To be honest, I'm not interested in debating whether or not mansplaining is prominent in the theatre blogosphere. I think that's self-evident (with a few rare exceptions, such as James Comtois) because that's the society we live in. I don't think it's an accident that mansplainers tend to be cis male, White, straight, and able-bodied.
Considering the context in which this behavior emerges, and what that says about what's happening beneath the surface, it's pretty easy to imagine how that influences the current theatrical environment and its lack of space (literally and figuratively) for marginalized viewpoints and voices (with a limited exception for gay men because "theatre = gaygaygay!").
What's more important to me than pointing out mansplaining every time it occurs (of which plenty of examples can be found in the main text and comments of this article in the vein of "You Might Be A Redneck If . . . "), or even the overtly and subtly problematic nature of mansplaining is figuring out what to do about it.
Telling mansplainers to shut the fuck up on their own blogs is not exactly the best way to go about creating more meaningful dialogue not centered around mansplaining-centric norms. Off the top of my head, here are some things that can start right now:
- Contribute to blogs by and for women in theatre - particularly if you have not worked with them before. Drama Daily has an excellent list to start with.
- Ask women theatre bloggers to contribute to your own blog. (You mean women might have something worth saying that you didn't get to say first? Perish the thought!)
- Link to shows with one or more women at the helm. Artistic director, producer, playwright, director, whatever. The person making decisions should be a woman. Don't wait for a (male) critic or reviewer to tell you when a woman's work is worth paying attention to.
- Seriously, though: I'M RIGHT HERE!!!
- Risk something. Not a lot. Just something. Risk boredom. Risk offense. Risk a small amount of disposable income. Risk not feeling like it. Risk looking stupid. Risk not getting it. Risk the same things I risk when I go to a movie, see a show, or meet someone new.