How To Mansplain

Time for class!

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Hi, everyone. Welcome to ANTH110: How to Mansplain. I’m sending around copies of the syllabus. Please read it, sign it, and give it back to me at the end of class. As I always like to tell my new students: You’re here because you asked to be here, but if you don’t like the way you’re treated here, you can just leave. My name is Dr.—

“What kind of doctor?”

Humanities. Dr.—

“Just to play devil’s advocate: Can one really be a ‘doctor’ of culture?”

Dr. Turner. And yes, because I have a Ph.D.

“Oh really? Where from?”

Stanford.

“Ah, yes. Silicon Valley. The Tech Industry. Innovation.”

Yep. So —

“Recipient of fully one-third of all venture capitalist investment in the United States.”

That’s what I hear. So today we’ll—

“And, actually, despite common misconception, an area dominated by women.”

… No. That’s not—

“I think you’ll find that, demographically, females outnumber males in the majority of Valley localities. So, technically… ”

That’s not exactly how I would assess dominance, personally, but—

“I mean, those are just facts, but, of course. Of course. Obviously there are other issues. Obviously. I just think the whole thing is a liiiiiittle more complex than people make it out to be. There’s actually this great book—”

Great. Email me the title after class. I will definitely, totally read it.

“It was a bestseller. I can’t believe you haven’t already read it.”

You haven’t said what it … is …

“I really think that if you sat down with it, and really tried to understand where the author is coming from, you’d feel differently.”

I’m sure—

“It’s just that sometimes, people can THINK they’re sure about something? But they’re not.”

Reaaaaally.

“Oh, yes. Absolutely. There’s this whole psychological phenomenon — it’s called confirmation bias — it’s, like, SO hard to describe without being jargon-y, blah, sorry — but anyway, basically it’s this thing where people favor information that supports the beliefs they already had, and ignore information that contradicts them. It’s so messed up. I would never do it.”

That’s great. Really admirable.

“Yeah, I just think it’s so important to approach the issue from all sides. A lot of people aren’t willing to speak up, but I just think, you know, somebody’s gotta do it.”

What issue do you mean, exactly?

“Just all of them.”

Mmm. So, getting started: who wants to tell me what they think mansplaining means?

“I’d love to help you out with that.”

Wonderful.

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