10 Worst Mansplainers on the Internet (or Anywhere)

Soon-to-be-former Texas governor Rick Perry joined the ranks of mansplainers last week when he said of Texas Senator Wendy Davis at the National Right to Life Convention in Dallas:

She was the daughter of single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.

For offering his patronizing assessment of Senator Wendy Davis’ biography, with some editorializing, Perry’s ad-libbed remarks have been widely broadcast ’round the Internet. It has gained him recognition, as well as infamy, as the “Mansplainer-in-Chief,” ever eager to explain to women what to do with their bodies, simplify that oh-so-complicated financial “stuff” and more.

Perry joins a not exactly august company of mansplaining types:

1. Ron Johnson

Representative Tammy Baldwin (a Democrat) became Wisconsin’s new senator in 2012; she had previously been in Congress since 1999. Nonetheless, Representative Ron Johnson (a Republican who took office in 2011), thought fit to say that “hopefully I can sit down and lay out for her my best understanding of the federal budget because they’re simply the facts.”

Baldwin let Johnson know she is already quite well informed as she was a “double major in college in mathematics and political science, and… served for six years on the House Budget Committee in [her] first six years in the House”.

2.  Dylan Byers

After President Obama “reminded us … that even progressive leaders can be sexist“ via his comment that California attorney general Kamala Harris is “the best-looking attorney general in the country,” Politico writer Dylan Byers tweeted “How did it become so difficult to call a woman good looking in public?” Clearly it has become too easy for a man to let his sexist views slip out in public and all across the Internet.

3. Boris Johnson

The mayor of London has uttered many a sexist malapropism. His latest: “jokingly” explaining at the World Islamic Economic Forum that there are so many woman in college because “they’ve got to find men to marry.”

For this he has garnered his very own Twitter hash tag, #sexistmayor.

4. Michael Bloomberg

The New York City mayor has made more than a few remarks that merit the #sexistmayor tag including some ugly comments about New York City mayoral candidate Christine Quinn’s body and clothing — “Do you pay a lot to make your hair be two colors? Because now it’s three with the gray” — as well as “an ungentlemanly remark about a woman’s attractive backside” at a Christmas party.

Next page: Comedians who should know better and Catholic priests who think they have a right to tell women what to do with their bodies.

5. Todd Akin

No list of mansplainers would be complete without a mention of the the Missouri Representative otherwise known as “Mr. Legitimate Rape.” No need to say anymore about that.

6. Bill Maher

After saying that Ann Romney “has never gotten her ass out of the house to work,” Bill Maher responded to bipartisan criticism with this mansplanation:

“No one is denying that being a mother is a tough job; I remember I was a handful. But you know there is a big difference between being a mother, and that tough job, and getting your ass out the door at 7 a.m. when it’s cold, having to deal with the boss, being in a workplace, or even if you’re unhappy you can’t show it for eight hours.”

Those who do not only the “tough job” of being a mother but also the other sorts of “workplace” jobs Maher refers to may continue to be rightfully indignant.

7. Erick Erickson

Fox News harbors many a mansplainer, but Conservative blogger Erick Erickson’s remarks about women as breadwinners are particularly out-of-date:

“When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society, and other animals, the male typically is the dominant role.”

The women’s role? She’s just “complementary.”

Erickson has also informed women that our wanting to “have it all” is “the crux of the problem” and that feminists are “too ugly to get a date” and have “no sense of humor” — criticisms about women that are as old as the hills; postcards from the early 20th century show that suffragettes were routinely drawn as “ugly, mean spinsters.”

8. Ramesh Ponnuru

The senior editor for the National Review has been dubbed (and is) an “epic mansplainer” for writing that the gender pay cap is “exaggerated.” His reasons?

Discrimination “doesn’t drive it and it’s not clear that government can eliminate it — or should even try” because, ultimately, women themselves are to blame.

Yes, according to Ponnuru, we women just choose to make less than men and are just “more likely” to work part-time and take lower-paying jobs — I guess, like Erickson, it must be something about our biology.

9. Tony Abbott

The leader of Australia’s opposition Liberal Party — who hosted a fundraiser whose menu offered a dish that made repulsive references to former Prime Minister  Julia Gillard‘s body — is on the record for too many sexist comments for us to keep track.

One example however came when he once noted that “the problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.”

When Gillard called him a sexist misogynist in a speech that went viral, she was just saying what has long been obvious.

10. Cardinal Timothy Dolan

The Archbishop of New York (along with many a member of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy) could vie with Rick Perry for the title of “Mansplainer in Chief.”

Along with leading the charge against the Affordable Care Act’s no co-pay birth control provision, dubbing it nothing less than an attack on religious freedom, Dolan recently called on his flock to fight a proposed bill to ease restrictions on late-term abortions in New York state.

He declared: ”the direct taking of the life of a child in the womb in no way enhances a woman’s dignity” — but, apparently, taking orders from a conservative white man in a dress vestments does?

Photo from Thinkstock


Jim V
Jim Ven5 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S5 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

vicky T.
vicky T4 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

they are trying so hard to hold the power in a changing world where women are simply not tolerating their abuse and control. New world

Ana Marija R.
ANA MARIJA R4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago


Deborah S.
Deborah S4 years ago

Oh, Stephen B., you little mansplainer you! You are aware that the word is NOT complimentary, are you not? That little video is cute, but F-ed up. Whoever made it missed the whole "men are from mars, women are from venus" thang. He ended up creating quite the misogynistic little video.

Yes, many women seek an eduction or training for lower paying jobs but I doubt you or your friend understand why. There's obviously more than one reason but the chief amoung them is practicality. They choose a profession in which they know they'll have a better chance at securing a job. But that has changed significantly in the past 15 years alone. Go to any urban courthouse or emergency department, check out a laboratory. Women are going into traditionally male white and grey collar fields like gangbusters. Women are also enter blue collar fields that aren't restricted to packing boxes in a factory. They're driving trucks and forklifts and performing many other tasks just as efficiently as their male coworkers. Not every blue collar job requires the strength of Paul Bunyan. Or is it not like that in the US?

Deborah S.
Deborah S4 years ago


You or somebody else has screwed up pay equity. But after reading what you've written, it's a wonder that anybody hires women at all! I'd like to know where, when and who in the AAUW said women would be getting 22% more pay if Pay Equity was enforced? The figures are laughable and the logic severely flawed.

It is NOT expected that if one account manager regularly works 40 hour weeks and the other regularly works 60 hour weeks that both will be taking home the same amount of money each week. (that'd only happen if it was the woman who was working the 60 hours! hahahahah gawd, I slay me) Pay Equity = EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE. Don't get me started on "productivity." Women in white collar jobs around the world have worked harder and longer than their male colleagues just to get a bit of recognition. Because MAYBE if they stood out, the old boys upstairs would take a look at their performance and not pass them over - again, in favour of some man with less experience and less "productivity."

Deborah S.
Deborah S4 years ago


Many, many of the women that the UUAW have been fighting for are paid hourly wages. Pay equity, or lack thereof, should be much more apparent here. Even if a woman had to take every Tuesday afternoon off to take her kid for physiotherapy, she's still entitled to the same HOURLY WAGE as the guy on the other side of the assembly line. Let's say they both make $15/hr. She has to take off 4 hours every week, so she earns $60/wk less than he does - legitimately. What is so difficult to understand?

28% 6% 100% Your numbers don't add up. And I find it hard to believe that someone in AAUW would make such a mistake publicly. Oh yeah and I wasn't really joking about the 60 vs 40 hour work weeks. ;-)