Mansplaining – when a man explains something to a woman in a patronizing manner – is an epidemic. As a woman, I have had to stomach it for my entire life. In 2016, I have decided to speak up and take a stand against this societal poison, once and for all, because I am very brave and also liberated. Today was my first true test.
This morning was like any other morning. I watched my programs and female-gazed out the window, sucking down my morning coffee and chomping down on a bunch of glass marbles as I prepared to leave for my satisfying corporate job. I know you “men” probably thought I was going to say that I was getting ready to drive my kids to school, but that’s where you’re wrong. I don’t let my kids go to school. I believe that they can learn whatever they want to learn, which is part of the reason why my ex-husband got full custody of them. Classic man, feeling entitled to something just because he’s their father and also because I disappeared for six months.
Marbles for breakfast filled me up quickly like it always does and soon it was time for work. I gathered up my papers and crumpled them into my leather briefcase, keeping my hands free in case someone was tossing a loose football in my direction. I bet you didn’t think I could throw a perfect spiral, did you? Joke’s on you—I can’t, but one of my female friends, Elissa, can. Soon after walking out the door I doubled over in pain for some reason, but continued on my journey to work. The pain was unlike any I had ever experienced, and I was certain that I was feeling it because of society’s most toxic disease: mansplaining. On the way, a male traffic cop tried to tell me where to go, so I deliberately ran a red light and caused a pileup. That’ll show the mansplainers! Finally, I made it to my JOB.
Eventually the pain was too much to endure, and I went to my doctor because I couldn’t stop bleeding. Immediately the nurses asked me to change into a “hospital gown,” and refused to offer me anything else even though I demanded the standard medical tuxedo that I’m sure the men get to wear. Soon, my doctor walked in the room. I bet you assumed my doctor was a MAN, didn’t you? Well, this time it actually was, but #NotAllMen are doctors and not all doctors are men! And you won’t believe what my doctor had the nerve to say to me. My male doctor dared to tell me that I had a hundred glass marbles lodged in my digestive system. He said that if I wasn’t admitted immediately for surgery, there would be serious complications. I marched out of there, his sexist condescension causing me severe abdominal pain for my entire trip home. But as all women do, I endured.
I got home and nibbled on my leftovers from breakfast, blinded by the pain of injustice, but I still wasn’t able to get through the bag of glass marbles. Needless to say, after a man tried to police my body like that, I didn’t have much of an appetite. I was fuming, foaming at the mouth—literally—because I knew that the problem wasn’t just with the one man—it was with the entire system. I had never felt smaller, even though I was at my heaviest because there were seventy-eight marbles rolling around in my tummy.
No man has the right to tell me what to do with my body, not even a doctor. Doctor MAN has no idea what I have to go through every day, and if I decide to eat a hundred marbles, what right does he have to tell me that my body is full of marbles and that I shouldn’t eat marbles anymore? My body, my choice. And my choice is to eat little glass spheres for every meal, every day, forever! #YesAllWomen, am I right? I am right.
I am so right that I am dying as I type this, a martyr for all women. The rampant sexism is cutting me to shreds, metaphorically but also physically, because for some reason (MANSPLAINING!!) I am bleeding so much. Probably a physical manifestation of the cutting micro-aggressions I face in the workplace, but definitely not all the marbles I ate this morning. I just tried to call 911 but the memory of the doctor barking at me about the marbles inside of my body made my hands stop working. I am losing my grip on life as I type this. Just know that I died leaning in… leaning in to a bowl of marbles. Yum yum, marbles. Take that, mansplainers.
Mitra Jouhari is Brooklyn-based a performer and writer. She currently works at Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. She co-wrote/is one of the Three Busy Debras and is a member of the Holy Fuck Comedy Hour. She tweets @tweetrajouhari.
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