By now, we don’t have to tell you what “mansplaining” is.
Though it’s been a reality since the beginning of time, it’s only become a catch term in recent years, as a growing number of females collectively stand up and say “hell, no” to being spoken down to by their male coworkers, partners, family members and people they encounter throughout the day.
Something that’s also been a reality – and something that often goes hand-in-hand with mansplaining – is “manterrupting;” the perpetual interrupting of a woman by a man. Sadly, it’s happening – and it’s backed by research. It happens in boardrooms and swanky restaurants on first dates alike.
Back in 1975, researchers at University of California-Santa Barbara recorded 31 conversations has in coffee shops, stores and other public spaces. When it came to conversations involving both women and men, the men were responsible for 47 out of 48 interruptions. Unfortunately, not much has changed. That is, aside from the fact that the ladies are no longer sitting back and letting it happen. A 2014 study found that men will interrupt a woman about twice in just three minutes.
Recently, the concept was highlighted as clear as day in a CNN interview. When a Republican Senate candidate from Virginia interrupted anchor Kate Bolduan repeatedly during the August 17 episode of At This Hour, she shot him down in the best way possible, reminding him that he was, in fact, on her show.
The topic of discussion was the recent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia that left a 32-year-old woman dead. As if it couldn’t get worse than Stewart’s defence of Trump’s controversial press conference statement in response to the rallies, he spent the next two minutes accusing Bolduan of exploiting the death of Heather Heyer, the protestor who lost her life, interrupting the journalist repeatedly in the process and talking over her like an idiot.
Bolduan – who has been a CNN journalist for more than a decade – had enough. “I am the anchor of the show,” she said. “I am asking the questions. Stop talking; stop talking. You’re the guest on my show. I would like to continue the conversation with you—respectfully.”
Good for her; we should all be so bold.
“One of the biggest turnoffs on a first date is when the guy interrupts me repeatedly; once this happens, I am immediately thinking about my exit plan,” says Eva, a 31-year-old Toronto-based public relations specialist. “It doesn’t matter if he is interrupting your story because it reminds him of something ‘more important’ that happens in his life, or if he is interrupting out of disagreement – nobody has time for that.”
Men, take note (and ladies too, for that matter).
So, what can the modern headstrong woman do to combat this? A recent Harvard Business Review article by Harvard Business School psychologist Francesca Gino arms women with some helpful tips to reduce the odds that you’ll be manterrupted. These include things like stating what you want to get beforehand, informing that you don’t want to be interrupted at the start, enlisting allies, having a private conversation, speaking assertively, using assertive body language and – somewhat surprisingly – avoiding eye contact.
Coupled with these tactics, there’s even an app dedicated to combating manturrupting that detects it in daily conversations.
Of course, we ladies aren’t always perfect (shocking, I know), and one of the most important things to remember is not to interrupt others if we don’t want to be interrupted ourselves.