Samantha Bee, Gloria Steinem, Gayle King, and More Women Told Us How to Deal With Mansplainers

“I clamsplain right back.” — Samantha Bee Photo: Getty Images

In honor of the mansplaining Olympics (or what political types are calling Monday’s presidential debate), the Cut asked six prominent women about dealing with male condescension last night at the Women’s Media Center Awards. Did they remember a time when they were more familiar with a subject than a male counterpart was, but were still told what to think or feel? Yes! “I clamsplain right back,” Samantha Bee replied.

Then we asked for advice on how to handle it, which inevitably varied: Gloria Steinem chooses empathy. Gayle King has apparently never met a mansplainer in her life. (Some people have all the luck.)

Samantha Bee, Host of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

No one has tried to mansplain to me in a really long time. I feel like the show came on the air and all of that stopped. Maybe I do it to myself now, to remember. I clamsplain right back.”

Gloria Steinem, Activist

“When I went out to speak around the country about feminism, no one would relate to me because I wasn’t married, and I didn’t have children, and I would be stoned to death in Wichita. Of course it was not true at all, but that was the masculine conception. I try to treat them as I would want to be treated; if I was doing a dumb thing, I would want someone to tell me, not just be angry, so I try for empathy and if that doesn’t work, I try for humor.”

Sally Field, Actress

“I have my own terminology about it because I’ve been encountering it for the last 53 years of my life, since I joined this male-dominated business. Nowadays, I would simply correct them and let them know I didn’t appreciate it. In the days gone by, I didn’t have the strength, the voice, the allowance to do it.”

Gayle King, Co-anchor, CBS This Morning

“I don’t feel condescended by men in conversation. I really don’t.”

Robin Morgan, Co-founder, the Women’s Media Center

“I say, excuse me, I’m talking. And if they continue, I say I’m talking, and I wish that you didn’t. And if they continue, I say shut the f*ck up. Yesterday morning … on Good Day New York, Rosanna Scotto’s co-host, Greg Kelly, began by explaining to [Gloria Steinem] and me that he knew we were for Hillary, because we were feminists. I immediately said I’m not voting for her because she is a woman, but because I am. He went on and on, and I said, ‘Just a minute Greg, I’m talking here.’ Afterward he said, ‘You are quite feisty.’ And I said, ‘Feisty is not a word you use anymore, particularly for older women, because you could lose parts of your anatomy, Greg.’”

Joy Reid, Host of MSNBC’s AM Joy

I girlsplain back. Essentially, if someone is being insulting there is no reason to let them finish their insult before you interrupt them. And I just assert that I have done my research, I know my facts, and I assert my facts. I don’t go into interviews with the intention of arguing, but I feel if someone is being argumentative or mansplaining, I think as a woman, it is our right and our duty to stand up to it.”

Samantha Bee, Gloria Steinem, and Gayle King on Mansplainers