, and ever since just ask workmates are culprits too but likes teasing me about it. Yet I continue to interrupt others, and sadly I think it is true that I do it to women. I find myself doing it by reflex, then feeling ashamed and guilty after. The feeling overwhelms my natural desire and values to consider others. I feel my ideas, point of view build up (very quickly before I can think of the other) then I'll be talking away, then after or at some point during it'll hit me that I've been over talking, performing, dominating, not considering the other person then I'll apologise. My practice through my whole life is to collect interesting facts and stories so that I can appear intelligent, interesting. As I grow older I'm more conscious of how deeply ingrained this is, and often feel helpless. My beautiful partner says it is her pet hate, gladly it hasn't grown to the point where the hate has tranferred to me. She is great at letting me know when I'm doing it with her, and occasionally with others. She is very good with the words mentioned in this article - "please don't interrupt me." "I haven't finished speaking" and "I do understand, no need to explain." I feel sometime hurt and ashamed when first interrupts me my interruption to assert her right to finish her point, but I adjust and settle a bit. I don't know all the sources of the impulses (and to go into them here would take too long and I have already don't ne of the essay some tease me about) but I can say that at least some of them come down to trying to prove my worth as a person because I don't feel valuable, I do feel deepy insecure pretending I'm smart is one way of warding off the feeling. I hope that slowly I'm learning to get over this. I give others their due respect.

"This is perhaps the most

"This is perhaps the most famous pop culture moment of a man interrupting a woman to explain something to her" - Is he really only "explaining" it to her? Isn't he rather "explaining" it to everyone in the audience (including men)? I would say he wanted to express his feelings and did so in a very rude manner. That definitely shows his bad manners, but does it really show misogyny? I'm sure he would have done the same had it been not Taylor Swift and Beyoncé but two male artists of whom he likes one better. I really, really liked the rest of the article, though.

Not a chance

Sorry, but I don't buy for a second that Kanye West would have grabbed the mic out of a male artist's hand. The chances of a male performer standing up to him are exponentially greater almost in inverse proportions to the chances of Taylor Swift doing so given how our culture conditions us.

Kanye is a classic bully, brazen in the face of people who are weak or conditioned to accept his aggression, and a total weasel around people who will stand up to him and make him look bad. He judged his moment well, he judged that Taylor wouldn't stand up for herself and he bullied his way onto the stage. It was a classic sexist move, a prime example of the entitlement men feel around women.

Women interrupts each other

Women interrupts each other all the time, even talking on top of each other. In my own observation, women gets interrupted by men only because if they are allowed to take over the conversation, it will start from a simple question of "who's that?" to full history lesson about the person. However, this is mainly culture based since there are other culture that respect each other in a conversation regardless of sex.

Generally speaking, I agree

Generally speaking, I agree with this and I also try not to interrupt people (men or women). But study #1 is not really a good study to support your idea of "mansplaining". Yes, women are interrupted more than men. But according to the numbers, women interrupt women more than men interrupt women. When men spoke, they interrupted other men almost as often as they interrupted women, making then nearly equal opportunity interrupters. (2 vs 2.6 is like a 30% increase) Men may have interrupted more people but it was not significantly biased against women. Whereas, when women spoke, they interrupted other women almost 3 times more often than they interrupted a man making then significantly more biased against women. (1 vs 2.8 is like a 180% increase) But some how this is only an issue about evil men mansplaining stuff to women? I don't see how that supports anything of the sort. It doesn't belong here.

Different opening example?

This article is very interesting and I like that multiple studies are referenced. I do think that the first paragraph was a little misleading in the nature of mansplaining as it asserts Kanye West interrupted in order to discredit a woman's work. My issue with this is that he "discredits" one woman's work to praise and shed light on another woman's work. As the article continues, of course, mansplaining is more clearly presented as interruptions to or overriding a woman's conversation/contribution/accomplishment/etc. My only complaint is the clarifying example (Kanye West v. Taylor Swift) as I feel it slightly confused the subject.
Otherwise, again, good article on a tricky topic!

This article makes me ashamed

The author, in the process of listing studies that say a lot of "what" without validating "conversation domination" as the why, entirely misses the confounding parts of everything she cites. It's totally possible that the reason women aren't retweeted as often on Twitter isn't because men are "given" anything, so much as that girls are retweeting guys but not retweeting girls. There's a handful of other explanations that make sense. What's more, bringing up little boys leaping out of their seats points to the role of gender nature. We can pull studies about neutral-raised kids picking blue trucks or pink dolls, but do we really believe that impulsivity is only acculturated (rather than somewhat inherent) in boys? Psychology suggests an interplay between the two. Is it mansplaining if a man is legitimately correcting a girl? What if she is uptalking? What if the problem is that girls aren't being confident enough in business meetings? Sure, that could be acculturated. But at what point shoukd we stop using ten confrontational, victim-posturing words to "keep [men] in check" and start simply explaining what we know and listening when others do the same? My point is this: men aren't actively keeping you from talking. This buzzfeed article makes a mountain out of a molehill, and in the process, obscures better types of feminism.

