Alright ladies, this post is even more specifically for you then my post about my post-partum abs. However men, you need to read this. I want to talk about “mansplaining.”
What is “mansplaining” you ask?
You know when your going about your business and end up doing something that is typically considered a male task, and a man happens to see you and feels the need to comment or “explain” how to do said task correctly even though you weren’t having any problems doing it in the first place? That is mansplaining.
Commonly you will get it while doing anything with a car, or tools…or when talking about rape, birth control and women’s bodies…but you especially get it at the gym. Because women can’t possibly know how to exercise, do sport or lift weights properly without the help of men. I’ve been corrected on everything from how I’m running (apparently my feet slap too hard when I run??), to my form when lifting, to being told what ab exercises I have to be doing, even though I can’t do them because of my separated abs (this one is the most irritating because they absolutely ignore my explanation that I can’t do sit ups and keep going on and on).
I’m not against being corrected if I’m honestly doing something wrong. Given that I’m learning to lift weights from videos I do get my form wrong on occasion, and usually I know that I’m doing something wrong because it doesn’t feel right (dead lifting was an example of this, and I am grateful to the guy who showed me how to do it properly before I hurt myself). However, most of the time these guys just seem to be talking at me just for the sake of doing it.
For example, the other day I was doing these:
and a guy came up and told me I was doing this wrong, and then showed me how to do these:
Dumbell Bench Presses: http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/dumbbell-bench-press
The minute he started talking I knew he had no idea what exercise I was actually doing and just thought that I had bad form on a Dumbell bench press, because this is not the first time someone has incorrectly corrected me, but what do I do?
And I get comments on my ab workouts on an almost daily basis. It’s like my mum-tum is a source of great concern to them.
Also, there’s when a piece of equipment isn’t working and they come running up like they can fix it and make me stand there saying “it’s jammed” over and over again, while they pull and prod (like I didn’t just do that!), or switch the treadmill off and on like they’re fingers can restart a dead battery.
In the past I have re-corrected them and showed them the video of the exercise I’m actually doing, which has led to an even longer conversation about why they are correct or why what they showed me is better. blah blah blah. Thing is, none of these guys are personal trainers. Most, if not all of them, learned to lift the same way I have, by watching videos or finding diagrams of exercises off the internet. So why in the world would they think they have some inside knowledge that I don’t? They don’t, they just see a poor silly girl at the gym and they think she needs help.
I hate to break it to you boys, but the vast vast vast majority of the time, we don’t.
I now just nod and say yes and wait for the guy to move along before going back to exactly what I was doing. My inner feminist isn’t a fan of this approach, but my inner introvert is perfectly fine with it as it makes unwanted conversations shorter. Now the usual “manspaliners” have figured out that their attention is unwanted and leave me alone, so I only have to deal with the occasional newbie whom I give my best bitch face too before strutting off to lift heavier weights then him. So all in all I’m mostly left alone now.
Unfortunately, they’ve moved on to the new girls in the gym. I watched the other day while 3 of them tried to show these two young ladies how to do bench presses (which they had been doing just fine on their own 2 seconds before).
So guys, unless a woman (or man, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t extend your corrections to other dudes) looks like she’s going to cause herself serious bodily harm through her bad form, just keep your comments to yourself, we don’t want them.