Mansplaining has been around forever, but has only recently been given a name.
To “mansplain” is when a man assumes a woman knows nothing about the subject at hand and therefore takes it upon himself to explain—in excruciating details that she already knows—the subject at hand.
Redditor burneraccsorry found herself the subject of a mansplaining partner, and went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA,” to see if she had done something wrong to provoke the behavior.
It started with a sexist joke:
“AITA for not seeing the funny side of a sexist joke?”
Our original poster, or OP’s, partner was on a call with friends when it happened.
“The other day my partner [Male 37] was on a video call with some mates. I was trying to leave them to it as I didn’t want to intrude on their conversation, but I cooked us dinner which involved sharing various bits, so I brought everything into the living room to sit quietly beside him to eat my food.”
It came out of left field so fast that it gave OP whiplash.
“Someone asked a question about partners, and my partner mentioned I was sat beside him. I said a quick ‘hi’ to the guys, and a minute later made a little joke about my partner in the context of the conversation. Then someone says ‘mate, did you just let your woman speak?!'”
OP, though knowing it was supposed to be a “joke,” didn’t care to stick around after her partner didn’t even react.
“Now I GET that this is supposed to be a joke, I haven’t lived under a rock my entire life, but because of that I’ve been subjected to hearing this hilarious ‘joke’ multiple times, and every time it is just as degrading and humiliating as the last.”
“My partner knows I’m passionate about issues of inequality (I’m a Sociology student), and we have had conversations on multiple occasions about how men making sexist ‘jokes’ with one another is a major reason casual and outright sexism still exists, because it is normalized and trivialised in the name of ‘banter.’ I kind of expected my partner to say something but he just smiled and ignored it.”
“I took my share of the food and left the room, as I felt very unwelcome.”
And when OP’s partner came to talk to her, he took the side of the “jokers.”
“Later he came to ask if I was upset, and I said yes, and explained that I wished he would have said a little something in my defense, not to be a killjoy, but just a ‘mate, come on,’ or some kind of witty come back to shut him down a little.”
“Then he launched into a big explanation about what the guy meant by the joke, how he wasn’t actually sexist, he didn’t mean it ‘like that’ and it wasn’t his job to ‘white knight’ for me if I’m upset by something.”
OP was more upset by this than anything.
“This just upset me more, because rather than trying to understand and respect my feelings, he just mansplained a joke, and defended a sexist friend. I wasn’t expecting an apology, more just some compassion for how I was made to feel in that situation, but he wasn’t having any of it and treated me as if I had just ‘misunderstood’ the joke because it wasn’t actually sexist.”
And now she wants to know if her feelings were valid.
“So AITA for wanting my partner to defend me, or for not seeing the ‘funny’ side of a sexist joke?”
Redditors decided where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors overwhelmingly took the side of the OP.
“You’re NTA. Your bf is. And whether you want to admit it or see it or not, he’s also a sexist.”
“Like when granny says something racist, and Uncle Bob says oh that’s just the way she is its how her generation was- no, granny is a racist. She might not be wearing klan sheets at a rally, but she’s still a racist.”
“Be it a little or a lot- sexist is sexist. Racist is racist.”~Theartofdodging
“NTA – honestly what a weird and cringey joke for his mate to say. It’s not endearing or cute or funny like he probably thinks it is. Your partner needs to understand that his friend can be sexist even if neither of them believe it.”
“Just like a white woman married to a black man can still be racist against black people. Your partner definitely should have shut him down because it just puts you in such an awkward situation having to swallow the banter and be the polite and ‘cool’ girlfriend.”~xnataliaaria
“My wife and I went to see the Super Bowl at a friend’s house. My wife absolutely loves to cook, so she was in the kitchen with our friend’s wife while the guys were in the living room having a beer. Our friend made a joke about the girls belonging in the kitchen but not one of the guys laughed.”
“We all just looked at him and shook our heads and he tried to defend himself saying it was a joke. My wife loved how we peer pressure him into silence.”~Funkypianopleya
“Ugh jesus christ on a cheese plate, how on earth do people think these jokes are still funny? ‘Belong in the kitchen’ ‘make me a sandwich’ ‘control your woman’…”
“It wasn’t funny when there weren’t meant to be jokes, and they’re still not funny even if they’re told as jokes. Well Brad you belong in the trash but here we are. NTA. Toss him and his unfunny a**hat of friends.”~TubiDaorArya
And him choosing to mansplain makes him even worse in Reddit’s eyes.
“NTA. Instead of trying to understand why you were feeling upset, your boyfriend decided to explain to you why your feelings weren’t valid, and that’s what makes him the a**hole in this situation.”~distinctlyambiguous
“NTA you’re fine for being upset. Especially over a sexist comment. Sexist comments always suck but the fact that it was specifically about you and only made because you were sitting there is pretty crappy. Saying it’s a joke doesn’t make it okay especially if it hurt someone.”~ohboy-herewegoagain
“NTA. I had a similar experience with my friend group from years ago. We played a drinking game and in this round we had to name pets and farm animals. My boyfriend at this time couldn’t think of any that wasn’t named yet so he decided ‘women’ was a good answer. They let it count. I have nothing to do with them anymore.”
“What sometimes works is asking them to explain the joke to you and why it is funny. Something they notice that the only joke behind this is misogyny. Well…sometimes…”~high_class_fella
“NTA. I see both sides. I love offensive jokes and my friends and I make offensive jokes related to our race, culture, gender etc. but we all enjoy it and know it’s just in good fun. BUT, you obviously are not comfortable with those kinds of jokes so it’s kind of shitty that your partner defended the joke even after he knew how you felt about it. I would definitely sit down and have a proper talk with him.”~myrebelyell69
Some people are even advising her to drop her boyfriend altogether.
“NTA. In a healthy relationship I’d expect my partner to defend me even if I wasn’t around. The fact that he won’t defend you when you’re present would be upsetting. He is showing you who he is. Are you ok with what he’s shown you?”~SeaStrike2
“NTA. ‘They didn’t mean it like that’ is the trademark excuse that allows sexism, racism and other inappropriate ‘jokes’ to continue. Even just a ‘dude, seriously?’ Would have probably sufficed.”
“Instead he not only tried to invalidate your feelings, he tried to defend himself by misappropriating terms that are actual, real problems. Defending your partner isn’t ‘white knighting,’ and his misuse of the term is half the reason such issues don’t get taken seriously.”~PhantomNiffler
“NTA. Sexist jokes aren’t funny. So I don’t get why you’d laugh. To me, this is a giant red flag from your bf. Sounds like shares his friends views more than he’s let on before now.”~mutherofdoggos
“NTA. One time my husbands friend tried using a ‘joke’ like that with me around and I looked at him and said ‘no wonder you’re never in a relationship longer than a year’. Apparently that hurt his feelings and I was told to take a joke. I told him he should be able to take it as well since I was ‘joking’ too.”
“My favorite is when my husbands friends ask if he needs to get my permission. My usual response is, ‘if you had a healthy relationship you’d know it’s not asking for permission but simply communicating plans’.”
“Some men don’t like women who speak up, and it shows. So do it more.”~imsorrydontyellatme
The ball is in OP’s court now to decide how to act with the information that she is NTA.
Hopefully OP and her boyfriend can have a constructive conversation about this and come out on the other side stronger.