I'm emailing a few of these

I'm emailing a few of these studies to my boss.

I work in a nonprofit and we start our day with an hour briefing before starting with our daily stuff. I had been there for a few months when I started feeling like I was being interrupted all the time, but I also know I'm really sensitive to being interrupted, so I started paying close attention to it during the meetings and noticed it wasn't just me. I started counting for a week.

During a one hour meeting over the course of 4 days these were my numbers for day 1 (I lost the sheet with the other days on it).
4 women 2 men:

Women interrupt woman: 3

Women interrupt men: 1

Men interrupt men: 2

Men interrupt women: 13

No matter how many women vs men were there the number of times women were interrupted by men was in the teens and the others reached at most 5. It didn't matter which men or which women were in the office that day.

I shared that with my coworkers and since then I've been interrupted less often.

Was this a foolproof high numbers sample of gender behavior? No. But it was my experience that a lot of other women have shared.

Thanks for sharing . I wonder

Thanks for sharing . I wonder if other people reading this article and commenting have done/ will do something similar and share it here. I know I am going to start paying closer attention in my work place.

Great collection of studies

But inventing terms to describe stereotypical gender-specific behavior is adding to the problem, not solving it. Remember 'hysteria'?

The term wasn't invented for the purpose of solving a problem

It was invented as a way of describing one. As stated in many helpful links posted which you didn't bother reading, it's useful in discussions to have terms for gendered phenomenon. Manplaining is not stereotyping a gender because it's not an assumption about men. It's a word to describe experiences women have had with certain men. Incomparable to the concept of hysteria, which was used to dismiss and even lobotomize women for being too uppity and horny for men's liking. It was a faux medical diagnosis rooted in sexism and severely patriarchal pseudoscience of the time. The key difference between hysteria and mansplaining is mansplaining is a thing that exists. Even the men who do it are beginning to realize they do it. At least the ones with greater-than-Michael Scott levels of self-awareness.

I'm not sure how boys

I'm not sure how boys voluntary speaking more often in a class room environment is relevant to this topic. Its definitely interesting, but nobody is really at fault. its not interrupting to participate in a classroom discussion (interrupting could happen within this, but the act of being involved isn't interruption itself.) The solution is for female students to ask more questions, not for male students to ask less. And if the gender of the tutor is a related factor, i'm not really sure how that can be tackled, other than with genderless robots.

the answer is for female

the answer is for female students to be *encouraged* to ask/participate more. and boys *should* be called on less, in favor of more participation from girls.

Read critically

Let's not get nasty and have an actual discussion. It seems to me that the first statistics (women interrupt men 1 time, men interrupt women 2.6 times, women interrupt women 2.8 times) are saying that people tend to interrupt a little less then 3 times per conversation. Clearly, there's a disparity when it's a man and a woman in conversation, but it doesn't necessarily mean men are "mansplaining." (it might, but not neccessarily).

The second "proof" seems like it assumes a little much to me, but doesn't seem contradictory, so I can accept that.

The third seems bogus. In professional meetings, don't men take up about 2/3 to 3/4 of the decision-making sector? I could be wrong, but if this is true, then they are interrupting as much as one would expect (75% or 3/4 of the time). Also, whenever anyone isn't involved in a conversation they will be less likely to be listened to because they weren't there.

The fourth "proof" seems to indicate a same-gender (or same sex, it's unclear where the correlation lies) preference. 150% more likely is about 4x as much. if the writer meant as likely, that would be 3x. Males definitely speak more often and for longer periods, but I'm willing to bet that controlling for the gender bias would make the stat way less striking (though potentially still weakly correlated).

The fifth just confirms the first proof. female doctors are twice as likely to be interrupted than males. (women interrupt men 1 time, men interrupt women 2.6 times, women interrupt women 2.8 times), meaning they are interrupted on average a little less then they would in normal conversation. Doctors are the experts, so it follows that they would be interrupted less then in average conversation, but people seem to interrupt one way or another.

The same argument for the third proof potentially applies to the sixth proof. Men are more likely to write for journals, so they get more space. Again, there's a definite hierarchy here, but I doubt it's due to "mansplaining." Could also relate to sex (or gender) disparity in the field.

The final "proof" seems at least reasonably acceptable, but based off the other "proofs," I doubt the legitimacy of it. Just my opinion.

There's a lot of real disparity in our world, I feel like this article is reaching (and stretching quite a bit) to find a disparity where it exists mildly at best.

On "mansplaining" as an unofficially coined term:

Speaking strictly in terms of language, I think it's absolutely ridiculous. If someone were to introduce "womansplaining" as a term to a feminist, she would be quick to point out the misogyny behind it. If this is the case, then by the same logic, "mansplaining" is an example of misandry in our language. The double standard couldn't be anymore clear. It makes no sense to claim that men are not allowed to explain themselves or speak for themselves, and if they do, it's just "mansplaining". If women just dismiss what men are trying to communicate on the basis that they are men who are speaking, then they are contradicting themselves - a slap to the face of gender equality, and feminism itself. It's total nonsense.

Men interrupting women is just that: people interrupting other people. The entrenched gender bias we all have, both men and women, have created an environment where women do not assert themselves, while men do assert themselves. This isn't rocket science. Instead of introducing a safety blanket term like "mansplaining" in order to belittle the voice of a man before a woman decides to assert herself - women should just be more assertive. Period. Why cower at the first interruption, or the second? Be a woman and hold your ground.

dude, there's no double standard

Mansplaining isn't what happens when men open their mouths and words pop out. It is a particular type of douchey condescending splainin. Here are some quotes to help you clarify your confusion. Check your indignation for a hot second and try actually listening to what women are telling you about their own experiences:

"Mansplaining isn’t just the act of explaining while male, of course; many men manage to explain things every day without in the least insulting their listeners.
Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate “facts” about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.
Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!"

"A woman wrote about mansplaining. This, as you know if you are a woman, is when a man explains reality to you in a way that is intended to overrule what you very clearly know is actual reality, or to tell you things you have already said, or to tell you that what you are doing right is wrong."

"A feminist man should be able to understand the difference between mansplaining and simply explaining something while simultaneously being a man. The difference is the invalidation of the marginalized person’s expertise and experience as well as the general patronizing or condescending tone."

"“Mansplaining” — for which I will cease using scare quotes forthwith — is an internet-born term for what happens when a dude comes into a conversation, usually online, usually happening between a group of women, and proceeds to commandeer the discussion to explain to said women things that they already know."

Go forth now, fully understanding the difference between being interesting and informative and being a total dick.

This just in Men and Women different?!?!?!? More at 11.

If you want to find two things so far apart it is men and women. The reason men try to dominate the disscussion is because evolution has made us the more agressive and domineering of our spieces. It is articles like these the ones that are filled with slights against men that hurt the feminism way more than it helps. The awful very vocal minority feminist make up insulting catch phrases that quite frankly only attract negative remarks and steer support away from the cause.

Oh christ, the biological

Oh christ, the biological determinism argument. This just in, men defend their rude and sexist behavior on their misunderstanding of human evolution and hormones?!?!?! More at, go somewhere else with that drivel, everyone here has heard it. A million times.

Totally agree!

I totally agree with this subject and conclusion. I am a man and I have noticed it in others and myself. If they are anything like me, it isn't something deliberate, but it is . Men interrupt men too to people who are their inferiors. The non-verbal language around conversation is a power play, it is silly but it is how men experience the world and others. Competition and power is something that is utterly inalienable from the male experience, it's why men feel the urge to do stupid things like going to war, robbing banks, becoming city traders and so on.
When it comes to seduction, all men know that if they are seen as powerful they will be more attractive, and this colours the way that he acts around women. It does mean that men believe (implicitly, if not explicitly) that they must be dominant in a relationship.

The interesting question is the extent to which professional relations in universities, businesses and governments are structured along this same implicit logic of casual male competitiveness. And it is obvious to anyone that they are; at least in government (if you have ever watched Prime Minister's question time) and in academia (if you have ever sat in on a research seminar). So when someone says that there should be more female PhDs MPs and so on, I always wonder whether they think women should adopt these male characteristics, or the institutions should change culturally.

Anyway, brilliant article

Great Thoughts

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this article and your collection of studies. I've have been interrupted on more than one occasion and have found that I have a gut reaction to "be polite" and ignore it and yet I feel bad about not sticking up for myself later on. I haven't read much about this topic so this was a really informative read. Thanks!

I found the use of Kanye West

I found the use of Kanye West taking the mic from Taylor Swift to be a really bad example for mansplaining. As another commenter mentioned, he took the mic to point out the overlooking of Beyonce, a black woman who is often denounced by white feminists, for Taylor Swift, who exhibits certain traits of victimized white womanhood that white women seem to love. Using this image without any kind of attention to the racial politics at play both in choosing to use this image and example and in Taylor Swift being awarded instead of Beyonce suggests that Kanye is being used here to conjure certain emotional responses to mansplaining when his actions are legible as such only if one suspends the racial dynamic from view. Disappointed to see this going down on bitch without any critical attention to these issues.

Dominance as a desirable and genetic trait

It seems that most of these studies seem to explainable with the hypothesis that men are selected for reproduction by expressing dominance, and that, while a generally desirable feature for security, can have drawbacks in other venues, such as intergender communication.

If mansplaining is a product of dominance, then perhaps it will remain until dominance is no longer a desirable feature.

I'm too sick of this

I'm too sick of this pop-evolutionary psych bs to be polite here. This idea that male dominance is selected for is absolute hogwash that any genuine study into non-human animal behavior will debunk within moments. If you had an actual education in human evolution you would know that what you are spouting is absolute nonsense. If you had any proper education in logic you would know the same.

Further, mansplaining is not a "product of dominance" or an "expression of dominance" it is a product and expression of sexist douchery, and thus will die with the patriarchy, and dudes figuring their shit out instead of running around the internet wasting everyone's time typing out long debunked theories about male dominance and sexual selection.